Will Microsoft Go After Linux, Again?
Microsoft just purchased 882 patents from Novell, and I think that amongst this treasure trove is something Microsoft wants to use against Linux.
It’s not a huge secret that Microsoft hates the entire idea behind open-source software. It thinks it’s a monster that creates free products that erode Microsoft’s commercial offerings.
The company can tolerate many of these packages, such as Open Office, because they are simply not as good as the Microsoft product and the company knows that people who use something like Open Office will often migrate to Microsoft Office when they can either afford to do it or must do it.
Of course, when it suits Microsoft, it will use various chunks of open source code as needed. Microsoft notoriously lifted the TCP/IP operational code from the open-source BSD-Unix product to get Windows NT to work right on the Internet. From what I can tell, it still uses code derived from that original stack. Even if Microsoft managed to recode from scratch, it is still sensible about bits and pieces of code they might find useful.
Commercial companies lifting open-source code and putting it in commercial products is the probably the main reason that the newest General Public License (GPL) are so onerous regarding open source code. In essence, it says that if you use any GPL code, then the resultant code created or derived will also be open source and bound by the same GPL.
BSD has its own license which says you can do whatever you want with the code. But this sort of thing is becoming the exception to the rule.
Anyway, whatever happens to open source, Microsoft is going to continue to attack it, because it has never been able to figure out any sort of strategy to embrace it and yet still make billions of dollars in quarterly profits.
Microsoft managed to buy 882 patents this week from Novell. Maybe amongst this treasure trove is the elusive Holy Grail of Patents—the Linux killer.
Linux is the real thorn in Microsoft’s side, and it’s not because Linux is making a serious move against the Windows and Office cash cows, but because it just cannot be dethroned as the server OS of choice. The Linux-Apache stranglehold on servers is costing Microsoft money.
But wait, there’s more. The entire Google search engine mechanism consists of millions of small computers linked together in an elaborate Linux network creating one giant search machine that, for this purpose, out performs anything ever invented. Microsoft would love to find a way to derail the entire Google operation if it could.
Microsoft was sort of the money behind the agonizing SCO attack on Linux and open source, and there is no reason to believe that Microsoft has mellowed in regards to the destruction of Linux and everything related to Linux. It may be too late, of course, but I can assure you these patents have something Microsoft wants to help it continue the battle.
It often takes years to dissect a patent portfolio to figure out what the patents mean and who is violating one or more of them. Of course, Microsoft may have done all that in advance and could have been laying in wait to get hold of this portfolio, so it could pounce sooner than later.
This isn’t going to sit well with the open source community and the fur will start flying. Within six months, I expect the battle to commence.
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