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

03.24.10

Software Patents Complication Shows Why Linux Needs the FSF

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, FSF, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU and Linux

Summary: Contrary to common misconceptions, the FSF’s philosophy and work actually defend Linux from the patent attacks it currently faces from Apple, Microsoft, and possibly their henchmen at Intellectual Ventures

SEVERAL days ago, TuxRadar (a Linux Format magazine Web site) decided to run a strange poll with a strange introduction that can be seen as bait (the question seems like push polling [1, 2, 3]), or maybe an attempt to make the FSF look bad. That’s fair enough as they can express an opinion or seek opinions, but as Jason from The Source put it:

This reminds me of a GNOME Foundation poll.

Jason refers to this incident [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], which ended up with tears.

“The FSF is actually fighting against the problems and the associated corruption of the patent system, for example.”Anyway, that poll about the FSF was seemingly alienating GNU/FSF and it led to this troll headline from ECT, which says “Would Linux Be Better Off Without the FSF?”

This is ludicrous. The FSF is actually fighting against the problems and the associated corruption of the patent system, for example. On the contrary, Linux is backed by some of the very same companies that are part of the problem. They have many software patents that they are not prepared to give up or give away (bar OIN).

Ciaran from the FSF has produced a full transcript of Andrew Tridgell’s recent talk (video here) and The Source remarked on it as follows:

Well worth reading, especially in light of increasing patent-based FUD attacks against Linux from Microsoft and the doom-and-gloom appeasement arguments and anti-community actions from Microsoft lackeys.

In the comments, Jose_X points at this old article from Richard Stallman. It’s about patents. The FSF should be commended for its work on the issue of software patents, not denounced or ostracised by people who choose to ignore reality. The reality is not as simple as “Linux is cool”; there are many legal attacks or even corruption (white-collar crime) involved in marginalising Linux and those who are blind to it are not helping the cause of GNU/Linux promotion. Moreover, those who stomp on the FSF are doing more damage than they realise.

Glyn Moody has published this follow-on post after a previous post where he wrote about Intellectual Ventures.

Free Software’s Secret Patent Weapon

Yesterday I was warning about the threat that the super-troll Intellectual Ventures represents. To provide some balance, here’s a surprisingly upbeat piece from Samba creator Andrew Tridgell on how to read software patents. It’s incredibly well done, and I recommend it to everyone.

Tridgell’s warnings were first mentioned by us in a post about "Apple's Patent Threat to Linux". We more or less foresaw what shortly afterwards became a reality because Apple sued Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and received Microsoft’s support [1, 2, 3]. It smacks of racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. HTC and Google will fight back and as Lora Bentley put it, the circumstances make it apparent that Linux indeed is the target (Android).

The fact that Google issued a statement in support of HTC before HTC even commented on the lawsuit also lends credence to the idea that Apple is actually gunning for Google here.

Google is also harassed (sued for patent violation) by a company called Red Bend. It does not appear to have a software product (maybe just licensing). The company’s Web site is vague about it and all the company talks about are some big numbers (new press release) and FOTA [PDF].

“People are gradually beginning to ask questions about the role of Intellectual Ventures and their immense holding of software patents.”
      –Simon Phipps
It is worth noting that Red Bend chooses Windows for its Web site and its latest blog post is about Microsoft.

Going back to Intellectual Ventures, which was funded by Apple, Microsoft, and Bill Gates, this patent troll has over 1,000 ‘satellite’ firms that it is said to be using to sabotage the business of companies which refuse to pay “protection money” (secretly, under NDAs). Simon Phipps has this to say about Kodak's latest revelations about Intellectual Ventures: “People are gradually beginning to ask questions about the role of Intellectual Ventures and their immense holding of software patents. Kodak is not a company I like (they trolled Sun for a fortune) but this accusation is very serious. Getting to the bottom of it would take some serious and well-funded investigation. Or, plan B, we can ask our legislators to remove the mechanisms used for trolling…

Stephen O’Grady explains why he is against software patents and uses Intellectual Ventures to make his case:

Still others expect me to argue that the greater good – a dangerous phrase if ever there was one – demands that software be unpatentable. That Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures is the epitome of evil in the world, with a revenue model based strictly on extracting value from an antiquated patent system that has been mistakenly applied to an industry that requires no such protections. But while I personally believe that Myhrvold’s company is based entirely on extracting profit from a broken system rather stimulating invention as he claims – that Intellectual Ventures is just a version of those infomercials seeking ignorant “inventors” to exploit writ large – this isn’t why I’m against software patents.

TechDirt also has this new example of why software patents have gone extremely silly.

Why Real Programmers Don’t Take The USPTO Seriously: Doubly-Linked List Patented

[...]

It’s pretty difficult to find software engineers who take the patent system seriously. There are a few, but it’s still pretty difficult. For the most part, they recognize that code is just a tool: you can make it do all sorts of things, given enough time and resources, but that doesn’t mean that doing any particular thing in code is an “invention” that no one else should be able to do. And then, sometimes, they discover that something pretty basic and old has suddenly been given a patent. Brad Feld discusses his discovery that doubly linked lists were apparently patented in 2006 (patent number 7,028,023)…

In the news this week we have: “Cognex and Fuji Resolve Vision Software Patent Dispute”

As we continue to emphasise, a lot of the bullying with software patents comes from Apple and Microsoft (among the large companies, IBM and Google do not do this, even though they have software patents). But there is more to Microsoft than just Microsoft itself; for instance, look at former Microsoft employees who created companies such as LikeWise [1, 2]. They are playing with software patents and with Microsoft. They bring that over to UNIX, Linux, and even VMware, which is also run by former Microsoft employees and it shows. Microsoft is trying to feed Linux with software patents by shoving them down its throat. What is Linus going to do about it [1, 2]? If it weren’t for the FSF and FFII, for example, where would we be?

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

A Single Comment

  1. anthony said,

    March 25, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Gravatar

    Future Publishing’s web page. They use the term “open source.” The PR org’s are pushing dilution to GNU GPL. It also would not be necessary to be aggressive towards FSF if they were just trolling for the web traffic. Why would they be aggressive (bad social move) unless there was coercion. The typical layout of being divisive, because of the ‘I’m on your side but….’

What Else is New


  1. Dutch Court Rules Against SUEPO (in a Reversal), But EPO Management Would Have Ignored the Ruling Even If SUEPO Won (Updated)

    SUEPO loses a case against EPO management, but the EPO's overzealous management was going to ignore the ruling anyway



  2. New Paper Provides Evidence of Sinking Patent Quality at the EPO, Refuting the Liar in Chief Battistelli

    In spite of Battistelli's claims (lies) about patent quality under his watch, reality suggests that so-called 'production' is simply rushed issuance of invalid patents (one step away from rubberstamping, in order to meet unreasonable, imposed-from-the-top targets)



  3. Battistelli Locks EPO Staff Union Out of Social Conference So That He Can Lie About the Union and the Social Climate

    The attacks on staff of the EPO carry on, with brainwash sessions meticulously scheduled to ensure that Administrative Council delegates are just their master's voice, or the voice of the person whom they are in principle supposed to oversee



  4. Unprecedented Levels of UPC Lobbying by Big Business Europe (Multinationals) and Their Patent Law Firms

    A quick look at some of the latest deception which is intended to bamboozle European politicians and have them play along with the unitary [sic] patent for private interests of the super-rich



  5. Links 29/9/2016: Russia Moving to FOSS, New Nmap and PostgreSQL Releases

    Links for the day



  6. Team UPC is Interjecting Itself Into the Media Ahead of Tomorrow's Lobbying Push Against the European Council and Against European Interests

    A quick look at the growing bulk of UPC lobbying (by the legal firms which stand to benefit from it) ahead of tomorrow's European Council meeting which is expected to discuss a unitary patent system



  7. IP Kat is Lobbying Heavily for the UPC, Courtesy of Team UPC

    When does an IP (or patent) blog become little more than an aggregation of interest groups and self-serving patent law firms, whose agenda overlaps that of Team Battistelli?



  8. Leaked: Conclusions of the Secretive EPO Board 28 Meeting (8th of September 2016)

    The agenda and outcome of the secretive meeting of the Board of the Administrative Council of the EPO



  9. Letter From the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys (Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden) to the Administrative Council of the EPO

    The Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys, a group representing a large number of Dutch patent practitioners, is against Benoît Battistelli and his horrible behaviour at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  10. EPO's Board 28 Notes Battistelli's “Three Current Investigations/Disciplinary Proceedings Involving SUEPO Members in The Hague."

    The attack on SUEPO (EPO staff representatives) at The Hague appears to have been silently expanded to a third person, showing an obvious increase in Battistelli's attacks on truth-tellers



  11. Links 28/9/2016: Alpine Linux 3.4.4, Endless OS 3.0

    Links for the day



  12. Cementing Autocracy: The European Patent Office Against Democracy, Against Media, and Against the Rule of Law

    The European Patent Office (EPO) actively undermines democracy in Europe, it undermines the freedom of the press (by paying it for puff pieces), and it undermines the rule of law by giving one single tyrant total power in Eponia and immunity from outside Eponia (even when he breaks his own rules)



  13. Links 28/9/2016: New Red Hat Offices, Fedora 25 'Frozen'

    Links for the day



  14. Team Battistelli Intensifies the Attack on the Boards of Appeal Again

    The lawless state of the EPO, where the rule of law is basically reducible to Battistelli's ego and insecurities, is again demonstrated with an escalation and perhaps another fake 'trial' in the making (after guilt repeatedly fails to be established)



  15. After the EPO Paid the Financial Times to Produce Propaganda the Newspaper Continues to Produce UPC Puff Pieces, Just Ahead of EU Council Meeting

    How the media, including the Financial Times, has been used (and even paid!) by the EPO in exchange for self-serving (to the EPO) messages and articles



  16. Beware the Patent Law Firms Insinuating That Software Patents Are Back Because of McRO

    By repeatedly claiming (and then generalising) that CAFC accepted a software patent the patent microcosm (meta-industry) hopes to convince us that we should continue to pursue software patents in the US, i.e. pay them a lot more money for something of little/no value



  17. The US Supreme Court Might Soon Tighten Patent Scope in the United States Even Further, the USPTO Produces Patent Maximalism Propaganda

    A struggle brewing between the patent 'industry' (profiting from irrational saturation) and the highest US court, as well as the Government Accountability Office (GAO)



  18. Patent Trolling a Growing Problem in East Asia (Software Patents Also), Whereas in the US the Problem Goes Away Along With Software Patents

    A look at two contrasting stories, one in Asia where patent litigation and hype are on the rise (same in Europe due to the EPO) and another in the US where a lot of patents face growing uncertainty and a high invalidation rate



  19. The EPO's Continued Push for Software Patents, Marginalisation of Appeals (Reassessment), and Deviation From the EPC

    A roundup of new developments at the EPO, where things further exacerbate and patent quality continues its downward spiral



  20. The Battistelli Effect: “We Will be Gradually Forced to File Our Patent Applications Outside the EPO in the Interests of Our Clients”

    While the EPO dusts off old files and grants in haste without quality control (won't be sustainable for more than a couple more years) the applicants are moving away as trust in the EPO erodes rapidly and profoundly



  21. Links 27/9/2016: Lenovo Layoffs, OPNFV Third Software Release

    Links for the day



  22. The Moral Depravity of the European Patent Office Under Battistelli

    The European Patent Office (EPO) comes under heavy criticism from its very own employees, who also seem to recognise that lobbying for the UPC is a very bad idea which discredits the European Patent Organisation



  23. Links 26/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC8, SuperTux 0.5

    Links for the day



  24. What Insiders Are Saying About the Sad State of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Anonymous claims made by people who are intimately familiar with the European Patent Office (from the inside) shed light on how bad things have become



  25. The EPO Does Not Want Skilled (and 'Expensive') Staff, Layoffs a Growing Concern

    A somewhat pessimistic look (albeit increasingly realistic look) at the European Patent Office, where unions are under fire for raising legitimate concerns about the direction taken by the management since a largely French team was put in charge



  26. Patents Roundup: Accenture Software Patents, Patent Troll Against Apple, Willful Infringements, and Apple Against a Software Patent

    A quick look at various new articles of interest (about software patents) and what can be deduced from them, especially now that software patents are the primary barrier to Free/Libre Open Source software adoption



  27. Software Patents Propped Up by Patent Law Firms That Are Lying, Further Assisted by Rogue Elements Like David Kappos and Randall Rader (Revolving Doors)

    The sheer dishonesty of the patent microcosm (seeking to bring back software patents by misleading the public) and those who are helping this microcosm change the system from the inside, owing to intimate connections from their dubious days inside government



  28. Links 25/9/2016: Linux 4.7.5, 4.4.22; LXQt 0.11

    Links for the day



  29. Patent Quality and Patent Scope the Unspeakable Taboo at the EPO, as Both Are Guillotined by Benoît Battistelli for the Sake of Money

    The gradual destruction of the European Patent Office (EPO), which was once unanimously regarded as the world's best, by a neo-liberal autocrat from France, Benoît Battistelli



  30. Bristows LLP's Hatred/Disdain of UK/EU Democracy Demonstrated; Says “Not Only Will the Pressure for UK Ratification of the UPC Agreement Continue, But a Decision is Wanted Within Weeks.”

    Without even consulting the British public or the European public (both of whom would be severely harmed by the UPC), the flag bearers of the UPC continue to bamboozle and then pressure politicians, public servants and nontechnical representatives


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