Eben Moglen, co-author of the GNU General Public License v3 system and founder of the Software Freedom Law Center, is encouraging open source software users to unite in denying Microsoft's patent infringement claims.
Linux distributors shouldn't fall victim to Microsoft's "divide-and-conquer" strategy and abandon the community to "make private peace with the invader," he told vnunet.com in an interview recently:
We are trying to prevent a divide-and-conquer strategy from working. So it is important for us to say to people that they have to stick to the common defense.
Though it looks as if the interview occurred prior to the public announcement of Xandros' deal with Microsoft -- there's no mention of it in the article -- the agreement made by the smaller Linux distributor simply emphasizes the importance of unity among those who remain opposed to patents.
Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz made much the same point in his blog not long after Microsoft began claiming that open source violated 235 of its patents. Drawing parallels between open source and a free press, he said:
...[T]he best way for us to [return Sun to its heights] is to embrace community content, not litigate against it. Those that resist the transition to free media are valuing their patent portfolios more highly than their customers.
He then called on readers to add their voices to the discussion -- whether they are individuals who benefit from open source, developers who build it, or "a journalist that cares about a free press."
Time will tell how many are paying attention as Moglen continues to get his message out.