The newly proposed draft of the General Public License states that anyone who distributes Open Source software will not be allowed to claim any patent issues against the software they distribute. OK. So what does this mean to us?

Basically what the Free Software Foundation is saying is that Microsoft will not be able to claim the 235 patent violations that it alleges that Linux violates. Therefore, if Microsoft continues its deal with Novell, it will be basically agreeing to these terms once it distributes any free software as it has agreed to do in the Novell deal. So in theory, for anyone who uses any flavor of Linux, Microsoft will not be able to make any patent claims against them.

I think we can all agree that what the FSF is trying to do, at least on paper, is to protect all of us Linux users, or users of any free Open Source software, from being sued by the mega Redmond giant. I must say it would be a welcome breath of fresh air knowing that we would not have Microsoft standing behind us looking over our shoulders — that we would be free to use Linux or any free Open Source software without fear of any repercussions.

But will this stop Microsoft? I don’t believe it will. Though Microsoft alleges that its intent in the Novell deal was to increase the interoperability between Windows and Linux, this may not have been the case. It would appear that the real purpose was to try and infiltrate the Open Source community in an attempt to control it or limit its exposure to the public. It is my opinion that Microsoft has been trying to crush the Linux movement since its previous, unsuccessful attempt by using SCO as the scapegoat.

So what do you think? Will this new license scheme by FSF be successful, or will Microsoft find another way around it?

Comments welcome.

[tags]microsoft, linux, license, open source[/tags]