The Linux Foundation members are getting together to fight against the series of patent deals being carried out by Microsoft. First Novell, then Xandros and more recently Linspire have done agreements with Microsoft. It is good that Microsoft is seeking collaboration with Linux vendors, but the underlying reason always seems to be protection from patents that Microsoft claims are infringed by Linux.
The agreement also protects Linspire users against legal action by Microsoft, which claims open-source software violates more than 200 of its patents.
I wonder if these agreements would happen without this clause. Some Linux vendors appear to be scared of the claims that Microsoft is making.
“With our members’ backing, the Linux Foundation also has created a legal fund to defend developers and users of open-source software against malicious attack,” he [Jim Zemlin, executive director of Linux Foundation] added. “We don’t expect to but, if needed, we will use this fund to defend Linux.”
I think this is an indication that Microsoft is somewhere worried about Linux is picking up and can pose a threat. Also, Microsoft’s intentions with the patent threats seem to be to target the new and future Linux users. Even a shred of doubt in the user’s mind about the legality can create hesitancy. The foundation, along with countering Microsoft, should also clear this FUD for the user.