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Microsoft IP Tax Makes Its Way to Linux-based Gadgets

May 03, 2010, 13:04 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Alexander Grundner)

"There's a disturbance in the gadget force everyone. You probably aren't aware of it because most you are Mac or Windows users, but those who've been using Linux on the desktop or on servers have known for some time that Microsoft has been bullying Linux software vendors with threats of lawsuits for infringing on their intellectual property (IP). Remedy: sign our "patent agreement" and share your technology in exchange for immunity.

"Microsoft claims that most parts of what makes up the GNU/Linux OS infringes on Microsoft's closed-source patent war-chest. To put it in simple terms, they claim that they came up with X process or X functionality first and they have a patent on that feature. I'm not a IP or patent lawyer, so I can't get into specifics, but I can tell you that the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) movement prides itself on being open and sharing code with others to be used how one sees fit. And, if you make an improvement, to share that improvement back with the community. FOSS developers like to look at a proprietary app and say, we can make that… and not only can we make it, we'll make it better through the inspection of thousands of users who will voluntarily test the code, kill bugs, improve upon the feature-set, and so on and so on.

"OK, so you now get the gist of FOSS and open-source in general. Well, this week Microsoft has announced that they have come to a "patent agreement" with mobile phone maker HTC for their use of the open-source Android (Linux) OS. What's more, Microsoft, under the agreement, will collect a royalty on each HTC Android device sold — a deal not even Google gets."

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