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Trimming the FAT: Linux and Patents | Linux Magazine

May 07, 2009, 14:31 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Christopher Smart)

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"A major component of the problem is that there are hundreds of thousands of patents and it's almost impossible to ensure software is not violating any of them. This has been perpetuated further by all players building up a larger portfolio of patents to either counter sue or to use as bargaining chips. It's an arms race that leaves the small players out in the cold.

"Due to this uncertainty, free software developers may not feel safe without the backing of a major corporation. As it's impossible to be aware of all patent violations, companies that use free software might be opening themselves up to the threat of legal action. At least, this is the angle that companies like Microsoft are using to stifle the adoption of free software.

"The message to companies is that using free software is not safe because it might be violating various patents, which would then expose them to legal action. In short, your company is at risk if you use free software. This is something that free software is trying to fight, but which is difficult to do as the patent infringements are not readily known."

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