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Microsoft's top executives are set to announce a broad interoperability strategy that includes an agreement not to sue open source companies for products that connect to Microsoft software, a source familiar with the company's plans told CNET News.com.
Specifically, Microsoft is implementing four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions across its high-volume business products: (1) ensuring open connections; (2) promoting data portability; (3) enhancing support for industry standards; and (4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.Strategic Changes in Technology and Business Practices to Expand Interoperability [microsoft.com]
includes an agreement not to sue open source companies for products that connect to Microsoft software
I have heard on the grapevine that the open source companies are very very happy about this and in a sign of good will they have agreed not to sue Microsoft for child slavery.
All that is needed is to move such research out of reach of countries that don't offer such protections.
If Microsoft were committed to interoperability they would stop making incompatible implementations of public standards, and support the real open standards not just in a fake -they twist our arm- fashion.
The real point is that they don't feel forced to give us standards cause they have that a monopoly on the desktop that they illegaly extended into IE and into their media browser. And they have almost the same in the business world with word/excel/powerpoint.
Untill we collectively tell them to stop and put our money where our mouth is, we'll not change their attitude. Sure they'll give us nice words to show they're not evil and sure the fanboys will eat it. But in reality we'll be told what we wanted to hear without gettign a thing in return.
Microsoft said that it will not sue open-source developers who create non-commercial software based on Microsoft's protocols.
As always, devil is in details. You can create a software for hobby but you are not allowed to sell your applications to make money from your effort unless you pay whatever royalty or license fees is demanded by MSFT.
From press release [microsoft.com]
Microsoft will indicate on its Web site which protocols are covered by Microsoft patents and will license all of these patents on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, at low royalty rates. To assist those interested in considering a patent license, Microsoft will make available a list of specific Microsoft patents and patent applications that cover each protocol. Microsoft is providing a covenant not to sue open source developers for development or non-commercial distribution of implementations of these protocols. These developers will be able to use the documentation for free to develop products. Companies that engage in commercial distribution of these protocol implementations will be able to obtain a patent license from Microsoft, as will enterprises that obtain these implementations from a distributor that does not have such a patent license.
Some more details can be found at [microsoft.com...]
It's all to try and sweeten the EU (who aren't impressed) and to help their case to control yet more standards.
Interoperability is just one more way to make money, and should not, on any account, be used in the same sentence as 'Open Source'.
Funny, actually - they got the open source folk really excited. For a little over an hour:
February 21, 2008 8:22 AM PST / February 21, 2008 9:29 AM PST
[edited by: Quadrille at 2:55 am (utc) on Feb. 23, 2008]