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Users Scoff At Microsoft's Linux IP Claims

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IT managers have slammed Microsoft's claims that Linux source code infringes on its intellectual property, and have criticized Novell's deal with the company saying it grants validity to the claims.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declared last month that Linux users owe the company intellectual property for using patented technologies, citing a 2004 report by insurance firm Open Source Risk Management that claimed the Linux kernel potentially infringes on 27 Microsoft patents.

Almost a month after Microsoft and Novell signed a partnership inhibiting the enforcement of patent and intellectual property rights until 2012, the latter paid Microsoft $US40 million in exchange for its pledge to not sue SUSE Linux customers and developers for what Ballmer coined an "undisclosed balance sheet".

Perth-based building firm BCG IT director, Andrew Buckeridge, said the claims are weak but will be a complication for open source developers.

When asked about the implications of the ensuing Microsoft-Novell deal, Buckeridge said it gives credibility to the claims, comparing the situation to the intellectual property litigation between Microsoft and Unix vender SCO.

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