Yes, I know, the initial press conference didn't mention Linux at all. But it has been mentioned in all the subsequent ones. Read into that what you will.
Rob Enderle was part of an Unholy Trinity in the early days of the SCO Linux lawsuits (the other corners were Laura DiDio at the Yankee Group and Maureen O'Gara). Enderle is still parroting the M$ line. He assumes M$' eight patents they are suing over are valid, and says that TomTom should just do the right thing and pay up. Oh, and us FOSS supporters should quit acting like everything M$ does is an attack:
"The Linux folks need to move on. The open source folks in Microsoft have taken positions of power and it is unlikely Microsoft will intentionally attack open source or Linux again unless the status quo changes dramatically away from Microsoft, and Microsoft starts to fail. Neither seems likely in the next five years. "
M$ has already started to fail. Vista is a lemon, and the public knows it, which is why most machines sold these days give the option of upgrading to XP (no, that's not a typo, I meant exactly what I typed). M$ is working on launching Windows 7 with company stores like Apple uses. The press said it was to combat Apple with their techniques. Uh-uh. With everything from the Zune failing to the XBox360 division continuing to hemmorage money, that ain't it. They are trying to make a hip, public appeal to try and counter all the bad mojo they are getting from Fista.
The fact of the matter is, Linux is still growing, to the point where Steve Ballmer the other day said Linux has become bigger than Apple (how he came by this data is unknown, as aside from Linspire, no Linux registers its users with a unique identity that can be tracked, but if anyone would know, it would be them). It's aided and abetted by the lousy economy. People who suddenly can't afford a new Fista-capable machine or have better things to do with the cash than buying a ton of expensive junk just to run it can go with a free (as in beer) OS with modern security and features. Win7 is due in 2010. Despite the wild optimism of the Fed, the recession is unlikely to end until 2010, likely mid- to late-. There's just not enough oomph to do it. Combined with people actually WANT Linux. The biggest complaint Asus gets about the eeePC's they sell in stores is that only the Windows ones are available. People don't just want free as in beer. They're figuring out free as in speech is also important, and are rejecting everything from the DRM-laced music downloads to the proprietary controls of Blu-Ray.
A lot of us FOSSers think the TomTom lawsuit is payback for TomTom refusing M$' buyout offer in 2006. We are already digging up prior art and sending it to the Open Invention Network. The FAT file system that is the core of this is guaranteed to fall. Between that and the Bilski ruling from the Supreme Court that basically threw 90% of software patents into the wood chipper (in order for software patents to be valid, they have to be tied to patentable hardware. If you came up with a file system for a specific storage system you are building and selling, it's patentable. If it's a file system that is just generally used containers like FAT with its existence on thumb drives and the like, it's not), M$ is risking losing some of its sabres for rattling just to drum up some FUD. If it goes splat, M$ sees the exodus get larger, as well as the crowd of people will to fight them.
As we Chicagoans would say, "That's a really nice patent. Be a pity if anything should happen to it," as we pull our fedoras (grin) lower over our eyes and walk away....