Will Microsoft take the same road SCO paved?

by David Spark on May 15, 2007

If you remember SCO went on a huge “how fast can we ruin our brand” campaign a few years ago with its lawsuit against IBM claiming many lines of code in IBM’s donated version of Linux violated the patents it had in its version of UNIX.

Many are pointing to that case as being similiar to the Microsoft claim that Linux and FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software) violates 235 of its patents. Patting themselves on the back, Microsoft states that this is the reason open-source software is so good.

Microsoft is in a conundrum. From it’s viewpoint it needs to defend it’s intellectual property. It is their value. But the open source movement has this “information wants to be free” attitude especially if it’s owned by Microsoft. The press and geeks love to take the side of the little egalitarians, the people who write code for free. But Microsoft asserts that they’re coding Robin Hoods-stealing from the rich (Microsoft) to give to the poor (open-source software users).

Microsoft is too smart to fall for the same mistakes that SCO made. Which was essentially claiming that IBM violated I believe over a million lines of code yet they refused to show it to anybody. If Microsoft is right and they quickly come out publicly and show what has been stolen, providing date stamps, then maybe they can quell the public outcry against them. Sun says they should just cow tow to the masses because it’s inevitable. But there are some people who hate Microsoft so much that even with overwhelming evidence (not saying there is yet) their opinion still won’t be swayed. They’re kind of like Bush supporters. I’m sure they don’t appreciate that analogy.

As a note of transparency. I do some work for Microsoft, but regardless I never blanketedly take one side over the other. I’m eager to see how this story plays itself out.

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