Shuttleworth: Microsoft Fracturing the Open-Source Community
Microsoft has succeeded in fracturing the Linux and open-source community with the patent indemnity agreements it has entered into with several prominent vendors, Ubuntu leader and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth told eWEEK.
The strategy behind that was to drive a wedge into the open-source community and unsettle the marketplace, Shuttleworth said. He also took issue with the Redmond, Wash., software maker for not disclosing the 235 of its patents it claims are being violated by Linux and other open-source software.
“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is,” he said. “To say, as [Microsoft CEO Steve] Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game. On the other side, if Microsoft is concerned about its intellectual property, there is no one in the free software community that wants to violate anyone’s IP. Disclose the patents and we’ll fix the code. Alternatively, move on.”
PointerClick here to read more about Microsoft’s claim that Linux and other open-source software violates 235 of its patents.
Microsoft has said it does disclose which patents are being violated, but only in one-on-one conversations with vendors. To Shuttleworth, that is not disclosure, because patents are public documents.
“I think it’s obvious at this stage that really what Microsoft is doing is trying to unsettle the marketplace. It isn’t working and has not had the slightest impact on those companies that refuse to be drawn into that line of discussion with Microsoft. If anything, there is plenty of evidence to show that the companies who have been drawn into that have paid a significant price,” he said.
Shuttleworth also accused Microsoft of using its financial muscle to get vendors to sign patent-related deals with it knowing that such agreements will split the community.
Read more: eWeek