Zemlin of Linux Foundation lets fly at Microsoft

Zemlin calls the whole Microsoft move a delaying tactic, a rational action by a company that earns $34 million in profit each day from products threatened by open source. He also points to Microsoft's recent MP3 patent loss to Alcatel as reason why it should support a cease fire.

Penguins in the water, by Guillaume Daugard
The reason for the merger which created the Linux Foundation was to give open source a big, unified platform from which to respond to threats. (Picture of penguins flying in the water is by Guillaume Daugard.)

Given the reality of Microsoft's patent threat, it was only a matter of time before Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin laid the smackdown.

He did this in a Business Week column (next time Jim, call me first). The bottom line -- bring it on.

Zemlin calls the whole Microsoft move a delaying tactic, a rational action by a company that earns $34 million in profit each day from products threatened by open source. He also points to Microsoft's recent MP3 patent loss to Alcatel as reason why it should support a cease fire.

He then, very cleverly, makes a nationalistic argument:

The Linux Foundation does believe the current software patent system is problematic. The superpowers have their stockpiles. The trolls have their stashes. Rather than spurring innovation, which is of course the raison d'être of the patent system, today's patent games will divert dollars away from research and development in the U.S. Instead, those dollars will fund innovative activities in countries that have better things to do with their time and money than litigate.

The penguin is an interesting bird. On land it looks silly. In the water it's a fearsome predator, beautifully balletic, and thoroughly at home.

With the Linux Foundation, Microsoft is facing a penguin in the water.