Subject: Re: Interesting "almost open source" Microsoft tactic
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Tue, 02 Mar 2004 15:02:40 +0900

>>>>> "La" == La Monte H P Yarroll <piggy@timesys.com> writes:

    La> I'm still reserving judgement.  Their latest spate of openish
    La> licenses are much closer to meeting Stallman's definition of
    La> Free Software than I ever expected from that company.

Bill can read Shapiro and Varian just like anyone else.

    La> E.g. it looks like OpenOffice.org will really be able to
    La> implement fully-compatable file readers for the MS-published
    La> formats.

But what good does it do?  Go read Rick Moen on djb's licenses (it
used to be http://www.linuxmafia.org/~rick/faq/#djb, but he's
rearranged his site), and then reflect that instead of an honest
curmudgeon like djb, a malicious commercial troll controls MSFT patent
licensing.  I don't think that without perpetual licensing, and
probably sublicensing, too, of patents it really qualifies---MSFT can
legally (and successfully, I bet) do to anybody who implements under
that license what SCO tried to do with Unix, and what Unisys did with
LZW.  AFAICT, YMMV, IANAL, don't shoot me I'm only the piano player,
etc.

It looks to me like MSFT has scored a PR coup here (ie, they've
recovered back to "whew, maybe they're not Satan"), but real progress
from the point of view of FLOSS?  I'm not holding my breath.


-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.