FSF Files Statement on Microsoft Judgment under Tunney ActJan 29, 2002, 15:48 (31 Talkback[s])
Media Contact: Free Software Foundation Bradley M. Kuhn
FSF Files Statement on Microsoft Judgment under Tunney Act
Washington, DC, USA - Tuesday, January, 29, 2002 - Eben Moglen, board member and general legal counsel to the Free Software Foundation, yesterday filed a response to the Proposed Revised Final Judgment in United States vs. Microsoft. The FSF seeks to remove verbiage added by Microsoft that we believe would eliminate the value of the settlement by preventing Free Software systems from competing effectively against Windows products.
Moglen reiterated today: "The language of the Proposed Judgment should be amended to require Microsoft to release timely and accurate API information to all parties seeking to interoperate programs with Microsoft Windows and applications written to work with Microsoft Windows."
The Proposed Judgment allows Microsoft to specifically block such interoperation through two specific methods. First, under the Proposed Judgment, Microsoft can keep API information out of the hands of Free Software developers through the imposition of royalty requirements. Large groups of cooperating volunteers are both logistically and financially unable to pay such royalties for access to APIs. Royalty charges for Microsoft API access would slow to a halt Windows interoperability work by their most viable competitor, the Free Software GNU/Linux operating system. Free Software developers have by the nature of their development model always given unfettered access to their APIs, and we ask that Microsoft be required to do the same.
Second, the Proposed Judgment includes broad language concerning the disclosure of communications protocols. This provision is so indefinite that Microsoft will likely argue that all APIs and communications protocols connected with the security and authentication aspects of electronic commerce can be kept secret. Industry standard security practices currently demand that all such protocols be publicly known and documented. Under this Judgment, Microsoft would be permitted to keep these private from both Free Software and the public relying on them for their privacy and security.
The full FSF response to the Proposed Revised Final Judgment is available at http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/ms-doj-tunney.html.
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