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Linux Leaders Unfazed by Microsoft

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Open source software leaders said Wednesday they were unfazed by suggestions that Microsoft is attempting to divide the community and threaten it with lawsuits.

Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin and Red Hat vice president Mike Evans said the Redmond software giant was barely discussed at an open source summit held at Google headquarters last week.

Microsoft has recently struck a series of cooperation and indemnification pacts with individual Linux distributors, raising suggestions it is trying to divide and conquer the community(see Microsoft Signs Third Linux Pact, Microsoft’s Symbiotic Linux Deals, Open Source Group Spares Novell).. Those fears were heightened when the software giant for the first time said the Linux operating system and other open source software infringes on 235 of its patents (see Microsoft Stokes Linux Fears). That left many wondering whether Microsoft would sue the customers of companies that didn’t play by the software giant’s rules.

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Last week, at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit held at the Googleplex, some of Linux's top kernel developers discussed the state of the Linux kernel today, and where it might be going.

Among the kernel developers present were Andrew Morton, James Bottomley, Chris Wright, Ted T'so, and Greg Kroah-Hartman. About the only top Linux kernel developer who wasn't present was Linus Torvalds, the originator of the kernel.

In a panel discussion chaired by Jon Corbett, a Linux developer himself and editor of, the group took on many contentious issues. After introductions, in which the quiet Morton unexpectedly added a note of levity by remarking that "If you don't know who I am you shouldn't be here," Corbett started the panel off by asking, "Is the quality of the current kernel (Linux 2.6.21) horrific?"

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