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[News] Microsoft's Deal in Europe a Scam Against Free Software

  • Subject: [News] Microsoft's Deal in Europe a Scam Against Free Software
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 23:49:58 +0000
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.3.1
Hash: SHA1

The EU and Microsoft Settle Browser Issue; Interoperability with
FOSS Still a Problem

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft tries this trick every time. 
| Same thing with the Microsoft-Novell 
| patent pledge, if you recall. It means the 
| same thing here, that you are not covered 
| unless you are not a commercial competitor 
| of Microsoft. So Linus in his bedroom 
| would be covered, but once people actually 
| started to use Linux to the benefit of the 
| world's economy, the deal is off? Then 
| what happens? Is the old code still 
| covered? How is it interoperability if 
| your main competition is excluded from 
| interoperability? My guess is Microsoft 
| means for you to have to pay for a patent 
| license, if you are commercial, judging by 
| Jason Matusow's comment about similar 
| language in the Novell deal:
|     The offer not to sue open source 
|     software developers for patent 
|     infringement might sound 
|     philanthropic, but it has been 
|     dismissed from various quarters as 
|     "divisive" and "worse than useless".
|     Earlier this week the Samba 
|     development team urged Novell to 
|     rethink its agreement with Microsoft 
|     as it favored non-commercial 
|     developers or those contributing to 
|     Novellâs openSUSE project over 
|     contributors to other commercial open 
|     source projects.
|     Meanwhile the Software Freedom Law 
|     Center said the offer was "worse than 
|     useless" and was not to be relied 
|     upon.
|     While Matusowâs request for input from 
|     the open source community shows that 
|     the company is open to criticism, it 
|     appears it will not be changing its 
|     position on commercial open source 
|     developers.
|     "Our design goal is to get language in 
|     place that allows individual 
|     developers to keep developing. We are 
|     not interested in providing carte 
|     blanche clearance on patents to any 
|     commercial activity - that is a 
|     separate discussion to be had on a 
|     per-instance basis," he wrote. 
| But the GPL forbids paying for a patent 
| license, so it's a cute trick to keep GPL 
| code, and that includes Linux, out in the 
| cold, unable to interoperate.



EC Says OK to MS IE Deal: How Much of a Win?

,----[ Quote ]
| [Y]ou can code away to your heart's content
| without needing to worry about those nasty
| patents that Microsoft claims; but as soon
| as you or anyone else starts offering that
| code commercially, âYou do not benefit from
| this promise for such distribution or for
| these other activities.â
| Now, if memory serves me correctly, this is
| precisely the utterly useless promise that
| Microsoft offered previously when it came to
| its patent pledge for the open source
| community, so it's shocking that somebody
| within the European Commission didn't pick
| up on this weakness and ask for it to be
| changed. For, clearly, the current wording
| means that the patent pledge doesn't apply
| to precisely those companies that are most
| of a threat to Microsoft.


FSFE welcomes greater user choice in browsers, warns that Free Software is excluded from interoperability

,----[ Quote ]
| Free Software Foundation Europe
| congratulates the European Commission on
| pushing Microsoft to give users greater
| choice between different browsers. "The
| selection screen will make users aware that
| they can make their own choices," says
| Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's President. "We are
| glad that FSFE has helped the Commission to
| put limits to Microsoft's desktop monopoly."
| The Commission announced today that it has
| settled its antitrust case against Microsoft
| regarding web browsers. FSFE participated in
| the case as an interested third party.
| "Microsoft has abused its dominant market
| position to push out competitors by tying
| its own browser to the Windows operating
| system," says Gerloff. "The company's
| continued refusal to comply with Open
| Standards also means that many websites
| today are designed to work only with
| Internet Explorer, leaving users of other
| browsers at a disadvantage."


Microsoft EU dispute to last into 2010

,----[ Quote ]
| Today (16 December) the EU ends a decade
| long dispute with Microsoft over its
| Internet Explorer browser. But the US
| software company is not out of the woods
| yet, as outstanding antitrust complaints
| could see the European Commission continue
| sparring with the giant in 2010.
| Background:
| In what lawyers are hailing as a "major
| victory for IT," the EU has approved
| Microsoft's offer to allow rival browsers to
| be used on its operating software,
| addressing industry concerns that the
| company has an unfair stranglehold on the
| software market (EurActiv 08/10/09) .
| However, EU Competition Commissioner Neelie
| Kroes still has three complaints on her desk
| that according to lawyers maintain
| Microsoft's unfair monopoly on the software
| market. The complaints will likely pass to
| her successor, Joaquin Almunia, when he
| takes office at the beginning of February
| 2010.


SAP: Open Source's Friend or Foe?

,----[ Quote ]
| For example, the European Commission organised seven workgroups looking at
| various aspects of European software policy. One of these was on open source.
| Among the groups taking part in this was the Free Software Foundation Europe,
| and SAP. At the end of their joint report (PDF, HTML), there are a number of
| appendices that represent the particular views of participants. SAP's is by
| far the longest, running to some 17 pages.
| Most of that space is used to bolster the following statements through
| supporting comments of various kinds (mostly links to news items):
| A number of key open source projects depend on the contributions by mixed
| source / hybrid model companies
| Hybrid / mixed source models seem to be a key element of the larger open
| source ecosystem
| Open source development like closed source development has its pros and cons
| It is very difficult to discriminate between open source and non-open source
| vendors any longer
| Open source software is proprietary as well
| Different business models and business interest lead to different positions
| regarding IPR, standardization and interoperability

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