TurboHercules

Richard Waters

IBM’s promise five years ago to release 500 of its patents to the open source world was a milestone in Big Blue’s support for community-developed software.

So the news that it now plans to assert its legal rights in the case of at least two of those patents could mark an unfortunate watershed. And, to borrow an accusation often directed at arch-rival Microsoft, it is certain to sow FUD in open source circles.

The apparent inconsistency has been unearthed by European open source advocate Florian Mueller, who recently led the quixotic and ultimately unsuccessful effort to persuade Brussels to prevent Oracle from assuming control of MySQL when it bought Sun.