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. IBM Comes Under Growing Scrutiny for Increasingly Acting Just Like a Patent Troll Amid Layoffs

    Deservedly if not belatedly too, more and more pundits come to recognise the rogue element which is IBM, having promoted software patents all around the world, utilised software patents aggressively (to attack/marginalise/tax rivals), lobbied the government to antagonise the Supreme Court's decision on Alice (using former IBM staff which it had somehow snuck into the USPTO), created bogus solutions to the side effects (such as patent trolls) and so on



  2. Enemies of Europe: A Month After Promoting UPC in London, Benoît Battistelli and the EPO Do This in Helsinki

    The US-leaning corporate occupation by Battistelli and his big corporate clients (or bosses) comes up north, approaching even Russia's border



  3. You Need to Become Proprietary Software Customer (Microsoft Recommended) to Interact with the European Patent Office

    The European Patent Office (EPO) continues to show technical and bureaucratic anomalies that have essentially turned it into agent of monopolisation, benefiting firms from across the Atlantic



  4. US Congress Should Investigate EPO and Battistelli, Not Just WIPO and Francis Gurry

    The US takes more and more actions against WIPO for abuses against workers, but why not the European Patent Office (EPO) as well?



  5. Amid French Political Actions Against EPO Management French Consulate the Target of Next Week's EPO Staff Protest

    Next Wednesday at lunchtime staff of the European Patent Office will march to the French consulate in Munich in pursuit of labour rights, human rights etc. (not just of EPO staff but also, by extension, all staff in such unaccountable international institutions)



  6. Links 5/5/2016: gNewSense 4.0 released, IPFire 2.19

    Links for the day



  7. Links 4/5/2016: Wine Staging 1.9.9, ImageMagick Bug Fixes

    Links for the day



  8. Links 3/5/2016: Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1, More Jolla Funding

    Links for the day



  9. New Paper About the UPC Explains Why It is Bad for Small- and Medium-sized European Businesses

    A detailed academic analysis of the Unitary (or Unified) Patent Court reveals/concludes/asserts that it is being marketed or promoted using a misleading premise and promise



  10. [ES] Gobiernos en Europa Todavía Activos en Contra de la Gerencia de la EPO

    Todavía hay trabajo político que está siendo hecho — aunque discretamente — contra Battistelli y sus chácales en la alta gerencia de la Oficina Europea de Patentes



  11. Links 3/5/2016: International Day Against DRM, 25th Anniversary of Linux (Kernel) Near

    Links for the day



  12. Interesting Supreme Court Cases About Patents in the United States

    A quick review of some of the latest developments regarding SCOTUS (the US Supreme Court) as far as patents go



  13. Governments in Europe Still Active Against EPO Management

    There is still political work being done -- albeit rather discreetly -- against Battistelli and his goons at the European Patent Office's top-level management



  14. The European Spam Office (EPO)

    EPO budget at 'work', days after doing copy-paste jobs and also working overtime in the weekend for an extravagant and needless/purposeless event (except for Battistelli's own pride)



  15. Not Just Benoît Battistelli and Willy Minnoye (EPO): Željko Topić Too Thinks He is Above the Law, Avoids the Judges and Courts

    The latest developments regarding some of the criminal complaints and civil lawsuits against Topić, who is now a Vice-President at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  16. Nefarious Forces for Patent Abuse and Software Patents in the United States, Australia, India, Korea, and Europe

    A roundup of news from the weekend and today, with emphasis on the elements inside the system (or the media) which push for regressive policies that benefit them financially at the expense of everybody else



  17. [ES] El Sistema de Patentes de los EE.UU: Donde Uno Desperdicia Años en Corte y Gasta $8,000,000 en Honorarios de Abogados Peleándo una Patente Falsa

    un sumario de noticias acerca de las patentes de software en los EE.UU. Y ha lo que han llevado, debido en gran manera al decline en calidad de las patentes por parte de la USPTO (dejando que otros se las arreglen limpiando el desórden)



  18. [ES] La Oficina Europea de Patentes Todavía Sigilósamente Abusiva, Pagará $15,000 en Compensasió a Trabajadora Tras un Tardío Fallo de la ILO

    La Organización Internacional del Trabajo (ILO) emite un fallo en un caso de abuso de la EPO y nota “la excesiva duración de los procedimienteos internos de apelación.”



  19. Links 2/5/2016: Linux 4.6 RC6, DragonBox Pyra

    Links for the day



  20. Links 1/5/2016: Wine 1.9.9, Devuan Jessie 1.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  21. The US Patent System: Where One Wastes Years in Court and Spends $8,000,000 in Lawyers' Fees Fighting a Bogus Patent

    A roundup of news about software patents in the US and what they have led to, owing in part to the USPTO's declining patent quality (leaving others to clean up its mess)



  22. The European Patent Office Still Silently Abusive, Will Pay $15,000 in Compensation to Female Worker After Belated ILO Judgment

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) issues a judgment on a case of abuse by the EPO and notes "excessive length of the internal appeal proceedings."



  23. [ES] Alice Continúa Quebrando Patentes de Software Asi Que los Abogados de Patentes, Cabilderos de los Monopolistas, Etc. Ahora Atacan a la Corte Suprema por Hacer Esto

    los cabilderos Corpórativos y abogados de patentes están tratándo de poner a Alicia en la tumba, por su impacto en las patentes de software que es muy profundo y así hasta ahora casi indetenible



  24. [ES] ¿Cómo Salvar la Reputación de la EPO?: Crear Más Jurados de Apelaciónes en Europa y Abolir la Malgíada/Malintencionada Fantasía de la UPC

    Una crítica evaluación de lo que ocurre en la Oficina Europea de Patentes (EPO), la que rápidamente se está yendo para abajo (y degradando sobre todo) a el nivel de los sistemas Chinos, en conjuntamente con corrupción, los abusos, y la bajísima calidad de las patentes



  25. [ES] La Corte de Apelaciónes del Circuito Federal (CAFC) Acaba de Ponerse a Favor de los Trolles de Patentes

    la tristémente célebre CAFC, que manifestó las patentes de software en los EE.UU, acaba de dar un regalo a los trolles de patentes quienes típicamente usan las patentes de software para extorsión enc complicidad con los jueces del Este de Texas



  26. [ES] Análisis de los Últimos Datos de Lex Machina Acerca de la Litigación de Patentes Muestra Como está Declinándo

    el Professor Mark Lemley de Lex Machina resalta las tendencias en litigation al colectar y analizar datos relacionados con patente y concerniéntes a monopolios intelectuales en general; actualmente muestra una sequía de litigaciones (muestran que ha disminuído)



  27. [ES] La India Está Teniendo Otra Prueba de los Peligros de las Patentes Occidentales, Debe Aprender a Rechazar Completamente las Patentes de Software en Medio de Gran Presión

    El gigante de software que es la India continua enfrentándos ea la cruel y agresivo cabildeo de Occidente, haciéndo que este controle a la India por patentes que no deberían de existir en primer lugar



  28. [ES] Microsoft Dice que Continuará Extorsiónando a Compañías Que Distribuyan Linux, Usando Patentes de Software Usuallmente

    La guerra de Microsoft contra Linux, una guerra que es peleada usando patentes de software patents (por ganancias y/o por chantáje con arreglos empaquetados), todavía continúa a pesar de todas las tácticas de relaciónes públicas de Microsoft y sus sócios



  29. Alice Continues to Smash Software Patents So Patent Lawyers, Monopolists' Lobbyists Etc. Now Attack the Supreme Court for Doing This

    Corporate lobbyists and patent lawyers are trying to put Alice in the grave, for its impact on software patents is very profound and thus far almost unstoppable



  30. How to Salvage the EPO's Reputation: Create More Boards of Appeal in Europe and Abolish the Misguided UPC Fantasy

    A critical evaluation of what goes on at the European Patent Office (EPO), which is quickly descending down (and overall degrading) to the level of Chinese systems, along with the corruption, the abuses, and the low quality of patents


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