Operating Systems, FUD And Patent Protection

from the fun-fun-fun dept

Steve Ballmer is making even more news today (following the most spammed man comment below this one) by announcing that anyone who dares to use Linux will be sued, because the operating system violates “more than 228 patents” — which seems like a fairly exact number. Normally, you round off the “more than” or “less than” statements. This is, of course, a typical Microsoft tactic, spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about competitors — whether or not there’s any factual basis to the claims. He also stated: “We think our software is far more secure. It is more secure because we stand by it, we fixed it, because we built it. Nobody ever knows who built open-source software.” To which anyone who has ever thought for more than 30 seconds about this sort of thing can respond: “But, nobody knows what’s in proprietary software. At least with open source, you can look in it, find and fix the security problems.” However, it looks like Microsoft isn’t the only big OS company playing the patent FUD card against Linux today. Sun announced that when they open source Solaris, they’ll indemnify customers against patent lawsuits — which is clearly a dig directed at Linux. No wonder Jonathan Schwartz is such a big fan of software patents. There certainly are some patent questions related to Linux, but the level of fear that Microsoft and Sun are trying to spread goes beyond any realistic level.

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