If you’ve been following the news of late, you’ll be aware that Microsoft is suing Tom Tom (maker of GPS devices which ship with Linux) over claimed patent infringements, which include the FAT filesystem.
You really should read this article on ZDNet which discusses Microsoft’s reasons behind doing so, thanks to a comment made by Samba guru Jeremy Allison. Essentially, Microsoft has been getting companies to sign NDA agreements over patent deals with FAT. This is forbidden under Section 7 of the GPLv2 which means those companies are then not allowed to distribute Linux.
Jeremy Allison says,
Tom Tom are the first company to publicly refuse to engage in this ugly little protection racket, and so they got sued. Had Tom Tom silently agreed to violate the GPL, as so many others have, then we’d only hear about a vague “patent cross licensing deal” just like the ones Microsoft announces with other companies.
Make no mistake, this is intended to force Tom Tom to violate the GPL, or change to Microsoft embedded software.
Let’s hope the Free Software World can rally behind Tom Tom and help win the case. It would be a shame to see Microsoft continue to get away with this sort of behaviour. Did we not see this coming?