Red Hat swats Microsoft's European patent ruling

Red Hat isn't buying Microsoft's patent ruling in Europe.

The European Union may have unwittingly played into Microsoft's anti-open source hands in its recent ruling. While initially met with cheers from the open-source community, the ruling has many, including Red Hat's counsel, Michael Cunningham, suggesting that all that glitters is not gold:

"We are reviewing the European Commission's announcement in the Microsoft abuse case and congratulate the Commission on the improvements announced [on Monday]. Our enthusiasm is somewhat tempered, however, by concerns that the patent arrangements may have not been made compatible with open-source licensing, especially given the pro-competitive effects to consumers of the open-source model. Accordingly, we will be carefully reviewing the arrangements in the coming days as further details are announced."

With Linux also-rans falling over themselves to lap up Microsoft's patent froth, it's good to see Red Hat, Ubuntu, Mandriva, and others holding firm. In the meantime, it would be nice to see Microsoft shepherd its patent portfolio responsibly.

Yes, the short-term benefit to its shareholders might suggest it should FUD the universe, but the long-term benefits of engaging the open-source community outweigh any such benefit.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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