IBM's patent move

As part of its effort to reduce open source Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), IBM has released 500 of its patents for use without payment. A complete list is available here.

As part of its effort to reduce open source Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), IBM has released 500 of its patents for use without payment.

A complete list is available here. But the implication is clear. The SCO FUD attack, and the rise of companies aimed at "auditing" your code or "protecting" you against lawsuit for using code that might be subject to patent or copyright, is having a real market impact.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does this make IBM a "good guy" in the open source world?
  • Does this make it more likely your enterprise will use open source?
  • Does this make it more likely your company will hire IBM for its open source efforts?

To get the ball rolling on this, here is my take.

IBM is not a charity. IBM believes that it can dominate a level playing field, with its size and technical resources. This may be true for the largest accounts, but I also think IBM's moves will help small open source shops get business, too.

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