Linux and Main: Eben Moglen on the Microsoft Decision and Its Ramifications
Nov 04, 2002, 20:00 (20 Talkback[s])
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"It seems that it might be worse than the 1995 consent
decree. Is that your view?
"I certainly agree with you that at its worst it is worse than
the consent decree of 1995. There is nothing in this settlement
agreement of the Justice Department which addresses what we believe
is the central matter for the restoration of competition in the
market, which is to ensure that free software developers may write
their own code to implement any protocols and to provide services
across any application program interface that Windows applications
may make use of. That is, for the purpose of making competition in
the O.S. market, the most important thing. Whatever a Windows
application program uses in order to secure operating system
services across any API or using any communications protocol, it
has to be the right of free software developers to write their own
code to serve across that interface. If that is done, if for
example WINE and X and GNU/Linux can exist and can provide all
those services, then there is de facto competition in the O.S.
market. Because any application written for the Windows platform
may run unmodified on a free software platform. The central item is
the API interface; that was a central part of the government's
case. Judge Jackson found that it was the subject of the illegal
maintenance of monopoly by Microsoft, yet we have here an order now
supported by Judge Kollar-Kotelly's opinion which does nothing to
ensure competition in that domain. There are too many loopholes and
too many weaknesses in the settlement agreement.
"We made absolutely clear to the Justice Department and to the
District Court what needed to be done, in a very precise way, in
order to close those loopholes. And we regret very much that that
has not happened..."