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Microsoft Says Free Software Violates 235 Patents 1217

prostoalex writes "Microsoft told Fortune magazine that various free software products violate at least 235 patents, and it's time to expect users of this software to pay up patent licensing royalties: 'Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez sat down with Fortune recently to map out their strategy for getting FOSS users to pay royalties. Revealing the precise figure for the first time, they state that FOSS infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents.'"

Is Paying Hackers Good for Business? 94

Jenny writes "In the light of the recent QuickTime vulnerability, revealed for $10,000 spot cash, the UK IT Security Journalist of the Year asks why business treats security research like a big money TV game show. 'There can be no doubt that any kind of public vulnerability research effort will have the opportunity to turn sour, both for the company promoting it and the users of whatever software or service finds itself exposed to attack without any chance to defend itself. Throw a financial reward into the mix and the lure of the hunt, the scent of blood, is going to be too much for all but the most responsible of hackers. There really is no incentive to report their findings to the vulnerable company, and plenty not to. Which is why, especially in the IT security business, there needs to be a code of conduct with regard to responsible disclosure.' Do you think there's any truth to this? Or is it a better idea to find the vulnerabilities as fast as possible, damn the consequences?"

Virtues of Monoculture, Or Why Microsoft Wins 703

blackbearnh writes to ask, "Why does Microsoft win the development environment war so often, when we all know it's a lifetime lock-in to Windows? Perhaps it's because the open source community offers too much choice." From the post: "Microsoft offers the certainty of no choices. Choice isn't always good, and the open source community sometimes offers far too many ways to skin the same cat, choices that are born more out of pride, ego, or stubbornness than a genuine need for two different paths. I won't point fingers, everyone knows examples... The reality is that there are good, practical reasons that drive people into the arms of the Redmond tool set, and we need to accept that as a fact and learn from it, rather than shake our fists and curse the darkness."

Has Open Source Lost Its Halo? 277

PetManimal writes "Open-source software development once had a reputation as a grassroots movement, but it is increasingly a mainstream IT profit center, and according to Computerworld, some in the industry are asking whether 'open source' has become a cloak used by IT vendors large and small to disguise ruthless and self-serving behavior. Citing an online opinion piece by Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata Inc., the article notes that HP and IBM have not only profited from open-source at the expense of competitors, but have also boosted their images in the open-source community. The Computerworld article also mentions the efforts by the Microsoft/Windows camp to promote open-source credentials: '[InfoWorld columnist Dave] Rosenberg is more disturbed by the bandwagon jumpers: the companies, mostly startups, belatedly going open-source in order to ride a trend, while paying only lip service to the community and its values. Take Aras Corp., a provider of Windows-based product lifecycle management (PLM) software that in January decided to go open-source. Rosenberg depicted the firm in his blog as an opportunistic Johnny-Come-Lately. "I'm not impressed when a company whose software is totally built on Microsoft technologies goes open-source," said Rosenberg, who even suspects that the company is being promoted by Microsoft as a shill to burnish Redmond's image in open-source circles."'"

Space Elevators Could Be Lethal 428

Maggie McKee writes, "A new study reports that passengers on space elevators of current design could be killed by radiation. Even traveling at 200 kilometers per hour, passengers would spend several days in the Van Allen radiation belts, long enough to kill them." Looks like the elevator scientists will get this one solved before liftoff.

Dvorak On Microsoft/Novell Deal 218

zaxios writes, "John C. Dvorak has weighed in on the recent Novell-Microsoft pact. Among his insights: 'Microsoft has been leery of doing too much with Linux because of all the weirdness with the licenses and the possibility that one false move would make a Microsoft product public domain at worst, or subject to the GPL at best.' But now, 'the idea is to create some sort of code that is jammed into Linux and whose sole purpose is to let some proprietary code run under Linux without actually "touching" Linux in any way that would subject the proprietary code to the GPL.' According to Dvorak, it's only a matter of time before Linux is 'cracked' by Microsoft, meaning Microsoft figures out a way to run proprietary code on it."

Hollywood Says Piracy Has Ripple Effect 309

ColinPL writes to mention a Washington Post article about a new study backed by Hollywood on intellectual piracy. The study, which they're presenting to lawmakers today, claims that piracy has a ripple effect on the economy. According to the study, lost revenues may have as much as three times the impact previously imagined. From the article: "Lawmakers and federal agencies such as the Justice and State departments have helped Hollywood battle physical piracy -- specifically, counterfeit DVDs. But now the stakes are especially high for entertainment companies as they sell more of their products online in the form of digital songs, movies and other intellectual property. Internet piracy may be tougher for lawmakers to conceptualize, entertainment companies fear."

Money is the root of all evil, and man needs roots.