European Open Standards: EU enjoys standards on Discriminatory terms

Microsoft withdrawn two remaining appeals before the European Union’s Court of First Instance against European Commission antitrust decisions.

As reported by Slashdot an article in Australia’s IT News mentions that under its antitrust agreement with the European Union:

Microsoft will publish an irrevocable pledge not to assert any patents it may have over the interoperability information against non-commercial open source software development projects.

DiscriminatoryOf course you can, if you stay in the green area! by Lateefa

While I understand that Erich Andersen, European General Counsel for Microsoft, said that:

We believe it’s important at this stage to focus all of our energies on complying with our legal obligations and strengthening our constructive relationship with the European Commission.

I don’t understand why Neelie Kroes, EU’s Competition Commissioner, said that:

I have always said that open source software developers must be able to take advantage of this remedy: now they can.

Despite Georg Greeve (FSFE President) seems happy about the news, and Dana Blankenhorn believes that open source developers found a greater protection in Europe, I am concerned.

Answering a Dana’s post, I stressed the importance of the real meaning of the expression RAND, Reasonable And Not Discriminatory.

As a matter of fact even if you have to ask a single dime for each copy of a software, that it simply can’t be free software. In this respect perspective any (open) standard and protocol has to be royalty-free, unless you want to keep out open source. I totally agree with John McCreesh, the EU has worked for three years to produce a mouse, and no one is really taking advantage of if it. Did interoperability win? I am afraid not.

I see FFII, Stefano Maffulli sharing my concerns, and I really hope that the Samba Team will soon take a position on this matter. Benjamin Henrion, FFII representative said:

Kroes has ensured that EPO software patents – which the EU rejected in 2005 – will now strengthen the monopolist’s grip for years to come.

I totally agree with Benjamin, a patent covenant for non commercial open source developers is a small blanket. At the end of the day “free software” might cost a lot to end customers and open source firms, from now on.

Technorati Tags: Commercial Open Source, Non Commercial Open Source, FFII, StefanoMaffulli, DanaBlankenhorn, HenrionBenjamin, NeelieKroes, JohnMcCreesh, RAND, Europe, FSFE, GeorgGreeve

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