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01.21.08

Software Patents and Colombia

Posted in America, FSF, GPL, Patents at 2:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Several months ago we mentioned Microsoft's apparent misconduct in Colombia. In short, the company made itself a majority voter on the issue of OOXML. It ‘hijacked’ the elections. Here is another curious new bit which comes from Colombia:

The first morning saw heated debate between the panel and the audience, specially after the Communications Minister defended software patents as a way of helping young entrepreneurs get financial support for their projects.

Having seen strong evidence of influence in governments, this is particularly interesting. We have already seen Bill Gates blackmailing Denmark for software patents. One has to look more closely to find out who is having supper with who else.

In other related news, the FSF has required legal clarifications that reduce or altogether eliminate a possible ambiguity. Here it is:

Earlier this week, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) released a document that explains and clarifies the meaning of the term “Program” in the GNU General Public License, version 3 (GPLv3).

A clarification has already been posted publicly in the FSF’s Web site. The FSF will also hold an Associate Members Meeting quite shortly.

Come join the Free Software Foundation leadership and staff for a day of presentations and conversations!

As we stated a couple of days ago, adoption of the GPLv3 is still very commendable.

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4 Comments

  1. vomit said,

    January 21, 2008 at 5:16 am

    Gravatar

    offtopic but important, since I can’t find a link to contact you guys:

    Crispin Cowan joins the Windows Security Team
    http://blogs.msdn.com/michael_howard/archive/2008/01/17/crispin-cowan-joins-the-windows-security-team.aspx

    Another disgusting story. Thankfully some of us like RMS have morals and values.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 21, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Gravatar

    I see he’s involved with AppArmor, which is pretty much Novell. Don’t forget that Novell is claimed to have an “alliance” (yes, that’s the word) with Microsoft and the AppArmor team got sacked back in October last year.

    When Daniel Robbins joined Microsoft he only lasted there for a few months. It didn’t work out so well for Gentoo.

  3. Anonymous said,

    January 21, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Gravatar

    Hi Roy, thanks for the reply.

    What concerns me are the ducks being lined up:

    Novell
    Xandros
    Linspire
    and others…

    Which have entered into agreements with Microsoft and some (Xandros and the EEeePC , or whatever it’s called -and- Linspire and computers at Sears) of these are launching into stores since the Dell/Ubuntu efforts launched by the most noble Mark Shuttleworth. With people buying these Xandros/Linspire machines, is there a Microsoft tax involved? Can we expect more companies to join Microsoft and sell Linux? Should something bad happen and the Ubuntu well dries up, will Microsoft retract the Microsoft-pact Linux offerings? We know what happened to Corel Linux after Microsoft came in.

    This is going to be a long battle, Microsoft is ruthless in its history of dominating others, as it is a criminal organization and gets away with almost anything in the United States. I fear for the future of FREE and true linux distros. I’m convinced if these pacts continue, Linux’s fate is to be wrapped in a closed source blanket of Microsoft’s electric semen.

    Oh, and I just want to add FUCK YOU MICROSOFT!

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 21, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Gravatar

    What concerns me are the ducks being lined up:

    Novell
    Xandros
    Linspire
    and others…

    Yes, Turbolinux for a fact, with various rumours about Mandriva, which are nonetheless unsubstantiated. There are also at least 4 companies which use Linux in devices. They have all signed a deal with Microsoft and they pass royalties to Microsoft to cover imaginary property (see quotes from Ballmer, Smith and Gutierrez). I’m aware that it’s upsetting to hear this, but just ignoring the issue won’t make it go away. Lack of awareness or burying one’s head in the sand is the worst one can do at this stage.

    Which have entered into agreements with Microsoft and some (Xandros and the EEeePC

    This is actually an interesting issue. It was natrual to assume that royalties are being passed, but recent feedback from a senior Xandros employee suggests that Asustek isn’t necessarily paying Microsoft a penny.

    , or whatever it’s called -and- Linspire and computers at Sears)

    Yes, they do Freespire, but I doubt it’s the right route to take. For similar reasons, it’s advised to avoid OpenSUSE. We received a lot of flak for saying so. The companies benefit from their userbase (just look at the value of MySQL for example).

    of these are launching into stores since the Dell/Ubuntu efforts launched by the most noble Mark Shuttleworth.

    Mind the fact that Dell joined the Novell/Microsoft deal — whatever that actually means (it was very vague and that only raises doubts and suspicion).

    With people buying these Xandros/Linspire machines, is there a Microsoft tax involved?

    It’s hard to tell, but we’ve gathered evidence. As the quotes from Ballmer, Smith and Gutierrez show, it’s all made vague and probably deliberately so. It’s all being done behind the scenes with unnmaed companies (refusal to reveal identity). One has to wonder if it’s an attempt to increase uncertainty (creating doubt, fear).

    For similar reasons, the alleged patent violations were never named — and that’s just how a classic extortion scheme (racket) works. Think along the lines of “we have a very big pistol in our pocket and you don’t want to mess with us.”

    Can we expect more companies to join Microsoft and sell Linux?

    It’s the big ones we should worry about — Red Hat (servers) and Canonical (desktop). We posted an open letter to Red Hat’s new CEO and it was read by many people. Mark Shuttleworth is very opinionated so he can be trusted. Last year, Steven Vaughan opined that everyone would sign such a deal, but that’s just pessimism and defeatism which we refuse to embrace.

    Should something bad happen and the Ubuntu well dries up, will Microsoft retract the Microsoft-pact Linux offerings? We know what happened to Corel Linux after Microsoft came in.

    We looked back at the Corel deal about a year ago. It’s appalling, but again, Canonical can be trusted and there will be big companies like IBM, Google and Oracle who won’t permit this.

    This is going to be a long battle, Microsoft is ruthless in its history of dominating others, as it is a criminal organization and gets away with almost anything in the United States. I fear for the future of FREE and true linux distros. I’m convinced if these pacts continue, Linux’s fate is to be wrapped in a closed source blanket of Microsoft’s electric semen.

    Watch the following video. It sums up pretty well Microsoft’s prospects of changing the law to suit itself. As Professor Lessig shredly concludes, it’s corruption we must address. Looking at the merits of GNU/Linux alone is not enough when someone actively tries to suffocate it ‘peripherally’.

    If we need to make compromises and sacrifice the ‘sweet talk’, then so be it. You can’t be gentle and polite when facing a company that sabotages, steals, lies, bribes and threatens.

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