Can you guess what this study is going to conclude?

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See “Study: Developers Do Not Want GPL 3 to Police Patents” in eWeek. It starts:

A new Microsoft-funded study has found that open-source developers do not believe that licenses such as the upcoming GNU General Public License 3.0 should enforce software patents or prevent deals like the Microsoft-Novell patent agreement.

The industry responses should be interesting and fairly quick, I believe. Those open source people are so shy (grin).

For my sake, I try hard to not think that any Microsoft-funded study about open source is just for entertainment value, though it never seems to have a surprising or shocking conclusion that might lend it greater interest.


  1. From my point of view, the interesting thing about this study is that it has been conducted in the first place. Why should Microsoft care?

    The only reason that they would sponsor such a study is because they are afraid of the implications of GPL v3 to agreements such as the one they have with Novell.

    I guess they must be really scared.

  2. So Microsoft asked a handful of devs that largely don’t use the GPL about GPLv3 and got the ‘pragmatists’ to disagree with the FSF, and is now trumpeting that as anti-GPLv3 & anti-patent license sentiment among 90% of all devs? Haha, that’s Microsoft PR division work at its finest.

    Amazing what sort of work passes for a study in Harvard, btw.

  3. Mary Jo Foley got the meat of it [link] : There is only 34 responses. Too small a sample. Probably will not survive any statistical analysis on whether the data is valid.

    For a 33 page report, it means about one page per respondant.

    I must say I did expect the response to be low. They just sent the email to the wrong persons, i.e., those most unlikely to response to any MS-sponsored survey.

    GPL v3 ignoring the need of developers? There is a online wiki for commenting and that is about as democratic as you can get. Let’s not forget GPL v3 is actually the baby of FSF, if they don’t want anybody else input, it’s their right. Personally I think this is much better than what most organizations do when sharing source code.

  4. I think it’s interesting in that the GPL is very selectively enforced. I’m not a fan of MSFT, but if you look at the situation holistically, the “open source community” sometimes is as predatory as MSFT.

    For example, Meebo is written from GAIM (and they openly acknowledge this), but they have yet to release a single bit of source code. Why doesn’t the community go after meebo?

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