For those of you who don’t syndicate Planet Ubuntu, and you’re an Ubuntu user, you may have missed a very valuable post.
The result is this: Canonical/Ubuntu will NOT be holding any negotiations with Microsoft in regards to patent protection. He said it most beautifully:
Allegations of “infringement of unspecified patents” carry no weight whatsoever. We don’t think they have any legal merit, and they are no incentive for us to work with Microsoft on any of the wonderful things we could do together. A promise by Microsoft not to sue for infringement of unspecified patents has no value at all and is not worth paying for. It does not protect users from the real risk of a patent suit from a pure-IP-holder (Microsoft itself is regularly found to violate such patents and regularly settles such suits). People who pay protection money for that promise are likely living in a false sense of security.
His post continues in a most elegant matter about the Open Document Format specification versus Microsoft’s OpenXML, and their lack of commitment to Free Software. Mark doesn’t rule out any future collaboration with Microsoft to help promote and grow Free Software, but recognizes that their current actions suggest stifling Free Software rather than promoting it. Ubuntu – Windows interoperability may become a future project of the two companies, but at the moment, Microsoft will have to look elsewhere if they are to continue their patent protection FUD. Canonical and Ubuntu aren’t taking the bait.