Microsoft vs. Open Source

— 12:01 AM on May 17, 2001

Here comes the sequel to the Halloween documents. In a series of statements, Microsoft has publicly pilloried the GPL (general public license) as flawed. The Open Source movement responds with this call to arms:

"The GPL threatens the strategy that Microsoft uses to maintain its monopoly," reads the statement signed by, among others, Linux creator Linus Torvalds, Red Hat co-founder Bob Young, VA Linux Systems CEO Larry Augustin, publisher Tim O'Reilly and Free Software Foundation guru Richard Stallman.

"Microsoft claims that Free Software fosters incompatible 'code forking,' but Microsoft is the real motor of incompatibility: They deliberately make new versions incompatible with old ones to force users to purchase each upgrade," the 10 evangelists said in the statement.

ZDNet sheds more light on this potential jihad. Windows XP's copy protection scheme and Microsoft's plans for software licensing have opened the door for Linux and others to grab market share. If all the rhetoric and bombast can be cleared, this has the makings of an interesting debate on intellectual property rights and whether or not software should be freely distributed.
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