Friday, July 6, 2007

Patent pledges.

Is it just me or are Microsoft digging themselves a hole so deep even they will never find a way out? They duped Novell into signing a patent pledge, which is now backfiring against Novell, and a few other lesser distributions have followed suit. Many, however, have not and amongst those who have not sits Red Hat. Red Hat wants dual indemnification but without the patent pledge (This pledge apparently is a dual 'we won't sue you' thing). Whether or not this plan is workable from both sides remains to be seen but so far Microsoft has said a firm 'no' to the idea. As an aside it is worth mentioning that the all new and shiny GPL Version 3 has a covenant within it that will stop these backhanded patent pledges so from Red Hat's point of view it makes perfect sense to seek doing it the way they want. Plus, they have shown Microsoft to be what others suspected them to be. A wolf in sheeps clothing. I will not claim to know the ins and outs of patent law but it does seem to me that Microsoft wants these patent pledges to deflect the view away from themselves. I also do not know how much, if any, GPL code sits within a Microsoft OS, be it NT, XP or Vista. It is almost a given that there is no Microsoft patents in a Linux distribution and that all this mutual indemnification pacts are nothing more than a smokescreen for what is really happening out there in the world of OS's/distributions. I am not the first to comment on this subject and no doubt will not be the last but nobody, that i have read online, is seeing this the way i have written about above. So, from that angle it is worth writing as if nothing else this blog was created to stimulate discussion.

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