I can't question Florian Mueller's bravado although I have consistently questioned his tactics and his objectives when it comes to attempted enterprise-software-market manipulation. Mueller, if the name is not familiar, did the heavy lifting in the October-December 2009 effort by MySQL founder Ulf Michael Widenius (better known as Monty) to stop Oracle's (ORCL) takeover of Sun. Using the highly political European Union anti-trust approval process, the pair probably extended the completion of the Sun acquisition by six months, and perhaps ended any chance Sun technology has of ever making a comeback.
When last heard from Monty was off trying to do the same thing to Oracle in Russia and China. But Mueller, apparently bored now that he has lost the Oracle fight, has moved on to join others in a six-month-old battle attacking IBM. The issue apparently is IBM threatening the commercialization of a UK open source project called Hercules that has incorporated in France to find friendlier courts. According to Mueller:
"After years of pretending to be a friend of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), IBM now shows its true colors. IBM breaks the number one taboo of the FOSS community and shamelessly uses its patents against a well-respected FOSS project, the Hercules mainframe emulator."
The issue really is not about Free and Open Source, always written upper case for dramatic purposes (or is it some Germanic thing?) but a patent dispute. No one will ever accuse Mueller of sticking to the facts. Mueller's claim that IBM generates $25 billion a year in "mainframe software sales" is typical of the hyperbole he and Widenius used in the Oracle/Sun campaign in 2009. IBM only generates about $23 billion a year in software sales overall (including software it sells to itself) and I estimate that less than half of that is currently mainframe-related.
To really keep it interesting, IBM in its rebuttal claims that Hercules is funded by that bastion of open source rectitude, Microsoft (MSFT).
Stand by for more fun.
-- Dennis Byron
(No financial interest in companies mentioned)