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Linux Journal: The Appeals Court Ruling: What's in it for Linux?

Jul 04, 2001, 15:30 (38 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bryan Pfaffenberger)

We weren't going to post any more articles on Microsoft's adventures in the American court system, but this article from Linux Journal was so good that we're presenting it to you. Bryan Pfaffenberger takes a dispassionate and analytical tone in dissecting the recent court decision and explaining what it means for Linux users.

"Microsoft has clearly decided to play hardball with Linux [1], and that isn't good news; after all, this is a company that does business by 'cutting its competitors' legs off,' as one industry observer recently put it. If the appeals court did its job, it finally clarified what a company possessing a monopoly may legally do and what it may not do in the information technology marketplace. If the court did its job really well, it defined how to deal with antitrust issues in a high-technology market in a way that doesn't threaten to stifle technological innovation. The good news is this: the appeals court may have succeeded on both counts. Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft's executives will figure out that the game is up."

"Of course, the tale isn't fully told yet; the case could go to the Supreme Court. Even if the appeals court ruling stands, Microsoft could simply choose to ignore the rules and try to squash Linux by whatever means necessary. Still, it's worth considering exactly how the ruling alters the legal terrain: if Microsoft is engaging in potentially illegal actions against the Free Software community, it's up to the community to sound the alarm. For free software advocates outside the US, it's equally important to grasp what's at stake; antitrust regulators in Europe and elsewhere are waiting for US leadership."

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