Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (2224 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Fact or Fiction? Possible Novell Ban
  • From: "John E. Perry" <j.e.perry@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2007 23:40:20 -0500
  • Message-id: <45C6B534.3000702@xxxxxxx>
Darryl Gregorash wrote:
> ...
>
> There are no MS patents in code in any GPL software. There never will
> be.

That is a statement that neither you nor anyone else outside of
Microsoft management can make. They have gotten thousands of software
patents in the past couple of years, and we don't know what they cover,
or, more to the point, what Microsoft will _say_ they cover.

As I stated in a previous thread on this subject, a patent is valid
until a court says it is invalid, and in a patent suit, the most bucks
usually win -- even if the patent is flagrantly silly to knowledgeable
professionals.

If Microsoft has patented a 20-year-old software technique that has been
in the linux kernel for 15 years, it's up to linux partisans to convince
_a_court_ that linux doesn't violate the patent. That means
_nonprofessionals_ will decide whether Microsoft professionals or
linux's professionals are lying -- and Microsoft clearly has the most
bucks (unless IBM participates aggressively).

The Novell/SuSE people here have made that very clear.

They may have made clear that they know of none. That's different from
making it clear that there _are_ none. All they've really done
(officially, at least) is covered themselves and _their_customers_ for
five years against such an attack.

We can only hope they know what they are doing. It appears that FSF
isn't so sure.

--

John Perry
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