Microsoft: We won’t sue, but run Novell

Microsoft has warned customers worried about open-source patent infringement to buy Linux software from its partner, Novell.

Microsoft: We won't sue, but run Novell

Last week, Microsoft stipulated that 235 of its patents had been breached by open-source software. The claims were strongly criticised by open-source advocates such as Linus Torvalds, who said the company’s failure to name which specific patents had been violated ‘should tell you something’.

Now, in a statement sent to PC Pro, the company claims it has no intention of taking legal action against open-source organisations. ‘If we wanted to go down that road we could have done that three years ago,’ the statement reads.

‘Rather than litigate, Microsoft has spent the last three years building an intellectual property bridge that works for all parties – including open source – and the customer response has been tremendously positive. Our focus is on continuing to build bridges.’

Yet, despite claiming it’s not pursuing legal remedies, Microsoft delivers a veiled warning to open-source users. ‘The real question is not whether there exist substantial patent infringement issues, but what to do about them. Microsoft and Novell already developed a solution that meets the needs of customers, furthers interoperability, and advances the interests of the industry as a whole. Any customer that is concerned about Linux IP issues needs only to obtain their open source subscriptions from Novell.’

The company also claims that the alleged patent violation is beyond dispute. ‘Even the founder of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman, noted last year that Linux infringes well over 200 patents from multiple companies,’ it claims.

Meanwhile, a group of open-source fans is challenging Microsoft to ‘sue me first’ with an online petition stating exactly what open-source software they’re running. The list currently stands at 176 participants.

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