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The World

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  • March 2013
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The world’s biggest software maker felt that it had been robbed, so much so that they posted a high-level summary of 235 patents that were allegedly violated by Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), including the Linux Kernel, Samba, OpenOffice.org, and others .Microsoft does not play when it comes to patent infringement, but did they have a case?”… So if Microsoft ever sued Linux distributor Red Hat for patent infringement, for instance, OIN might sue Microsoft in retaliation, trying to enjoin distribution of Windows. It's a cold war, and what keeps the peace is the threat of mutually assured destruction: patent Armageddon an unending series of suits and countersuits that would hobble the industry and its customers.” (Parloff may 28, 2007). Shortly after that, Microsoft entered into a series of three contracts with Novell, one of which was a patent agreement that basically said, “Don’t sue us and we won’t sue you.” So now the question is “At the time of the scenario, some dire consequences were predicted for FOSS. How has FOSS fared since then?” From what I have researched so far FOSS generally has still faired fairly well through the whole ordeal. The GNU still viewed as a pinnacle for open source software and distribution. The Deal with Novell was made to walk around the GPL of the GNU and expose loop holes for Microsoft’s gain but also creating a pressing dilemma for the GNU. The deal struck between Novell and Microsoft was a “we don’t sue you and you don’t sue us” which indicates that not only was FOSS involved in patent infringement but also Microsoft. The Deal included over 200 million dollars to Novell and 43 Million to Microsoft for “license distribution” of Novells’ Server software. Linux has grown from its earlier days as a fringe operating, evolving more and becoming more wide spread as a use for servers. What impact have these events made since then, or will they make? The threat of a lawsuit had little if any impact on the free open source...

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