May 15, 2007

Torvalds and Moglen agree: MS patent claims are 'FUD'

Author: Joe Barr

After reading portions of the Fortune Magazine story which contains the latest sabre rattling by Microsoft in its battle against free software, we asked Linus Torvalds, father of the Linux kernel, if he had any comment on Microsoft's claims that the
kernel knowingly infringes on 42 Microsoft patents.

Torvalds replied:

Can you get a list of which ones? Before that, it's just FUD, and there's
not a whole lot I can say or do. Is there prior art? Are they trivial and
obvious to one skilled in the art? Would we need to work around them? We
don't know, because all I've heard so far is just FUD.

If MS actually _wanted_ us to not infringe their patents, they'd tell us.
Since they don't, that must mean that they actually prefer the FUD.

While Torvalds and Free Software Foundation legal counsel Eben Moglen don't always see eye to eye, they seem to be in harmony on this issue. Moglen said last week at the Red Hat Summit
in San Diego that the threat of lawsuits is often more effective than actually suing, because if you sue you have to stipulate which patents are being infringed and show that the patents are good.

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