Microsoft’s Jason Matusow wants comments on Microsoft’s patent pledge to F/OSS developers. That’s the pledge where Microsoft won’t initiate legal action against any developer who never distributes his or her code in any commercial fashion.
Here’s my comment: that’s useless and insulting.
“LWN subscriber jimi demonstrated one big flaw with Microsoft’s patent pledge, namely that F/OSS respects no distinction for the type of use. You can use all of the free software I write whether you work in a large business, for yourself, or not at all. You can use it in commercial endeavors, for non-profit purposes, or in your own home. It doesn’t matter if you’re an agent of a huge corporation or a retired grandparent. As long as you respect the license if you redistribute the software, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do or how you use the code.
At best Microsoft, does not understand this. More likely, Microsoft wants to create an artificial distinction between non-commercial and commercial distribution of F/OSS, backed by vague legal intimidations.
Microsoft, you already have a de facto monopoly on OS installations from major computer retailers, a de facto monopoly on several important file formats, and sufficient inertia that most people I meet outside of work have barely a passing familiarity with the GNU/Linux operating system.
Now the richest software company in the world wants to pat me on the head and put me in a ghetto you created where, unless I cozy up to you with an individual patent agreement, I can’t engage in commercial purposes with software I develop and distribute under a F/OSS license?
I prefer to compete on the quality of my software, not by threatening other people. Maybe you should consider that.