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IBM's S/390 Linux Guru on the Open Source Patent Question

Nov 20, 2002, 23:30 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Lettice)

[ Thanks to Jason Greenwood for this link. ]

"Following yesterday's piece on Microsoft playing the patent card against Linux we were pointed to an interview with IBM's Karl-Heinz Strassemeyer at Linux Forum Denmark. It's been around for a while, but Strassemeyer has some interesting things to say about IBM, Linux and patents, so it's still worth looking at.

"Strassemeyer, from IBM... Germany, is best known for getting Linux running on the IBM S/390, and this is what he used as his first example. He had arranged to see Linus Torvalds in order to show him the S/390 patch, and explain how it worked, 'so that he could read into it a little bit and give us advice, on how to do it differently or whatever, right?'

"When IBM's lawyers heard about it they said to him this was going to be 'a distribution,' and that he couldn't do it. This, says Strassemeyer, is how he learned what a distribution was. If however he showed Torvalds the code running on IBM premises, and Torvalds didn't take anything away afterwards, then this wasn't a distribution, and was therefore cool with the lawyers..."

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