[freetds] TDS versions

James K. Lowden jklowden at freetds.org
Wed Jun 4 09:27:20 EDT 2008

ZIGLIO, Frediano, VF-IT wrote:
> I think we should not read these documentations. At least
> before fully understanding the limits that Microsoft seems to impose...

It's OK to read the documents.  Reading them imposes no obligation. 
There's no implied agreement or contract.  

> and as my understanding I'll have to stop coding MARS and similar stuff

No, there's no cause to stop and no cause for alarm.  

I read the patent carefully.  It is perfect nonsense.  It represents
neither innovation nor non-obvious changes.  It has never been found valid
in a court of law, and Microsoft would be foolish to try to enforce it.  

MARS?  Give me a break.  If MARS is patentable, then I can patent a change
to FTP to allow multiple simultaneous downloads.  Wow!  Why didn't anyone
else think of that?  

Oh, and do this: read the patent and try, just try, to implement anything
based on it.  On second thought, don't try.  It's a hopeless muddle.  The
figures alone are laughable.  If anyone brought me such a presentation to
describe a project, I'd throw him out after the first 10 minutes.  

In short: Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.  

> Personally I don't want change FreeTDS licenses to MIT or similar. 

And we won't!  :-)

I'm preparing a page for the website that describes the "patent question".
 Dossy wrote to the SFLC (www.softwarefreedom.org.  Thanks, Dossy!)  Their
answer helped me understand the issues more clearly.  One has to take care
not to be brainwashed into taking Microsoft's claims as fact.  

For now, though: no worries.  Full speed ahead to version 1.0!  



P.S.  The only concern I really have is that if we implement features for
which Microsoft has acquired a patent, Linux distributions e.g. Fedora
might decide not to distribute FreeTDS.  That's a longer conversation
we'll have to have with other free software projects, to decide what to do
in general.  

If Fedora et al. were to decide never to distribute anything in the shadow
of a patent, Microsoft et al. could paper the world in worthless claims
and shut them down.  The only alternative I see is to ignore any claims
until the claimant does more than pound the podium.  

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