Thursday, September 16, 2004

D'oh! Details of the momentous Sun-Microsoft deal signed in April have started to raise eyebrows in the open source world.

As part of its SEC filings, Sun revealed this week that under the deal, users of its Open Office software would be exempt from legal action from Microsoft. But from 1 April 2004, all non-Sun users of the open-source software suite will not be.

What this says about Sun's approach toward the open-source movement is already being hotly debated. It has however also demonstrated Microsoft's controversial approach to business.

Having reached agreement to leave the way open to sue users of Open Office, this week it was telling the Open Office community it wanted to work with it, prior to its exhibit at an Open Office conference.

The Sun-MIcrosoft agreement says Microsoft can seek damages from Open Office users or distributors for any copy of Open Office installed after 1 April 2004. However, users of Sun's commercial distribution of Open Office, called StarOffice are protected from legal liabilities.

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