Friday, April 20, 2007

M$ & GNU/Linux: A way out of the patent mess or the best weapon to take over the world!

Ooops it happened again! The second cross patent licensing deal between M$ and another company - Samsung this time around. While this deal may not be as controversial as the first deal between M$ and Novell, its nevertheless going to have a bad taste with the community.

But I just realized GNU/Linux might actually be a ticket out of this whole patent mess we are in. It goes something like this:

  • A claims to B that by using GNU/Linux B is violating patents of A.

  • B in return reminds A that it too might be violating some of B's patents because A also happens to use GNU/Linux.

  • A and B come to an agreement not to sue each other over patents.

  • C comes along and does the same with A & B

In other words A, B and C can cross license their patents without actually having to disclose the patents they are cross licensing in the first place. This is because if any company (A, B or C) discloses a patent which Linux is supposedly violating, that piece of code will be instantly removed, leaving nothing to FUD over about.

Eventually, all the major players end up promising not to sue each other; the patent system goes into hibernation and dies out. Everyone lives happily ever after!

Ok so the above scenario plays out if you'd taken the Blue pill.

Now if you had instead taken the Red pill this is likely what happens:

  • A doesn't use GNU/Linux, while B does.

  • A threatens B saying by using GNU/Linux B is violating A's patents (obviously without mentioning which patents)

  • A offers to enter into a cross patent licensing promising not to sue B and vice versa

  • A enters into B's business without a fear of being sued over obvious patents A is violating of B's.

  • Eventually B goes out of business or moves to a different business in desperation.

  • A continues this practice on to C

I suppose its still too early to say which pill we might end up taking. Hopefully GPLv3 will fix everything and Linux will adopt it just in time take a sleeping pill instead.

1 comment:

cerno said...

MS Linux anyone ? :)