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Munich Dithers On Linux Deployment

Munich's stop-and-go plan to move 14,000 desktops from Windows to Linux awaits a study of potential patent issues.
A much-heralded design win for Linux has hit a bump in the road. Some 14,000 desktops in Munich, Germany, were moving from Windows to Linux. But on Aug. 2, according to a TechWeb report, Green Party alderman Jen Muehlhaus raised a red flag over potential patent issues, and the project was halted temporarily.

Concerns centered on new patent directives currently being formulated within the European Community. It's feared that future regulations could create a situation where a software patent holder would have the right to issue a cease-and-desist order against the city of Munich.

However, on Aug. 11, Munich Mayor Christian Ude held a press conference to say the project would soon be restarted, once the city completed an impact study of European Union patent issues.

In the United States, potential patent concerns involving Linux are being addressed on multiple fronts. To reassure open-source developers, IBM has pledged that it would not assert its patent portfolio against Linux. And a new company, Open Source Risk Management in New York, has been formed to assess Linux patent issues and offer what it calls "risk-migration" consulting services.

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