30 Nov 2003

Giving Thanks

On November 12, ZDNet UK reported that Bradley Tipp, Microsoft’s UK National Systems Engineer, proclaimed the death of the free software model at the Monopoly’s IT Forum in Copenhagen. Had Mr Tipp been right, our death would have been one of the most temporary on record. From where I sit, two weeks later at the season of Thanksgiving in the United States, the Free World has much to be thankful for in the year now ending, and little to fear from the year to come.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2003.11.30-00:00.00

19 Oct 2003

Patent Victory

The European Parliament’s rejection earlier this month of the Commission’s proposed software patent policy is a watershed moment for the global free software movement. From both technical and political standpoints, this decision will have far-ranging consequences for years to come.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2003.10.19-00:00.00

07 Sep 2003

At Last, the Evidence

Last month we finally learned what all the noise is about. Although SCO continues its game of hide and seek with the truth, at least a few of the critical pieces have fallen into place. Naturally, as one would expect given the disingenuous build-up, what we can see of the SCO evidence of copyright infringement in the Linux kernel is almost the square root of nothing.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2003.09.07-00:00.00

10 Jul 2003

Managing Free Software after SCO

The SCO v. IBM lawsuit may not be a significant legal threat to the freedom of free software, but it does put emphasis on questions of project management in the free software community. SCO’s irresponsible public statements about copyright infringement in the the Linux kernel, and its lawsuit claiming that the same program has included trade secret material wrongly contributed by IBM, have disquieted users. SCO’s legal claims and its less responsible public accusations are likely to fail, as I’ve said before. But users of free software should now get better answers from the free software community about how free software is made, so that they can understand more clearly why it is safe to copy, modify, and redistribute.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2003.07.10-00:00.00

12 Jun 2003


The lawsuit between the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) and IBM has been roiling the free software world this past month. More disturbing than the lawsuit itself have been the public statements by representatives of SCO, which have irresponsibly suggested doubts about the legitimacy of free software overall.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2003.06.12-00:00.00

12 May 2003

The Europatent Debate

The most important political issue affecting the future of free software in Europe is moving towards a vote in the European Parliament this month. The Parliament will either accept or reject a proposal by the European Commission to alter European patent practice to conform with the US Patent and Trademark Office’s liberal granting of patents for “inventions” implemented in computer software. This threatens to bring US-style business-method and health-method patents to Europe. It also threatens open standards and the very existence of free software.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2003.05.12-00:00.00

10 Apr 2003

Our Embedded Correspondents

We’ve been hearing a good deal about “embedding” lately. Journalists traveling with an invading army are not exactly like complex software contained inside end-user hardware devices, but the word does get around. In the part of the world you and I live in, where “embedding” refers to putting free software inside, there have also been some interesting developments.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2003.04.10-00:00.00

17 Mar 2003

When the Tide Turned

I have just returned from the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation. This year marks the end of the first decade of my direct association with the Foundation, and with the struggle to make and keep software free. Our Board meeting is always a time for stock-taking, giving us an opportunity to assess where we are and where the movement for freedom is going in the year to come. This year that assessment seems particularly resonant for me, personally, but also especially hopeful.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2003.03.17-00:00.00

10 Feb 2003


There’s plenty of uneasiness in Redmond, Washington, these days. Microsoft has begun to internalize the recognition that the next, and quite probably final, period of its existence will be dominated by competition with free software. That competition presents challenges the monopoly has never faced before, and already it has become necessary, at what Microsoft hopes is still an early stage in the confrontation, to take steps that no other competitor has ever had the power to force.

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permalink | columns/lu | 2003.02.10-00:00.00

15 Jan 2003

The dotCommunist Manifesto

A Spectre is haunting multinational capitalism—the spectre of free information. All the powers of “globalism” have entered into an unholy alliance to exorcize this spectre: Microsoft and Disney, the World Trade Organization, the United States Congress and the European Commission.

Where are the advocates of freedom in the new digital society who have not been decried as pirates, anarchists, communists? Have we not seen that many of those hurling the epithets were merely thieves in power, whose talk of “intellectual property” was nothing more than an attempt to retain unjustifiable privileges in a society irrevocably changing? But it is acknowledged by all the Powers of Globalism that the movement for freedom is itself a Power, and it is high time that we should publish our views in the face of the whole world, to meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Free Information with a Manifesto of our own.

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permalink | manifestos | 2003.01.15-12:46.00