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BSA Wants EU Open Standard Policy Reconsidered 191

XeRXeS-TCN writes "Benoît Müller of the BSA has written an open letter to the EU, criticising their focus on open standards for interoperability, as this would exclude things like DHCP, 802.1X and GSM. He also says that framework "shouldn't imply a link between open source and open standards"."
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BSA Wants EU Open Standard Policy Reconsidered

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  • EU Icon? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:05PM (#11728745)
    Ok, how about a shiny new EU icon? With so many stories about it wouldn't it be nice?
    • Re:EU Icon? (Score:3, Informative)

      by modge ( 773928 )
      The register did an article about just this: Here [theregister.co.uk]
    • The "patent" icon does just fine!
    • There isn't a USA icon, used for every story that happened in the USA, so why should there be an EU icon?
  • eNough (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:06PM (#11728749)
    eEurope? eGovernment? The 90's called, they want their e's back.
  • Sounds of Victory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:06PM (#11728752) Homepage Journal
    The BSA is Microsoft Marketing's enforcement division. We can now see, from the emerging chorus of consistent PR, the new frontline in the proprietary/open/free IP war. The proprietary companies have retreated to "open standards", to relieve the "open source" pressure that would otherwise crush or abandon them. It's a major victory - for users and developers on both sides of the lines. But it's not yet in hand: winning "the peace" will mean keeping the standards open, and not letting these slimy weasels turn closed, undocumented "Office 2003" file formats into an acceptably "open" standard, because it's merely "standard", and not open. The momentum of interop'ing closed with open systems will turn more of the systems open - their source as well as their formats.
    • Funny, isn't it? We just recently had to hear Bill Gates talk about Microsoft's commitment to interoperability, and then here we have the BSA trying to basically destroy open standards, which can help guarantee interoperability.

      I'm having trouble understanding all this. Hopefully, one day, one of these two corporations can explain it to me, preferably in a nice, simplified language with all the unnecessary words removed. That'd be double-plus helpful.
  • How surprising! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:07PM (#11728755)
    Not surprising. The business software alliance which is funded by proprietary closed-source software companies wants proprietary standards instead of open standards. They also want proprietary closed-source software instead of open-standard open-source software.

    If open standards and open source software were to become prevalent, how would they shake down [linuxelectrons.com] companies?
  • Best quote ever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:07PM (#11728757) Homepage
    The BSA's main objection to the EIF is that it requires a standard to be "irrevocably available on a royalty-free basis" and impose no constraints on "re-use." Such restrictions don't allow standards that, for example, rely on patents for which a royalty may be charged, according to Müller.

    Oh yes, I'm crying my eyes out over that one.
    • Re:Best quote ever (Score:5, Insightful)

      by craXORjack ( 726120 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:34PM (#11728858)
      My favorite quote:

      But the use of patented technology in standards is "the reality today," he said.

      But it won't be the reality tomorrow, Müller. So get back in your horse and buggy and go tell Bill that the slaves are revolting, that the chains of legal chicanery are being broken, and a new Age of Reason is dawning.

    • Re:Best quote ever (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amokrun ( 689058 )

      Additionally, the following sentences are also relatively amusing.

      "allow standards to include patented technology as long as the patent owner licenses the patent claims on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms, he said. "

      I think the "nondiscriminatory terms" here means that everyone gets hit just as bad. I guess it's just fine if you charge everyone equally.

      Still, the quote is pretty nice. He could have just summed it up by saying "how can we make money out of this?".

      • Too true. With the underlying argument that if money can't be made, progress can't either.

        Of course there is money being made, just not by non-valuable methods. I wonder if health care will turn down this road one day.
    • Maybe you would be crying your eyes over if you had this really cool non-generalistic invention that you didn't get credit ($$$) for.

      I'm against software patents, but blocking patents altogether seems like a pretty bad idea to me.
      • Re:Best quote ever (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @01:38PM (#11729212) Homepage
        Take the converse of that arguement - what if the government requires everyone who does buisness with it to use a patented, royalty-requiring format. Now everyone is effectively paying a tax to whomever the patent owner is. And guess what? 999 out of 1,000, it's some megacorp. So no, I am not crying my eyes out over that one.
        • Re:Best quote ever (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mickwd ( 196449 )
          "And guess what? 999 out of 1,000, it's some megacorp."

          And 990 out of 1,000, it's some American megacorp.

          Now I've not got anything against American companies as such, but one of the reasons for the formation of the EU is to unite Europe into a trading bloc to match the size of the USA, to be able to compete with it on equal terms.

          So why should the EU pass laws that would tend to favour large American companies to the detriment of (often smaller) European ones ?

          Sadly, there is a reason why it might - po
      • Re:Best quote ever (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @02:31PM (#11729525) Homepage Journal
        The EU surely aren't trying to block patents altogether? However, patents should be for a novel, physical device; not a software implementation. It's too much like trying to patent a notion, or a word, or something. It's a great idea to say that you *cannot* have patents for software, only physical devices.
      • Re:Best quote ever (Score:5, Insightful)

        by psykocrime ( 61037 ) <mindcrime&cpphacker,co,uk> on Sunday February 20, 2005 @02:37PM (#11729565) Homepage Journal
        Maybe you would be crying your eyes over if you had this really cool non-generalistic invention that you didn't get credit ($$$) for.
        I'm against software patents, but blocking patents altogether seems like a pretty bad idea to me.


        You don't need a patent to make $$$. Like the old saying says - "You don't need a patent on bread to make a living as a baker."
        • Like the old saying says - "You don't need a patent on bread to make a living as a baker."

          Is that an old saying, or something you just made up and called old so it would have more gravitas? It can't be that old a saying, since it refers to patents.

          I only ask 'cause I like it, and it's going in my quotefile.

          --grendel drago
          • Six centuries before Christ, the greek city of Sybaris granted a patent and exclusive rights of exploitation to the inventor of a new gastronomical specialty. Aristotle (384-322 BC) often ranted against cities granting patents (and ipso facto monopolies), considering it was against the progress of humanity.
          • Google says no [google.com]. Though it might still be old, just localized and not electronically distributed. Or he may have been attepting to make funny by referencing an old saying about patent law.

            Somewhat unrelated: if someone makes a statement beginning with "As the old saying goes," and it turns out they came up with it, have they waived their copy rights?

          • Is that an old saying, or something you just made up and called old so it would have more gravitas? It can't be that old a saying, since it refers to patents.

            It's at least two or three days old, cause that's when I saw it on Slashdot the first time. :-)

            I don't actually know how old the saying is, and I claim no credit for inventing it. Hopefully the other guy who said it here on /. will show up in this conversation and clarify it's origin.
      • by po8 ( 187055 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @03:12PM (#11729747)

        Legendary electronics hobbyist Don Lancaster has what I consider to be the must-read page on why patents never help the individual inventor: Patent Avoidance [tinaja.com].

      • I'm against software patents, but blocking patents altogether seems like a pretty bad idea to me.

        Why?

        I'm serious. Why would getting rid of all patents be a bad idea? Yes, I know, I know, they benefit society. But do they really? Do you know them to be a benefit, or do you take it on faith because they have been telling you all your life?

        Maybe someone can respond with a credible study in support of the patent system. I'm still looking for one.
        • I'm serious. Why would getting rid of all patents be a bad idea? Yes, I know, I know, they benefit society. But do they really? Do you know them to be a benefit, or do you take it on faith because they have been telling you all your life?

          I can tell you why patents are supposed to be a benefit to society. Without patents, the people who profit the most from a novel invention are those who can manufacture and sell it for the most profit, not the person(s) who actually invented it. By granting a patent to
        • The US FTC did a study [ftc.gov]you might consider. It has case studies for 4 industries, arguments for and against patents, and recommendations on improving the patent system.

          There is no real scientific argument for or against patents - since history and economics are not really sciences, but an observer of the last 100 years cannot help but notice that nations with patent systems have had much more innovation than those without.

          This is NOT an argument on my part for unlimited patents and extending patents to

  • by thrashbluegrass ( 855748 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:08PM (#11728762)
    So the BSA wants to say that open standards mean open source? Does this mean that they're afraid that they can't compete with F/OSS initiatives on an equal footing? That they need to leverage proprietary standards in order to keep market share?

    As for the inclusion of patented IP in open standards, it's pretty much an oxymoron: if it's an open standard, there should be no strings attached (e.g., cisco's vrrp, Sun's elliptic curve cryptography in OpenSSL). Open should mean open, not we'll-let-you-play-with-this-until-we-decide-other wise.
    • Does Sun own ECC? "Sun's elliptic curve cryptography in OpenSSL"
      Neal Koblitz gave a talk about ECC at one of the CCC [wichita.edu] conferences. From here [rhul.ac.uk], we find
      Elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) was proposed by Victor Miller and Neal Koblitz in the mid 1980s.

      So what does Sun have to do with all this?
      • The ECC in OpenSSL is a 'patent grant' from Sun.

        From research.sun.com:

        "Why the additional "covenant" language in the Sun license?

        The OpenSSL's standard BSD style license does not address patent issues explicitly. Sun added a "patent peace provision" language to clarify its patent grant."

        This is why OpenBSD ships with an ECC-less OpenSSL.

        http://research.sun.com/projects/crypto/Frequenl yA skedQuestions.html
  • DHCP is not open? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:08PM (#11728764) Homepage
    Could somebody please explain what the problem with DHCP is? There certainly seem to be plenty of documents [faqs.org] to enable open [freshmeat.net] implementations [freshmeat.net] to me. Or are they talking about some proprietary Microsoft extension to DHCP that is rightly being ignored by everyone else?
    • Re:DHCP is not open? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:12PM (#11728779) Homepage Journal
      There are no proprietary Microsoft DHCP extensions anyway. Microsoft makes use of the natural extensibility of DHCP like everyone else, and they define several of their own DHCP options which are duly implemented by ISC DHCP. The only other special thing about Microsoft DHCP is the use of dynamic DNS.
    • by moreati ( 119629 )
      That was my reaction also. TFA refers to the BSA letter containing DHCP as an example, so it's probably in there; but a quick google search turned up no obvious references to patents on DHCP - only some that use it.

      Anyone have a link to the BSA's letter itself?
      • The only thing I can find is the Statement on Technology Standards [bsa.org] of 15 Feb. They don't mention DHCP but rack up the FUD by mentioning 'government mandated standards' stifling interoperability. The EU is expecting Open Orgs to create the (free from royalty) standards and the EU would then use such standards (which doesn't sound to me like they're stifling the process).
      • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:58PM (#11728989) Homepage
        Anyone have a link to the BSA's letter itself?

        I've not found one yet, although that it would clarify what specific issues might be is somewhat remote I think. Either it's not been posted anywhere yet because it's the weekend or this "Open Letter" is "open" in the same sense that Microsoft's shared source is "open". They don't understand the concept of open source code, so why should we expect them to understand the concept of an open letter? ;)

    • I am guessing it is just a scare tactic.

      Lets look at the others:

      GSM: Formerly proprietary. Iirc, patents have expired. The GSM codec, for example, is commonly used in asterisk implimentations.

      802.1x: IEEE standard. Unclear about patent encumbrances though. Won't take off IMO if too encumbered. Many standards are not really unencumbered and so are not readily employed.

      • by aminorex ( 141494 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:32PM (#11730198) Homepage Journal
        802.1x is an open IEEE standard describing port-based access control for MAC bridges operating in the manner of 802.1D. I'm amazed that anyone would give Benoit enough credibility to parrot his claims since they seem to be utterly incoherent. Is 802.1x a crucial interoperability standard? No. Is its implementation patent-encumbered? No. Is it in any way relevant to or illustrative of his argument (if he had one)? No. Does he have any argument at all? No.

        Move along, there's nothing to see here. The clothes have no emperor.
  • Open standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:08PM (#11728766)
    Open standards will guarantee that your data is safe. What happens if the company that makes the software goes out of business? If the format is open you will at least be able to retrieve the data. I don't think that all software has to be completely open, but the data formats need to be open. This gives the customer the choice of what software to run and lets them update when there is a need to update, not when they are told they have to update.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Europeans are also fairly interested in preserving culture. With open standards like "pen", "paint", "paper", "rock", and "chisel" the Romans and the people of the Renaissance and countless others have been able to create a rich cultural history.

      Just imagine what would have happened if early Europeans used DRM protected media to record their culture? We'd still be in the Dark Ages because nothing would be readable.

      Technology makes media and media formats obsolete. Those 8" disks you bought two and a half
    • Re:Open standards (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:17PM (#11730099) Homepage Journal

      What happens if the company that makes the software goes out of business?

      ...or simply decides to stop supporting their own format. I have a sizable number of Microsoft Works files from the early 1990's that I just can't open anymore. The earliest Microsoft software that I can now find won't open versions earlier than 4, and it seems that they're too old for anyone else to care about supporting them.

      Luckily I can get some text out by viewing the raw file or using tools like 'strings', but I'd much rather have all of the original marked up formatting.

      • Re:Open standards (Score:3, Insightful)

        by calidoscope ( 312571 )
        or simply decides to stop supporting their own format.

        An all too frequent occurence - happened to a few co-workers when Lotus stopped supporting Manuscript. One of them commented that some of the stuff he wrote in the early 1990's is basically unreadable, but the stuff he did in TeX in the 1980's is maintainable.

        One of the smartest things Sun did in regards to StarOffice/OOo was to GPL the core engine (meaning that the files should be readables decades from now) and documenting the file format.

    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:31PM (#11730191)
      Open standards will guarantee that your data is safe. What happens if the company that makes the software goes out of business? ...
      I agree completely.

      But the question I haven't seen asked (or answered) anywhere is ... what problem(s) would a commercial ISV have with supporting Open file formats?

      This discussion really cannot progress until Microsoft's people can explain EXACTLY what functionality they would lose IF they supported Open file formats (as the default format).

      I hear a lot of crying about "patents" and "IP" and "innovation" and "don't give Open Source an unfair advantage", but I haven't heard what the technological problem would be with supporting an Open file format (without any patent restrictions or other IP problems).

      Microsoft, are you going to step up and say what the technological problem is?

      =============
      Yeah, I know what the real problem is and it ain't tech. It's all about control of your data and making it as expensive as possible for you to switch.

  • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:12PM (#11728777) Homepage
    Open standards are best for economic growth because such standards encourage competition and drive prices downward and quality upward in the relevant markets. One of the best examples is the specification for the IBM PC when it debuted in 1981. Although this standard was not open per se, we can consider it to be a de facto open standard because IBM allowed other companies to build clones. Then, many other companies (e.g. Compaq, AST, and others) joined the market, and the ensuing competition grew the market and drastically decreased prices and raised quality. The personal computer on which you are reading this SlashDot article would, today, run much slower and cost much more if IBM were the sole maker of personal computers. Note that the IBM PC with its de facto open standard spawned a multi-billion dollar industry in relatively short time, affirming the value of both open standards and Yankee ingenuity.

    Another good example is the de facto open standard called the x86 instruction set. When Intel was the sole producer of microprocessors based on this standard, prices tended to be higher than what they could be. However, competition from AMD forced Intel to slash prices and to drastically raise the bar on performance. Hence, if Intel were the sole producer of x86-based microprocessers, your computer would probably still be using the 80386, and the Pentium 4 with EMT64 with be a century down the road while Intel continued to reap monopoly profits.

    Open standards are great -- for the consumer!

    • Open Standards are not the same as Open Software: there are numerous "Open Standard" compliant tools and operating systems that do proprietary, broken, unfixable things that customers or code developers cannot fix because of the closed source. Solaris tried this, although they seem to be learning.
    • If the latest intel processor were still the 386, we'd all be using MIPS or PowerPC processors. MIPS was still going strong when the 386 was out, and PowerPC wasn't around yet (by about seven years.) Sparc was always expensive, and probably always will be.

      Anyway the point is that intel would have been pushed by competition in other markets, because otherwise the PC would die and the world would move on to a superior architecture. Of course, the PC architecture is finally showing some signs of evolution. P

    • When Intel was the sole producer of microprocessors based on this standard, prices tended to be higher than what they could be.

      Perhaps you can enlighten us as to when this was? When IBM approached Intel about the 8088, one of the conditions that they imposed was that there should be a second source for any part they were going to buy. This resulted in Intel licensing the design to AMD (a new start-up formed by ex-Intel employees). There have been at least two suppliers for x86 CPUs since before the IBM

    • Something I find fascinating is that x86 is a "de facto" standard.

      The IEEE standard for microprocessor is the SPARC core.

      So, why does the "de facto" win over the real standard?

      Marketing, I guess. Not many techies are even AWARE that the there is a processor standard, let alone what it is.

      Pity, that.

      Ratboy
  • by NigelJohnstone ( 242811 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:16PM (#11728786)
    Closed standards are exclusory, open standards aren't.

    An open standard can be freely used by the closed standard company (e.g. Microsoft can use HTML), whereas the closed standard can't be used by the rest of the world. (e.g. the Microsoft patented XML formats need a license to use).

    For example, Microsofts XML document format is patented. To use it you need a product that has licensed from them or Microsoft's own product.
    So if the EU publishes in that format, then they have set a precondition that the reader has to accept Microsofts terms for use of that document format.

    If you choose not to accept those Microsoft terms then you are excluded from reading the EU document.

    Their constitution forbids them from being exclusory so by definition they must opt for the open standard.

    What exactly is the problem with MS using open standards and competing with the rest of the companies? Why hide behind the BSA?

    • by NigelJohnstone ( 242811 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:27PM (#11728825)
      Suppose:

      EU decides that European citizens can sue Software companies for bad software and publishes that law in some proprietary Microsoft format.

      Microsoft EULA for the program to read that document says users accept they can only sue MS for a maximum of $10 damages.

      By publishing in that proprietary format they have let a company tack on a rider onto that law.

      • Not if the law specifies that you cannot sign away this right contractually. But anyway they would also publish the law in a book so that's a pretty silly example. A more likely problem is that governments would be using software behind the scenes that would lock them into a specific vendor in perpetuity (barring expensive reimplementation) and essentially be held hostage by them.
      • EULA and click-wrapping are basically not enforcable in the EU. Worth their weight in toilet paper.
        • That is, binding agreements must be signed (by pen, possibly by government approved digital signature), and maybe even witnessed by two people. This rules out non-signed agreements like click-wrapps and shrink-wrapps.
        • " EULA and click-wrapping are basically not enforcable in the EU"

          This is an End User Agreement between yourself and Microsoft America. You agree that the state of Washington has jurisdiction over this agreement....

          Don't dismiss EULAs so lightly, the same forces that push EULA in the USA (and have 2 court cases so far in their favour!) are pushing them in Europe too.

  • It's very simple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:23PM (#11728812)
    If M$ and the BSA had their way everyone would be using .xls and .doc formats. It's just not wise for a government to be beholden to a company for access to their own data. From a simple security standpoint it just makes sense for a person, a company, a state to have ready access to their data despite the application and open standards do that. In effect, Muller is saying, "You're taking our chance to profit from your insecurity away from us." Notice that he doesn't seem to be advising these proprietary companies to adopt open standards which would in the long run give them the access to government bids that they covet. That should cause any head of state to be alarmed.
  • by cortana ( 588495 ) <sam@rob o t s .org.uk> on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:27PM (#11728827) Homepage
    Massachusetts, for example, has a policy intended to mandate the use of open standards and open file formats, although the state recently reached an agreement with Microsoft allowing Office 2003 file formats to be defined as "open" for the purposes of the scheme.

    The government should do this more often. By simply rewriting the dictionary so that words now mean the opposite of what they did before, we can solve all the world's problems! War, famine, poverty, disease...

    Best of all, since I have patented this method of problem solving, it is now an Open Standard; this means it is free for anyone (who I choose not to sue) to use!

    • Yes, but think of what a problem peace and feast and wealth and health would become.

      Besides for reasons of national security this method must remain under wraps until the liberation of Iran has been completed.
    • I'm sorry, but in the process of protecting Mickey Mouse, the Orwell family patent on that plan was expired. Err, doubleplusunextended.

      As such, it is valid in perpetuity.

      Pay up. :)

      hawk
    • The government should do this more often. By simply rewriting the dictionary so that words now mean the opposite of what they did before, we can solve all the world's problems! War, famine, poverty, disease...

      Have you been living in a cave for the past five years? They've already rewritten "democracy", "freedom", "elections" an "justice"... One more, one less, do you think the mass will notice?
  • BSA spreads FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KontinMonet ( 737319 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:31PM (#11728839) Homepage Journal
    Two and a half years ago, in June 2002, European heads of state adopted the eEurope Action Plan 2005 at the Seville summit. It calls on the European Commission "to issue an agreed interoperability framework to support the delivery of pan-European eGovernment services to citizens and enterprises". This framework would address information content and recommend technical policies and specifications to help connect public administration information systems across the EU. The Action Plan also stipulated that the Framework would "be based on open standards and encourage the use of open source software".

    The blurb goes on:
    To attain interoperability in the context of pan-European eGovernment services, guidance needs to focus on open standards. The following are the minimal characteristics that a specification and its attendant documents must have in order to be considered an open standard:
    - The standard is adopted and will be maintained by a not-for-profit organisation, and its ongoing development occurs on the basis of an open decision-making procedure available to all interested parties (consensus or majority decision etc.).
    - The standard has been published and the standard specification document is available either freely or at a nominal charge. It must be permissible to all to copy, distribute and use it for no fee or at a nominal fee.
    - The intellectual property - i.e. patents possibly present - of (parts of) the standard is made irrevocably available on a royalty free basis.

    This approach was adopted by the parliament in April 2004 (nearly 11 months ago). And only now are BSA making noises?

    Seems to me, that as the BSA is a front for software patent pressure [eurolinux.org] that they have released this letter to muddy the waters after the (almost) non-software-patent decision taken by the EU Thursday.
  • by earthforce_1 ( 454968 ) <earthforce_1&yahoo,com> on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:33PM (#11728854) Journal

    The term "Reasonable" is nebulous, (what is reasonable to you?) and non discriminatory is incorrect as it shuts out all open source software.

    This needs to be clearly brought to the attention of EU politicians and media. There are certainly standards the EU cannot control, (DHCP, 802.11, etc.) but they must stick to their guns for standards that they can control. As for the IEEE adopting standards that include restrictive patents, well that is something I am trying to change from within, unless they are willing to open the relevent patent for use in FOSS as IBM has recently done.

    If you want to bid on contracts with proprietary software, go ahead - but the file formats and protocols must be kept open in order to avoid vendor lock-in, and allow for interoperability. After all, this Bill Gate's latest big spiel wasn't it?
    • and non discriminatory is incorrect as it shuts out all open source software.
      No, it shuts out all Free Software. It probably also shuts out a lot of open source software, but definitely not all of it (e.g. IBM can probably release CPL licensed stuff without any problem).
      • This is a silly comment. If it doesn't shut out the CPL, then it doesn't shut out all Free Software.

        From the FSF's license comment page [gnu.org]:

        Common Public License Version 1.0

        This is a free software license but it is incompatible with the GPL.

        The Common Public License is incompatible with the GPL because it has various specific requirements that are not in the GPL.

        For example, it requires certain patent licenses be given that the GPL does not require. (We don't think those patent license requirements are i

  • by internet-redstar ( 552612 ) * on Sunday February 20, 2005 @12:42PM (#11728908) Homepage
    Well I think the link between MS and the BSA has always been very strong.
    Financially the BSA is by far the most funded by Microsoft (Adobe is a distant far second if I recall correctly).


    As Microsoft's biggest 3 competitors are:
    1) itself and her older versions (seriously, MS looks at this in that way)

    2) piracy, hence their involvement in creating the BSA and funding it

    3) Linux (which we will not discuss here :)


    On another note they also use the BSA in Europe to lobby for software patents and to say that MS's XML is an 'open document format enough' (at least in Belgium, out of personal experience).


    I guess it must be like that out/in own pocket operation of Mr. Gates with his 'Foundation' helping poor children in the third world by buying MS licenses for them...

    • Once the subway trains were running again after Sept. 11th, I noticed BSA advertisements in the trains that had the New York skyline with a crosshair over it. The text read: "The BSA is Targetting New York!" Boy, talk about your bad marketing.
  • Ironic... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2005 @01:17PM (#11729078)
    ..that they would post an Open letter criticising open standards and open source.
  • Since when did EU adapt software patents?

    So if there are no software patents in EU (and hopefully never will be), what can hinder EU to use standards that are presumambly encumbered with software patents?

  • by victorvodka ( 597971 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @02:46PM (#11729613) Homepage
    One has to wonder in all of this what incentive the European Union has to pay any attention to Microsoft. MS is a corporation based in the United States, a competitor. Microsoft has a functional monopoly on several forms of essential software. One of only a few possible leverages against Microsoft is the establishment of requirements of the data allowed by your political entity. I can't understand why the EU would think twice about this matter. What possible benefit could there be to caving to Microsoft's demands? For a small political entity like Massachusetts it might make sense (at least in the short term) to cave, since such a small government market couldn't expect to have any leverage. But the EU can make all sorts of demands. They can kick this bully all over the playground if they want to.
  • Open response (Score:3, Interesting)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @03:35PM (#11729879) Homepage
    Hey BSA, if your customers want to enjoy the freedom to use any product they want to service their data (which is really what computing is about) then you'd better get with the program. Your customers don't want to be dependant on you as a sole provider any longer. Either give the customer what he wants or die. It's that simple.
  • Though the Business Software Alliance picked their name to backronym nicely over the Not Evil original BSA [scouting.org].
  • He also says that framework "shouldn't imply a link between open source and open standards".

    Yes, it shouldn't. Open source does imply open standards, but who's fault is it that open standards implies open source? It's not just a saying.
  • I work as a programmer for the State of Washington. It really surprises me that State and Federal governments do not advocate the use of open standards more.

    We in the US unfortunately were lead down the patent path where anything we code could easily violate another's patent. I'm pretty sure that with the thousands of patents being applied for by Microsoft alone in any given year it will be very difficult not to violate some of them.

    If you follow open standards you may avoid some problems. I does NOT s
  • Or should I say, Benoit von Mueller?

    Great Mueller!

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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