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TechWeb: Microsoft Can't Derail Linux

Aug 12, 1999, 19:09 (13 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Malcolm Maclachlan)

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"Linux and open source have momentum and not even Microsoft can throw a monkey wrench into the free-software revolution, according to open source leaders at LinuxWorld Expo here on Tuesday evening.

Microsoft's normal means of competition won't work in the open source space, said Nicholas Petreley, editorial director of LinuxWorld Magazine. If it releases a version of Linux, all the other vendors will get to take its improvements and put them in their own versions.

One possible Microsoft strategy, said technology analyst Greg Weiss of D.H. Brown, would be to support as many versions of Linux as possible in order to try to get it to fragment, just like Unix. However, he said, Microsoft's main response will probably be to try to continue to sow doubt about Linux and open source in general."

"Intellectual property, especially in the form of software patents, could be a far bigger stumbling block, said Donald Barnes, director of technical projects at Red Hat, the leading Linux OS vendor. Companies that start opening up their source code could find themselves targets of opportunistic lawsuits over anything that resembles a patented process in their code..."

"John [mad dog] Hall, executive director of Linux International, said the next year will provide several crucial tests the open source intellectual-property model..."

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