EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.31.07

Patents: Novell Clarifies While Microsoft Antagonises

Posted in Apple, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell has updated its PR blog to counter what it believes to be a case of misinterpretation.

A number of articles about the filings indicate incorrectly that we are excluding OpenOffice from the covenant not to sue under the patent cooperation agreement. That’s not the case. This confusion likely stems from language in the agreements around a “grandfather clause” for certain products. The covenants Microsoft and Novell make to each other’s customers relate to ‘Covered Products.’ Some products with certain characteristics – known as ‘Excluded Products’ – do not qualify as Covered Products, and thus are not covered by these covenants. Certain products available before November 2, 2006, however, are automatically covered under these covenants, regardless of whether or not they have the characteristics of an ‘Excluded Product’. The reference in the patent cooperation agreement to OpenOffice simply means that it does not qualify for this automatic coverage. It does not mean it is not covered by the covenants. As we jointly stated with Microsoft in November, OpenOffice is covered under the patent cooperation agreement.

Elsewhere on the Web, there are various discussions that revolve around software patents and their effectiveness (or lack thereof). Here is a roundup that contains a few.

The Los Angeles Times seems to suggest that Microsoft is faced with a lose-lose situation. The only gain may be coming from the ability to instill fear in the mind of the prospective customer, which still weighs Free software options.

Is Microsoft fighting a losing battle? That’s the question posed by an op-ed piece in today’s Los Angeles Times. Maybe so, the writer concludes…

As the LA Times piece points out, whether Microsoft litigates the issues or not, the patent dispute with open source may well result in even fewer patent restrictions industry-wide than currently exist. But given that the trend toward open source and open standards shows no signs of slacking, that’s not necessarily bad.

Another op-ed from eWeek concurs entirely, at least on the issue of inevitability.

When Microsoft representatives state that everyone must play by the same rules, as they often have during recent months, what the company means is that the business and technological realities under which they’ve built their empire shouldn’t be allowed to change. However, just as the appeal of decentralized solar power will, once technologically feasible, prove irresistible, so too will the tide of free software that’s already begun rolling in prove too powerful to turn back.

RedMonk explains why the approach taken by IBM is the correct one. This implicitly suggests that Microsoft is making a big mistake.

In the wake of Microsoft’s deplorable patent commentary, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a couple of vendors on the subject of software patents.

[...]

All things considered, of course, I’d prefer that software vendors take a stance that’s cognizant of the fundmental cracks in the foundation of our patent system. But if for whatever the reason, that’s not viable, I’d recommend they do the next best thing: don’t say anything at all. It seems to work fairly well for Big Blue.

Having made this mistake, Microsoft continues to put a spin on the recent developments.

Microsoft does not believe there is an inherent contradiction between its recent statements that free and open-source software infringes on 235 of its patents, and the veiled legal threats that go along with that, and its attempts to reach out and build bridges with the open-source community.

Of course, Microsoft understands that interoperability which is based on taxation is absurd, but it stifles the rivals’ progress, assuming Linux vendors do not have extensive patent portfolios or plenty of money to spare. It’s just part of that same old manipulative agenda, which a quick look at Microsoft’s so-called ‘Open Source’ licence pretty much aligns with.

The [MSPL] Patent Poison Pill

What happens if you file a claim regarding a patent implemented in the work? The MSPL section 3B says:

That is, if you initiate legal action against any contributor to the work regarding a patent which the work may infringe, your right to the patents of that contributor (under this agreement) go away.

[...]

With a patent protection clause as anemic as MSPL 3B, I wonder why even bother adding it to the license. Though I don’t really believe it’s this useless as part of some sinister master plan, I think it demonstrates that Microsoft still doesn’t understand that there’s no distinction, in terms of our licenses, in the FOSS world between users, contributors, and companies.

For that matter, Apple is no angel either, but for slightly different reasons.

There is a cost for not being a good Open Source citizen and that cost is loss of goodwill in the community. That loss is more expensive in the long run than Apple realizes.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft 'Open' Technologies Dumped

    Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named 'Open Tech') and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called 'experts' whose agenda is to sell proprietary software



  2. More Translations of French Article About the EPO

    German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available



  3. Links 17/4/2015: Wipro and the Netherlands Want FOSS

    Links for the day



  4. Microsoft's Multi-Dimensional Assault on Android/Linux: Extortion, Lobbying of Regulators, and Bribes

    Microsoft's vicious war on Linux (and Android in its current incarnation) takes more sophisticated -- albeit illegal (as per the RICO Act) -- forms



  5. Microsoft's Plot to Associate Windows with 'Open Source' is Proving Effective, Despite Being Just a Big Lie

    A look at the latest headlines which can lead to a false perception that Microsoft is now in bed with 'Open Source'



  6. Microsoft Windows Remotely Crashed, Remotely Hijacked, But Still No Logo and No Branding for the Bugs

    Windows maintains its reputation as a back doors haven, but the media is still not highlighting the severity of this issue, instead focusing on accidental bugs in Free software, even very old (and already fixed) bugs



  7. Black Duck's Latest Self-Promotional Propaganda (for Proprietary Software) Still Fools Journalists

    Under the traditionally misleading title "Future of Open Source" Black Duck expresses its desire for proprietary software sales, salivating over fearful managers who may get bamboozled into buying the patents-'protected' Black Duck 'product'



  8. Links 16/4/2015: Opera for 32-bit GNU/Linux, New Chromebook Site

    Links for the day



  9. Links 15/4/2015: Plasma 5.3 Beta, Docker's New Funding

    Links for the day



  10. Microsoft is Still Googlebombing the Term Open Source and Fooling Politicians Who Now Think Microsoft is Open Source

    Microsoft's attempt to assimilate (to confuse) bears some fruit and the Microsoft-linked media plays a considerable role in it



  11. Back Doors/Bug Doors in All Versions of Microsoft Windows Need a Name, a Logo, and Branding Too

    All versions of Microsoft Windows are found to have been insecure since 1997, but the bug responsible for this is not named as candidate for back door access, let alone named (with logo and marketing) like far less severe bugs in Free/libre software such as OpenSSL



  12. OnePlus (or OnePlus Customers) Should Wipe CyanogenMod From Existing Devices and Install Something Else

    A call for OnePlus to reconsider any future updates from Microsoft's Trojan horse, Cyanogen



  13. Links 14/4/2015: 3DR Dronecode, Z1/Z2 Tizen

    Links for the day



  14. Links 13/4/2015: Linux 4.0 Released; A Look at Antergos 2015.04.12

    Links for the day



  15. EFF Uses Alice v. CLS Bank Case to Pressure USPTO to Halt Software Patenting

    A look at recent patent policies and actions from the EFF, as well as increasing secrecy at the USPTO



  16. No, Panasonic Did Not Open-Source Anything (Another Example of Openwashing for PR)

    A dissection of media deception (or media being bamboozled) regarding the act of promising not to sue using patents, which in no way relates to Free/Open Source software



  17. Yes, Software Patents Are Dying, But Media Continues to Be Dominated by Those Denying it For a Salary

    The debate about software patents in this post-Alice era parallels the Net neutrality debate, where voices of people with vested interests contribute to confusion and meddle with largely-accepted views/consensus



  18. Links 12/4/2015: Linux 4.0 Imminent, Semplice 7 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  19. GNU/Linux is Crushing Windows, So Microsoft Leaps Ahead to X+2 Vapourware (Two Versions Ahead Into the Future)

    Microsoft continues to pile up bogus claims and empty promises in an effort to stall migrations to GNU/Linux



  20. The ITC's and US Media's Surprisingly Soft Treatment of Patent Bully Apple

    Despite Apple's history of initiating patent aggression against its competition (mostly Android-backing companies), the US corporate media treats Apple like a victim



  21. Microsoft Continues to Attack (and Tax) Linux Using Software Patents

    Microsoft stabs Linux in the back while it continues to insist that it 'loves' Linux



  22. European Unitary Patent Decision Due 5th of May

    The meta-industry of patent protectionism is debating and pushing forth the Unitary Patent Court, with or without endorsement from the European public



  23. Microsoft is Still Googlebombing 'Open Source'

    Microsoft's massive campaign of deception, obfuscation and misuse of the "Open Source" brand is still on, even a week after it was cleverly started by Condé Nast



  24. Links 11/4/2015: elementary OS Freya, Mageia 5 on the Way

    Links for the day



  25. Links 10/4/2015: Linux 4.0 Imminent, ZFS On Linux Improved

    Links for the day



  26. New Article Chronicles Suicides and Nervous Breakdowns at the EPO Due to the Management's Abuses

    Article from Le Monde translated into English



  27. Links 9/4/2015: SalentOS, Semplice Releases

    Links for the day



  28. The EPO is Becoming More Like the USPTO Under Benoît Battistelli's Greed-Driven Reign

    Recent articles about the EPO and the Unitary Patent are bundled together to highlight truly disturbing developments whereby those in power beget power through instruments of state-sanctioned power, such as the EPO (stateless entity within a continent-wide 'island')



  29. More Suicides Reported at the Staff-Hostile European Patent Office

    The EPO has become so rogue that it might as well be renamed the Euthanasia-Prodding Organisation



  30. Security FUD Against Free Software Resurfaces, Using Promotional Branding From a Microsoft-Linked Firm, So Red Hat Finally Responds

    Old news is 'new' again, as Microsoft-friendly media decides to keep knocking hard on the reputation of Free software, using words rather than substance


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts