[linux-elitists] FAT is the new GIF?

Dave Crossland dave@lab6.com
Thu Feb 26 18:38:57 PST 2009

2009/2/27 Jason Spence <jspence@lightconsulting.com>:
> On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 01:13:09AM +0000, Dave Crossland wrote:
>> 2009/2/27 Jason Spence <jspence@lightconsulting.com>:
>> > On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:56:02AM +0000, Dave Crossland wrote:
>> >> 2009/2/27 Jason Spence <jspence@lightconsulting.com>:
>> >> > the only motivation I can think of would
>> >> > be Microsoft demanding higher license fees for FAT implementations.
>> >> Maybe I've misunderstood the lawsuit, but er, isn't that what just started?
>> > [higher than] $250,000 per [distributor]
>> Doesn't higher than $0 per distributor chill free software?
> It depends.
> Therefore, if you mean free-as-in-beer when you're talking about free
> software, the chilling effect may be negated by the fact that it's
> dumb for people to sue you for infringing.
> But if you mean free-as-in-libre and you're collecting cash money,
> yeah, there's probably going to be a chilling effect.

Debian, Ubuntu and Fedora (and perhaps OpenSUSE, didn't Novell get
that spun out to a non-profit legal structure recently..? I forget)
are all run by free-as-in-beer shell non-profits, backed by (in
Debian's case, a consortium, and otherwise Canonical and RedHat) large
corporate sponsors. GNOME is similar to Debian, with multiple backers.

I don't know anything about TomTom's GUI stack, but I assume that alll
GNU/Linux embedded device developers are either directly or indirectly
vulnerable to this patent in the same way.

Given the economic depression unfolding, if Microsoft could tear a big
chunk out of the cash reserves of those corporate competitors, that
might do more than just chill the momentum of free software; it might
drive them bust.

And it will make embedded device startups think twice about building
on a free software stack (and publishing free software).


More information about the linux-elitists mailing list