IBM Breaks Open Source Patent Pledge

“IBM has broken the pledge it made in 2005 not to assert 500 patents against open source software. In a letter sent to Roger Bowler, president of TurboHercules SA, IBM’s Mark Anzani, head of their mainframe business, claimed that the Hercules open-source emulator (disclaimer: I manage the open source project) infringes on at least 106 issued patents and 67 more applied for. Included in that list is two that it pledged not to assert in 2005. In a blog entry, the NoSoftwarePatents campaign’s Florian Mueller said that ‘IBM is using patent warfare in order to protect its highly lucrative mainframe monopoly against Free and Open Source Software.’ I have to agree: from where I sit, IBM likes Open Source only as long as they don’t have to compete with it.”


Mmm, unfortunately if memory serves, these guys have been pushing their product as an alternative solution for mainframe disaster recovery which is going to cost IBM an arm and a leg if it takes off. I can’t help thinking that these guys decision to make the software OS was at least partially driven by the thought that they could use OS to hide behind when IBM got upset - which they were bound to do at some point.

… it’s not something that strikes me as an application that anyone is ever going to use for anything other than mainframe disaster recovery, in which case, if I’m wrong, I’d love to know “why” they decided to make the software Open Source (?!)

Just to put this into context, this isn’t some lone developer putting something out there free for the masses, this is a commercial outfit who’ve developed something highly specialised that only applies to large corporations, that they’re now trying to make money off.

Personally I don’t see software patents as valid and think they should be scrapped globally … but this does smell a little like taking a dive in the goal mouth …