I got mad this morning. Really mad. Why? Because I read about Microsoft’s new little trick. They have ‘software patents‘ (in the US anyway) on various things. And they claim that various open source projects are in violation of said patents. And they want people who distribute said open source software and their users to pay up… or be sued. So, which specific patents are Linux, etc. infringing upon?
The software behemoth didn’t identify any individual patents that the software infringes upon, because that could allow open source developers to either challenge the patent or change the software to circumvent the patent.
Read that again. They WANT you to be infringing on the patent… but they don’t want to tell you which one it is because it very well might be a bogus patent to begin with! But to people who are scared of M$, ‘don’t ask questions; just pay up and there won’t be any trouble’ might sound like the way to go. Make no mistake; that is ‘protection money’ paid to extortionists. Ballmer & Co. are scum for this and the death of Microsoft can’t come soon enough for me. To quote Pamela Jones:
What kind of companies threaten to hurt you if you don’t pay them protection money? Do you want to do business with that type of company?
Not only will Microsoft never Never NEVER EVER get another penny from me, but I will redouble my efforts to advise everyone I know to avoid their shoddy software like the plague.
Update: some more links…
Also, an anon comment to a mini-MSFT blog post suggests that its already beginning to backfire on MS:
I had a pleasant surprise today where I work for a Large Canadian Corp. I was at a meeting with the CIO and GM. In the past we have dabbled with a few linux projects and that was all that was permitted. After the bluster from MS about “patents” there seemed to have been some reaction to it at the upper levels of the Corp. As of Today we are to start shifting to more Linux and Open Source gradually. Also Vista has been pushed to the side lines for more compatabilty studies. Interesting times, as one person put it,IF MS is prepared to bluster at Open Source and Linux there must be something there that worries them.
Update Oct. 5, 2007: one more link: The head of the Open Invention Network (OIN) has dismissed Microsoft’s claims that Linux violates over 200 of its patents.