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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- "Microsoft Patents FUD Report: Who is Actu

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- "Microsoft Patents FUD Report: Who is Actually Slinging it?"
Date: Fri, 25 May 2007 13:33:52 +0200

Microsoft Patents FUD Report: Who is Actually Slinging it? 

My morning news review had me chuckling this morning.  Following Matt
Asay's post on the InfoWorld Open Sources blog, I watched Eben Moglen's
passionate attack on the Microsoft/Novell deal and his analysis of
Microsoft's supposed FUD strategy.

In it, Moglen accuses Microsoft of going on a "Be Very Afraid" tour
around the world designed to spread FUD about their patents and how they
may affect Free Software.  I nearly spit out my coffee I was laughing so

Moglen is being COMPLETELY DISINGENUOUS and he knows it.  The reality is
that Stallman, the Free Software Community, and anti-software patent
advocates have been complicit in this supposed FUD campaign about
Microsoft's Patents, and could it could be argued are actually LEADING

I readily admit that Microsoft has made cryptic and/or blunt comments in
the past about its patents and how Linux and/or Free Software may be
infringing on them.  I'll also admit that I don't know how solid
Microsoft's case may be.  Many of the patents could be bogus, the
infringement cases could be weak, etc., (I still think, however, that
the chances are pretty good they have a case on more than one of their
patents).  But, that isn't the point.

Moglen, Stallman, and the Free Software community despise the entire
idea of software patents and have been campaigning against them all
around the world.  In their efforts, they trot out the boogeyman of big,
bad Microsoft using its mountains of patents to cripple Linux and Free
Software at every opportunity.  I don't really have time to look up all
the examples of this, but here are just a few in addition to my
references from earlier this week:

Stallman raises the Microsoft patent boogeyman in his article "Saving
Europe from Software Patents":

  Later in 1998, Microsoft menaced the World Wide Web, by obtaining a
  patent affecting style sheets--after encouraging the WWW Consortium 
  to incorporate the feature in the standard. It's not the first time 
  that a standards group has been lured into a patent's maw. Public 
  reaction convinced Microsoft to back down from enforcing this patent; 
  but we can't count on mercy every time. 

The site plays up the threat from Microsoft's
patents to Linux and Free Software throughout the site including:

  "It would be naive to think that Microsoft and other large companies
  would not resort to patent litigation if open source continues to have
  such a dramatic impact on their business."

  "It is conspicuous that Microsoft frequently mentions patents in a very
  close connection with the competitive challenge from open source. In
  2004 alone, Microsoft projected to apply for approximately 3,000 
  patents worldwide, many of those in Europe. In July of 2004, published a memorandum by a senior manager of Hewlett-
  Packard, one of the world's largest computer manufacturers. The 
  respective E-mail predicted that Microsoft would "use the legal system 
  to shut down open source" but would firstly await the outcome of the 
  legislative process concerning software patents in the European Union. 
  Those conjectures were based on a patent cross-licensing negotiation 
  that the HP executive had with Microsoft, and on some clauses in that 

So, when it fits their strategic goal of killing software patents,
Stallman et al talked as if the threat from Microsoft's patents was
deadly real.  Now that Microsoft is finally admitting they think Linux
distributions ARE infringing their patents, they change their story.

If they always assumed Microsoft's patents were bogus, why didn't they
calm the fears of their developers rather than fan the flames in all
their anti-patent rhetoric??


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