Pierre notes it is "only a matter of time before an open source company decides patents could be used to solidify open source dual-licensing schemes." I think he's right. In fact, I've seen this very issue rear its ugly head within my own company as I've thought through ways to partner with Microsoft and other proprietary companies.
It would be very easy to do as Novell did: Enter into an agreement to make a version of one's software "safe" from patents. It makes Microsoft happy. Presumably it makes one's users happy ("I'm safe from...my vendor and its partners?!").
But it doesn't fix the downstream problem, and it doesn't fix the broken software patent problem. It trades off FUD to make a sale. Myopic and ultimately damaging to one's customers, one's peers, and oneself.
This isn't even remotely intended to be a criticism of any one company or group of companies. It's rather an acknowledgment of an issue that is going to become more and more pronounced over time.… Read more