Microsoft claims software like Linux violates its patents: I thought Microsoft was trying to bridge the gap to the open-source world lately? This is a really horrific idea. Did the SCO fiasco not warn them off a plan like this?
[…] there’s a shadow hanging over Linux and other free software, and it’s being cast by Microsoft. The Redmond behemoth asserts that one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of Microsoft’s patents. And as a mature company facing unfavorable market trends and fearsome competitors like Google, Microsoft is pulling no punches: It wants royalties. If the company gets its way, free software won’t be free anymore.
[…] But he does break down the total number allegedly violated – 235 – into categories. He says that the Linux kernel – the deepest layer of the free operating system, which interacts most directly with the computer hardware – violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux graphical user interfaces – essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up – run afoul of another 65, he claims. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68.
I have some sympathy for them on Open Office. While I like that software, it’s essentially a direct lift of Word. Whenever I use it, I’m thinking to myself, “How do they not get sued over this?”