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Re: M$ 's strategy against Linux: nightmare scenario

To: linux@cthulhu.engr.sgi.com
Subject: Re: M$ 's strategy against Linux: nightmare scenario
From: Mike Acar <mike@contract.kent.edu>
Date: Fri, 05 Dec 1997 16:31:02 -0500
In-reply-to: Your message of Fri, 5 Dec 1997 10:27:22 -0800 (PST) <199712051827.KAA54904@oz.engr.sgi.com>
Sender: owner-linux@cthulhu.engr.sgi.com
[Snip: Linus works for Transmeta, which Microsoft might buy in order to
"acquire" Linux. Legal or not, the legal fight might hamper Linux's spread well
enough to significantly reduce the threat to NT.]

This isn't a particularly big worry to me. The GPL aside, Linus's contract with
Transmeta almost definitely states specifically that Transmeta has no rights at
all to software Linus wrote before he was employed there; similarly, it almost
definitely excludes rights to software Linus writes on his own time. Further,
I'm not sure how much of the kernel Linus actually "owns" anymore; my
understanding (flawed it may be) is that he's primarily coordinating kernel
release and design, and not actually writing nearly as much code as he did. If
this is the case, Linus himself might not be able to claim ownership of the
kernel anymore.

Of course, I'm not a lawyer, so I speak from a position of significant
ignorance; handfuls of salt all round. But I really don't think that MS is going
to be able to use intellectual property to attack Linux.

What does worry me, however, is that Intel, MS and others are making significant
progress in taking control of the PC architecture. With the patented Slot-One
and Slot-Two, Intel is putting serious pressure on its competitors in the
motherboard markets; between Slot-One, Slot-Two, and buying the Alpha, I expect
the threat to Intel's dominance of the PC CPU market to virtually disappear.
The I2O SIG will control access to the hardware docs on the next generation of
fast PCs, and the licensing terms - let alone the SIG member's veto power over
membership applicants - are in fundamental conflict with Linux and the other
free PC Unices. Microsoft might not need to try to crush Linux directly; there's
a distinct possibility that Linux simply won't run on the next generation of
PCs.

But maybe that's just my negativity speaking. I doubt that even a large part of
the PC industry would like to see the architecture grow proprietary; perhaps SGI
could lead the way in providing a design for a new PC-class architecture which
is Open Hardware compliant/approved.

Along those lines, are there any plans for providing Linux drivers for the
Wintel hardware SGI's announced for next summer?
-- 
Mike Acar - mike@contract.kent.edu - "This autumn is sad beyond belief." - Kafka

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