Linux and patents …

There are a number of articles coming out since the OSRM announement of potential patents and Linux. Today, I found the following article that got me thinking about political spin …

“I can assure you that IBM has no intention of using its patents against the
Linux kernel,” IBM’s senior vice president for technology and manufacturing,
Nick Donofrio, told delegates at LinuxWorld.

Well … of course! Note that Nick is very careful to say “against the
Linux kernel”
… which really doesn’t say very much. In my research, while at
SCO, I was looking at what is really contained in a “Linux
Distribution” and the amount of code that qualifies as “the Linux
kernel”. What most people do not understand is that the Linux
“kernel” only amounts to a maximum of 1%-3% of a distribution!

In the case of IBM, I’m sure that they have no issue with the “kernel”
… but I’m not so sure that they think the same about all of the
applications software, and the numerous layers of software that truly
enable Linux to be usable.

So Nick … what about the other 97%? Are you only saying that
you want the “kernel” to move unhindered? What about all of the
other software and components?

I have a feeling that this statement is going to remain very precise
and talk about the “kernel” … I agree with Bruce Perens … I want to
see it in writing. I also would love to see it use much broader
langauge to specify what IBMs intentions are.

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