Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Apr 2007 18:53 UTC
SuSE, openSUSE As reported by Slashdot, debate has risen over ClearType in Linux. OpenSUSE recently disabled this technology, saying "that this feature is covered by several Microsoft patents and should not be activated in any default build of the library". Other websites have picked up on this as well: "The strange thing is though: no matter the fact that Novell and Microsoft are now buddies, openSUSE still has to be concerned about the ClearType patents!"
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Surprise?
by bolomkxxviii on Tue 10th Apr 2007 19:23 UTC
bolomkxxviii
Member since:
2006-05-19

Resistance is futile...

Reply Score: 5

Open Invention Network
by ssam on Tue 10th Apr 2007 19:26 UTC
ssam
Member since:
2006-03-12

before bashing novell remember that they are one of the founding members of the Open Invention Network

http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/

Reply Score: 3

v RE: Open Invention Network
by anshu on Tue 10th Apr 2007 22:24 UTC in reply to "Open Invention Network"
RE: Open Invention Network
by segedunum on Wed 11th Apr 2007 08:35 UTC in reply to "Open Invention Network"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

before bashing novell remember that they are one of the founding members of the Open Invention Network

Yer, and a fat lot of good it's doing them or anyone else.

Reply Score: 2

Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

Site A reports a story and Sites B through X re-report the story because they assume Site A is reputable. Unfortunately for this example, Slashdot isn't reputable.

People in the Slashdot comments shot this story down as off-base and untrue. Apparently Freetype was disabled by default by its developer before the Novell-MS deal ever happened.

It's just another case of an ignorant Slashdot editor posting an UNVERIFIED story from an ignorant Slashdot reader who got the story from another ignorant source.

Lucky for me my newspaper doesn't make such amateur mistakes, and if they do, they remove or amend the story. This is why internet journalism isn't up to the standards set by print journalism 100 years ago.

Reply Score: 4

grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Amen. As near as I can tell, the sequence was that a bug was reported, squashed as feature-not-a-bug, Beranger wrote his article, which slashdot completely misreported, and was responded to by Beranger here:

http://beranger.org/index.php?article=2805

The internet is typically a mob, and Novell's been nominated for a lynching-- they don't have to do anything wrong right now to be a villain.

Reply Score: 5

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Amen. As near as I can tell, the sequence was that a bug was reported, squashed as feature-not-a-bug, Beranger wrote his article, which slashdot completely misreported, and was responded to by Beranger here:

http://beranger.org/index.php?article=2805


I take it you did actually read all of that?

It also doesn't explain why Novell and Red Hat feel OK about turning it on in their Enterprise distributions but not OK about turning it on for everyone else. It's an awful lot of theoretical hoo-ha about patents that doesn't get open source software any further forward. Turning things off doesn't help anyone. The Freetype person who quoted all this nonsense even states:

Of course, all of this is my personal opinion, and I would *love* to be proven wrong !!

and he's talking about how the patents cover this and how they can't be invalidated.... Unbelievable.

http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.fonts.freetype.user/1912

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

That's why I specifically said: "debate has risen over ClearType in Linux." I'm not giving any judgement, I do not say it's true, I just report "a" debate has risen over this issue.

And that is a factually correct statement. In other words, Slashdot may have been ignorant here, but OSN took the proper measures to make sure the item is about facts (namely, "a" debate has risen) instead of jumping to conclusions.

Reply Score: 1

Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

Shame on you, Thom. That excuse is pathetic.

"Rumour has it" does not make good journalism, although it works fine in the pink press. "People say" is not usually news; what actually happens, is what should be news.

Your excuses are not only lame, but mendacious too; if the name of the article went somewhat like "Slashdot participants think OpenSUSE is hobbled by Microsoft Patents" then they those excuses may had holded (few) droplets of water. But then, of course, it would have looked a lot less interesting.

Shame, shame.

Reply Score: 5

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

This is why internet journalism isn't up to par

And non-Internet journalism is?

Reply Score: 2

moleskine Member since:
2005-11-05

Lucky for me my newspaper doesn't make such amateur mistakes, and if they do, they remove or amend the story. This is why internet journalism isn't up to the standards set by print journalism 100 years ago.

A very fair point but not really what this story is about, imho.

In the first place, the whole patent thang is so complicated that folks are erring on the side of caution or simply adopting a blanket approach which catches the good with the bad. This may easily be the case here.

In the second place, the real thrust of this story as it originally emerged isn't really do with with what happened and who was involved, etc. It is more to do with trying to prove that the dire predictions of skullduggery around the Microsoft-Novell deal are coming true. But as we now know, the notion doesn't (yet) stack up because this particular example is not strong enough. Something else may turn out to be a genuine smoking gun. We'll see.

So one can argue that this is really all about Open Sauce politicking. After all, there is nothing new about patents and setting switches in freetype. The subject has been going back and forth for years. Not long ago, loads of Linux users were recompiling freetype because of the Apple/hinting issue.

Reply Score: 2

unclear summary
by thebackwash on Tue 10th Apr 2007 19:37 UTC
thebackwash
Member since:
2005-07-06

I read the bug report, and just to make certain, it's not cleartype, but sub-pixel antialiasing, which is disabled. When I first read the summary, it sounded like the actual Microsoft implementation was found in freetype. Which wouldn't be a bad thing; I use a mac, but I think MS's implementation of sub-pixel antialising is far and above the best one.

[PIPE dream]
Let's see if we can raise enough funds to buy a license to distribute cleartype under the GPL
[/PIPE]

Reply Score: 2

RE: unclear summary
by Almafeta on Tue 10th Apr 2007 19:55 UTC in reply to "unclear summary"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

[PIPE dream] Let's see if we can raise enough funds to buy a license to distribute cleartype under the GPL [/PIPE]


http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal/intellectualproperty/search/de...

Typically $2/copy for an OS, assuming a legit OS. Releasing MS's property under a copyleft license, if even possible, would be much more expensive (somewhere on the lines of paying for a ClearType license for every computer it could possibly be run on between now and 10-20 years from now, when support for it will end).

However, if you are using a license other than the GPL, then you can pay $2 per copy of the OS you sell, keep the code you license from Microsoft closed-source, and do whatever you want with the rest of your product.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: unclear summary
by kaiwai on Wed 11th Apr 2007 13:57 UTC in reply to "RE: unclear summary"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Incorrect, what you're doing when you licence the "IP" of Microsoft is being allowed to use the patented algorithms invented by Microsoft - just because the 'exist' out there in the wild, doesn't make their use 'legal' in the sense of usage without payment of

There would be no need worry about whether the code exists, but whether the entity has the right to ship products with patented algorithms that are active in the product at moment of shipment.

For example, you can download OpenSolaris right now, and it is shipped with Freetype Cleartyle disabled, however, you can enable it. Rather than the vendor itself being held responsible, the responsibility then falls on the patent holder itself to ask for payment off the individual users who choose to activate that particular piece of technology.

What that does, infact, benefit the 'opensource world' from the point of view that it forced Microsoft to accept that their technology *WILL* be used, with or without their permission, they can either accept that and move on OR try and attack every single individual who recompiles their copy of Freetype - which quite frankly, would be a waste of resources.

Reply Score: 2

News is wrong
by Ford Prefect on Tue 10th Apr 2007 19:59 UTC
Ford Prefect
Member since:
2006-01-16

All the talk about "ClearType" in SUSE is crap. We are talking about sub-pixel antialiasing in the Freetype implementation, _not_ in the Microsoft implementation (which is called ClearType).

If Microsoft holds patents on ClearType, one has first to check wether Freetype really violates these patents.

Reply Score: 5

RE: News is wrong
by andrewg on Tue 10th Apr 2007 20:41 UTC in reply to "News is wrong"
andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes it seems it has been checked out by David Turner of Freetype. The code will now only be used if you activate it via macro for those in countries not affected by patents.

He says that he checked the patent and it appears to cover all sub-pixel cases and affects libXFT, Cairo and probably XRender used in X11 server. He checked for prior art and that Steve Gibson in incorrect. Apples Wozniak patent covers only used 2 sub-pixels. Microsoft has gone to pains to emphasize that it must be at least 3 sub-pixels in their patent.

Links below.

http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.fonts.freetype.user/1912
http://www.mail-archive.com/freetype@nongnu.org/msg00972.html

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: News is wrong
by dylansmrjones on Tue 10th Apr 2007 23:44 UTC in reply to "RE: News is wrong"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Oh yes. Using 3 sub-pixels instead of 2 is really innovative. Major break-through :p

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: News is wrong
by djame on Tue 10th Apr 2007 21:53 UTC in reply to "News is wrong"
djame Member since:
2005-07-08

I thought it was a patent from apple ?
more importantly, freetype include this stuff since at least 3 years and since then, one had to modify a .h file to activate it.

So what's the buzz about ?

Reply Score: 1

So will the Linux crowd admit
by jakesdad on Tue 10th Apr 2007 20:04 UTC
jakesdad
Member since:
2005-12-28

that they are now guilty of spreading really bad FUD?

I mean they claim that everyone is doing it to them... But they do it to others.. That beranger person doenst even respond to valid arguments against the stand they took. Its petty and makes the linux crowd look worse than MS.

Reply Score: 4

RE: So will the Linux crowd admit
by IanSVT on Tue 10th Apr 2007 20:20 UTC in reply to "So will the Linux crowd admit"
IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

For a community that has proponents who scream about Microsoft's verbal barbs against Linux, they do a pretty good job of doing Microsoft a favor and do a good deal of the damage themselves.

Edited 2007-04-10 20:21

Reply Score: 4

Where?
by John Nilsson on Tue 10th Apr 2007 20:28 UTC
John Nilsson
Member since:
2005-07-06

In which parts of the world do they hold this patent?

Edited 2007-04-10 20:28

Reply Score: 3

OSNews goes red top
by moleskine on Tue 10th Apr 2007 20:32 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

I might be quite wrong, but my understanding is that OpenSuSE are saying that they inherited this from upstream: the freetype folks made the decision not to enable the switch and OpenSuSE have simply gone with it.

In which case, I'd say that a lot of the furore about this is baseless and the OSNews headline is on a par with "Bill Gates Ate My Anti-aliasing". The people who should be asked about this are, first, the freetype folks and only then the OpenSuSE ones.

Of course, this doesn't mitigate the fact that software patents are wrong, in the strong opinion of many, nor that Microsoft is a sucky company which likes to bully and cause trouble.

However, if the "community" (a word on whose meaning no two people seem able to agree) is looking for a reason to bash SuSE about the head, this is not it.

It's also worth asking whether this alleged omission makes any practical difference when using OpenSuSE 10.2. On my widescreen LCD the answer is no. In fact, to my eye OpenSuSE 10.2 has distinctly better anti-aliasing in terms of letter-forms than Debian Etch which I run on the same machine.

Reply Score: 5

RE: OSNews goes red top
by fretinator on Tue 10th Apr 2007 20:39 UTC in reply to "OSNews goes red top"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

"Bill Gates Ate My Anti-aliasing"



Didn't that star Steve McQueen? Or was it Michael Landon, I forget!

Reply Score: 4

Googol
Member since:
2006-11-24

... there was only one fact to be learned about the MS / Novell deal. And it surely had been communicated a gazillion times. So what is this article doing here?

MS + Novell agreed not to sue their CUSTOMERS should the product they are using turn out to infringe any patents. That doesn't mean either of the two is now free to violate each others' patents.
What you are having in mind is called a cross licensing agreement -- and this term has never showed up anywhere, ever.

Reply Score: 3

Ugly
by CrLf on Tue 10th Apr 2007 21:14 UTC
CrLf
Member since:
2006-01-03

"but I think MS's implementation of sub-pixel antialising is far and above the best one."

I beg to disagree... I may simulate higher resolution for text, that's true. But it also has some nasty color effects (colored halos on otherwise black text) and makes everything seem out of focus. I've really tried to use it, and I've spent countless hours tweaking its settings, but I always ended up disabling it.

On the other hand, anti-aliasing on Linux and MacOS X is ok, both the standard and sub-pixel varieties.

Reply Score: 2

OpenSUSE is open
by theeil on Tue 10th Apr 2007 22:05 UTC
theeil
Member since:
2005-09-18

"no matter the fact that Novell and Microsoft are now buddies, openSUSE still has to be concerned about the ClearType patents!"

Novell and Microsoft are 'buddies' but Novell is following the industry, as this was initially an upstream change. This serves more to restore my faith in Novell for maintaining an 'Open' version of their product than to entice me to boycott them as the first linked page would have me do.

Reply Score: 2

RE: OpenSUSE is open
by grat on Tue 10th Apr 2007 22:51 UTC in reply to "OpenSUSE is open"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Novell's response time is improving:

http://www.novell.com/prblogs/?p=318

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: OpenSUSE is open
by dylansmrjones on Wed 11th Apr 2007 00:41 UTC in reply to "RE: OpenSUSE is open"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Ehh.. ClearType font? Haha... Somebody didn't understand the message from the engineers ;)

Reply Score: 2

Misleading titles
by dylansmrjones on Tue 10th Apr 2007 23:42 UTC
dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

There is no such thing as ClearType in Linux. There is no such thing as violating MS-patents in this regard. If anything it is Apple's patents that is violated, considering the way sub-pixel rendering works.

Microsoft did not invent sub-pixel rendering. Microsoft was not the first to use it. And so on.

Any MS patent in this regard are void. Sub-pixel rendering is from before Gates got dry behind his ears.

Reply Score: 3

what is wrong with that ?
by trenchsol on Tue 10th Apr 2007 23:55 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

Novell is US company and they respect the laws of their country. Microsoft will not go to court as long as deal is on, but that does not mean that Novell can steal their property. The deal just means that they will settle the matters quietly.

Reply Score: 1

I'll roll my own version of Freetype
by tyrione on Wed 11th Apr 2007 03:42 UTC
tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

If I want sub-pixel hinting : FT_CONFIG_OPTION_SUBPIXEL_RENDERING

then I'll compile my own support.

Reply Score: 1

siimo Member since:
2006-06-22

First thing I do as well as the distro I use doesn't compile in support for bytecode interpreter which is patented by Apple.

Everyone is quick to bash MS about their cleartype patent but Apple isn't any better either.

http://www.freetype.org/patents.html

Reply Score: 2

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Actually Apple hasn't done anything to prevent enabling BCI in FreeType2. Many distributions distribute binaries with BCI enabled while Apple deliberately looks away. The FreeType2 team recommends disabling it due to Apple having the patent, and not because Apple has decided the FT2 team should do so.

Look at the Myth-part.
Myth :2: Apple Is Suing (or Sued) FreeType

This complete myth apparently started with this article on the SlashDot news site. Too bad the editors did neither care to check the submitted link nor even tried to contact us, we could have helped them!

It is true that we have been contacted by Apple's legal department, but that has never been in the clear intent of suing us, which isn't too surprising given that FreeType doesn't harm Apple in any way.

On the contrary, because of FreeType, Apple has already seen new patent licensees in the embedded market.


EDIT: BTW... that myth ALSO started at /. *sigh*

Edited 2007-04-11 04:57

Reply Score: 1

siimo Member since:
2006-06-22

Doesn't change the fact than they can sue if they want to. Microsoft hasn't sued either.

Reply Score: 1

What patent deal are we talking about?
by cfaak on Wed 11th Apr 2007 03:55 UTC
cfaak
Member since:
2006-07-13

I am confused when did MS and Novell trade any patent rights.

The "Big patent Deal between Novell and MS" Was a simple agreement not to sue the customers of the other business. No rights to use the patents of the the other company was attached!!!

Reply Score: 1