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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-05-14 Print this article Print

But what is clear is that Microsoft has the third, and latest, draft of GPLv3 in its sights, accusing the draft license of trying to "tear down the bridge between proprietary and open-source technology that Microsoft has worked to build with the industry and customers," the spokesman said. Microsoft is discussing the patent issue more directly now, and providing specific patent numbers and areas of infringement, in response to continued industry questions and concern over the GPLv3s adoption, he said.
Read here why the latest draft of GPLv3 has come under fire.
"Unfortunately, for customers, the Free Software Foundations efforts with GPLv3, while not harming existing contracts, can harm the desired interoperability and open exchange that we have increasingly seen between proprietary and open source over the past several years," the spokesman said. The third draft of GPLv3 includes new patent requirements that prevent distributors from colluding with patent holders to provide discriminatory protection from patents, like that covered in the controversial Microsoft-Novell deal. Customers want their interoperability issues addressed by both proprietary and open-source vendors, the Microsoft spokesman said, referring to a survey that found that some 90 percent of customers support the Novell agreement as addressing this need for vendor interoperability and cooperation. "Microsoft has also made other efforts to advance open-source interoperability and encourage pragmatic open-source development with our intellectual property. These include the covenant not to sue open-source hobbyist developers as part of the Novell agreement, and the Open Specification Promise," he said. Could Microsoft products be in violation of some of the patents that cover Linux and open-source technologies? Click here to read more. The patent issue with open source is not new, the spokesman said, pointing out that it was, in fact, first raised by various leaders in the free and open-source community. "According to its August 2004 announcement, the Open Source Risk Management group stated that Linux could be in violation of 283 patents and, as such, could expose customers to undetermined licensing costs," he said. Richard Stallman further validated this in late November 2006, when he noted that a thorough study found that the Linux kernel infringed 283 software patents, and thats just in the United States. "Of course, by now the number is probably different and might be higher," the spokesman said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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