Whether it involves choice or price, freedom isn't free.
This is especially true in the realm of computer software licensing, where the question isn't if one has to pay for program use and development but rather how, to whom and when.
And nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of Microsoft's ongoing interoperability efforts as they relate to Linux platforms and the debate -- open source vs. proprietary software -- those endeavors have unleashed.
At the center of the current controversy is Microsoft's technical collaboration and patent agreements with Novell, Linspire, Xandros and other companies that use Linux technologies. The deals essentially protect users of those versions of Linux against any patent infringement lawsuits Microsoft might file.