[FSFE PR][EN] [GNU/FSF Press] FSF Files Statement on Microsoft Judgment under Tunney Act

Bradley M. Kuhn pr at fsf.org
Tue Jan 29 13:29:44 CET 2002


Media Contact: Free Software Foundation
Bradley M. Kuhn <pr at gnu.org>
Phone: +1-617-542-5942

        FSF Files Statement on Microsoft Judgment under Tunney Act

Washington, DC, USA - Tuesday, January, 29, 2002 - Eben Moglen, board
member and general legal counsel to the Free Software Foundation,
yesterday filed a response to the Proposed Revised Final Judgment in
United States vs. Microsoft.  The FSF seeks to remove verbiage added by
Microsoft that we believe would eliminate the value of the settlement by
preventing Free Software systems from competing effectively against
Windows products.

Moglen reiterated today: "The language of the Proposed Judgment should be
amended to require Microsoft to release timely and accurate API
information to all parties seeking to interoperate programs with Microsoft
Windows and applications written to work with Microsoft Windows."

The Proposed Judgment allows Microsoft to specifically block such
interoperation through two specific methods.  First, under the Proposed
Judgment, Microsoft can keep API information out of the hands of Free
Software developers through the imposition of royalty requirements.  Large
groups of cooperating volunteers are both logistically and financially
unable to pay such royalties for access to APIs.  Royalty charges for
Microsoft API access would slow to a halt Windows interoperability work by
their most viable competitor, the Free Software GNU/Linux operating
system.  Free Software developers have by the nature of their development
model always given unfettered access to their APIs, and we ask that
Microsoft be required to do the same.

Second, the Proposed Judgment includes broad language concerning the
disclosure of communications protocols.  This provision is so indefinite
that Microsoft will likely argue that all APIs and communications
protocols connected with the security and authentication aspects of
electronic commerce can be kept secret.  Industry standard security
practices currently demand that all such protocols be publicly known and
documented.  Under this Judgment, Microsoft would be permitted to keep
these private from both Free Software and the public relying on them for
their privacy and security.

The full FSF response to the Proposed Revised Final Judgment is available
at http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/ms-doj-tunney.html.

About GNU/Linux:

GNU/Linux is the integrated combination of the GNU operating system with
the kernel, Linux, written by Linus Torvalds in 1991.

Some people call the GNU/Linux system "Linux", but this misnomer leads to
confusion (people cannot tell whether you mean the whole system or the
kernel, one part), and spreads an inaccurate picture of how, when and
where the system was developed.  Making a consistent distinction between
GNU/Linux, the whole operating system, and Linux, the kernel, is the best
way to clear up the confusion.  See
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html for more explanation.

About the Free Software Foundation:

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute
computer programs.  The FSF promotes the development and use of Free (as
in freedom) Software - particularly the GNU operating system and its
GNU/Linux variants - and Free Documentation for Free Software.  The FSF
also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of
freedom in the use of software.  Their web site, located at
http://www.fsf.org, is an important source of information about GNU/Linux.
They are headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.

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