Wine Project Gets Legal Help

    May 11, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The project, which offers a Windows API implementation that can run on Linux, hasn’t had much participation by big users of open source.

And the reason for that lack of participation? A fear of litigation from Windows creator Microsoft against the Wine Project.

But that risk has been mitigated today. The Wine Project team announced the Software Freedom Law Center will provide legal counsel to the project.

Board members of the SFLC include Eben Moglen, also a law professor at Columbia, and Lawrence Lessig, who participated in the United States vs. Microsoft case that nearly saw the breakup of the Redmond-based software firm.

“As open source projects are increasingly threatened by excessive litigation, technological successes must be partnered with solid legal principles,” said Mr. Moglen.

He continued: “The Wine Project is a particularly important example. By representing the Wine Project, the Software Freedom Law Center will enable further adoption of the project’s benefits and increase confidence among users.”

Why care about Wine? It runs as what might be thought of as a compatibility layer, and that layer supports Windows applications. The underlying operating system, running on a x86 platform, could be Linux, FreeBSD, or Solaris.

This means one could run Windows applications on a free open-source platform and not be required to purchase a copy of the Windows operating system from Microsoft.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.