Microsoft Steps Up Open Source Battle

Microsoft continued its battle against open source on Tuesday with the release of yet another company-funded study showing that developers believe the next version of GPL shouldn't cover patent deals.

This latest study was performed by the Harvard Business School, and found that developers would rather have GPLv3 stay out of the deal regulation business. Perhaps not coincidentally, the study comes a week after Microsoft claimed that open source software violates 235 patents.

The study is based on a very small sample of only 34 respondents. Researchers sent out some 332 questionnaires, but a scant 11 percent responded, according to eWEEK. Some Microsoft watchers are puzzled by Redmond's latest moves.

"I'm stunned that after taking a number of seemingly positive steps vis-a-vis its thinking and strategy around open source, Microsoft has decided to blow away any bridges it built in a matter of weeks," long time Microsoft pundit Mary Jo Foley opined.

She noted that Microsoft's threat to sue had backfired, and pointed to a website that lists over 300 open source supporters that are openly asking Microsoft to sue them over alleged patent infringement.

Microsoft is now in a tough predicament. Either it must stick to its guns, or attempt to back off and sweep what could become a public relations disaster under the rug.

Others are echoing Foley's concerns. "Microsoft perceives risks with how GPLv3 treats intellectual property. The playing field isn't level, though. There is no similiar mechanism for Microsoft licensing," Joe Wilcox, writer for Microsoft Watch, told BetaNews.

"Microsoft gets the say, with modest input from its largest customers."

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