Please check the facts first
Posted Nov 24, 2010 21:50 UTC (Wed) by khim
In reply to: Novell sold to Attachmate
Parent article: Novell sold to Attachmate
The tricky thing with corporations is that they are unpredictable. MSFT, under Bill Gates, was generally anti-patent. Gates publicly warned against software patents.
Wow! Nothing can be further from truth. Here is the actual quote:
PATENTS: If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. I feel certain that some large company will patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique. If we assume this company has no need of any of our patents then the have a 17-year right to take as much of our profits as they want. The solution to this is patent exchanges with large companies and patenting as much as we can. Amazingly we havn't done any patent exchanges tha I am aware of. Amazingly we havn't found a way to use our licensing position to avoid having our own customers cause patent problems for us. I know these aren't simply problems but they deserve more effort by both Legal and other groups. For example we need to do a patent exchange with HP as part of our new relationship. In many application categories straighforward thinking ahead allows you to come up with patentable ideas. A recent paper from the League for Programming Freedom (available from the Legal department) explains some problems with the
way patents are applied to software.
Everyone seems to remember first sentence, but not the rest. Microsoft never was anti-patent company. At first it was ignorant, then they discovered dangers and opportunities and embraced them as useful (albeit dangrous) weapons against competition. Note how Bill Gates proposes to use the usual trick again (use monopoly power to muscle it's way into adjacent areas).
So for those reasons it's valid to keep an eye on what MSFT is doing, but also to recognize that - at least for now - they may not be the biggest threat out there.
You are right - but sadly not because Microsoft changed one jot (it's the same untrustworthy bully it always was), but because there are other, more sinister dangers around (Oracle is the biggest one, but Apple is serois enemy too). Remember: former best friend is often the worst enemy - and this certainly applies to Apple and Oracle.
But this is temporary situation: it certainly looks like Microsoft is bound and determined to prove this old adage wrong and to prove that it can win back title of "the worst FOSS enemy".
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