Likewise Software, Inc., an open source company that is an expert in helping organizations manage identity, security, and storage in cross-platform IT environments, announced that it has resolved a patent dispute with Quest Software, Inc.I find the last part very hard to believe. Patent 7,617,501 is a "method for managing policies on a computer having a foreign operating system". For example, let's say your IT environment manages the Windows PCs using "Active Directory". While there are similar methods to centrally manage non-Windows systems such as Linux and Mac OS X, Active Directly doesn't have great tools to support these operating systems on its own. Not surprising, as Active Directory was developed by Microsoft for its Windows product.
In the lawsuit, Quest Software asserted infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 7,617,501 by Likewise Software. In the resolution, Likewise agreed to a permanent injunction preventing them from using the technology covered by the Quest Software patents. The resolution of this dispute has no impact on any Likewise product, customer or partner.
Ask any IT professional, and you'll likely hear that joining Linux and Mac OS X computers to an Active Directory domain is the key to providing central management of an organization's desktop computers. I view it as a natural extension, a third-party adding support where native tools were lacking. This kind of "bolt-on" support by third-party developers has been a part of the IT industry since the 1980s.
And what does Likewise do, anyway? The title on their web page says it all: "Join Linux, Unix and Mac to Active Directory". In other words, their business is built around helping IT staff manage non-Windows systems through Active Directory. So I am skeptical that this settlement will not impact "any Likewise product, customer or partner."