Corporations and You: Who’s Who in Open Source – Part 3

Continued from Part 2


Finally, the most expected category . Companies that, with their actions (or inactions), affect Open Source, with the intent to destroy or uncharacterize it.

Apple: The number one company in (expensive) gadgets, Apple has deep connections with Open Source. Some Open Source projects are closely linked to it.

Apple, of course, loves the BSD projects, which allow it to suck what it can from the community and give nothing in return. Apple loves Open Source so much, it even based its MacOSX on a BSD like operating system core, putting a proprietary GUI(Quartz) on top of it.

But not only that, Webkit, the engine behind Google Chrome, started as a fork of KHTML, the HTML engine of KDE.

Apple approached the KDE developers in 2002 and took advantage of their job very well. But, as it was expected,  in time to incorporate the work of Apple back into the code of KHTML, the company hindered in every possible way access for the KDE team to the changes that were made in the code, asking for NDA’s and claiming to be protecting trade secrets.

The relationship soured over time, and even with the opening of Apple’s Webkit code (part BSD license, part LGPL) there are still fears for the future of KHTML, an essential component of the KDE browser Konqueror.

But that’s not all. Apple still has a vital point for Linux, CUPS print system, adopted by all Linux distributions, which Apple began using in 2002 in its MacOSX, and eventually bought the company behind it in 2007.

And there were changes in their license, being part LGLP, and part proprietary (after the acquisition by Apple). But once again we see Apple’s habit of taking advantage of someone else’s work without concern about giving something in return to those who produced it.

And let’s not forget that Apple sued HTC, a manufacturer of mobile phones in Asia, because of the Open Source operating system Android. So it’s a company that can be very damaging to the Open Source.

Microsoft: Microsoft has a longstanding relationship with Open Source. At the time of Windows 95/NT, its TCP / IP stack  was “inspired” by BSD. Yes, Microsoft Loves Open Source. It loves to appropriate it, charge high prices for it and  giving nothing back to anyone.

More recently, Microsoft, in a gesture of “goodwill” with the community, created its own web portal to accommodate Open Source projects, Codeplex Foundation, and has had for some time a portal for developers, Port25.

But what a surprise when  a tool for installation of windows 7 “surfaced”, which code was very similar to a project that was hosted at Codeplex. Oh, shame on you, Microsoft, shamelessly grabbing code from the projects on Codeplex .

But it was not just that: Code being used in its virtualization supervisor , Hyper-V, also had traces of  copy of Open Source projects. Microsoft, caught with the hand in the cookie jar, then quickly made a “donation” for Linux kernel drivers.

In the same spirit of “inspiration” for the work of others, Microsoft has also been inspired by Plurk to create a similar service, MSN Juku. Of course, had to shut it down after it became public their Juku service was a blatant rip off.

Some time ago, Microsoft sued Tom Tom, a maker of GPS devices, about patents on file systems. And recently, sued Salesforce , aggressively and unprovoked, as its CRM system can not compete with the Open Source  Salesforce’s CRM system.

And then, there are the agreements with Novell, HTC, Samsung, LG, which adds an “imaginary” licensing fee of their patents, so others can use open source projects, of which Microsoft has never helped and never wanted them to thrive.

Besides Mono / Moonlight, which is a time bomb, which enables Microsoft to take actions as Oracle’s lawsuit against Google. That is, if the Mono / Moonlight is not ejected from the Linux environment, we can see, in a not too distant future, more ridiculous lawsuits such as Oracle’s.

(dis)Honorable Mentions

The companies listed below are companies that have violated the GPL at some point, or continue to violate until today.

And, this list may change at any time. We hope to increase Open Source supporters and followers of the GPL.

3 Replies to “Corporations and You: Who’s Who in Open Source – Part 3”

  1. Ha, M$ is doing it again, some make up on its open source foundation, Codeplex becomes Outercurve… Jeezus, talk about a wolf in sheep's clothes…

  2. Glad to see Apple on the list of Hostile. I've actually had discussions with people who tried to convince me that Apple is hard-core FOSS b/c they opened up Webkit. I just ask them where they think Webkit originated and that usually shuts them up.

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