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Microsoft not feeling TomTom Linux patent chill?

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From the 'intellectual property is not evil' files:

There has been a lot of talk in the last several weeks about Microsoft's patent lawsuit against navigation vendor TomTom, which includes Linux. Despite that talk, (at least in the press), Microsoft apparently is not seeing any direct backlash as a result of their patent case.

I asked Sam Ramji senior director of platform strategy at Microsoft about TomTom the other day and he
claimed that patent issues aren't causing any chilling effect on his part of Microsoft's open source plans.

"We've made so much progress in demonstrating a consistent and rational process for open source adoption of Microsoft technologies and interoperability with non-Microsoft platforms," Ramji said. "I feel like we've gained some credit in that area and we do our best. I've been at two significant open source events in the last few weeks and none of attendees have brought up the issues of patents to me."

Before I go any further, let me first state that Sam Ramji does not shy away from questions. I've had the opportunity to interview him several times over the last few years and he has always been as upfront as possible.

Ramji's comments, in response to my question on TomTom, is a direct correlation with what Ramji has been saying for as long as I've been talking to him about patents -- namely that developers need not worry (too much).

That said, last year at OSCON, Ramji was quite literally mobbed by the audience after his presentation by attendees that were 'curious' about Microsoft's patent stance. The TomTom case potentially represents Microsoft's first real patent legal attack against Linux and as such, somehow I suspect that eventually that will trigger a chill of some sort.

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