[buug] Did Microsoft give up?

Nick Moffitt nick at zork.net
Thu Feb 21 09:54:01 PST 2008

> I just saw on TV news that Micro$oft has announced that it is opening
> its code for development of its operating system.

Let's take a look at their own words, from the press release.

> - Microsoft is providing a covenant not to sue open source developers
> for development or non-commercial distribution of implementations of
> these protocols. These developers will be able to use the
> documentation for free to develop products. Companies that engage in
> commercial distribution of these protocol implementations will be able
> to obtain a patent license from Microsoft, as will enterprises that
> obtain these implementations from a distributor that does not have
> such a patent license."

"Non-commercial distribution" is meaningless in terms of Open
Source: by definition distribution terms must not discriminate based on
field of endeavor.

Microsoft have made announcements like these in the past, and they
typically appear to be PR chaff for anti-trust suits and feel-good
buzzword ticklists.  I remember people asking me why I didn't just
switch to Apple because "Apple has the Open Source now, so you don't
need to keep using Linux".  This kind of "look at who we're standing
next to" PR is pretty common, and not worth getting excited about.

That said, Microsoft *has* been taking some acceptable steps with regard
to documentation release.  The recent SAMBA settlement was a pretty big
move, and I hope it all plays out properly.

"There should be a homonym exam before people are         Nick Moffitt
issued keyboards."     -- George Moffitt                 nick at zork.net

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