Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Linux Integrators - Not getting it

Analysis on Microsoft's OOXML patent pledge from a software developers and open source viewpoint

I started trying to understand the situation and came across Microsoft's Open Source Patent Pledge which only offers individual protection when you write software but not users of that software. I was later pointed to Microsoft's Open Specification Promise and some legal analysis of it. The analysis is well written and explains that a key issue is the language "any implementation to the extent it conforms to a Covered Specification". Which means if you have bugs or partial implementations you can run afoul. Since open source development means immediate distribution of partial and sometimes alpha-ish implementations, POI will most certainly not be covered by this promise. Moreover, users which use snapshot releases most likely won't be covered

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