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Patent Storm Brewing

Fortune magazine has an extensive (read: long) report on Microsoft's strategy of using patents to squeeze money out of the free software community. Microsoft apparently has over 200 patents that are violated by the Linux kernel (isn't this based on the old Unix kernel?), OpenOffice (this one I can believe) and Linux GUIs (maybe Apple or PARC have a better case here).

The fear is that Microsoft can win licensing fees from the free software makers, making the software suddenly unfree!

I don't think the sky is falling here. Most open source has its legacy in software that predates Windows, and companies like IBM have plenty of patents to spit back at Redmond lawyers.

So I'm not terribly worried. They again, I run XP and Office -- not Linux and OpenOffice! What do you think? Does Microsoft have a case? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/14/2007 at 1:15 PM


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