[Fsfe-ie] Can this be true?? Linux migration stopped....

Ian Clarke ian at locut.us
Thu Aug 5 12:39:10 CEST 2004

While this has obvious benefits in terms of highlighting the practical 
dangers of software patents, I have some concerns about it.  The logic 
behind this could be used to call into question *any* software 
deployment, open source or not.  This risks creating the misleading 
impression that software patents are only a threat to open source 
software development, when in reality they are a threat to *all* 
software development.


On 5 Aug 2004, at 09:51, Barry Mahon wrote:

> From The Register today??
> One of Europe's most publicised Linux migrations has been halted over 
> patent fears. The decision was not prompted by a litigious IT vendor, 
> but as the result of concerns expressed by Munich city Alderman Jens 
> Muehlhaus. Muehlhaus represents the Green Party, an open source 
> supporter. As part of 'Project LiMux', Munich plans to migrate 16,000 
> desktops to Linux by 2006. The $35.7m bid prompted fierce lobbying and 
> heavy discounts from Microsoft, including personal visit by the 
> company's CEO.
> Muehlhaus expressed concerns over many areas of general purpose 
> computing, including graphics and multimedia (X, KDE), document 
> formats, networking and web browsing. These should be expressed now, 
> he believes, rather than when the migration is complete and a patent 
> threat could be 'catastrophic' for the working of the city.
> Last week, a study conducted for Open Source Risk Management, a 
> start-up which seeks to sell end-users 'insurance' against and advice 
> about patent litigation, identified 283 patents potentially infringed 
> by the Linux kernel, of which 27 are held by Microsoft.
> Two years ago a senior HP executive expressed concerns that Microsoft 
> could halt HP's open source efforts, although this was based on a 
> misunderstanding of the GPL. Microsoft introduced its first patent 
> licensing program late last year, offering FAT and FAT32 to 
> manufacturers who use the file system on Flash media. The validity of 
> Microsoft's FAT patents has since been challenged.
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