Friday, February 27, 2009

On Microsoft and Suing

Over at Ars Technica they've written an article titled "Microsoft suit over FAT patents could open OSS Pandora's Box" (

They love their sensationalism over at Ars, that's for sure. Firstly, I don't believe there is a "Pandora's Box" to begin with. Microsoft would love us to think there was though.

This is all about Microsoft loosing out. They know there is a threat to their profits from Free and Open Source Software, so they try and discourage companies and businesses pursuing it by creating this overwhelming FUD aura around it.

No doubt, if Microsoft win this I see two things happening:

1) them using this win as 'proof' that Linux is dangerous and illegal. And that Microsoft themselves will possibly pursue you if you utilise it.

2) them using this as a testing ground against IBM. These two companies are at a stand-off with their respective patent portfolios and if Microsoft can win in one court against Linux then they can take this and bolster their attack on the big one, IBM. I wouldn't be surprised if IBM was very interested in this case.

Either way, its completely safe to use Linux. Microsoft is coming under increasingly intense scrutiny (especially from the EU) over its use of their market position and business tactics.

Give it 10 years and Microsoft will be another IBM, still big, but not dominant any more.


  1. Arrg. It's not like Microsoft's patent is being infringed, if indeed it is being infringed, in order to make use of a great piece of technology that Linux couldn't compete with. The only reason for FAT support is interoperability and recovery of old data. ie, in this case at least (and in any other I can thi9nk of) Linux is not trying to get a "free ride" on Microsoft developed technology, it is just trying to give a better experience to the user and a level playing field.

    In short it is obvious to to any observer that MS is trying to use it's patents, not to protect the gains of it's research and development but to prevent interoperability in order to leverage it's dominant position into a monopoly position. I just hope that the courts can see the obvious.

  2. Not that the FSF wouldn't do the same if they could to shove Microsoft out. But that's just FSF

  3. There's kind of a patent cold war. The superpowers (Microsoft, IBM and their ilk) have a patent/arms race. Now Microsoft is invading a client nation of IBM.

    And likewise MAD keeps the superpowers from suing each other over all the patents that they are all violating from each other.

    Software patents really are just ridiculous.

  4. Software Patents FTL! Once again, it is clearly shown that software patents keep back innovation and are only good for the big companys.

  5. maninalift: I completely agree. The problem is that you can't make most of lawyers or even politicians understand that easily. I discussed the significance of interfaces with law students. It was like tilting at windmills. They probably didn't even understand what an interface is.