The efforts by open source TurboHercules to break IBM's mainframe monopoly through the European Commission got some proprietary support this week when NEON Enterprise Software LLC of Austin, Tex. filed an EU complaint alongside a U.S. antitrust lawsuit.
But the effort has a European cheering section in Florian Mueller of FOSSPatents, who expects the European Commission to make a decision on whether to proceed against both these complaints, and one filed by T3 Technologies, in the next few months.
What NEON and TurboHercules have in common is that both are victims of IBM's bullying tactics.
Both just want to provide mainframe customers with much-needed cost-effective choice for their legacy software: hundreds of billions of lines of program code that are still in use, a very large part of it written in COBOL. NEON's zPrime software makes such legacy workloads eligible for execution on lower-cost (but fully functional) coprocessors. TurboHercules emulates the mainframe (System z) CPU on Intel servers.
But IBM wants to milk its locked-in mainframe customer base, hugely overcharging for everything that's needed to run legacy software.
Those facts do not appear to be in dispute. What's at issue is whether IBM is doing anything wrong.
Mueller says they are, and says their credibility on open source should be under question as a result. Pamela Jones of Groklaw and Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation say they are not.
I don't know. Not being an international lawyer, my opinion doesn't count in either case. But is this hurting IBM in the open source community? Something to THINK about.