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Why Microsoft has chosen to go after Linux now

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A couple of months back, at Australia's national Linux conference, a young Microsoft employee sat down with me and discussed ways in which Microsoft has contributed to open source.

In particular, we talked about Strawberry Perl , an open source implementation which gives Perl on Windows some very important functionality it has on other platforms - full compatibility with CPAN , the canonical location for Perl code and modules.

Microsoft's presence at the conference was in keeping with moves over the last two years or so, to try and have a conversation with the free and open software community as it seeks to find a way to make money off open source.

But if any Microsoft employee went to a free software or open source conference today, I doubt he or she would attract anything other than hostile glares. By suing GPS device maker TomTom over alleged violation of patents connected with an implementation of the Linux kernel any goodwill that Microsoft has built up has gone down the drain.

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