Linux – head in the sand?

As a follow on from the previous c|net posting – Don Newman points out that Open Source Risk Management isn’t releasing the list of potential patent infringements, doing so would put linux in the wrong, ignorance is bliss (apparently)… so what does this mean for linux customers? – If you build a device based on Linux and are not aware of the list of patents you are infringing that doesn’t make things right, does it? – for example, in UK law theft is described (in “points to prove”) as “to dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another with the intent to permanently deprive”, if all portions of this are met then you have broken the law whether you know it or not – doesn’t this also apply to software patents?, just because you didn’t know you were breaking a patent doesn’t make it right, surely…

So who’s going to get hit with this, the customer using a Linux based device, the distributor, developers? – looks like a bit of a minefield to me…

Caveat Emptor!

– Mike

Comments (5)

  1. Mike Dimmick says:

    OK, but then Windows probably potentially infringes many patents too. The question is whether those patents will be enforced. Given what’s happened to SCO, I suspect that no-one will try.

  2. Mike says:

    We will have to wait and see how this plays out – there does seem to be a move by software companies to start enforcing patents – this is a potential money maker for many companies – wait until there are a large number of customers or devices breaking the patent, then enforce.

    – Mike

  3. Mike says:

    Take a look at this article on the Register –

    Eolas went after Microsoft for Patent Infringement – if Eolas were to do the same for Linux then who would they go after, the customer that has a Linux device, the developer that built the device, or the distributor ? – or all of the above…

    – Mike

  4. Look at who their "Director of Litigation Risk Research" is – PJ, the woman who runs groklaw.

    Her stance on the whole Linux-vs-SCO debacle should be a telling data point. Interpretations of this Register article which paint Linux in a poor light are … well, *mis*-interpretations and exaggerations.

    283 seems like a fairly small number to me…