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From "William A. Rowe, Jr." <wr...@rowe-clan.net>
Subject Re: [ANN] HP memo forecasts MS patent attacks on free software
Date Wed, 21 Jul 2004 21:48:04 GMT
At 03:22 PM 7/21/2004, Antonio Gallardo wrote:

>While your are right about the licenses cocktail. I think the comment is
>OT. The main point to post the article to the list, was let the rest of us
>know we are on target. That is all. Perhaps 2 years from now we will know
>what is prepared for us. If this is not already prepared. ;-)

There is no doubt what's going on in the heads of some of upper mgmt,
at Microsoft, IBM, Sun, etc.  One has to remember that the corporate
management is never of a single mind, tends to shift over time, and
every one of us, at one job or another, can think of at least one manager 
who was at odds with the corporate culture.  You know - the one you
thought was sinking your company into the ground.  We've all had one
good example in our lives.

One astute reader pointed out, that between the three of them, they
have such overwhelming patent portfolios that it makes the concept
of 'global thermonuclear war' seem mild.  SCO threw their entire
enterprise to the winds on one collection of patents and intellectual
property, which they believe is the end-all of regaining some value
to their company and portfolio.  One can argue they had too little
at stake -not- to throw this at the wall and decide if it sticks.  If it
sticks, they win, if it falls to the ground, their company is dead.
Wasn't it already?  That's VIP-room no-limit Las Vegas poker.

But in the case of the 'big three' - 

Remember Craig Mundie finally read the GPL - and decreed that
'Open Source' was the bane of civilization as we know it.  Later, it
was pointed out to him that his company's code is chock-full
of BSD-licensed software.  Then, we began to hear that the GPL
was anti-capitalist (quite possibly true), and his true target was
revealed, the ability or lack thereof to sell programs, not share code.

If Microsoft could take the Linux kernel tomorrow, wrap their fingers
around it, twist it and close it as a single-source-solution deployed 
within every Windows box six years from now, claiming that Windows
was more Linux than any 'open source' solution - do we doubt they 
would pass up that opportunity?  Look at how effectively this has
played (with BSD) on Mac OS/X?  Who doesn't love it :)

Knowing how off-base and insane Mundie was two years ago, who
would dispute the authenticity of this memo?  Does MS have it's
entire deathstar legal team pointed at the GPL?  Perhaps.  But more
likely, as they have done time and time again in the past, they have
their oem/sales lasers armed with more a more detailed FUD than
they feed to the general consumer.

Microsoft wants one thing, profits.  On one side is competition from
Linux and many other players.  On the other side, just as potentially
troubling to them, are anti-trust regulators on six continents just
waiting for the misstep.  As folks also pointed out on that thread, this
is a battle for far more than one country's pocketbooks, and there are
plenty of jurisdictions to contend with who will interpret the GPL,
MS's own patents and other IP rights differently.


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