osOpinion: Open Source Takes a Look at Loopholes in the Microsoft Deal
Nov 09, 2001, 14:03 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Adam Barr)
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"The proposed antitrust agreement between Microsoft and
the U.S. Department of Justice calls for the formation of a
three-person Technical Committee to assist in enforcement of and
compliance with the agreement (section IV.B.1). But a close look at
the agreement reveals more than one loophole and back-door
provision that could either limit -- or enhance -- the role of
open-source contributors in enforcing the deal.
The members of the Technical Committee must be "experts in
software design and programming" (IV.B.2) who have not worked for
Microsoft or a competitor within the past year (IV.B.2.a).
The Technical Committee appears designed to handle detailed
programming issues. Many stipulations in the agreement, such as the
rules against Microsoft retaliating against Windows OEMs (original
equipment manufacturers) who distribute competing products (III.A)
or change the Windows desktop (III.C), and requirements for uniform
licenses for the top 20 Windows OEMs (III.B), do not require a
committee of software design experts to adjudicate."