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Microsoft Supporting ODF? -- Close, But No Cigar

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OSS

I wish I could wholeheartedly applaud the Microsoft announcement about native support for ODF, but I can't. Of course, it's better to have native support for ODF, no matter what motives may have influenced Microsoft's announcement, and I'm glad about that for the sake of end users. But it hasn't happened yet. Was the word 'vaporware' not coined for Microsoft? In any case, I'm in the "I will believe it when I see it" category when it comes to Microsoft. They've earned my caution.

And I see danger signs for FOSS I'd like to share with you, so you can consider them. Once again, the problem is software patents. Internet News indicates that commercial Linux/FOSS vendors, and the GPL license that Linux comes with, will be excluded:

"Microsoft, however, frames its latest moves as part of fulfilling a company-wide interoperability initiative that it announced in February. "

Uh oh. Remember this from February, when Microsoft announced the availability of APIs?

"Going forward, Smith said that Microsoft will enter into a covenant not to sue open source developers who use the open APIs for noncommercial applications. Commercial developers will still need to obtain patent licenses to use the code."

GPL developers can't obtain patent licenses. That would violate the terms of the GPL. Period.

Like Microsoft doesn't know that.

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Fluffy Microsoft

It'll be interesting to see what fluff Microsoft can come up with to counter PJ.

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