Want your daily dose of deja vu? Read this.
Steve Ballmer was asked about the MS-Novell deal at a SQL developers conference. His full answer is in the link above, thanks to Todd Bishop at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, but here's the money shot:
""We've had an issue, a problem that we've had to confront, which is because of the way the GPL (General Public License) works, and because open-source Linux does not come from a company -- Linux comes from the community -- the fact that that product uses our patented intellectual property is a problem for our shareholders. We spend $7 billion a year on R&D, our shareholders expect us to protect or license or get economic benefit from our patented innovations. So how do we somehow get the appropriate economic return for our patented innovation, and how do we do interoperability. The truth is, because of the complex licensing around the GPL, we actually didn't want to do one without the other."
Recognise that language? Here's Darl McBride, CEO of SCO, in 2003:
"The intellectual property roots of Linux are obviously flawed at a systemic level under the current model. To date, we claim that more than one million lines of UNIX System V protected code have been contributed to Linux through this model. The flaws inherent in the Linux process must be openly addressed and fixed."
As you well know, SCO has yet to provide any specific instances of IP violation within Linux - and as the court cases advance, seems increasingly unlikely to do so, although it did do deals with companies who were concerned that this might be true.
Has Microsoft provided any specific instance of IP violation within Linux? No. Nor, I'll bet, will it do so. But it's happy to do deals with companies that are concerned that it might be true.
Come on, Steve. Put up or shut up.