Red Hat accuses Microsoft of patent FUD

From the ‘People In Glass Houses…‘ files:

Linux vendor Red Hat sure doesn’t seem to like Microsoft much. Red Hat is now alleging that Microsoft is not committed to the path of peace with open source software vendors.

I haven’t had direct contact with Microsoft (yet), but given the conversations I’ve had with them over the years (especially with the ever so articulate Sam Ramji), this is a claim they will vehemently dispute.

Red Hat’s latest attack on Microsoft comes on the heals of the disclosure that the Open Invention Network (OIN) that Red Hat supports, acquired 22 patents formerly held by Microsoft. For the record, OIN was less than forthcoming with me, though they did respond to me late yesterday and they did issue a press release at 4 PM yesterday as well.

Red Hat blogged that the patents acquired by OIN were being marketed by Microsoft to
patent trolls.

“It also used marketing materials
that highlighted offensive uses of the patents against open source
software, including a number of the most popular open source packages,” Red Hat blogged. “This looked to us like a classic FUD effort. To unleash FUD, you
assemble a lot of patents of uncertain value, annotate them with a
roadmap for the companies and products to be targeted with the patents,
put the lot in the hands of trolls schooled in patent aggression, and
then stand back and wait for the FUD to spread with its chilling

The only problem with Red Hat’s assertion though, is that according to a comment I got late yesterday from the OIN, they didn’t think the actual patents were all that strong or that open source software actually infringed on the patents.

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