IBM Rips Up Patent Pledge, Wages Patent War Against FOSS

Tuesday Apr 6th 2010 by Developer.com Staff
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Florian Mueller says IBM has broken its pledge to not use its patents to crush competition from free and open source software.

Free and open source software advocate claims that IBM is now engaging in patent warfare after years of Big Blue's promises not to do so.

What happened is that French startup TurboHercules SAS asked IBM if they could offer a disaster recovery product to IBM mainframe users. IBM not only rebuffed that request, but Big Blue then sent a letter to the startup claiming that they're violating its intellectual property.

"IBM is using patent warfare in order to protect its highly lucrative mainframe monopoly against Free and Open Source Software," blogged NoSoftwarePatents founder Florian Mueller.

"A reliable source close to the Hercules project," Mueller said, "has provided me with this letter that Mark Anzani, IBM's mainframe CTO, recently sent to TurboHercules SAS."

According to Mueller, "The letter comes with a 'non-exhaustive' list including 106 IBM patents plus 67 pending patent applications."

This patent attack has got Mueller's blood boiling.

"This proves that IBM's love for free and open source software ends where its business interests begin," Mueller said. "In market segments where IBM has nothing to lose, open source comes in handy and the developer community is courted and cherished. In an area in which IBM generates massive revenues (an estimated $25 billion annually just on mainframe software sales!), any weapon will be brought into position against open source. Even patents, which represent to open source what nuclear arms are in the physical world."

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