Microsoft Would Lose Patent Rights Under New Linux License Terms

Posted by spy on June 3 2007, 5:20 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft would forego the patent rights it claims to hold over parts of the Linux operating system if it continues to make the open-source software available to customers through its partnership with Novell, according to a new draft of the open-source license published Thursday. The latest and final draft of the forthcoming General Public License, version 3, states that companies that distribute open-source software cannot extend patent protection to some users of the software and not others, regardless of how or from whom the user received it. Microsoft claims that Linux and other open-source software programs violate 235 of its patents. In November, the company struck an alliance with Novell under which Microsoft agreed not to sue Novell's Linux customers. Microsoft gained the right to resell Novell's SuSE Linux products and services at a markup. The latter fact makes Microsoft a Linux distributor for the purposes of GPLv3, according to the Free Software Foundation. The FSF controls the licensing process around open-source software. Under new terms inserted into the final draft of GPLv3, "If you arrange to provide patent protection to some of the people who get the software from you, that protection is automatically extended to everyone who receives the software, no matter how they get it," according to an explanation of the rules posted on the FSF Web site. Continue At Source