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Microsoft Open Source Patents

Microsoft Invests In Open Source Software Company 99

Posted by timothy
from the world's-biggest-open-source-vendor dept.
joabj writes "In what may be its first investment in an open source software company, Microsoft has quietly invested in TurboHercules, which maintains the Hercules open source IBM mainframe emulator. Perhaps the potential for purloining customers from the juicy mainframe market outstrips any misgivings Microsoft may have about open source. You might remember TurboHercules: In March, it filed an antitrust complaint with the EU over IBM's tying of its mainframe OSes with its hardware." A story from earlier this year gives more information on the related conflict between Hercules and IBM over patents.
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Microsoft Invests In Open Source Software Company

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2010 @04:14PM (#34423022)

    MSFT have form, remember SCO? Why else would they invest in this company?

  • by bws111 (1216812) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @04:48PM (#34423580)

    Hercules is a hardware emulator. Running stuff on Hercules does not get you any closer to migrating to Windows than running on a real zSeries machine does. The only thing Hercules does is allow you to move from expensive but highly reliable hardware to cheap hardware. Of course that move comes with an enormous performance penalty, and your 5 9s mainframe reliability has just gone in the toilet. There are probably only a handful of IBM customers world-wide who would even seriously consider doing that. The only thing Microsoft 'gains' from this is potential damage to IBM.

  • by mswhippingboy (754599) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @08:12PM (#34426224)
    z/OS is licensed per CPU (tied to the CPU serial number). Long before TurboHercules, the Hercules community tried to get IBM to provide a "hobbyist/student" license to allow z/OS (or OS/390) to be legally run on Hercules, but IBM was not interested. I don't believe at that time IBM was concerned with IP or patent issues, there just wasn't enough in it for IBM to waste their time with.
    Having said that, I know IBM "used" to license their OS to run on competitor mainframes such as Amdahl and Fujitsu, mostly because they were forced to as part of the antitrust settlement. I don't know it that's the case anymore.
    However, even if IBM were to be forced to license z/OS to be run on Hercules, I'm sure no one could afford it (at least for hobby/training purposes). I remember back 20 years ago we used to pay about $6,000 per month just for MVS (about $25,000 per month for all the IBM software we had), and we were a pretty small mainframe shop.

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