M$ has been doing the SCO thing for years now, claiming that GNU/Linux violates their rights in intellectual property. Now they are suing TomTom over methods used in the Linux kernel (FAT file-system) and other trivial and obvious combinations of ideas that are none of M$’s property. They can sue TomTom into oblivion, servitude, or recantation, or we can help them fight back exposiing the perfidy of software patents and M$’s bullying.
One can speculate that M$ has seen the writing on the wall about software patents and decided to attack now while there was any threat left in them. Perhaps they wanted to exploit their patents before they expired since the idea has been implemented since the early 1990s. Perhaps it is the fact that GNU/Linux has finally dented the bottom line. Perhaps they believed their own lies and felt the world would believe that this is not about attacking FLOSS or GNU/Linux and that we should not be alarmed.
I have been a deer hunter for many years. Deer are beautiful, graceful animals but they are powerful and dangerous. Just when you think they have been overcome and in hand, they will still struggle for life and do you harm if you approach too soon. M$ is ugly but still powerful. We should not be deceived into believing they will behave civilly while the world adopts FLOSS. They will strike out wildly at any nearby target to do damage even if there is no chance of success. This is a desperate move by a desperate corporation. We need to put to rest any ideas it still holds of world domination. The only way to do that is to administer a prompt sound defeat.
We have seen in the case of SCO that defeat may take years and that M$ will likely use the demonstrated threat of suit to rake in money from the weak. How foolish EV1 and others were to prefer to pay extortion rather than fight the bully. Several third parties got involved and fought a good fight. It costs many millions but the precedent is worth much more. Losing every software patent in its armory would show the world that M$ is impotent. They have to start competing on the value of their software and hardware, not the fiction that they are irreplaceable. I replace them daily in my work. How sad it will be if M$ reverts to being a software-patent troll in its end-days. The battle will show the world that patents on software do not promote creativity.
We should all encourage TomTom to fight this to the end. We will support them. If they even think being acquired by M$ is in their best interest, they will get higher value for having fought them all the way. There is little chance of losing this battle because M$ cannot allow it to go to trial without settling. The pre-trial discovery will show the emperor is naked. Prior-art will show the old beast is toothless. Obviousness will show the weakness of its intellect. Is there anyone on the planet who believes the length of a filename in a widely used file-system is intellectual property? Imagine, trying to patent a patch to fix a flaw in their file-system…
We can also abandon compatibility with that other OS entirely and stick to open standards.
Never, in the course of human history, have so many been able to stand up to a single bully and kick him in his tender parts.
It does not matter his bank balance, cash flow, patent portfolio, or ubiquity of his OS, a bully is easily out-numbered and over-powered if we stick together. We are many millions. They are a few thousands and becoming fewer.
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