FSFE Newsletter

Alex Hudson home at alexhudson.com
Tue Jan 8 09:47:02 UTC 2008

On Tue, 2008-01-08 at 09:37 +0000, Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> > Actually, this is not right.
> > Having the docs is definitely better than having none, even under NDA.
> Having OOXML as it is must be definitly better then.

You're comparing apples and oranges. OOXML is a new format; Samba is
speaking a relatively old format. Windows domains are already here and
in broad use; OOXML has little take-up. Documenting a new thing is of
much less value than documenting something in such broad use.

> Under NDA development it is frequent that you can't reveal information
> through "readable" function names or variables, or even comments
> explaining the limits of certain values, etc...

        "To the extent that Microsoft Confidential Information is
        embodied in and disclosed by source code (including comments to
        source code in line with standard industry practice) versions of
        Implementations, Licensee may disclose such Confidential
        Information as part of a distribution of such source code. For
        further clarification of standard industry practice, the parties
        intend that the standard will be the commenting and/or commit
        messages reasonably required from the perspective of good
        software engineering practices. Without limiting the sources of
        such standards, the kinds of practice that would typically be
        sources for those standards would include those described in
        Writing Clean Code (Steve Maguire) and Code Complete (Steve
        McConnell), as well as those used generally in the published
        source code from Samba.org as of the date of this Agreement."

You know, you can just go and read the agreement and see what it
actually says?

> > > The EU is happy-happy joy-joy[1] about the whole charade where it
> > > has granted Microsoft the right to demand royalties for it's software
> > > patents to Free Software users.
> > 
> > The EU has no such granting power, patent law allows Microsoft to ask
> > for royalties.
> And EC recognises software patents, Q.E.D.

You're confusing two completely separate issues. The first is the
ability to demand royalties for software patents. We've already shown
that isn't the case.

The second is recognition of the existence of software patents. Fact is,
*they are issued in Europe*. What on earth could the Commission have
done? Even if it licensed them for everyone to use freely, it would a.
only have applied in Europe and b. still recognised the fact they exist.

The FSFE et al. could have taken the approach of "we don't recognise
software patents, so we refuse to have any patent language in the
agreement". That's about as safe as saying "we don't recognise the right
of way for motorists, so we won't look both ways when crossing the
road", and it would have gained *nothing*. We're equally unsafe now as



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