As reported at InternetCases, the US Court of Appeals has thrown out a case against IBM, Red Hat and Novell complaining that they were conspiring to monopolise the operating system market by releasing Linux for free under the GPL. Rather than finding this to be the case, the court determined that:
Instead of being a restraint on trade, […] the GPL serves to foster creativity, by enabling the free distribution and building of new derivative works.
Techdirt notes that this wasn’t the first case filed by the plantiff against open source; he’s also sued the Free Software Foundation for pricefixing with the GPL. Again, the case was thrown out. For once there’s also some insightful commentary on Slashdot.
It’s interesting to see open source continue to gain ground, and cases like these can be looked at as tests for the open source licenses that make the concept work. As each successive case is won, the licenses become stronger from a business perspective, and more and more companies will be willing to give them a try.