Now three Linux vendors won't sign patent deals with Microsoft

Now three Linux vendors won't sign patent deals with Microsoft

Summary: For a while, it was looking like Microsoft threats (and money) would convince a substantial number of Linux distribution providers to sign "interoperability and IP protection" pacts with Redmond. But as of today, the "deal/no deal" count is even.

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For a while, it was looking like Microsoft threats (and money) would convince a substantial number of Linux distribution providers to sign "interoperability and IP protection" pacts with Redmond.

But as of today, the "deal/no deal" count is even.

Novell, Xandros and Linspire all have signed deals that Microsoft and those companies say will protect Linux users from the threat of Microsoft lawsuits over alleged patent infringements by open-source software on Microsoft products.

Executives at Red Hat, Canonical/Ubuntu and now Mandriva all say they have decided against signing similar deals.

Microsoft officials have said they don't have any intention of suing Linux users over the 235 Microsoft patents that the company says are violated by free/open-source software. I'd be surprised to see Microsoft sue any Linux vendors, either. The outcry and backlash would outweigh any gains the company would derive from more FUD, in my opinion.

I'll be interested to see which Linux vendor comes forward next and signs a Microsoft IP deal ... or renounces one.

Topics: Microsoft, Legal, Linux, Open Source

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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