Microsoft’s Groundbreaking Promise to Open Source Developers!

If anyone wondered what the *actual* M$ position is on patents, just read what they actually announced. Here’s the most relevant bits, and thanks to PJ at Groklaw for her analysis:

“To further encourage these efforts, this pledge provides non-compensated individual hobbyist developers royalty-free use of Microsoft patents as set forth below…. Microsoft hereby covenants not to assert Microsoft Patents against each Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer (also referred to as “You”) for Your personal creation of an originally authored work (“Original Work”) and personal use of Your Original Work. This pledge is personal to You and does not apply to the use of Your Original Work by others or to the distribution of Your Original Work **by You** or others.”

So to paraphrase this Groundbreaking Promise:

We won’t sue you, individual hobbyist open source developer, if you write code that reads on one of our patents. But if you ever distribute it, ever, to anyone, ever — EVAR — then we reserve the right to sue your asses into oblivion. No kidding — even if you give it to your Mom, and we find about it. BOO SCARY!

Are you freaking *kidding* me? This is the most ridiculous “promise” I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some truly ridiculous stuff, but this is uniquely ridiculous. Are there actual developers in the real world who are stupid enough to fall for this?

Microsoft’s Groundbreaking Promise to Open Source Developers!

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