Hercules (IBM emulator) under threat?

Eric Smith eric at brouhaha.com
Thu Apr 8 13:43:51 CDT 2010

arcarlini at iee.org wrote:
> http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/04/ibm-breaks-oss-patent-pr
> omise-targets-mainframe-emulator.ars
> It sounds like they're going after someone selling services (and running
> IBM software) rather than the emu itself at the moment.
It is important to observe that there is a huge distinction between 
Hercules, an open-source project, and TurboHercules, a commercial entity 
selling a commercial, non-open-source software package derived from 

They're not yet "going after" anyone; so far they're only defending 
their decision not to sell licenses to their proprietary operating 
systems for use on TurboHercules' commercial, non-open-source version of 
Hercules.  The TurboHercules people wrote a snotty letter to IBM along 
the lines of "nyah, nyah, we can use your processor architecture because 
it isn't patented", and IBM pointed out that they do in fact have a 
bunch of patents on it, which TurboHercules *might* be infringing.

IBM hasn't actually outright threatened or sued anyone yet, though the 
implication is that if TurboHercules really goes forward with suing IBM 
in the EU, then IBM may sue TurboHercules for patent infringement.

IBM hasn't said anything about suing the Hercules developers.  IBM in 
the past has offered some kind of covenant not to sue open source 
projects for use of a particular set of IBM patents, which may include 
some but not all of the patents they listed in their reply to TurboHercules.

Anyhow, I'm not a lawyer, and this is just my take on it after looking 
into it relatively briefly.


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