CyberTech Rambler

July 28, 2009

Microsoft violates GPL? Microsoft violate GPL not? … (repeat indefinitely)

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 3:32 pm

SFLC throws its hat into the fray, arguing that Microsoft did indeed infringe on GPL.

What do we have? The main parties who (should) know, Microsoft, Greg Kroah-Hartman and Stephen Hemminger won’t say. The latter two had been dropping strong hints. But for some reasons unknown to me, refused to confirm it point blank.

My initial reaction is the latter two did not want the blogosphere to blow up on the news that Microsoft violated GPL. Unfortunately, as discussion on this point started to take a life of its own and develop into a much larger issue, I questions all three’s wisdom on not coming clean.

Why? Someone is bound to use the information they get from the three parties and do an analysis on whether an infringement had taken place. Is that exercise interesting? Yes. Even though practically it has no value coz any infringement is already cured. But someone will want to try out their CSI skills and want the fame of being the first to proof (or disprove0 infringement. At present, this kudo looks like low hanging fruit.

Violation or not depends on one question: Did the binary containing GPL-ed component came out before the source, or later? If it came out first, then there is an infringement. Period.

Will we find out if Microsoft violated GPL in this case if it did? You bet!

But right now, the situation is like one love sick puppy picking a flower, preferably one with a lot of petals and as he peels one away, he alternate between “It violates GPL” and “It violates GPL not”. It is long and tedious, but eventually he will get an answer. And just like the answer he got, if one ask the question is the answer is useful? No.

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