Open Source Community Worried About IBM Patent Threat Against TurboHercules

Friday Apr 9th 2010 by Developer.com Staff
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IBM's patent threat has the open source community nervous. The H's DJ Walker-Morgan said it could lead to the mutually assured destruction of the IT industry if software giants pursue legal action against open source projects.

The TurboHercules business plan was to offer off-site disaster recovery for IBM mainframes without buying another mainframe. IBM responded by asserting that the open source company would be infringing on 173 of Big Blue's patents and patent applications if it moved forward.

Now the open source community is concerned what could happen if commercial software makers decide to pursue patent infringement claims against free and open source software.

The H Open's DJ Walker-Morgan said that software patents are equivalent to a Cold War nuclear arsenal. IBM had promised to not sue open source projects over patent infringement.

"This is like a country armed with nuclear weapons signing a weapons reduction treaty," Walker-Morgan wrote, "yet reserving the right to show off the missiles that were supposed to be dismantled in an annual parade, apparently fully assembled and ready to roll with the rest of the missiles."

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