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June 14, 2007

Linux group mulling response to Microsoft IP moves

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 1:17 PM

Leaders of the open-source software community are meeting in Mountain View, Calif., this week to discuss the future of free software against a backdrop of Microsoft deal-making and posturing on intellectual property issues.

Today Microsoft announced another deal, this one with desktop Linux provider Linspire. Like other recent deals, with Novell and Xandros, it allows Linspire to offer its customers protection from intellectual property claims that may arise if Linux and other open-source software is found to violate Microsoft patents.

Reuters is covering the three-day event at Google headquarters and noted that the group is "debating whether an increasingly commercial open source community should fight or ignore [Microsoft] the world's largest software maker." This story has a good roundup of the issues facing the open-source community.

It is the first Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. The group formed earlier this year through the combination of Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group. The group "promotes, protects and standardizes Linux by providing unified resources and services needed for open source to successfully compete with closed platforms," according to its Web site.

InformationWeek is also covering the event and reports that leaders there are urging the open-source community to forge on with development rather than being distracted by Microsoft's moves. From the story:

Jim Zemlin, CEO of the Linux Foundation, made only a veiled reference to the charges by Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith that Linux and other open source code violate 235 of its patents. "The competition is asking, 'What can we do to slow things down?' They're projecting fear, uncertainty and doubt. Let's come up with the things to move this platform ahead."

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