The technology industry has been in a buzz since last Monday's Fortune article in which Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith claims that the GNU/Linux operating system infringes 235 of Microsoft's patents. If GNU/Linux indeed infringes so many patents then it's very curious that Microsoft refuses to tell the community which 235 patents those are.
Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they're being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them.
Many journalists and editors concluded from this that Microsoft knows it's 235 patents are bogus. But apparently Microsoft is willing to tell someone what those 235 are. They are telling the companies that they sign cross license deals with. Companies such as yourself, Novell.
Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft vice president of intellectual property and licensing, said that while Microsoft won't discuss specific patents publicly, it has discussed them in private with companies such as Novell Inc. that struck deals with the company to exchange patent royalties for indemnification against litigation.
Source: The Washington Post.
Today you, Novell, claim that GNU/Linux infringes none of the 235 patents that Microsoft is talking about. From your own Novell Open PR blog:
While providing numbers is new, the claims that violations exists are not new. In response to similar Microsoft claims back in November, we put out an open letter from our CEO, Ron Hovsepian, that states our position on this issue. That position hasnít changed.
From that open letter… “We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents. Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgement that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property.”
I call on you, Novell, to tell the community which patents Microsoft thinks are infringed by the GNU/Linux operating system. You know the patent numbers. Microsoft gave them to you. Now release them so we all can publicly prove what you claim: That GNU/Linux infringes no Microsoft patents. If you do, then you may gain back some of the credibility in the community that you lost when you signed the cross-license deal with Microsoft last year.
Sander Marechal, GNU/Linux user and developer