Archive for March, 2009
According to a Wall Street Journal Article this morning (March 18th 2009). The International Business Machine (IBM) are in talks to buy Sun. IBM is offering 6.5 billion according to the WSJ for the deal which is one of the largest bids by IBM for a rival. If this goes through this would put IBM in competition with the likes of HP and Cisco in the server markes and Oracle in the database space. IBM is a heavy backer of the Java platform which Sun owns; what does this mean for the other applications in Sun’s cart, including MySQL and OpenOffice applications. In this weak economy its not uncommon to see these consolidations. What impact will this have in the Open source space if two OSS giants become one?
Bruce Perens, co-founder of the Open Source Initiative and an expert on open source patent law, has weighed in with an interesting article on the Microsoft patent lawsuit agains Tom Tom, calling it “A Big Duh Factor.”
Is this a serious suit, or an effort to stir up fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Linux at a critical time, when government and industry is taking up Open Source in a big way? TomTom has shallow pockets, relative to Microsoft, pockets that have already been drained by other lawsuits. Will TomTom have to settle and license regardless of the validity of Microsoft’s patent claims, rather than drop $10 or $20 million in defending themselves?
Perens suggests rather strongly that the patents in question are bogus and gives a detailed accounting of them. There are eight patents involved, two of them concerning the FAT file system, which is Microsoft’s method of storing files on disk. When it introduced long file names in Windows95, Microsoft patented an “innovation” that associated long file names with short names. A File Allocation Table was used to map ALongFileName.txt to ALONG%#.TXT.