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."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.
Read here why the latest draft of GPLv3 has come under fire.