July 30, 2001

Weekly news wrap-up: Microsoft's Mundie faces Open-Source crowd

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

Microsoft v.p. Craig Mundie -- yes, the same guy who ripped on the GNU General Public License and the Open Source business model back in May, faced an Open Source crowd this week and walked away unfazed.

Mundie, in his May speech, questioned the Open Source business model, suggested Open Source development leads to forking, and said Open Source "has inherent security risks and can force intellectual property into the public domain." But on Thursday, at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, Mundie said the press blew his May speech out of proportion. He claimed "Open Source isn't the issue" that Microsoft has a problem with. Instead it's that viral GPL, which, at least according to Microsoft, forces a company to release everything it creates under the GPL, if it uses a GPLed product.

More reporters than just those of us covering Open Source development for a living noted that Microsoft seems to be talking out of both sides of its mouth. Here's the lead paragraph of that Red Herring story: "Microsoft thinks Linux is a cancer. Wait, strike that. Microsoft thinks open source is un-American. Wrong again. Microsoft is 'concerned' about a certain open source software license."

You use words like "cancer" and "un-American" to describe Open Source products, then you blame the press for blowing things out of proportion. Nice.

Mundie was received at OSCon either with "open arms" or "he didn't get a warm reception", depending on which reporter was writing the story.

Poole reflects

An interesting article from BusinessWeek showed up, about how Yankee Henri Poole fared at French Linux distro MandrakeSoft. The thesis of the article: It's easy for U.S. executives to "ruffle Old World feathers."

Dubya a fan of Linux?

Well, kind of. One report this week said the White House Web site was running on Linux. Then, later reports had only the Akamai cache running Linux. Oh well.

Free that Russian!

Adobe, which had cooperated with the U.S. FBI in the arrest of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov, asked this week that he be released. Sklyarov was arrested earlier this month for allegedly violating the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, for making a program that allowed users to back up Adobe's eBook format and to read eBooks in non-supported operating systems, such as Linux.

But the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco refused to release Sklyarov after negotiating with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. As a result, a second round of protests is planned for Monday, July 30.

New in NewsForge

Stories unique to NewsForge this week:

News editor Tina Gasperson reminds Linux User Groups about the newbies sitting in the back and offers some pointers about how to keep them coming back.

Business columnist Jack Bryar compares the business plans of Linux companies SuSE and Mandrake and finds that both are still searching for a business plan that makes money.

We also report that two sites that were hosting any remains of the Indrema gaming platform development are shutting down.

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