Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 16th Apr 2005 00:16 UTC, submitted by zegenie
Windows A federal court is blocking Microsoft from using a networking feature planned for the company's future operating system code-named Longhorn and a service pack for Windows Server 2003 that had been scheduled to come out last year, according to a company that's suing Microsoft over the technology.
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Its like ...
by MoronPeeCeeUSR on Sat 16th Apr 2005 00:24 UTC


Reminds me of stac electronics years ago and what they endured.

disincentive to innovation
by tech_user on Sat 16th Apr 2005 00:43 UTC

despite what the MS behemoth might want bribed governments to think, they care more about their own domination than about innovation and diversity that benenfit the customer and are ultimately the drving force behind western economies.

the USA govt should crack down hard.

'IP', you 'P'. We all 'P' for 'IP'.
by BR on Sat 16th Apr 2005 00:44 UTC

Well considering people's attitudes about "IP" in the F/OSS world. It would be hypocritical to chastize Microsoft about incorperating this into their OS.

"TCP is the key protocol used in most IP (Internet Protocol) data networks. TCP offload technology shifts the burden of handling TCP tasks from the main processor of a server or workstation to a network interface card or other component, leaving the main processor more capacity to handle application processing. Alacritech promotes its patented SLIC Technology architecture as scalable enough to meet future networking and I/O needs at 10 gigabits per second and beyond."

I believe that 3Com has a NIC that already does this.

silly software patents are bad.
by Anonymous on Sat 16th Apr 2005 01:36 UTC

but it looks like they are just trying to steal someone's idea without paying for it.
haaa haaaaa <points at microsoft>

v Steal someone else's idea without paying...
by Vince on Sat 16th Apr 2005 01:40 UTC
RE: Steal someone else's idea without paying...
by da truth on Sat 16th Apr 2005 01:52 UTC

Vince,

How about this...

Let's put your credibility on the line here.

1) Please explain how and what Tridgell stole
2) Please provide facts so that I and others may search the web to confirm your statement

Thanks.

v Da Truth
by Vince on Sat 16th Apr 2005 02:10 UTC
@ tech_user
by CPUGuy on Sat 16th Apr 2005 02:48 UTC

The goal for any company is generally to be a market leader, the question is how to obtain such a goal.
The fact is, the comapnies goal to be a market leader in their perspective market(s) is helped by haveing a happy customer.

So while yes, the goal may be to dominate, but the means to obtain such a goal is to do what you say Microsoft does not care about, which is compltely wrong.

Tridgell
by Anonymous on Sat 16th Apr 2005 04:29 UTC

"
You mean pull a Tridgell ?
"

Vince, you do realize that Tridgell never actually stole code from BitKeeper, right? You do realize that Tridgell also never used Bitkeeper and thus was not subject to the clause in the BitKeeper EULA that forbids reverse engineering? All he did was track the data over the wire so that he could make a F/OSS product that could interoperate with BitKeeper so that Kernel devs opposed to proprietary software wouldnt have to use Bitkeeper. If no one is capable of doing this, things like Samba wouldn't exist and there wouldn't be any software that interoperated with each other.

This is the exact same thing he did with Samba (and in case anyone didn't know, Samba was originally built to talk to DEC servers....and Microsoft "invented" CIFS and bundled it with WinNT a year or so after Tridgell began the Samba project....cause I know that as soon as I mention Samba people are going to start talking about how all it is is reverse engineered code.)

Anonymous
by vince on Sat 16th Apr 2005 04:54 UTC

If you will notice, I was refering to "stealing ideas" not stealing code. I believe I was clear on that in the topic of the message.

I'm well aware that he did not look at the source code nor did he steal actual source code. However at the same time, reverse engineering is at its core making a functional copy of an idea by watching how it works. In essence you're using the "blackbox" as a template for how a problem should be solved instead of creating your own solution; i.e. applying someone else's idea; the fact that you may have reimplemented the idea in your own words does not redeem the fact that it was not your solution to the problem.

The message I was directly refering to above chasitised Microsoft for taking another companies idea and implementing it to solve a problem (quite similar since like Mr. Tridgell - MS was not in communication with Alacrity) which can also be viewed as "reverse engineering". So you might want to ask, why is it ok for Tridgell to steal ideas, and not for large corporations? That is the assertion that was placed by the comment prior to mine, and that was the point I was getting at...


"If no one is capable of doing this, things like Samba wouldn't exist and there wouldn't be any software that interoperated with each other."

You mean there were would not be a way to for software to communitcate via "proprietary protocols" without paying a royalty fee. The fact that a program exists and uses a protocol to communicate does not give everyone a right to use and freely implement that same protocol. The protocol itself is still an idea, a solution to a problem. There is always the ability to create open protocols to allow to people to communicate as they wish.

RE: vince
by Abraxas on Sat 16th Apr 2005 05:14 UTC

There is one huge difference between the two situations you describe. The "idea" that was "stolen" by the Samba team was soley for the sake of interoperability. It was not "stolen" and rebranded under a different name as Microsoft has done. The difference is significant because the intention of Samba is to benefit users by providing interoperability while the intention of Chimney is to benefit Microsoft and Microsoft alone. I'm not saying Chimney would not benefit users but it is possible to implement a different solution to the same problem while it is not really possible to do that when you are trying to make something interoperable. Despite what you say this is not about Samba stealing an idea because there is no open alternative to file/print sharing. Linux already posseses alternate protocols for these things and they happen to be much better.

With that said I'm not a proponent of the lawsuit because I don't believe in software patents. The fact that we are talking about "stealing ideas" shows how ludicrous software patents are. You can't patent an idea and the system was never intended to protect ideas.

Abraxas
by vince on Sat 16th Apr 2005 05:45 UTC

"The "idea" that was "stolen" by the Samba team was soley for the sake of interoperability. It was not "stolen" and rebranded under a different name as Microsoft has done. The difference is significant because the intention of Samba is to benefit users by providing interoperability while the intention of Chimney is to benefit Microsoft and Microsoft alone."

While I understand what you are saying about intent and who the intended beneficiaries are, intent isn't a valid justification for how something is done. That justification has even less weight when it is just as possible to create a windows client for one of these "open" file/printer sharing protocols. (Ones that you yourself have said are better than CIFS.)

Doing the above seems like a much better solution overall since not only would it avoid "borrowing someone elses solution to problem of communication without their permission", it would allow for interoperability over an open protocol rather than using someone else's proprietary one. I could be wrong but I think this would be more in line with the notions of the open source community.

However like you said this isn't about Samba itself, its about why people find it palatable for the open source community to copy ideas, but not for large corporations to do it.

Additionally while I agree with you that current system of patenting ideas without a specific implementation isn't the greatest thing ever, its the system we have to work with now. So in the context of that system, I don't see how the two cases really are that different (outside of percieved intent).

RE: vince
by Abraxas on Sat 16th Apr 2005 06:05 UTC

You're completely missing the point. There is in fact a Unix sharing client for Windows. I believe it is included in Services for Unix. That doesn't help joe shmoe attach his linux computer to a windows network though. The Samba team didn't make their creation because they wanted the windows technology. They made Samba to be interoperable. I'm not sure you know what this term means.

This also has nothing to do with "perceived intent". There is no question that the intent of Samba is for interoperability. You are plain nuts if you think this is about stealing Windows technology because there is no alternative solution to sharing. There just isn't an alternative solution to creating interoperable software.

However like you said this isn't about Samba itself, its about why people find it palatable for the open source community to copy ideas, but not for large corporations to do it.

Wrong. Didn't I just say that I don't believe in software patents at all? This has nothing to do with large corporations vs open source.


Additionally while I agree with you that current system of patenting ideas without a specific implementation isn't the greatest thing ever, its the system we have to work with now.


It is now apparent that you did read my oppostion to software patents which only leaves me more perplexed on why you would suggest such a ridiculous notion. Even worse is that you are dead wrong. Continuing with a system that breaks its own rules is not something you just "work with now". The problem has been identified (software patents) now it's time to fix it.

@vince
by pojo on Sat 16th Apr 2005 06:07 UTC

MS was not in communication with Alacrity

According to this article:
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3497561

Microsoft actually had the help of Alacritech to integrate it into Windows.

According to Alacritech, the company met with Microsoft and described its own Dynamic TCP Offload architecture, known as SLIC Technology, under a non-disclosure agreement in September 1998. Then, in April 1999, at Microsoft's request, it delivered a detailed document describing how SLIC could be integrated with Windows. It then shipped its first product based on SLIC in April 2000.

Seems like Microsoft broke their contract, an NDA which usually has provisions to prevent the company signing to receive information do what MS did.

Re: 'IP', you 'P'. We all 'P' for 'IP'.
by Chris on Sat 16th Apr 2005 06:40 UTC

Well, it's probably pretty shallow, but even though I generally think Intellectual Property rights have gotten out of hand, I love seeing Microsoft, which has used and abused those rights as much as anyone to screw others over, on the receiving end.

Abraxas
by vince on Sat 16th Apr 2005 06:48 UTC

"You're completely missing the point."

At the same time you're also missing my point.


"There is in fact a Unix sharing client for Windows. I believe it is included in Services for Unix. That doesn't help joe shmoe attach his linux computer to a windows network though. The Samba team didn't make their creation because they wanted the windows technology. They made Samba to be interoperable."

Samba is an implementation of the default networking protocol in the windows environment its not the only way of achieveing interoperability. Interoperability is not a one way street. Interoperability could have also been established by encouraging the use of NFS or some other open protocol as a standard in windows networks.

Would this have been as easy to accomplish? No. However it would still have provided interoperability. What you seem to be arguing is that the convenience of achieving interoperability by using samba, justifies reverse engineering of someone else's solution that was required. (Yet at the same time implying its not ok for Microsoft to implement others ideas for convenience.)


"I'm not sure you know what this term means."

From dictionary.com:
"Interoperability - The ability of software and hardware on multiple machines from multiple vendors to communicate."


"You are plain nuts if you think this is about stealing Windows technology because there is no alternative solution to sharing. There just isn't an alternative solution to creating interoperable software."

You might want to explain your notion of of what interoperable means since you're so positive that the method used to create Samba is the only way of making things interoperable. I'd also like to note that the above definition does not imply interoperability can only be achieved by reverse engineering everyone else's solution that they use in order to communicate with them for the sake of convenience.


What I am I getting at with this? Samba is not the only way of achieving interoperablity, it has no rights to special consideration or justification for reverse engineering someone else's protocol. Intent doesn't change anything. Either its ok to reverse engineer software and use someone else's solution to a problem or its not. Therefore if its good enough for Tridgell its good enough for Microsoft.


"Wrong. Didn't I just say that I don't believe in software patents at all? This has nothing to do with large corporations vs open source."

Acutally, you started talking about how the two cases I'd outlined were different in response to my question about why its ok for open source to reverse engineer, but not for corporations. If what you're talking has nothing to do with that, then why direct your response to me, and why start arguing specifically about how the two cases are different?


"It is now apparent that you did read my oppostion to software patents which only leaves me more perplexed on why you would suggest such a ridiculous notion. Even worse is that you are dead wrong. Continuing with a system that breaks its own rules is not something you just "work with now". The problem has been identified (software patents) now it's time to fix it."

I find it admirable that you feel software shouldn't be patented. However, that won't help you today. You can't go out and borrow someone else's solution without their permission and then if you get a lawsuit say, "oh no I don't believe in that". Which is why I asked, in the context of our present system how are these cases different; instead of asking in the context of abraxas' fantasy land how are these cases different.

Pojo
by vince on Sat 16th Apr 2005 06:50 UTC

Thankyou Pojo, I wasn't aware that Microsoft had been in communication with Alacrity, the other article said they were not. That definately shines a different light on the subject.

v @Hey Vince: Somebody's gotta tell you
by SerialPoster on Sat 16th Apr 2005 06:53 UTC
v One other thing...
by SerialPoster on Sat 16th Apr 2005 06:55 UTC

Well considering people's attitudes about "IP" in the F/OSS world. It would be hypocritical to chastize Microsoft about incorperating this into their OS.

Where is your evidence of that?

Regarding the issue at hand; not much information is given out about it; it will be interesting to find what the actual basis of the claim is.

It isn't the *IDEA* of offloading NICs (SUN has that already in Solaris), I think it is the technology Microsoft is using, which allows *THEIR* TCP/IP stack to run, is patented by the company.

But with that being said, the artical is too light on details in regards to the full story.

RE: SerialPoster (IP: ---.mia.bellsouth.net)
by kaiwai on Sat 16th Apr 2005 07:32 UTC

By the way, Vinci boy. MIcrosoft did not invent SMB, IBM did.

SMB/CIFS has its own RFC - the problem with the interoperability isn't the protocol itself but authentication.

IBM invented NetBIOS but Microsoft built upon that and called it NetBEUI. IBM never invented SMB/CIFS.

Samba and CIFS
by Anonymous on Sat 16th Apr 2005 07:50 UTC

"
Would this have been as easy to accomplish? No. However it would still have provided interoperability. What you seem to be arguing is that the convenience of achieving interoperability by using samba, justifies reverse engineering of someone else's solution that was required. (Yet at the same time implying its not ok for Microsoft to implement others ideas for convenience.)
"

YOU'RE STILL MISSING THE POINT THAT SAMBA WAS AROUND BEFORE MS "INVENTED" CIFS. Microsoft DID NOT invent CIFS, it is merely an implementation of the SMB protocol made at IBM, just like DEC's implementation and just like the Samba implementation. So why be so harsh on Samba when Microsoft stole CIFS from IBM? ;) (I'm kidding of course).

How do you know that MS simply didn't implement ideas from Samba since it was started a few years before MS bundled CIFS with WinNT....unless of course the Samba hackers cut a hole in the roof of the MS headquarters, stole the alpha or beta code, and reverse engineered it? The only way you could possibly know whether this occured or not is looking at early CIFS and Samba code.....also, how do you know MS didn't reverse engineer DEC's implementation of the protocol?

IP?
by Rick Dekkard on Sat 16th Apr 2005 08:01 UTC

"Intellectual Property" and "Stealing ideas" sound like oxymorons to me.

communication irrelevant for patent infringment case
by raboof on Sat 16th Apr 2005 08:13 UTC

Note that, even though it's obviously relevant for the ethical side of the case, the question whether or not MS and Alacritech had previous communication is irrelevant.

It's all very nice that MS says "Microsoft engineers independently developed Chimney", but even if that's true, it doesn't mean anything for the patent infringment case.

You can browse Alacritech's by searching for AN/Alacritech on patft.uspto.gov.

First tell me guys..
by Dextor on Sat 16th Apr 2005 08:18 UTC

Who invented TCP/IP?

Who wins
by gendalf on Sat 16th Apr 2005 09:32 UTC

You're so happy about it, but if you think a little bit the users only loose because of such stuff.

patents...
by Julian on Sat 16th Apr 2005 10:59 UTC

This is why software idea patents are bad - now Microsoft can't ship their amazing new technology (TM), and they will replace it with bugs and security holes.

This is good news
by Michelle of the Resistance on Sat 16th Apr 2005 13:03 UTC

FAST TCP is much better, MS should use that one instead. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FAST_TCP

@ Chris
by CPUGuy on Sat 16th Apr 2005 14:53 UTC

While Microsoft files tons of patents on a daily basis, they actually very rarely sue other companies.

The reason they file so many patents is so that other companies do not come up and sue them.

RE: vince
by Abraxas on Sat 16th Apr 2005 15:25 UTC

You did miss my point. I never said it was ok for open source to reverse engineer technology but not large corporations. I think it's ok for either to do that. The fact is that Microsoft didn't reverse engineer Chimney. They "stole" it. Which is ok in my book because I don't believe in software patents, but if I did, it would still be a different case entirely.

About interoperability, again, you did miss the point. Obviously you can make nix interoperable by using NFS instead but can you possibley convince a corporate netowork to switch to NFS and then force everyone to use SFU so that you can use NFS on your nix computer? That's just stupid. A lot of businesses are based around Windows and Windows sharing. The purpose of Samba is to allow you to plug into this network. The purose of Samba is to allow nix to be used in corporate environments.

Intel NICs also have offload
by soldier1024 on Sat 16th Apr 2005 16:15 UTC

For example intel etherxpress pro/100 Server adapters have TCP offload (both on receive and send side) as i know, and it can be turned on easily in the NIC-driver.

Why is this MS "invention" so revolutionary, if it still needs hardware support??

ps. of course i skipped the usual flame posts

Government should butt out!
by XDelusion on Sat 16th Apr 2005 17:08 UTC

As much as I loathe M$, and as much as I mourn the virtual death of my Amiga, and of Be...

...I still can not get over half this crap that the governments are doing to M$. It is not right, and it is unconstitutional.

Yes there were times in the past when the Government should have jumped in, like when M$ would not let BeOS dual boot along side it, or when M$ went around and stole code and innovations (like Multi-tasking) from other OS's etc.
But no, the government, not unlike the days of hitler, waits years too late, then get involved.

I don't care if IE is bundled and integrated into the OS, I don't care if it comes with an E-mailer, it's there OS, it is there business.
It is only when M$ interfere's with other people's business that it ticks me off.
Besides if people are not bright enough to realize that the free software M$ bundles with there OS is crap (not to mention the whole second rate OS and the hardware it runs on), then they are morons, and it is there own fault.

That's the problem with people today, they are letting the government take more and more control...


...FOR THEM.

Which removes more and more rights.

Have you learned nothing from Monkey McBush?

What a B.S.! Let Microsoft use it!
by Suslik on Sat 16th Apr 2005 17:52 UTC

Duh!? Alacritech has a patent on offloading specialized tasks to specialized chips?! What a load of crap.

In the old days, that's all computers did - offload the work to specialized components - fully-hardware modems? Mpeg Decoder Cards for DVDs? Remeber those?

Did Alacritech really invent anything? Greedy whiners.

Samba
by Shaman on Sat 16th Apr 2005 19:08 UTC

Samba existed before Windows Networking did. Micro$oft later took over the protocol from its steward (IBM) and extended it, but Samba was first.

I cannot stand Microsoft
by raver31 on Sat 16th Apr 2005 19:41 UTC

and I usually give them abuse here...

but not this time

I think they should be allowed to use the idea...

and yous US should put pressure on your government to get that patent law scrapped...

it didn't go ahead here in the EU....

because our governments took a look at what the whole thing would do to their economies, and thought it was a bad idea....


see, that is the difference, in the US, you let your government be swayed by lawyer and the greed of the lawyers. knock it on the head

btw - if any lawyers are reading this, go outside and throw yourself under a bus, greedy scumbag (tm)

@vince
by gary on Sat 16th Apr 2005 20:18 UTC

"If no one is capable of doing this, things like Samba wouldn't exist and there wouldn't be any software that interoperated with each other."

Not so. Samba exists because Microsoft does not/cannot compete on a level playing field. They're one of the most closed companies in existence. They make a proprietary protocol that only works with Windows so people in the Open Source community open it up for others. What harm is in that? Well, maybe Microsoft will sell 10,000 copies of Windows Server instead of 15,000. Does it hurt them? Not really.

On the other hand, Microsoft does not to pay to license someone else's technology when they can court a company long enough to see how their product works then reverse engineer it and claim innovation.

I cannot count how many times Microsoft has been caught with their hand in the cookie jar. My old roommate worked for Stac during that suit. Gates was forced to admit on the stand that MS stold Stacker code to put into Doublespace. One would think that Bill G would learn from his past transgressions but apparently he is either too arrogant or too stupid.

buy
by Anonymous on Sat 16th Apr 2005 22:07 UTC

Microsoft, Buy them out!

ha
by Anonymous on Sat 16th Apr 2005 22:10 UTC

First, it would be helpful to post a quick description of what Chimney is. Second, it's funny to see how most people thing Microsoft writes 100% of all their code, further even that Bill Gates is the head programmer that forged Windows out of his own blood and sweat. Idealism aside, welcome to the software industry.

@vince
by a nun, he moos on Sat 16th Apr 2005 23:08 UTC

Additionally while I agree with you that current system of patenting ideas without a specific implementation isn't the greatest thing ever, its the system we have to work with now.

You can't patent ideas. You can patent methods. While one could argue that a method is an idea, in legal language (which is what matters in this case) the two are quite different. Reverse-engineering a protocol is quite legal, and any patent claims by Microsoft against Samba would be laughed out of court (especially since they didn't come up with the SMB protocol in the first place). It appears that the current dispute beween MS and Alacrity does involved patented technology, and thus Alacrity may have a case.

So even though the two issues may appear similar (especially to someone who would try to defend Microsoft's actions) in fact they are quite different.

@XDelusion
by a nun, he moos on Sat 16th Apr 2005 23:12 UTC

I believe the issue here is a civil suit between two corporate entities. The government isn't involved in any way (note that the judiciary branch is part of the state, but not the government, of which it is independent).

To: a nun, he moos
by acobar on Sat 16th Apr 2005 23:23 UTC

Great posts, concise and insightful.

Not a Microsoft fan... but...
by Tuishimi on Sun 17th Apr 2005 00:18 UTC

I wish the gov't would leave well enough alone.

Longhorn delayed again?
by Steve Robertson on Sun 17th Apr 2005 03:52 UTC

At the moment several companies are suing Microsoft over various technologies that are being used in core components of Longhorn. I am not a legal expert but it seems pretty obvious that until those law suits are settled the complete and "final" version of Longhorn cannot be released. This can take years and the software engineering efforts needed to remove those components and to retest and release a "crippled" version would also take years. Microsoft is in a loose-loose situation and particularly with thousands of people switching to Linux every day the future of Microsoft does not look good at all.

problems mounting
by Britney M. Greene on Sun 17th Apr 2005 04:03 UTC

Following my broker's advise last Friday I sold the last MSFT shares that I still had for around $24.8 a share. That company has been going downhill lately and supposedly the worst is still to come. I am glad I am out of that downhill race now.

@raver31
by MoronPeeCeeUSR on Sun 17th Apr 2005 04:32 UTC

see, that is the difference, in the US, you let your government be swayed by lawyer and the greed of the lawyers. knock it on the head

btw - if any lawyers are reading this, go outside and throw yourself under a bus, greedy scumbag (tm)


The US patent system has been around since the industrial revolution. So its not like a new idea that was suddenly implemented.

It does need overhauling if not complete banishment but that is going to take time to achieve.

@ Steve Robertson (IP: ---.server4free.de)
by Russian Guy on Sun 17th Apr 2005 21:00 UTC

Microsoft is in a loose-loose situation and particularly with thousands of people switching to Linux every day the future of Microsoft does not look good at all.

The problem is, you can not put patented software into the Linux, so unless someone is as innovative as Linus was with Minix, there is no chance for us to get this feature in the Linux, too.
So, switching to what? Intentionally crippled opensourced OS?

Also, Microsoft could just buy the patent, and now what: Windows does it but Linux can't? Yeah, great incentive to switch to freedom software that limits you in features.

Try to recall who was the major opponent to Eolas trying to milk Microsoft for few hundred millions by claiming patent on Web browser functionality- and why was that? Hint: it was not Microsoft.

none of you get it... especially russian guy
by raver31 on Mon 18th Apr 2005 08:13 UTC

those patent laws only apply in the US

there is nothing to stop a linux distro from anywhere else in the world including whatever it feel like

it didn't go ahead here in the EU....

because our governments took a look at what the whole thing would do to their economies, and thought it was a bad idea....


Unforatunately this is far from true: the directive passed the Council and is now going back to European Parliament for the `second reading'. The EP will have a hard time adding amendments to make it more reasonable - total rejection of the text is not very probable.

For more info, see the FFII: http://wiki.ffii.org/Euparl050414En and http://wiki.ffii.org/Plen05En