Friday, June 15, 2007

Another deal?

Microsoft wants to strike a yet another 'we-wont-sue' protection deal with Red Hat, but so far, the only interest is on their end. Red Hat's response:
We continue to believe that open source and the innovation it represents should not be subject to an unsubstantiated tax that lacks transparency
I'm finding this series of 'protection deals' increasingly bizarre; Microsoft must realize the terrible PR this is creating (on the other hand, they haven't worried so much about terrible PR in all these years). If, as Microsoft claims, the issue is interoperability, then surely there are plenty of other ways to address it - like the kinds of technical solutions that folks on both sides would be willing to work on. Why are these deals needed? How does striking them address the so-called 'intellectual property' issue that Microsoft claims to be worried about? Are they going to sign deals with each and every commercial Linux enterprise? But perhaps the most damning questions is:
if interoperability and protecting customers are Microsoft's ultimate goals for the deals...why is the company so interested in Linux companies that ultimately don't affect that many customers?
The damning answer to that, comes from Bruce Perens who says:
Here is Microsoft out collecting the losers in the Linux business and paying them money so they can...paint open source as music pirates out there using Microsoft technology without a license...I think they're out to scare people.
I hadn't realized Microsoft had effortlessly segued into the horror movie business.


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