Florian Cramer on Sat, 7 Aug 2004 15:57:17 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> A 'licensing fee' for GNU/Linux?

Am Freitag, 06. August 2004 um 23:44:53 Uhr (+0200) schrieb Felix Stalder:

> This applies to all kinds of software, proprietary as well as
> free/open source. From a user's point of view, there is, however, a
> crucial differences. With proprietary software, the company from which
> the software is licensed assumes all responsibility and the user has
> no worries beyond the licensing fees.

Felix, sorry if I sound rude, but this is not true, and you
unintentionally spread FUD here!

Proprietary licensing does _not_ protect customers from patent ligitation,
unless the license contract explicitly states so. Software patents can be
and have been enforced against users/licensees of proprietary software,
too. Unisys' enforcement of the LZW/GIF patent, with its legal action
against websites that used GIF images in 1999 (see
<http://lpf.ai.mit.edu/Patents/Gif/Gif.html>) is a prominent example.

The suspension of Munich Linux project, which was made to alarm the public
about future risks for free software through software patenting in the EU,
was therefore dangerously dumb shoot-yourself-into-the-foot PR which did
nothing but play into the hands of the proprietary software industry.



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