Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 13th May 2007 22:24 UTC, submitted by Havin_it
Legal "Free software is great, and corporate America loves it. It's often high-quality stuff that can be downloaded free off the Internet and then copied at will. It's versatile - it can be customized to perform almost any large-scale computing task - and it's blessedly crash-resistant. A broad community of developers, from individuals to large companies like IBM, is constantly working to improve it and introduce new features. No wonder the business world has embraced it so enthusiastically: More than half the companies in the Fortune 500 are thought to be using the free operating system Linux in their data centers. But now there's a shadow hanging over Linux and other free software, and it's being cast by Microsoft. The Redmond behemoth asserts that one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of Microsoft's patents."
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Well, obviously
by mallard on Sun 13th May 2007 22:36 UTC
mallard
Member since:
2006-01-06

Seeing as Microsoft own patents for things like clicking the mouse and hyperlinks, I can't say I'm surprised.

If Microsoft own any patents that OSS violates and would stand up in court, why don't they sue?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Well, obviously
by zizban on Sun 13th May 2007 22:41 UTC in reply to "Well, obviously"
zizban Member since:
2005-07-06

People fear them, like CTOs. I'd like to see proof. If they have some, it can removed from the software. But they wont show it. FUD and $$$ are too important to MS.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Well, obviously
by chrono13 on Sun 13th May 2007 22:54 UTC in reply to "Well, obviously"
chrono13 Member since:
2006-10-25

"If Microsoft own any patents that OSS violates and would stand up in court, why don't they sue?"

Because if Microsoft sued any Linux user or vendor it would potentially trigger the software patent war.

Microsoft violates all sorts of patents held by Sun, IBM, and many others. Some of those companies earn money on or through Linux. They would potentially fight back by launching a salvo of infringement suites of their own.

This would again raise the question of software patents in general, and this time, Microsoft would be trying to rip the rug out from under some very large corporations and government agencies. This might be a bigger fight than they anticipate.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Well, obviously
by binarycrusader on Sun 13th May 2007 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Well, obviously"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft violates all sorts of patents held by Sun, IBM, and many others. Some of those companies earn money on or through Linux. They would potentially fight back by launching a salvo of infringement suites of their own.


Microsoft also has cross-licensing patent agreements with many of those companies, including Sun I believe. So I don't think they could or would sue Microsoft.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Well, obviously
by wirespot on Mon 14th May 2007 19:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well, obviously"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

Ah, but it gets really hairy where GPL is involved. Even v2 has an implied patent license:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070328071651351

No, pursuing this would only open a huge can of worms. I cannot believe they'd be so stupid.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Well, obviously
by BluenoseJake on Mon 14th May 2007 00:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Well, obviously"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

"Microsoft violates all sorts of patents held by Sun, IBM, and many others. Some of those companies earn money on or through Linux. They would potentially fight back by launching a salvo of infringement suites of their own. "

That statement is no more provable than MS saying Linux violates it's patents. it's just unknown at this time. To tell you the truth, the way patent law in the states works, everyone in the software industry probably violates everyone else's patents, you can patent dogs chewing on bones in the states.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Well, obviously
by tsuraan on Mon 14th May 2007 13:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well, obviously"
tsuraan Member since:
2006-01-16

To tell you the truth, the way patent law in the states works, everyone in the software industry probably violates everyone else's patents, you can patent dogs chewing on bones in the states.

Especially in that silly state of Australia, where they let a patent on the wheel slip through... The US patent system is definitely hosed, but we're hardly the only ones.

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn965

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Well, obviously
by BluenoseJake on Mon 14th May 2007 16:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Well, obviously"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Good thing I am Canadian, I'd hate to pay even more for my tires

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Well, obviously
by hobgoblin on Mon 14th May 2007 00:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Well, obviously"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

so in other words, patents are like WMD's of the tech industry?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Well, obviously
by MollyC on Mon 14th May 2007 01:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Well, obviously"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"Microsoft violates all sorts of patents held by Sun, IBM, and many others. Some of those companies earn money on or through Linux. They would potentially fight back by launching a salvo of infringement suites of their own. "

The big companies generally have deals allowing for cross-licensing of patents. Even the article says, "So Microsoft took the third choice, which was to begin licensing its patents to other companies in exchange for either royalties or access to their patents (a "cross-licensing" deal). In December 2003, Microsoft's new licensing unit opened for business, and soon the company had signed cross-licensing pacts with such tech firms as Sun, Toshiba, SAP and Siemens."

The problem, from Microsoft's perspective, is that there's no one enity to deal with in the FOSS community, so how do you make cross-licensing or royalty deals? Microsoft feels that the FOSS community feels free to violate any patent it likes because there's noone to make deals with or even to sue. And, indeed, I've seen OSS advocates on slashdot cite this as a virtue of FOSS - "We don't worry about violating patents because we're too spread out and not individually rich enough to be sued."

A concrete example is MPEG2. There are plenty of OSS MPEG2 players that don't pay the MPEG2 license fee (which as around $10 per player). Microsoft, except for Windows MCE and now Vista, didn't ship an MPEG2 codec with WMP because they didn't want to pay for the license. Instead, they direct the user to pay $10 for an MPEG2 codec from a third party (like CyberLink), or let the OEM pay for the codec. Apple charges the user $10 for an MPEG2 codec for their QuickTime player for the same reason. But OSS devs make video players with MPEG2 support, without bothering with the license at all. And they feel secure in doing so because it's not worth the effort to sue them.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Well, obviously
by lemur2 on Mon 14th May 2007 02:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well, obviously"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{A concrete example is MPEG2. There are plenty of OSS MPEG2 players that don't pay the MPEG2 license fee (which as around $10 per player).}

The problem here is that MP3 is not a Microsoft patent. Most Linux distributions, and indeed most Linux media players, do not ship with MP3 codecs.

If Microsoft does in fact hold a valid patent (for example, in a media codec such as WMV or WMA), for which there is no prior art (no prior art for a media codec? how are they going to argue that one?), and which patent is indeed implemented in Linux, then exactly how are Microsoft going to argue any damages? Microsoft don't offer a WMA or WMV codec for Linux, so Microsoft's sales of that patent are not harmed by a codec for Linux.

Microsoft don't offer anything for Linux. Microsoft are therefore not harmed if someone else makes a product for Linux.

Patents are, after all, meant to protect inventions, so that the inventor may offer it for sale. If Microsoft are not offering their stuff for sale in a given market, then they are not harmed by another party who does.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Well, obviously
by Snapper on Mon 14th May 2007 13:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Well, obviously"
Snapper Member since:
2005-11-16

Who said anything about mp3?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Well, obviously
by anda_skoa on Mon 14th May 2007 11:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well, obviously"
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

But OSS devs make video players with MPEG2 support, without bothering with the license at all. And they feel secure in doing so because it's not worth the effort to sue them.


Depending on their countries' patent laws they might not be sueable at all.

For example in Austria non-commercial use of patents is granted by law, thus is developers can freely use them if they do not have any commercial interest.

Of course any third party distributing the software might have commercial interests and thus be bound to licence the patent.

It might not be legally distributable in other countries without such an exception, however, the developers are still doing nothing illegal.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Well, obviously
by Brendan on Mon 14th May 2007 12:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well, obviously"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

The problem, from Microsoft's perspective, is that there's no one enity to deal with in the FOSS community, so how do you make cross-licensing or royalty deals? Microsoft feels that the FOSS community feels free to violate any patent it likes because there's noone to make deals with or even to sue. And, indeed, I've seen OSS advocates on slashdot cite this as a virtue of FOSS - "We don't worry about violating patents because we're too spread out and not individually rich enough to be sued."

Unfortunately this works both ways. If FOSS projects don't have a single entity for Microsoft to take to court, then there isn't anyone capable of taking Microsoft to court (e.g. for defamation) to force them into defending their allegations.

Microsoft can happily say (almost) any FUD they like without disclosing which patents are allegedly violated. Microsoft can/will continue spreading FUD and disclosing nothing, most "normal" people (i.e. non-technical people) will believe them, and FOSS (with a few exceptions) isn't really in a good position to stop them.

As for the exceptions, which companies would volunteer for 20 years of arguing in court about everything imaginable (including "Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp?", "Who ate the last chocolate biscuit?", and whether or not the chicken came before the egg)?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Well, obviously
by pcdoctor on Mon 14th May 2007 11:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Well, obviously"
pcdoctor Member since:
2007-03-05

so? let's bring this "war" on. God knows Amerika loves a good "war" (the war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on this AND that) - let's get this whole mess out in the open, and solved.
Keeping it swept under the rug, Victorian-style, only allows for the 'problem' to fester and get worse.
Start the suing - now. Let's get it over with.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Well, obviously
by Snapper on Mon 14th May 2007 16:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Well, obviously"
Snapper Member since:
2005-11-16

RE[3]: Well, obviously
By pcdoctor (1.25) on 2007-05-14 11:35:44 UTC in reply to ""
so? let's bring this "war" on. God knows Amerika loves a good "war" (the war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on this AND that) - let's get this whole mess out in the open, and solved.
Keeping it swept under the rug, Victorian-style, only allows for the 'problem' to fester and get worse.
Start the suing - now. Let's get it over with.


Everyone else is are angels, I suppose. Let the companies duke it out. You just go about your business and have a good time doing what you do.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Well, obviously
by Chuck Norris on Mon 14th May 2007 10:10 UTC in reply to "Well, obviously"
Chuck Norris Member since:
2007-03-24

Should one stop using just Linux or the BSDs also? Are there free OSes that are not conserned? Are paid versions of Linux safe?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Well, obviously
by walterbyrd on Mon 14th May 2007 13:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Well, obviously"
walterbyrd Member since:
2005-12-31

>>Are paid versions of Linux safe?<<

Any version of Linux, or FreeBSD, or whatever is safe. This is just msft FUD, designed to scare you away from the competition. If msft had a real case, msft would be specific about which patents were being infringed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Well, obviously
by knightrider on Mon 14th May 2007 18:16 UTC in reply to "Well, obviously"
knightrider Member since:
2006-12-11

They need to prove that their patents are being violated. If they can't then they need to shut up. I'm tired of hearing this FUD crap from them. I think they are lying about the patent. They must have studied the source by now. They are just mischieve makers.

Reply Score: 2

Software patents don't make sense
by arhuaco on Sun 13th May 2007 22:41 UTC
arhuaco
Member since:
2006-04-24

If someone talks to you about this, show them this letter.

http://lpf.ai.mit.edu/Patents/knuth-to-pto.txt

If they do not agree with you just don't waste time with them.

Reply Score: 5

Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

I like the argument - I wonder if this could also be applied to genetic code, which is also essentially mathamatical?

Reply Score: 1

B. Janssen Member since:
2006-10-11

Gone fishing: I like the argument - I wonder if this could also be applied to genetic code, which is also essentially mathamatical?


It is not, we are just using mathematics to discern patterns. That is a difference. Anyway, genetics are, at most, discoveries, not inventions, thus not patentable. At least in the EU...

Reply Score: 2

Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

If one makes a novel sequence of DNA that cells then translates into a protein, that squence of DNA is just code very mach analogous to a computer program, more or less digital in nature that can be described mathamatically as a squence of A,C,G and Ts.

Should you the be able to patent that code? How about if your code is just a copy of a natural sequence with the introns removed?

Reply Score: 1

jaylaa Member since:
2006-01-17

Good article. But it seems to address only one kind of patent. Algorithms and the like. It's a good argument for why things like file compression shouldn't be patentable.

But it doesn't explain the stupidity of patenting vauge ideas and desktop metaphors like spring loaded folders and double clicking stuff. I get the feeling that most of the 235 patents that MS claims Linux violates are bullshit like this.

Reply Score: 4

arhuaco Member since:
2006-04-24

>I get the feeling that most of the 235 patents
>that MS claims Linux violates are bullshit like this.

Yes. FUD. Most people will buy what they say.

Reply Score: 4

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

Good article. But it seems to address only one kind of patent. Algorithms and the like.

No, you are just thinking of a high-level notion of algorithm; all software patents are addressed. From the article:

"Moglen contends that software is a mathematical algorithm and, as such, not patentable. "

Any software is a detailed set of instructions to perform a task, i.e., any software is an algorithm.

Reply Score: 5

jaylaa Member since:
2006-01-17

No, you are just thinking of a high-level notion of algorithm; all software patents are addressed.

No, that still doesn't cover the second set of stupid software patents I was talking about. The software itself may be an algorithm, but the ideas for how it should look and behave is no more an algorithm than the idea of how a pair of jeans should look and feel.

The "idea" for 1-click shopping is not an algorithm. Maybe the method used to implement it is, but that's not what is being covered by the patent. If it were the distinct method Amazon was using for 1-click shopping that was being patented then someone else could come up with their own separate 1-click algorithm. But the patent is for any 1-click shopping method, no matter what the code looks like.

So this patent on a general idea is not refuted by showing why algorithms should not be patentable. And it extends furthur than software. For instance, people are starting to patent plots for books.

Edited 2007-05-14 01:12

Reply Score: 5

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

But the patent is for any 1-click shopping method, no matter what the code looks like.

AFAICS, we can still realize even this as software, however. For example, from Wikipedia:

According to one definition, a program is "declarative" if it describes what something is like, rather than how to create it.

Thus, it is conceivable that a declarative piece (say in a declarative language such as Prolog) of software need only be the instruction that a shopping method is to be 1-click (leaving the compiler to implement an appropriate method). Thus, such software, even without specifying any particular method, would violate Amazon's "idea" patent.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Reply Score: 3

elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


You're not. Amazon's patent is essentially a patent for what they perceive to be a unique "business process". There's no algorithms or design involved. So it's not about code per se, but simply implementing the concept as part of your business. They've already gone after Barnes and Noble because of this, but last I heard there was a challenge launched against it because of prior art.

But the fact that something so seemingly obvious could be patented is so ridiculous, one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Reply Score: 2

jaylaa Member since:
2006-01-17

I guess I agree with everything you said. Me and that wikipedia article disagree on that definition of what makes a program, but considering such a definition, I understand what you mean.

I should start patenting "declarative" programs that are still impossible to actually code, like a "method of porting individual human conciousness to the body of a robot". I'm gonna be rich:)

Reply Score: 2

Software patents
by google_ninja on Sun 13th May 2007 22:54 UTC
google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

This is the prime example of why patenting software is absolutely redicules. Patents are supposed to be there to protect small-time innovators from corporate power. In reality, big corporations have such massive patent portfolios, that they are used to shake down competition, be it big business (http://www.forbes.com/asap/2002/0624/044_print.html an example of how IBM raped SUN back in the day), or small one man operations. The current dilemma is caused by the patent office being uneducated, and granting patents for even basic concepts, and corporate lobby groups changing laws to fit their needs.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Software patents
by ronaldst on Sun 13th May 2007 23:11 UTC in reply to "Software patents"
ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

Patenting software isn't stupid. It's there because someone needs it. Patents aren't supposed to be there to protect small-time innovators from corporate power. They're to protect someone's hard work. Those can be either small-time innovators or corporate "power".

What's stupid is companies collecting patents then suing other companies out of the blue years later. And obvious patents that shouldn't have been patented in the first place like overused concepts like drop down listboxes and command buttons.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Software patents
by ArchVile on Sun 13th May 2007 23:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Software patents"
ArchVile Member since:
2006-07-23

No, no, no... The famous Knuth letter linked in arhuaco's post says it all. An algorithm is a mathematical solution to a mathematical problem, and in computer science there only are mathematical problems. Period!
If you allow software patents to go through, then you must also allow someone (a company or an individual) who makes it first to the patent office to patent the theorem of Pythagoras, Newton's equations, and what not. Period!

And again: no, no, no to "good vs. bad software patents"! Every small company that has worked hard on an algorithm has the right to keep it closed-source, but it cannot PATENT it for the reasons given above. I would still consider it more reasonable to open-source it, but nobody can force anyone to do that.

And once again: People do make heaps of money with FOSS, because they follow different development and business models than MS and the likes. Your "small company" just have to rethink their approach.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Software patents
by Almafeta on Sun 13th May 2007 23:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Software patents"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

No, no, no... The famous Knuth letter linked in arhuaco's post says it all. An algorithm is a mathematical solution to a mathematical problem, and in computer science there only are mathematical problems. Period!

Which is odd, because we seem to be talking here on OSNews in text, not numbers...

If you want to get pervasive, everything can be boiled down to math. Speech can be reduced to mathematically-definable sound waves, thought can be boiled down to a chronological list of boolean values, novels and plays could be defined as arrays of letters, physical products could be turned into a list of their component particles and their locations/velocities, et multiple cetera. But the component math isn't the product.

If you allow software patents to go through, then you must also allow someone (a company or an individual) who makes it first to the patent office to patent the theorem of Pythagoras, Newton's equations, and what not. Period!

Physical and mathematical laws are self-evident expressions of nature, and is discovered by applying logic to a problem until the solution is found. A new way to perform some abstract task is not self-evident, and is created (not discovered) by applying creativity to a problem until a method is decided upon. They are completely different.

And once again: People do make heaps of money with FOSS, because they follow different development and business models than MS and the likes.

Ripping off the work of others and getting away with it thanks to an overused license does save a few billion on development, yes. The marketing/propaganda campaign which you can buy with that kind of money can almost get you as much money as if you had hired a team large enough and skilled enough to compete on your own.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Software patents
by rayiner on Mon 14th May 2007 00:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Software patents"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

Which is odd, because we seem to be talking here on OSNews in text, not numbers...

The mathematics behind the theories of computation don't really have anything to do with numbers. In fact, pure lambda calculus has no numbers,

If you want to get pervasive, everything can be boiled down to math. Speech can be reduced to mathematically-definable sound waves, thought can be boiled down to a chronological list of boolean values, novels and plays could be defined as arrays of letters, physical products could be turned into a list of their component particles and their locations/velocities, et multiple cetera.

And interestingly enough, you cannot patent speech patterns, nor the plot of a novel, etc.

But the component math isn't the product.

The problem is that in this case, the product (an algorithm) is nothing more than the component math. Any algorithm expressible in a Turing-complete language can be translated into expressions in the lambda calculus (Church-Turing thesis). So the difference between the patented filtering algorithm behind ClearType and Pythagoras' theorem is just a matter of degree --- both are just expressions in a particular domain of mathematics.

You have to remember that being able to describe something with numbers is completely different than being able to define something completely in terms of mathematical statements. A mechanical invention may be describable in terms of the wave functions of every component particle, but it cannot be completely defined by a mathematical expression. A software algorithm is not only completely definable in terms of a mathematical expression, it is completely indistinguishable from such.

That said, I'm not completely opposed to the patenting of algorithms. It should be borne in mind that principled arguments are not really applicable to patents. In the American system, at least, inventors rights are not natural rights, rather they are merely convenient economic tools whose sole legitimacy rests on their empirical benefits. They are in this regard unlike property rights, which are protected under natural law regardless of their social consequences.

This is a fact that cuts both ways. It means that in some cases, software patents are legitimate, because they may lead to the development of socially beneficial technology. It also means that when this property does not hold (the vast majority of cases), then the patent has no legitimacy. Companies are not entitled to patents in the way you are entitled to free speech --- it's something provided when, and only when, it serves the greater good to do so.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Software patents
by butters on Mon 14th May 2007 01:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Software patents"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

I like your train of thought better than my own below. I'm not sure we can dramatically improve the patent offices' abilities to identify which pending patents will help or harm future developments. But it's much easier to pass judgment when a patent turns out to be a bad egg.

Now that Microsoft is making patent claims against Linux, anyone that distributes the allegedly infringing works should have the right to request a patent review process. Microsoft must explicitly enumerate the allegedly infringed patents, and a patent review board will analyze whether or not the patents are standing in the way of progress.

The fact that Microsoft seeks royalties for unspecified alleged infringements is the part of this I find the most objectionable of all:

Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they're being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them.

Or submitting patches for them, I might add. Microsoft doesn't want to defend the merit of their patents, and they don't want free software to stop infringing their patents. They just want the users of free software to pay up. For what, Microsoft? What should I pay for?

I would never argue that the so-called free software stack doesn't infringe Microsoft patents. I'm sure it does. But why is it that they don't need to prove anything? Why are they able to just make allegations and collect royalties? If the law is on their side in this respect, then the law is dead wrong.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Software patents
by elsewhere on Mon 14th May 2007 02:54 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Software patents"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

I would never argue that the so-called free software stack doesn't infringe Microsoft patents. I'm sure it does. But why is it that they don't need to prove anything? Why are they able to just make allegations and collect royalties? If the law is on their side in this respect, then the law is dead wrong.


The problem isn't necessarily the law, but the system. The law would force Microsoft to prove patent violations while giving those allegedly infringing the opportunity to defend themselves. The system would wind up draining very large amounts of cash out of both parties in the form of attorney fees and court related costs, regardless of who is right and wrong, before the thought of recompense even comes into play. So sadly you can stand your ground against Microsoft, possibly even win, yet face crippling legal bills without the possibility for compensation. Individuals have a degree of protection from malicious corporate lawsuits, commercial organizations have virtually none.

Companies aren't as afraid of the law as they are of the system. Sadly it is often cheaper to pay the blood money rather than fight for the principle, even if you know you can win. And that's what MS is counting on.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Software patents
by sbergman27 on Sun 13th May 2007 23:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Software patents"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Patents aren't supposed to be there to protect small-time innovators from corporate power. They're to protect someone's hard work.
"""

Constitutionally speaking, they are there so that We The People can enjoy the benefits of ideas which may not have been put into practice without the extra incentive of a limited monopoly to encourage developing them into working products.

If the idea would likely have been developed by *someone* anyway, the people have lost, and are simply saddled with an unnecessary artificial monopoly.

The option for congress to grant limited monopolies was intended to benefit The People and not the holders of those monopolies. Their benefiting is only a side effect.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Software patents
by butters on Mon 14th May 2007 01:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Software patents"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

That's why the 9th Circuit in the U.S. is off its rails, and the Supreme Court isn't reining it in enough. The tests are, simply speaking, originality and non-obviousness. The obviousness part is the problem, and while the tests have recently gotten a bit better, they are still swayed by what I view as a poor choice of words.

The test should be based around inevitability or eventuality. Would a skilled practitioner in a given field eventually arrive at this idea given the body of preexisting work in this field?

Patents are out of step with the actual process of inventing. They're caught up in the results--the invention--and ignore the reasoning that led to it. I would imagine that the vast majority of original and arguably non-obvious inventions were the result of ordinary critical and analytical reasoning applied to existing ideas. Surely there are those "Eureka!" ideas and ones that result from complex chains of empirical analysis, and these should be patentable. But everybody possesses the skills, to some extent, to think about how ideas can be applied and improved. These kinds of developments need no special protection.

For similar reasons, if one unknowingly infringes on an existing patent while advancing their work through their own reasoning process, then due to this occurrence the existing patent should be deemed "inevitable" or "eventual" and duly invalidated. If you can successfully demonstrate (through changelogs, mailing list archives, code comments, etc.) that you arrived at this embodiment through your own independent work, then the patent should not hold up.

Online shopping, for example, had steadily been getting easier and more convenient before the famous 1-click shopping patent. Given the trend of making online shopping easier, someone was eventually going to get it down to one click. Even if you wouldn't consider it obvious at the time, you would surely consider it a logical conclusion of prevailing trends in the fledgling field of e-commerce technology. A computer programmer with a little bit of cynicism might conclude, "Oh, look--somebody applied caching to customer data on an e-commerce site and thinks they're special. How precious..."

The goal is to prevent people from ripping off original ideas. If one comes to the same conclusion without copying anyone's ideas, then the protections shouldn't come in play, and they shouldn't be valid going forward.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Software patents
by thebin on Mon 14th May 2007 16:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Software patents"
thebin Member since:
2007-03-17

if one unknowingly infringes...


Exactly. The point being that when people can patent trivial ideas (standardization of user interface, mouse gestures, or for that matter, certain types of structures offered by languages), it becomes impossible for developers to develop. So much for sitting down and banging something out in an afternoon. For every hour spent coding, you or your lawyers (if you can afford them) will be spending many times that amount looking for patents that your code might run afoul of. This is ridiculous and leads to a lack of productivity.

An analogy to the art world was once made by someone much smarter than I. It basically compared patenting software to patenting art. Imagine patenting "a composition comprised of varying shades of blue sky, dark colored mountain scenery, a reflecting lake, and a sunset." Then anyone who used any remote derivation of such a composition would need pay licensing fees to the "original" artist. So much for the art world.

Add to this the actual broken patent process. First, it costs more money than most independent developers I know have to patent ideas. Then there is the question of the qualifications of the patent examiners. Then, presuming that you have the money and are awarded the patent, you have to defend the patent for it to hold. This is such a costly process that only big corporations can play. Now, consider that such big corporations take advantage of the weaknesses in the system to create a hedge of patents for any idea their employees have, no matter how trivial, and you see the big picture.

The patent process is no longer about giving people credit and letting them develop their ideas in peace. That's the fiction big business would like for us to believe. Rather, the patent process has become an offensive business method (patent trolling) that is legitimate only in the eyes of those with great power.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Software patents
by google_ninja on Sun 13th May 2007 23:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Software patents"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

They're to protect someone's hard work. Those can be either small-time innovators or corporate "power".


This is quite true, but corporate power has alwas been able to take care of itself. The specific purpose of patents is to put everyone on an equal footing, be it big or small time inventors.

I am a big believer in both copyright and patent law (or the spirit behind it anyways). Copyrights apply to software, patents do not.

What's stupid is companies collecting patents then suing other companies out of the blue years later. And obvious patents that shouldn't have been patented in the first place like overused concepts like drop down listboxes and command buttons.


That is what software patents today are used for. Patent portfolios are such an asset, that companies that don't even make software buy the patents from companies which do that go out of business. They exist solely for litigation. Not only that, but any legitimate use goes out the window due to the massive portfolios of the big companies. What ends up happening is that if Joe Developer creates a real innovation, he goes off, patents it, and starts building a business to market it. IBM sees it, and incorporates it into their competing product. Joe goes to sue, IBM layers pay him a visit. Since they own most of the fundamental principals of software design, chances are there will be half a dozen patents joe is violating, patents on ideas that in reality are in the public domain, but legally are property of IBM. IBM says they will either counter-sue for Joe's half a dozen violations, or they offer to cross liscence, giving Joe the legal right to do what has been done for decades, while taking the right to use Joe's real innovation for free.

Patent law (and to a lesser extent copyright law) is not fullfilling its intended purpose. As such, it needs to be changed to meet todays needs.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Software patents
by lemur2 on Mon 14th May 2007 02:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Software patents"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{Patenting software isn't stupid. It's there because someone needs it. Patents aren't supposed to be there to protect small-time innovators from corporate power. They're to protect someone's hard work.}

The problem with this argument is that Microsoft does not produce any software for Linux.

How can Microsoft argue that they are out to protect something when they are not even in the market?

Edited 2007-05-14 02:36

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Software patents
by renox on Mon 14th May 2007 06:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Software patents"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

>>Patenting software isn't stupid. It's there because someone needs it.<<

Yes, the mega-corporations which can gather a lot of money/power from it.
Remember software patents are illegal in Europe, Microsoft and the likes tried to change this, but fortunately they were successfully repelled (for now).

And there are lots of European companies which earn money making software, so SW patents are NOT necessary.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Software patents
by cata on Mon 14th May 2007 09:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Software patents"
cata Member since:
2007-05-14

Patenting software is stupid.
I agree that that creating software is finding solutions to problems. If someone find the solution to climb on a moutain, using some path he discovers, that he/she cannot deny other people to use the same path to climb on that mountain. Ok, suppose on the top of that mountain is gold and that you find a path then the gold is not yours, you've just find a path. You are free to take as much gold as possible but cannot deny other to take too, even if they offers it for free to the others.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Software patents
by viton on Mon 14th May 2007 16:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Software patents"
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

They're to protect someone's hard work

The problem: in software world, there are a lot of researchers working on exactly the same problems and achieving the same results. They're all doing their own "hard work".
So why only one person should receive all the rights?
This is dumb and unfair.

And obvious patents that shouldn't have been patented in the first place like overused concepts like drop down listboxes and command buttons.

Who can judge what is obvious and what is not?
A mathematically skilled person can spend entire 5 minutes of his life to create say, wavelet transform, while other person can waste years just to find the best menu layout in the complex application.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Software patents
by Michael on Mon 14th May 2007 19:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Software patents"
Michael Member since:
2005-07-01

Patents exist to encourage invention. However we now arrive at the situation where, in order to work, even an individual programmer needs a legal department, even if he isn't inventing anything new. It's crushing small business, innovation and competition. Why ever would Microsoft want that?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Software patents
by Woogbear on Mon 14th May 2007 19:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Software patents"
Woogbear Member since:
2006-07-12

Total World Domination.

Reply Score: 2

Yeah, right
by Frenetic on Sun 13th May 2007 22:56 UTC
Frenetic
Member since:
2006-05-01

"The Redmond behemoth asserts that one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of Microsoft's patents."

This makes absolutely no sense. What does quality have to do with patents in this case? There might be a correlation if Microsoft software was reverse-engineered from the machine code, but I'm pretty sure this is not the case at all.

Weren't patents originally devised mainly to protect a complex technology from being reverse-engineered and replicated, thus preventing someone from "stealing" someone else's research? Doesn't allowing the patenting of immediately and independently devisable solutions seem rather counterproductive?

It has been known for some time that the patent system is broken, but much has been said and little has been done. Is it ever going to be fixed? Imagine the potential upswing in the software market if it was!

Reply Score: 4

RE: Yeah, right
by Almafeta on Mon 14th May 2007 00:02 UTC in reply to "Yeah, right"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

This makes absolutely no sense. What does quality have to do with patents in this case?

In patenting software, Microsoft has to define in detail what they are patenting. From there, because patents are a matter of public record, it can be easily implemented by others, albiet not legally -- and I'm betting more than a few Linux developers know about Google Patents.

Reply Score: 1

armageddon
by Gone fishing on Sun 13th May 2007 22:57 UTC
Gone fishing
Member since:
2006-02-22

A patent war leading to the damage and possible collapse of some of Americaís top IT companies is probably just what the rest of the world needs to convince it that software patents a bad thing.

Ultimately this can only damage MS, and intellectual property held by other US companies. I wonder if they have the wit to see it? The answers probably yes and this is just FUD.

Reply Score: 5

Bring it on ....
by cookieninja on Sun 13th May 2007 23:00 UTC
cookieninja
Member since:
2005-11-11

The sooner the F/OSS world clashes with Microsoft over the subject of patents the better!

I cannot see how this can work out badly in the long run.

I guess I can say that freely, though, seeing as I not only live in Europe, but also reside within a nation of Europe that says NO to software patents.

Edited 2007-05-13 23:01

Reply Score: 5

RE: Bring it on ....
by samad on Mon 14th May 2007 15:07 UTC in reply to "Bring it on ...."
samad Member since:
2006-03-31

Europeans have a more humane social contract than us in the States. You know, you guys have things like universal health care. Here, things aren't so nice. Large firms like Microsoft have a disproportionate control over legal issues. A head to head collision with Microsoft will be disastrous for free software in America. Even the government couldn't break up Microsoft with an anti-trust lawsuit a decade ago. Free software can't either because it simply does not have the resources to fight a very costly legal battle. Free software has been able to survive here because we have had to hide off in an underground bunker to avoid lawsuits. Need I say anything more than "libdvdcss2"?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Bring it on ....
by cookieninja on Mon 14th May 2007 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Bring it on ...."
cookieninja Member since:
2005-11-11

"A head to head collision with Microsoft will be disastrous for free software in America."

I disagree with that. It might be a disaster in the short term but, as the USA is not the world, it might just cause enough disturbance outside the USA to bring enough pressure to bear on the US government. Perhaps the collective might of vested interests opposed to MS, both within and outside the USA, might just lead to the change that is needed.

In all honesty, I never expected DRM to get lifted from music tracks any time soon, but it seems to be happening now. The only 2 forces I'm aware of, that brought this about, was a sickly music company (EMI) outside of the USA and EU countries complaining to Apple. It had nothing to do with the USA, but the USA is going to feel the effects. This patent thing might just go the same way.

Feel free to shoot me down on that, anyone, I am not an expert. That's just a gut feeling I have based on my ignorance.

Edited 2007-05-14 17:23

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Bring it on ....
by samad on Tue 15th May 2007 15:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bring it on ...."
samad Member since:
2006-03-31

"...as the USA is not the world..."

Note I specified conditions in the US which had not been addressed. I think the situation of free software in the US is important to this discussion.

"..., it might just cause enough disturbance outside the USA to bring enough pressure to bear on the US government."

Since when has the US listened to its allies? Ever heard of something called the "Iraq Invasion"?

Reply Score: 2

MS Talking About Fairplay?
by penguin7009 on Sun 13th May 2007 23:03 UTC
penguin7009
Member since:
2005-07-10

MS should not be talking about living in a world where we have laws to protect ideas! They have violated more patents and crushed more entrepreneurs than any company on the face of the earth.

Their deal with Novel was no surprise the folks that produce Susse are big collaborators in other venues too! Ever hear of Iraq?

Reply Score: 2

Rather ironic...
by Dave_K on Sun 13th May 2007 23:05 UTC
Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

After a couple of decades of Microsoft pilfering user interface concepts from other sources, it's a bit hard to take those 65 UI patent infringements very seriously.

Of course it's easy to spread FUD like this, it'll be interesting to see how many of these claims actually stand up to scrutiny.

Personally I find it strange that a company in such a strong position, with an overwhelming domination of the operating system market, would feel the need to resort to this kind of tactic. Surely they don't want to look desperate?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Rather ironic...
by dylansmrjones on Mon 14th May 2007 00:05 UTC in reply to "Rather ironic..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02
RE[2]: Rather ironic...
by pcdoctor on Mon 14th May 2007 12:09 UTC in reply to "Rather ironic..."
pcdoctor Member since:
2007-03-05

They are (marginally) desperate.
MS sees a brave new trend emerging with kewl software like Ubuntu and other refined Linux flavours now starting a snowball effect!

This worrying trend must be nipped in the bud
and these rattling of sabres and jerking-around of chains is the first step,
never mind they stole so much good stuff from Apple and others,
back when Win.95 was ..like.. The Dorkiest Software on Earth.

Reply Score: 2

I told you so...
by melkor on Sun 13th May 2007 23:14 UTC
melkor
Member since:
2006-12-16

And people wonder why Novell did a deal with Microsoft...these bastards are swapping money to control Linux. Kill the competition.

Granted - the vast majority of Microsoft's patents are bogus, granted by a USPTO that couldn't tell its a$$ from its face, but that doesn't change the problem.

I really hope this makes IBM retaliate with its own patent warchest, screwing Microsoft in the process. I'd love to see a patent war, because it's the only way to show how BAD they are. They do not cause innovation, they stifle innovation, and the only way to fix the problem is to make all software patents invalid and ban them from EVER being applied again.

Dave

Reply Score: 5

RE: I told you so...
by pcdoctor on Mon 14th May 2007 12:15 UTC in reply to "I told you so..."
pcdoctor Member since:
2007-03-05

Like I said earlier.. let the war begin!

Let's get it over with.

The longer it festers, the more software's progress is inhibited.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I told you so...
by osgeek on Mon 14th May 2007 17:05 UTC in reply to "I told you so..."
osgeek Member since:
2006-12-23

Indeed, this wouldn't have happened without MS-Novell deal.
So how many users stopped using SuSe as a protest.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I told you so...
by sbergman27 on Mon 14th May 2007 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE: I told you so..."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Indeed, this wouldn't have happened without MS-Novell deal.
So how many users stopped using SuSe as a protest.
"""

Well, it probably would have happened. MS decided that the time was right and moved forward. At worst, Novell aided and abetted.

While I don't use any of the Suse family of distros, as they have never been my cup of tea, I would remind everyone that OpenSuse and Suse are not one and the same thing. (I don't mean to imply that osgeek did. I'm just aiming to disambiguate.)

I would also remind you that this is likely a multi-pronged strategy on MS's part. Don't focus so much upon the FUD part that you forget about the "divide the community and conquer it" part.

That doesn't mean I think we should all trust Novell implicitly. But let's not let Microsoft play us like marionettes, either.

Edited 2007-05-14 17:24

Reply Score: 2

Why cares about it?
by CapEnt on Sun 13th May 2007 23:16 UTC
CapEnt
Member since:
2005-12-18

Software patents is illegal in almost everywhere except in USA. And even in USA, the software patent system is so scrambled, so confusing, that i serious doubt that any software patent will be ever enforced. Microsoft by himself perhaps are violating a hundred of patents and don't know.

I would love to see Microsoft trying to enforce these patents in places like Brazil or Russia. A good amount of free software developers don't live in USA, and several companies funding it are also not in USA.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Why cares about it?
by rayiner on Sun 13th May 2007 23:47 UTC in reply to "Why cares about it?"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

Software patents are *not* illegal in the EU. In fact, the software patent regime in the EU isn't much less messed up in practice than it is in the US.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Why cares about it?
by dylansmrjones on Sun 13th May 2007 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Why cares about it?"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Actually there is no such things as software patents in EU. Or more correct. None of them are valid inside EU while they are valid in USA ;)

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Why cares about it?
by rayiner on Mon 14th May 2007 07:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why cares about it?"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

This is not true. The European Patent Convention has some wording that prohibits purely software patents, but as a matter of policy the European Patent Office (EPO) has been granting a fairly wide range of patents involving software. This brochure (http://cii.european-patent-office.org/_pdf/cii_brochure_en.pdf) makes the EPO policy fairly clear.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Why cares about it?
by dylansmrjones on Mon 14th May 2007 14:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why cares about it?"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

The legality of granting software patents in one or another form has nothing to do with the validity of those patents.

Software patents can be granted inside EU but they are not valid. They cannot be enforced within EU.

OTOH, patents that involves software but are not pure software patents are not patentable per se. EPO has the right to grant such patents but the directive (law) required to make such patents valid has been axed and is dead. Directives in regard to Software patents whether pure or not has been postponed indefinitely.

So no. The patents are NOT valid in EU. They cannot be enforced in regard to the software. And unpure software patents carry no validity at all since the directive was nixed. It is possible that they carry validity in some EU countries due to national law, but that's all. As a whole no patent involving software is valid in EU.

EDIT: The final decision was made in 2006 when the Politburo (the Commission) changed its view. Primo June 2006 patents involving software became invalid in EU when the Commission overruled the EPO. Your information is badly outdated.

Edited 2007-05-14 14:24

Reply Score: 4

Only one thing needs to be said:
by yakirz on Sun 13th May 2007 23:20 UTC
yakirz
Member since:
2006-05-11

f--k you, Microsoft.

Reply Score: 2

nonsense
by Oliver on Sun 13th May 2007 23:29 UTC
Oliver
Member since:
2006-07-15
RE: nonsense
by pcdoctor on Mon 14th May 2007 12:21 UTC in reply to "nonsense"
pcdoctor Member since:
2007-03-05

LOVE IT !! - many thanks for that link.

Reply Score: 2

Question..
by suryad on Sun 13th May 2007 23:30 UTC
suryad
Member since:
2005-07-09

...if Microsoft has those 235 patents that make OSS so successful, then how come they are not using it themselves? ;)

Reply Score: 5

RE: Question..
by garymax on Mon 14th May 2007 02:15 UTC in reply to "Question.."
garymax Member since:
2006-01-23

Exactly! It sounds as if Linux has "embraced and extended" MS intellectual property according to Microsoft.

Well, apparently, Linux has done a better job of implementing those ideas than MS themselves...if this is, indeed, true.

But again, I have my doubts as to any of MS claims given their track record...

Reply Score: 2

Hmm...
by Almafeta on Sun 13th May 2007 23:31 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

First, the header is a little bit misleading; open source software is not the same as actual free software.

If Linux et al are knowingly and willingly violating Microsoft's patents, isn't it more like open-source software taking on Microsoft?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Hmm...
by archiesteel on Mon 14th May 2007 01:37 UTC in reply to "Hmm..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Considering that we have no idea about the validity of the actual patents, that the existence of software patents itself is a controversial subject, and that MS is the one using them to intimidate others in what appears to be a classic case of FUD, then I think it's safe to say that MS is the one on the offensive here.

I myself welcome this confrontation. As others have said, a patent war is just what we need to invalidate the whole software patent system (and convince other countries to avoid them altogether).

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Hmm...
by dylansmrjones on Mon 14th May 2007 03:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmm..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

I myself welcome this confrontation. As others have said, a patent war is just what we need to invalidate the whole software patent system (and convince other countries to avoid them altogether).


Count me on this one ;) - a patent war is a war MS cannot win. Microsoft will lose because this is basically guerilla warfare. If Microsoft wants us to lay down our "patent-violating" code, all I can say is: Molon labe!

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Hmm...
by tomcat on Mon 14th May 2007 19:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmm..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Considering that we have no idea about the validity of the actual patents, that the existence of software patents itself is a controversial subject, and that MS is the one using them to intimidate others in what appears to be a classic case of FUD, then I think it's safe to say that MS is the one on the offensive here.

There's an easy way to test the validity of any given patent: use the patent process to provide public feedback or file suit. Unfortunately, many F/OSS advocates have come down on the side of wilfully infringing on patents, which strikes me as no better than software piracy.

Reply Score: 0

Preposterous!
by Supreme Dragon on Sun 13th May 2007 23:31 UTC
Supreme Dragon
Member since:
2007-03-04

Software patents are nonsensical. MS is worried people will flee their authoritarian software tyranny, and switch to Linux. Their dubious patent threats will not stop people from seeking freedom.

Reply Score: 5

another good reason to
by collinm on Sun 13th May 2007 23:37 UTC
collinm
Member since:
2005-07-15

it's another good reason to leave america to europe

Reply Score: 4

Uhm
by jaykayess on Sun 13th May 2007 23:48 UTC
jaykayess
Member since:
2005-09-28

If this were true, wouldn't we all be raving about how "blessedly crash-resistant" Microsoft's own products are?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Uhm
by Almafeta on Sun 13th May 2007 23:57 UTC in reply to "Uhm"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

For my part, the last Windows crash I had was back around Windows 98. You have to be really ignorant of how computers work, or overwork the hardware it's running on, to get it to crash nowadays.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Uhm
by dylansmrjones on Mon 14th May 2007 00:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Uhm"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Not entirely true. You could have faulty hardware without having made a fault yourself. Or a weird bug only triggered by special circumstances could show its ugly face. Personally I haven't seen a BSOD since NT4.0 and Win98 - with the exception of one situation where a Win2000 Pro installation CD resulted in a BSOD (apparently it didn't like the fact Win2K3 server was already installed - or perhaps it was the cd-rom drive - probably the latter one).

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Uhm
by alban on Mon 14th May 2007 11:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Uhm"
alban Member since:
2005-11-15

Replying to :- "For my part, the last Windows crash I had was back around Windows 98. You have to be really ignorant of how computers work, or overwork the hardware it's running on, to get it to crash nowadays."

You must be a very precise and careful PC user.
My last Windows crash was yesterday running VISTA.
I think I was carelessly writing a word document at the time with what must have been an almost callous disregard for the hardware I was running on.
My PC has not crashed today yet.

I believe that software patents are irrational, unnecessary, stifle innovation and are normally filed regardless of prior art. It is like filing a patent on a particualar method of using a pencil or pen.

Edited 2007-05-14 12:03

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Uhm
by anti on Mon 14th May 2007 13:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Uhm"
anti Member since:
2006-02-01

Also, you might have had your last crash back then, but I remember a few painful periods with Windows XP. Remote reboot exploits and the likes, some happenening within seconds or minutes from the first boot up.

I knew how to handle most without problems, but I got a million support calls because of those. XP is just now - quite a few years after shipping - shaping up a bit secure for new setups. still, careless browsing will have the box infected in no time.

And Vista already crashed on me several times, without me pushing anything difficult or resource-demanding on it. Much like the example above, with the word document. And it's a new box, so I doubt my hardware has anything to do with it.

Weird Windows crashes aren't history yet.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Uhm
by polaris20 on Mon 14th May 2007 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Uhm"
polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

For my part, the last Windows crash I had was back around Windows 98. You have to be really ignorant of how computers work, or overwork the hardware it's running on, to get it to crash nowadays.

That's simply not true. Windows updates last week brought a large number of PC's in my office to 100% CPU utilization, and ended up choking the PC's. The fix was Windows Restore.

The users did nothing different than install the battery of updates they released last week.

Saying Windows doesn't crash, even XP, is sugarcoating your reality.

Reply Score: 3

Same old story...
by dylansmrjones on Sun 13th May 2007 23:56 UTC
dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

we've heard it before.

Anyway - IF FLOSS software "violates" 200+ patents of Microsofts it is only because Microsoft is patenting the IP of FLOSS developers. For an instance Microsoft has patented sudo, grouped taskbar buttons, and has attempted to patent bluej. Add to that the recent court ruling about obviousness in patents: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070430-supreme-court-ruling-...

Reply Score: 3

v RE: Same old story...
by stephanem on Mon 14th May 2007 04:23 UTC in reply to "Same old story..."
RE[2]: Same old story...
by dylansmrjones on Mon 14th May 2007 13:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Same old story..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

I don't read slashdot but I read the patent. Did you notice the weak ambiguous language?

Reply Score: 2

Man....
by BluenoseJake on Mon 14th May 2007 00:14 UTC
BluenoseJake
Member since:
2005-08-11

Just when I thought they were learning some lessons, learning to be more open, they go and pull this stupid stunt. Thanks MS, you're screwing us all.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Man....
by yakirz on Mon 14th May 2007 00:22 UTC in reply to "Man...."
yakirz Member since:
2006-05-11

You underestimate the power of the Dark Side.

...that or the stupidity, it's hard to tell which sometimes.

Edited 2007-05-14 00:23

Reply Score: 3

My first thought
by RGCook on Mon 14th May 2007 00:37 UTC
RGCook
Member since:
2005-07-12

was that Microsoft is implicitly saying, "Linux is becomeing a real threat. We can't innovate our way out of this, so lets threaten suing."

Which leads me to wonder, whatever happened to the big innovatin push Microsoft touted a few years ago.

I don't know about y'all, but this is just the type of fuel that Linux needs because what Microsoft doesn't understand is that Linux is fueled by passion, not IP.

This is the beginning of the end for MS.

Reply Score: 4

Vista must be that bad
by snaker on Mon 14th May 2007 01:15 UTC
snaker
Member since:
2005-11-16

Vista must be terrible. Microsoft has to use the lawyers, and I am sure they will end up like SCO.

Edited 2007-05-14 01:16

Reply Score: 3

Not friendly
by PlatformAgnostic on Mon 14th May 2007 01:18 UTC
PlatformAgnostic
Member since:
2006-01-02

This measure obviously isn't targetted directly at home users or basically anyone on this forum, because Microsoft is after money and nothing else. They need to ensure that corporations with big IT departments do not all move over to Debian and manage it all themselves. It is true that this is something they simply cannot compete against.

The fallout is clearly that if companies do not invest in Linux, home users don't get as many of the benefits of that development. This isn't great for anyone besides Microsoft and its shareholders. But Microsoft does have a "duty" to increase the price of its stock, so this is what they do. They really have few choices of ways to compete against Free (as in beer) software in the enterprise. They can offer more features, but that rarely cuts it when people already have working systems.

Reply Score: 3

Patent or not patent
by valyno on Mon 14th May 2007 01:20 UTC
valyno
Member since:
2007-05-14

As a linux user, obviously, I feel concerned by the patents issues, either in the US or in Europe.

I would feel more concerned if I was Balmer: China is awaking. China is one bilion and something people (the something representing actually the US population).
And China don't care at ALL about US patents.
They will developp by themselves. They will use their own products. And they will sell it to the world.
Or they will continue to use Linux, already Chinese flavoured Linux distros exists.

The only thing that can prevent MS to stay alive is not patenting. It is innovating. More swiftly that the competitors.

India is already producing cheap and skilled developpers. Do you think that the chinese are less smart that the US ones ?

The same issue is awaiting to all the others industries. INNOVATION is the only way so stay alive. Everything else is bullshitt from shortsighted greedy guys who think only of the share earning ratio for the next three years.

Don't believe me ? Do you remember the IBM's laptops ?...

Reply Score: 3

should have been broken up
by Robocoastie on Mon 14th May 2007 01:27 UTC
Robocoastie
Member since:
2005-09-15

Yet another example of why MSFT should have been busted up like Standard Oil and other anti-trusts before it.

Reply Score: 3

The New MS Objective: Fear & Delay.
by Pelly on Mon 14th May 2007 01:43 UTC
Pelly
Member since:
2005-07-07

Many small companies & corporations are considering Linux & OSS solutions as a possible means to curb the high (licensing) costs of IT operations. MS is well aware of the atractiveness & cost savings that switching to Linux & OSS apps could save over Windows XP/Vista & MS Office 2003/2007. This is a real threat to their long-term viability & dominance in the computing world.

While MS may not be able to halt companies from moving away from Windows & MS Office, they may be using scare tactics as, 'patent infringement' to at least delay the inevitable.

Consider some IT Director that wants to save money by switching 10-15% of desktops to Linux but is told to, 'wait until the dust settles,' because of statements hinting at possible patent disputes. Regardless of their credibility or truth this could potentially buy MS additional years of raking in more money in licensing fees.

Reply Score: 5

Patents == quality?
by anomie on Mon 14th May 2007 02:08 UTC
anomie
Member since:
2007-02-26

Interesting that free software is of such high quality as a direct result of violating Microsoft's patents. Yet, as the patent holder, Microsoft is not able to implement equally stable, secure applications.

Reply Score: 1

garymax
Member since:
2006-01-23

Microsoft is doing all it can to enter into agreements with companies who use Linux because it believes that Linux infringes more than 235 of its patents. However, before these big name companies pay tribute to someone or some entity to whom it may NOT be owed is, to put it bluntly, stupid.

If I were in charge of a large corporation I would demand that Microsoft prove the veracity of their position and prove that they have these patents and that they are valid BEFORE I would pay one thin penny.

For Microsoft to use its leverage to try and make agreements with companies without proving their patent position seems like extortion to me. And last time I checked, extortion was the forced payment of money made with an implied threat of embarrassment or threat of damage.

To pay MS just because they say you must without their proving the veracity of their claims is stupid and just plain wrong.

Let MS prove their patent claims first before we go a step further.

Isn't it interesting: MS will NOT share what they believe is the offending code in Linux because the developers may code around it and thereby circumvent any monetary payment to Microsoft. Yet, Microsoft wants companies and entities using Linux to take their word for it and just enter into an agreement because unless you do Microsoft will, as Steve Ballmer put it, collect on "undisclosed balance sheets."

I say the time has come for MS to put up or shut up and don't ask for another dime until you do. To refuse to disclose the offending code yet demand money on IP that you won't share or prove is plain wrong and seems like extortion to me.

And even if they did share what they believed to be the offending code they would make that developer/user sign a non-disclosure agreement so that they wouldn't be able to share it with the rest of the FOSS community.

So one can only conclude that MS wants money plain and simple and they will do whatever they have to in order to get it--even if it means not disclosing their IP.

They want the Linux user to pay up on their word alone without a full scale disclosure. They also do not want a full scale frontal attack because they know what they are in for: Patent Armageddon.

As Eben Moglen stated "there's a Waterloo in here somwhere." I say let it start now and let's get it over with.

Edited 2007-05-14 02:43

Reply Score: 5

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

It's clearly not in Microsoft's interest to go after just about anyone. They'll only go for really large companies. Probably if those companies want to see the code it will be NDA'd. The point is not to get the patented code removed from Linux. The point is to extract money from Fortune 500s. IT departments are risk-averse. It's a lot more likely for one of them to just pay up than to take the risk of lawsuit and civil penalties. No one does anything out of public interest.

What I'd like to see is that Microsoft takes this to court and as a consequence, patent laws are severely curtailed for software. Maybe this is the long-term strategy they are seeking to carry out with this move (extract some revenue now and at the cost of a court case, force congress into changing patent laws).

Reply Score: 3

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Unfortunately to take on Microsoft in the courts would almost be tantamount to throwing away competitiveness and possible profitability. Microsoft has billions to throw into this.

It's a shame the US legal system has turned into a "might is right" deal where threat of lawsuit is sufficient to bully companies. The founding fathers did what they could, but they couldn't anticipate everything. The system is cracking, I hope it gets fixed.

Reply Score: 1

Snapper Member since:
2005-11-16

RE[2]: Requesting royalties without proof==extortion?
By bnolsen (1.35) on 2007-05-14 04:20:50 UTC in reply to ""
Unfortunately to take on Microsoft in the courts would almost be tantamount to throwing away competitiveness and possible profitability. Microsoft has billions to throw into this.

It's a shame the US legal system has turned into a "might is right" deal where threat of lawsuit is sufficient to bully companies. The founding fathers did what they could, but they couldn't anticipate everything. The system is cracking, I hope it gets fixed.



The US is not the only place that favors those with more funds. This is more or less universal. Just like human nature.

Reply Score: 0

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{So one can only conclude that MS wants money plain and simple and they will do whatever they have to in order to get it--even if it means not disclosing their IP.

They want the Linux user to pay up on their word alone without a full scale disclosure. }


I do not see how Microsoft can ask for any money from Linux users when Microsoft offers no products for Linux.

Let Microsoft offer Office for Linux, and WMV/WMA for Linux, and directX games for Linux, and a whole raft of similar products. Only then might they have some sort of an arguement that "some stuff in Linux/OSS hurts us".

Reply Score: 1

garymax Member since:
2006-01-23

/quote/I do not see how Microsoft can ask for any money from Linux users when Microsoft offers no products for Linux./quote/

It's not a product issue but a process issue.

Without offering any product for Linux MS may still claim an infringement on a process or processes in the code that they believe violates a patent that they have filed and now hold.

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{It's not a product issue but a process issue.

Without offering any product for Linux MS may still claim an infringement on a process or processes in the code that they believe violates a patent that they have filed and now hold.}


Extortion. Microsoft did not write the Linux implementation of anything they claim infringes, nor do Microsoft offer any product for Linux that is harmed by anything that is in Linux.

Reply Score: 2

b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

In response to this story, the following website contains several helpful links on Microsoft's actions:

http://boycottnovell.com/

Reply Score: 2

Sliced Bread
by Tree of Heaven on Mon 14th May 2007 02:53 UTC
Tree of Heaven
Member since:
2007-05-14

Did Microsoft patented sliced bread?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Sliced Bread
by Snapper on Mon 14th May 2007 14:06 UTC in reply to "Sliced Bread"
Snapper Member since:
2005-11-16

Why, are you using it without having payed the royalty?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Sliced Bread
by raver31 on Mon 14th May 2007 16:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Sliced Bread"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Maybe he is, maybe he isn't....
But I see you have used the question mark.
I currently have a patent pending on the question mark.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Sliced Bread
by Snapper on Mon 14th May 2007 17:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sliced Bread"
Snapper Member since:
2005-11-16

RE[2]: Sliced Bread
By raver31 (2.11) on 2007-05-14 16:32:35 UTC in reply to ""
Maybe he is, maybe he isn't....
But I see you have used the question mark.
I currently have a patent pending on the question mark.


Check is in the mail.

Reply Score: 1

Microsoft and Patent Infringement
by scorptig on Mon 14th May 2007 03:39 UTC
scorptig
Member since:
2006-03-06

I feel truly sorry that Microsoft has taken that position.

I've taken the approach, of turning One Person at a time to Linux, if everyone makes an effort to truly promote Linux, by offering installation on new and used PCs, we shall gain important ground.

With Windows Vista a monolithic OS,
5 years in the making, and they produce that monster.
Sorry not interested.

I've used Linux 4 years and I've learned more than I did with Windows in 10 years.
Linux is reliable, be it server, desktop, it's enterprise ready.

The timing of Microsoft is amazing, if they feel so strong about there patents, why did they not present this in 1994, when Linux was born ? Microsoft is about to step in to the same issues that SCO faces in court.
It's bad for the industry as a whole. And will fly back directly in Microsoft's face and stock holders.

Microsoft attitude will bring on the worst Kharma possible.

Reply Score: 3

Snapper Member since:
2005-11-16

By scorptig (2.00) on 2007-05-14 03:39:08 UTC
The timing of Microsoft is amazing, if they feel so strong about there patents, why did they not present this in 1994, when Linux was born ?


Probably because money was not at stake then. Now with other companies backing Linux they have to enforce their patents. They are losing money to IT shops going with Linux from IBM, Novell, or Red Hat.

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{Now with other companies backing Linux they have to enforce their patents.}

If Microsoft try to actually enforce patents against Linux, then there is a significant patent arsenal to defend Linux that those "other companies backing Linux" have donated.

There is easily enough counter-attack to defeat the whole point of Microsoft attacking Linux in the first place.

Reply Score: 1

Snapper Member since:
2005-11-16

RE[2]: Microsoft and Patent Infringement
By lemur2 (2.30) on 2007-05-14 14:16:28 UTC in reply to ""
{Now with other companies backing Linux they have to enforce their patents.}

If Microsoft try to actually enforce patents against Linux, then there is a significant patent arsenal to defend Linux that those "other companies backing Linux" have donated.

There is easily enough counter-attack to defeat the whole point of Microsoft attacking Linux in the first place.


That remains to be seen. Pass the popcorn.

Reply Score: 0

Counter suits
by mlopes on Mon 14th May 2007 03:45 UTC
mlopes
Member since:
2005-07-18

I do hope IBM, Redhat, Oracle, Sun and, perhaps, Google, sue Microsoft into oblivion.

Reply Score: 3

This is a MS FUD Attack
by martini on Mon 14th May 2007 03:55 UTC
martini
Member since:
2006-01-23

This is another MS FUD attack. They want to scare companies that use Linux and other free software. MS don't want competition. This can not be tolerated, fear should not be used to win customers.

Reply Score: 1

Thank you, Novell
by Ricardo_NY on Mon 14th May 2007 04:10 UTC
Ricardo_NY
Member since:
2007-02-12

Thank you very very much. I see how much interoperativity we got...

Browser: Opera/8.01 (J2ME/MIDP; Opera Mini/3.1.7196/1672; en; U; ssr)

Reply Score: 1

Hrm
by kaiwai on Mon 14th May 2007 04:38 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

1) I'm surprised no one has sued Microsoft for slander - its pretty blatant libel when you go around ruining someone's good name by virtue of unsubstantiated claims.

2) Patents are flimsey at best; look at the last 10 years about the bullshit patents being issued over whimsical, at best, claims of innovation.

Best one, that claim against Microsoft by that Eolas, some snivelling little, quite frankly, shitbox in the middle of nowhere making claims on so-called 'technology' which they neither use in any products they make, because they make no products, and cannot prove it to be outside 'the bloody obvious'

3) Patents don't protect the little guy, because the little guy by virtue has to work with the big guys, the big guys use it to ensure that the small guy can never create a 'compatible product' thus effectively locking competition out of their market.

Reply Score: 2

Was he on drugs? Or just lost his memory?
by eantoranz on Mon 14th May 2007 04:41 UTC
eantoranz
Member since:
2005-12-18

"We live in a world where we honor, and support the honoring of, intellectual property."

I'll just point people to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Microsoft#Intellectual_pr... to make up their own minds about "what's fair is fair" from Cousing Stevie.

Do I consider that guy hateful!

Edited 2007-05-14 04:44

Reply Score: 1

SCO....
by mlauzon on Mon 14th May 2007 05:10 UTC
mlauzon
Member since:
2005-07-25

Well, it seems like were in for another miSCOsoft all over again...!

Reply Score: 1

dejavu
by netpython on Mon 14th May 2007 05:32 UTC
netpython
Member since:
2005-07-06

The Redmond behemoth asserts that one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of Microsoft's patents."

Why saw others the need for "such high quality" and delivered much unlike microsoft.

Reply Score: 2

Solaris...
by whartung on Mon 14th May 2007 05:44 UTC
whartung
Member since:
2005-07-06

...trumps all of this.

Solaris has been vetted for this problem already, that was part and parcel to the time it took to go open source, and to the creating of the CDDL, and now, it seems, GPL 3.

While MS may now try and SCO the Linux Crowd, anyone at all frightened by this may well be able to port over to Solaris until the storms blow over.

Mind, I don't see Sun jumping on this band wagon initially, because I think Sun agrees that it's simply bad business to really bad mouth Linux at this point. Bashing Linux for its open source nature hurts Sun as well. But if this gets any steam whatsoever, Sun really should pounce and raise its flag.

Ideally, nothing will happen. But the basic point is that there is an alternative available, for free, with source code, that's essentially exempt from this for the short term, and its runs an awful lot of Linux stuff right now.

But I do agree with the others that say this needs to be brought out in the open, and MS needs to flail in its death throws. I wonder if they're going to ask for money from SCO to help them. Maybe SCO can buy some Vista licenses or something.

Reply Score: 2

High-quality
by WereCatf on Mon 14th May 2007 05:56 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

Anyone noticed the odd words "high-quality"? Whereas they've been touting free software as being of low-quality and not worth their software, they are now admitting the high-quality of free software? Isn't it weird how they say one thing first, then shortly after something completely opposite, all the while in the hopes of pushing Linux et al out of the way..

Reply Score: 5

Microsoft Takes on the Free World
by pjafrombbay on Mon 14th May 2007 06:00 UTC
pjafrombbay
Member since:
2005-07-31

Ballmer and his "cult of the personality" staff continually rant about how bad FOSS is and how inappropriate it is for both corporate and personal use. If that's the case then why do they raise this hoary old chestnut from time to time? Were Microsoft revenues down last quarter? Vista not doing as well as they thought? X-Box being trounced by Playstation? Need to spread some fear and doubt.

Give it a rest Microsoft - either put up or shut up.

Reply Score: 1

obsidian
Member since:
2007-05-12

This outburst from MS is easy to disprove.... :-)

Ok, MS is basically saying that they are the "source of quality" - "those nasty ol' open-source coders got their quality code and ideas from us".

If that is true (that MS is where "quality code" comes from), then **why is it** that MS can't produce high-quality software **THEMSELVES?**. Since they are supposedly the place that quality *originates* from, they **MUST** be able to! But no -

* They can't produce an OS that doesn't crash.
* They can't produce an OS with excellent security.

Only one conclusion to come to (and that is the obvious one).... MS is lying. Quality comes from elsewhere, not them (and everyone *except* them knows it... ).
- obsidian

Edited 2007-05-14 07:29

Reply Score: 1

So...
by gonzalo on Mon 14th May 2007 07:20 UTC
gonzalo
Member since:
2005-07-06

Vista is doing great, selling even more than expected, isn't it?

Anyway, I guess we're now into the (sorry for using the much abused Gandhi quote) "then they fight you" phase. We all know what comes next, don't we?




Btw, cute article. The 'free-worlders' are a 'faction'. The 'ecosystem that produced Linux' is 'quirky'. The number of patents 'stated' (not 'claimed') to be infringed is 'breathtaking' and 'overwhelming'. Description of Eben Moglen is kept to a professional level, giving just some references of what he does, while Brad Smith is "a polished, thoughtful and credible advocate" and "projects intensity, determination, a hint of Ivy League hauteur, and ambition". When Moglen says software is not patentable they quickly remark "The Supreme Court has never expressly ruled on the question". But when the author (or is it Smith's view?) states that "courts began signaling that software could be patented after all" he then proceeds get into a muddled explanation of how it can indeed be patentable.
All this to finally explain how Microsoft did the reasonable thing by proceeding to licence those patents.

Oh, and the GPL is viral. It 'forces' people. Stallman and his collaborators 'conjured' an open system. And he is so difficult we won't interview him, ha!

And GPL only applies to distributors, so it's ok to demand royalties from users. And Linus Torvalds is ok with the Microsoft-Novell deal. Even blesses it.

Yes, cute article.

Reply Score: 5

USA giving birth and death to Software
by Noko on Mon 14th May 2007 07:34 UTC
Noko
Member since:
2007-05-14

First of all I wonder why somebody who uses patents owned by Microsoft knows how to use it better. Yes, because it seems that MS complains about the fact that Free Software is more stable, customizable, reliable, etc.

Second, I'm very sad about the whole patents thing. I can't understand how the United States, who claim to have the right decision for everything, who dominate the world with their culture and aircraft carriers, could even only think about software patents.

IMHO, this is the most stupid thing about software in the history of Informatics.

Reply Score: 3

I love the slant.
by deathshadow on Mon 14th May 2007 07:38 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

Larger ramifications of the topic aside for one moment, I have to say I LOVE CNNMoney's spin they put on the article. I'm usually first in line to take pot shots at the FSF as being a bunch of Commie fruitbats, but when I see dirty pool like this - said tactics going unnoticed by most, I just HAVE to point it out.

First, just look at the first thing most people are going to REALLY notice - the first two pictures... If you put the two of them on TV at the same roundtable, you'd think it was a SNL skit, not an actual encounter. The contrasts are amazing - Ballmer, full suit and tie, and hairless... and we mean hairless, it almost looks like they photoshopped out his eyebrows... Then look at Stallman - who'd have thought that today, Jerry Garcia probably looks better. He looks ready to go on high atop the temple mount in that picture, or even better call for jihad. They even allude to that in the text.

Two carefully crafted and likely even more carefully chosen images - one that given Money's usual audience meant to give the FSF a kick to the nuts... Conversely if you used those same two pictures in High Times, you'd likely get reversed results.

Then the language of the article itself: "Quirky ecosystem", "Old Testament prophet", - the businessmen who read money are going to see that... let's just say supporting free software is going to be the LAST thing on their mind.

The rest of the article is fairly straightforward and covers the basics, but by that point the damage is done and as most research has shown, any subject of law or computing to a non computer audience (such as that of CNNMoney) nobody reads past the first page.

But then, it's hard to say it's entirely CNNMoney's fault - in a number of ways, the FSF and it's founder are their own worst enemies, since most every businessman out there has a hard time not laughing themselves silly over the stupidity of the whole mess and the naivete of free software and it's supporters.

Edited 2007-05-14 07:39

Reply Score: 2

What's the news?
by Balok on Mon 14th May 2007 09:23 UTC
Balok
Member since:
2007-03-20

What is so new about those claims? It's just a reinterpretation of the old MS motto: It's good, it's popular - it must be ours!

Reply Score: 1

Hubert &#321;&#281;picki
by kajaman on Mon 14th May 2007 09:28 UTC
kajaman
Member since:
2006-01-06

Linux/open source certainly does break their patents. This is obvious - you can hardly write anything without breaking patents in U.S. This system sucks so much! And the only reason why hasn't they started to sue Linux developers/companies is that in response, IBM/Sun would sue them. It is status quo, it is "balance of powers", which is stupid, costly for companies and should not exist at all! Patents do not protect inventors, they are used as a shield for company, for protecting it from being sued by other patent holders.
Can you imagine world where software companies would just write software, not pay millions for their lawyers? Software would be much better... Windows would be much better, I think too.

Reply Score: 1

Raffaele
Member since:
2005-11-12

Dont worry...

Most microsoft patents are predated by "prior art", so they never should be patented...

If Microsoft sues Linux makers in trial in a court, then Linux attorneys could easily demonstrate that Microsoft claims are based on works by someone else and so these so called "innovations" couldn't be patented...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prior_art

This is why Microsoft don't want to disclose the list of patents infringed by Linux.

Because MS knows these patents will be almost all voided under US Laws if someone will report to the Patent Office that these patents are predated by prior art...

Again system of Patents in US it is a ugly mess...

There is nothing defending your rights, even if if you own a patent...

See for example the Selden Vs. Ford court trial of 1911 regarding who owns the rights to produce automobile cars...

Selden was the first man to patent automobile car in US in 1879.

In 1903/1905 circa Ford refused to pay royalties and started making cars of his own.

Selden sued him...

Even if the patent covered a 4 wheels self-propelled vehicle, Ford proved in court that his "4 wheels self-propelled car" was completely different from Seldon "4 wheels self-propelled car" and in 1911 WON the court trial.

See here:

http://www.answers.com/topic/1911

[quote]

An appeals court reverses a lower court's decision that favored George B. Selden's 8-year-old association against Ford Motor Company, which has refused to pay royalties (see 1909). The higher court rules that the 1895 Selden patent was based on a two-cycle Brayton engine whereas Ford has been using a four-cycle Otto engine that is fundamentally different (the Selden patents are about to expire anyway). Ford has therefore not infringed on Selden's patents, says the court, and is not obligated to pay any compensation to the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers. The association has received $5.8 million from other automakers (Selden himself has received only $200,000, the rest having gone to lawyers, management executives, sales promotion, and production commissions).

[/quote]

And see also here:

http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi207.htm
http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi1713.htm

http://www.bpmlegal.com/wselden.html

So if Linux makers could proof in a court that they make an OS with their own methods DIFFERENT from Microsoft methods, and they overcome MS patents by algorythms and different implementations because Linux is really INNOVATIVE and DIFFERENT UPON Windows they could easily win the trial.

Edited 2007-05-14 09:54

Reply Score: 5

B. Janssen Member since:
2006-10-11

I have to agree here, it is the same old song.

Article: Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they're being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them.


And fearing filed challenges can only mean that they know most if not all of the patents hold no water. That's so low and yet so typical.

Reply Score: 3

MAD
by orfanum on Mon 14th May 2007 10:36 UTC
orfanum
Member since:
2006-06-02

Mutually Assured Destruction - this is an old paradigm, one that is now obsolete: patent disarmament in a world driven by the ever more free exchange of information is the only way forward.

True globalisation of the production and dissemination of information needs to hit home - the Microsoft centre cannot hold, and neither can Floss Apparatchiks claim any better way; information is growing, evolving and developing beyond such staid economic and ideological structures - this is the last Cold War.

Just a Burroughsian take on all this.

Reply Score: 1

RE: MAD
by lemur2 on Mon 14th May 2007 14:11 UTC in reply to "MAD"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{Mutually Assured Destruction - this is an old paradigm, one that is now obsolete: patent disarmament in a world driven by the ever more free exchange of information is the only way forward.}

I'd agree with the latter part of your statement, but disagree with the opening premise ... "Mutually Assured Destruction" is most certainly not obsolete when it comes to patents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Invention_Network
http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/pat_owned.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Technical_Disclosure_Bulletin
http://www.osdl.org/newsroom/press_releases/2005/2005_11_15_beavert...
http://www.patentcommons.org/
http://www.patentcommons.org/commons/patentsearch.php?searchSubmit=...
http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=20050402193202442

The "free world" that Microsoft is taking on here has more than enough patent defenses to initiate a Mutually Assured Destruction scenario.

Edited 2007-05-14 14:17

Reply Score: 1

Buggy windows Vista
by liquidnitrogen on Mon 14th May 2007 12:19 UTC
liquidnitrogen
Member since:
2007-01-13

I think MS should concentrate more on relying good products rather than whining against the serious competitors. Read this month's businessweek and they have an article on MS and Cisco competing. To me it looks like MS is loosing grounds everywhere.

I have been using Vista since last four months and have already found 4 insane bugs that would blow your mind away. I just don't understand how in the hell a file size can be shown in negative. or the file size in the status bar doubles every time you hit F5

Was vista ever tested properly?? is the design so complicated that it takes ever to fix such kinda bugs?

http://cacheyourcash.blogspot.com/2007/05/vista-vista-vista.html
http://cacheyourcash.blogspot.com/2007/04/refresh-or-io-problem-wit...

Edited 2007-05-14 12:22

Reply Score: 1

Don't forget Mono
by buff on Mon 14th May 2007 12:34 UTC
buff
Member since:
2005-11-12

Remember all the Mono haters out there? They were warning people this would happen. MS would eventually use their patents to generate FUD to slow Linux's growth. Well, I guess it pays to be a cynic when dealing with MS.

Reply Score: 5

Advice to Micro$oft
by uncleray on Mon 14th May 2007 13:08 UTC
uncleray
Member since:
2007-05-14

The code is open source. So read through the code
--- and if you have a case, file the lawsuit(s) already
and be done with it.
Microsoft would rather intimidate and subjugate than litigate because -- THEY DONíT HAVE A CASE.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Advice to Micro$oft
by raver31 on Mon 14th May 2007 16:58 UTC in reply to "Advice to Micro$oft"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

See, that is the problem...

Open source can be read and used by anyone.
What is to stop Microsoft taking open source code, implementing it in one of their products and then filing a lawsuit saying open source authors stole it ?
How can we check ?
Microsoft will not allow us to scrutinise its source.

Reply Score: 2

negativity
Member since:
2006-02-23

And risk losing, a la SCO as well. :-)

Don't send any more intermediaries, Microsoft, do your job yourself.

Reply Score: 1

siki_miki
Member since:
2006-01-17

Main 'benefit' of it (along DMCA) is actually legal "protection" of tech giants from competition, e.g. emerging tech companies from eastern Asia. No doubt, people running the USA foresaw this decades ago and gave a green light to expand patent system on anything (business methods, software, sequenced genome etc.) this hasn't been about small inventors anymore since at least middle 20th century, it is all about preservation of economical power and state-sponsored market protection.

Current situation is that few of the biggest U.S. corporations already formed a licensing cartel agreement not to sue each other, but if anyone'd naiveliy try to step in the market, will get sued to death ( doesn't matter that DDR cartel few years ago paid a big price for price fixing, but maybe it was important that US company was a victim of predominantly foreign ones.) Of course, market is still too dependent on U.S. income and companies are more likely to play nice than to abandon this huge market (same as Microsoft is in the EU case), so they effectively must obey U.S. patent law even outside of it's borders.

Reply Score: 5

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

I very seriously doubt anyone in the government was intelligent enough to figure this out.

I do believe that certain corporations who don't like to have to compete stumbled into a scam allowing them to "freeze" the market and own it all for themselves, thinking they could guarantee their own profits that way.

Of course all this does is speed up the US losing it's technical edge in the world.

Reply Score: 2

Commercial
by vasper on Mon 14th May 2007 13:59 UTC
vasper
Member since:
2005-07-22

Windows are very safe...
If you use Linux.

(I have used 3 Microsoft patents here: Windows, safe and use!!!!)

Edited 2007-05-14 14:00

Reply Score: 1

Best thing ever?
by DigitalAxis on Mon 14th May 2007 15:08 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

Furthermore, FOSS has powerful corporate patrons and allies. In 2005, six of them - IBM (Charts, Fortune 500), Sony, Philips, Novell, Red Hat (Charts) and NEC - set up the Open Invention Network to acquire a portfolio of patents that might pose problems for companies like Microsoft, which are known to pose a patent threat to Linux.

So if Microsoft ever sued Linux distributor Red Hat for patent infringement, for instance, OIN might sue Microsoft in retaliation, trying to enjoin distribution of Windows. It's a cold war, and what keeps the peace is the threat of mutually assured destruction: patent Armageddon - an unending series of suits and countersuits that would hobble the industry and its customers.


Actually, that reminds me a lot of the state of world affairs prior to World War I, as well. Everyone has alliances with and against everyone else, and as soon as someone is foolish enough to test them, it all comes undone.

Someone has already claimed that this could be the best thing to happen to the Free Software Movement... I'm not sure; I'd rather everyone's interests were focused on developing software, not spending months and months in court attempting to defend their work from an endless stream of claims.

Microsoft, of course, has all manner of lawyers to handle things while their coders code. The free software world might not appreciate, say, Sebastian Trueg being subpoena'd because Microsoft claims to own a patent on the use of a computer as a CD authoring device. (I just made that up; if anything, Phillips probably has those rights). If that goes on, (especially if even one of their supposed software patents turns out to actually a.) exist and b.) be upheld somehow) well, problems.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Best thing ever?
by lemur2 on Tue 15th May 2007 00:08 UTC in reply to "Best thing ever?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{Someone has already claimed that this could be the best thing to happen to the Free Software Movement... I'm not sure; I'd rather everyone's interests were focused on developing software, not spending months and months in court attempting to defend their work from an endless stream of claims. Microsoft, of course, has all manner of lawyers to handle things while their coders code.}

I don't think you realise what would happen in a patent case.

Microsoft would claim infringement, and issue a cease and desist order to Linux companies (in the US), to Linux developers (in the US),. They would have the right (without having to offer proof) to stop distribution, use and further development of Linux (in the US) until the case was settled.

That would mobilise a long, long list of companies and government organisations against them. Disruption to the economy (in the US only) would be enormous.

None of this would have any impact at all on the actual development of Linux. Development would continue apace overseas, as would use of Linux overseas.

Microsoft, OTOH, is a US company ...

As soon as Microsoft made patent claims against Linux, Linux would make patent counterclaims against Microsoft. Linux would have the ability (and the moral high ground) to be able to stop Microsoft from distributing Windows, and to stop everyone in the US from legally using Windows, until the counterclaims were resolved. Microsoft (being a US company) could also be stopped from further developing Windows. They could also be stopped from releasing security updates for Windows.

Then, as they say, the proverbial **** would hit the proverbial fan ... worldwide.

Edited 2007-05-15 00:10

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Best thing ever?
by DigitalAxis on Tue 15th May 2007 00:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Best thing ever?"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

They would have the right (without having to offer proof) to stop distribution, use and further development of Linux (in the US) until the case was settled.


Linux would have the ability (and the moral high ground) to be able to stop Microsoft from distributing Windows, and to stop everyone in the US from legally using Windows, until the counterclaims were resolved.


Really? Wow, this could get really bumpy.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Best thing ever?
by lemur2 on Tue 15th May 2007 01:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Best thing ever?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{Really? Wow, this could get really bumpy.}

That is why it won't happen.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=1047

Edited 2007-05-15 01:18

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Best thing ever?
by apoclypse on Tue 15th May 2007 12:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Best thing ever?"
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Well, shit the way things are going with Vista they might as well not update the stupid thing. The only thing this will affect is Linux companies like Red hat, which is why they are doing this to begin with. Redhat has been turning down MS recent overtures, and MS wants to scare redhat into complying. However, I don't know if MS remembers that IBM has supported redhat for a number of years and rely on redhat for there servers. IBM's patent portfolio is just as vast as MS and in much more critical areas, not some stupid crap like the start menu.

Reply Score: 1

Bread and butter
by Punktyras on Mon 14th May 2007 15:10 UTC
Punktyras
Member since:
2006-01-07

Lawyers are trying to prove they are there for something... Aren't they?

Check #2 point at:
http://sunbeltblog.blogspot.com/2007/05/top-ten-gripes-about-micros...

Reply Score: 1

they feel cornered
by roger64 on Mon 14th May 2007 15:31 UTC
roger64
Member since:
2006-08-15

with GPL v.3 about to be adopted, Dell and Intel leaving the ship (who speaks about "Wintel" now?), Ubuntu huge success, they can see their future demise coming and they just splash some water before drowning.

Microsoft against the world? I do not give them the smallest chance. Suppose they sue for UI or for OpenOffice some companies around. Everybody using the incriminated pieces of software would react:
- programmers (thousands) to fill in the gaps if any
- governments (think for exemple of French parliament using Ubuntu or other official bodies using OO)
- I do not event speak of other big companies with huge petent portfolios..

I am sure they would get an awful bad publicity around the world and get a resounding NOTHING result. I am sure they are not about to cross "this" bridge. I would wish them to do it though...

Reply Score: 3

RE: they feel cornered
by alexandru_lz on Mon 14th May 2007 15:55 UTC in reply to "they feel cornered"
alexandru_lz Member since:
2007-02-11

I'm not very sure why, but this reminds me of bloody SCO.

Let's be serious, I can make exactly the same kind of claims and be just as credible. You see, OSNews.com violates more than 40 patents that I own. About 20 of them are in the indexing services of the database. There are another 6 in the interface, and two others are in the very box you type your comments in. Beware, ph3@r my lawyer skillz.

IMHO, knowing that this is not the only time such a sittuation has been encountered (see the WW1 analogy which was correctly brought along), it would be a very bad move for Microsoft to sue *anyone*. It would only lead to a whole bunch of similar trials which would really affect only the US. Those of us living in a more sane legal environment (i.e. Europe) will likely just stand by and see this pointless battle.

It strikes me as obvious that, if Microsoft would actually say *which* patents are infringed, they could be somehow circumvented by rewriting the incriminated code. But of course, this would take away some FUD potential.

Wouldn't it have been so much simpler to make Vista worth its money, damnit?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: they feel cornered
by KenJackson on Mon 14th May 2007 20:27 UTC in reply to "RE: they feel cornered"
KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

Those of us living in a more sane legal environment (i.e. Europe)...

Most of us who read the article see Microsoft as the bad guy. A few will incorrectly confuse Microsoft with the United States, and the patent laws as Microsoft's private weapons.

But let's not confuse things. Others have pointed out that the patent laws work both ways. That is, Microsoft might be able to use them as a club against Linux, but IBM, Sun and others could also wield them against Microsoft.

Also, right now there is great ongoing debate about how patent laws should work and what they should protect. This is an issue that transcends software and a lot of legal minds see a problem and are trying to fix it.

Reply Score: 4

Google anyone?
by bolomkxxviii on Mon 14th May 2007 15:44 UTC
bolomkxxviii
Member since:
2006-05-19

I wonder if this really is just an attack on Microsoft's perceived biggest threat, Google. The timing is right as Google has finally admitted it will be competing with Microsoft in some areas.

Reply Score: 2

RE:Microsoft Takes on the Free World
by TusharG on Mon 14th May 2007 16:19 UTC
TusharG
Member since:
2005-07-06

I wish there was a way to take on Microsoft, but open source has big heart and big mind to allow to use its property with everyone.... that includes even Microsoft!
No problem! MS can take on Linux... Open source community is huge... We will find alternatives.. and Microsoft simply cannot stop us now! We will stop using Doc,Xls,Ppt formts... we will stop mp3 formats... wish this was happened earlier... but its never too late... We do have alternatives and we dont mind if Microsoft uses our file formats too ;)

Reply Score: 3

MS is being such a baby.
by Edward on Mon 14th May 2007 16:34 UTC
Edward
Member since:
2005-09-17

Seeing as Microsoft own patents for things like clicking the mouse and hyperlinks, I can't say I'm surprised.

Well Apple's OS has that, what about them. This whole thing is stupid anyway. How could you patent clicking the mouse anyway, the would be like a soda bottle company having a patend for having caps on soda & bitching at other companies for having caps on things.

Reply Score: 2

Blackmail ?
by Ikshaar on Mon 14th May 2007 17:26 UTC
Ikshaar
Member since:
2005-07-14

This looks like blackmail to me. MS interest is not into enforcing those patents (if real) but to force Linux companies to sign deals with them.

I guess the OS war will be alive and well for now on...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Blackmail ?
by sbergman27 on Mon 14th May 2007 17:30 UTC in reply to "Blackmail ?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
This looks like blackmail to me.
"""

No. "Blackmail" is conducted in private. And as long as the victim continues to concede, nothing is ever heard about the matter.

The word you are looking for is "extortion".

"Extortion" can be conducted right out in the open, as long as the witnesses are too wrapped up in their own issues to care about what is happening to the victim. ;-)

Edited 2007-05-14 17:35

Reply Score: 5

Extortion
by intangible on Mon 14th May 2007 17:46 UTC
intangible
Member since:
2005-07-06

How do we get legal action started against companies ( Microsoft, SCO, etc) for extortion?
If they go to court and get even some patents invalidated for blatant obviousness and/or massive amounts of prior art, isn't that a clear-cut example showing they are doing nothing more than extortion?

And isn't using extortion part of the bag of tricks of a company acting as a monopoly, and hasn't a particular company we all know and love been convicted as a monopoly once before?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Extortion
by tomcat on Mon 14th May 2007 19:07 UTC in reply to "Extortion"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

How do we get legal action started against companies ( Microsoft, SCO, etc) for extortion?

You do realize that the patent application process provides a mechanism for public feedback, right? ANYONE can supply reasons why a given patent shouldn't be approved. THAT is where the F/OSS community should focus its efforts, not wilfully infringing.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Extortion
by intangible on Mon 14th May 2007 19:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Extortion"
intangible Member since:
2005-07-06

The problem is not in the approval process so much anymore, the patents they're taunting everyone with are already granted... try getting a patent revoked for prior art without millions in funding even if it's an iron-clad example.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[3]: Extortion
by tomcat on Tue 15th May 2007 01:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Extortion"
RE[4]: Extortion
by sbergman27 on Tue 15th May 2007 04:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Extortion"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
nobody is *effectively* coordinating such an effort.
"""

Looks like an opportunity for Pamela Jones to bask in some limelight. She absolutely loves that sort of thing, of course. Despite all her protestations that she doesn't.

Edited 2007-05-15 04:53

Reply Score: 2

Curse them both
by Woogbear on Mon 14th May 2007 19:03 UTC
Woogbear
Member since:
2006-07-12

A pox on both their houses. Maybe we should all get Apple computers and screw them both.

Reply Score: 1

Microsoft - victim
by trenchsol on Mon 14th May 2007 19:35 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

Why nobody sees Microsoft as a victm, if the patents belong to them ?

If something belonged to me there is no way in a world I would let anyone take it from me and get away with it.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Microsoft - victim
by Ben Jao Ming on Mon 14th May 2007 19:45 UTC in reply to "Microsoft - victim"
Ben Jao Ming Member since:
2005-07-26

The patents don't belong to them. That's a sick assumption. Just because you file some garbage idea in a technical language doesn't mean you own anything. Everything that's software today was developed without the use of patents. I see no reason, it shouldn't continue this way.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Microsoft - victim
by trenchsol on Mon 14th May 2007 20:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Microsoft - victim"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

The assumption has to be tested in court, than, maybe, it could be proclaimed "sick".

Reply Score: 1

RE: Microsoft - victim
by Supreme Dragon on Mon 14th May 2007 19:48 UTC in reply to "Microsoft - victim"
Supreme Dragon Member since:
2007-03-04

"Why nobody sees Microsoft as a victm, if the patents belong to them ?"

Why won't the monopolist show us the patents they claim are being violated?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Microsoft - victim
by trenchsol on Mon 14th May 2007 20:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Microsoft - victim"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

I don't know. Microsoft has a lot of patents and there is a lot free/open source software out there. Maybe it takes some time to check everything out, every patent against every piece of software.

This is much more clear and much less emotional article on the same topic:

http://www.informationweek.com/windows/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid...

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Microsoft - victim
by Supreme Dragon on Mon 14th May 2007 20:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Microsoft - victim"
Supreme Dragon Member since:
2007-03-04

"Microsoft has a lot of patents and there is a lot free/open source software out there. Maybe it takes some time to check everything out, every patent against every piece of software."

MS knows their silly software patents would never survive a challenge, so they make vague threats instead. MS is a truly shameless company, their witless rants will not stop Linux.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Microsoft - victim
by trenchsol on Mon 14th May 2007 21:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Microsoft - victim"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

I don't know how silly the patents are, I am not a lawyer. Try Google, and check for yourself, patent database is accesible on-line. Are you sure that you are not making a statement just to make yourself feeling better ?

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Microsoft - victim
by Supreme Dragon on Mon 14th May 2007 21:46 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Microsoft - victim"
Supreme Dragon Member since:
2007-03-04

MS is playing patent games because people are disgusted by their odious monopoly and switching to Linux. People deserve better software than what they are getting from MS. The monopoly should show the patents or shut up.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Microsoft - victim
by DigitalAxis on Mon 14th May 2007 19:49 UTC in reply to "Microsoft - victim"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I don't think it's a question of that, as much as if it SHOULD belong to them.

You can own a house, you can't own the concept of a door-opening handle. Especially if you were to go out and file a patent on all doorknobs and doorhandles, today, after they've been used for hundreds of years and definitely not invented by you.

We're also worried that this isn't as much about protecting intellectual property as it is about destroying a threat via protracted legal action and foot-dragging. They have tons of money, they can sustain a legal challege for long enough to bankrupt opponents, and they've basically done so before.

If it was about protecting intellectual property, they would tell everyone what the patents they believe Linux infringes ARE. Instead we've had something like six or eight months of "Linux is illegal software and you shouldn't touch it!" with no specifics.

I grant you, if the legal battle DID start, they could claim that Linux was actively being prosecuted for being illegal... which... well, as you can see, would require a lot of legal strategies, countersuits, and maneuvering. Free software is about SOFTWARE and computers, not about the U.S. Legal Code.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Microsoft - victim
by trenchsol on Mon 14th May 2007 20:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Microsoft - victim"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

Microsoft was on loosing side of patent law cases many times. Why shouldn't they take advantage of it this time ?

As I see it, they tried to make a deal. Many Linux vendors hold a number of patents themselves, like Novell and Oracle. I see Microsoft - Novell deal as an attempt to make sure that nobody sues anybody. Microsoft offered a deal to other vendors, but everyone except Novell turned them down for the reasons which are beyond my understanding.

Novell customers are protected, now, while others are not. I believe that everyone could have been protected if there was less paranoia around. I don't think that Microsoft is after small vendors, like Arch-Linux.

Patent laws are supposed to be balanced with anti-monopoly laws. It is not necessary that they are completely wrong. Maybe they are not ballanced well eonugh...

Six or eight mont delay might be because checking every piece of software against every patent takes a lot of time. I don't know, I don't have any connection with Microsoft and they don't keep me informed about their plans.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Microsoft - victim
by DigitalAxis on Tue 15th May 2007 00:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Microsoft - victim"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Six or eight month delay might be because checking every piece of software against every patent takes a lot of time. I don't know, I don't have any connection with Microsoft and they don't keep me informed about their plans.

Why would they announce before they were finished? It's not like they just learned about Linux, or are under some sort of deadline pressure... Linux has been around for 15 years, and rather famous and well-known for at least five.

Actually, maybe it IS deadline pressure. Patents do expire in about 20 years. I wonder if they filed anything big in 1987 or 1988.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Microsoft - victim
by lemur2 on Mon 14th May 2007 23:44 UTC in reply to "Microsoft - victim"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{Why nobody sees Microsoft as a victm, if the patents belong to them ?

If something belonged to me there is no way in a world I would let anyone take it from me and get away with it.}


Even if Microsoft's patents were valid, which is very doubtful since Microsoft won't say what they are, Microsoft still cannot be a victim of any implementation of the idea in Linux because Microsoft do not themselves sell the idea in Linux.

As a Linux user, I cannot buy anything from Microsoft for my Linux system. Microsoft have decided they do not wish to offer me any of their software product. Where can I buy "Microsoft Office for Linux"? How are Microsoft harmed if I go elsewhere for software for my Linux system?

Since Microsoft are not harmed, how can they be a victim?

Edited 2007-05-14 23:45

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Microsoft - victim
by DigitalAxis on Tue 15th May 2007 00:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Microsoft - victim"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

They're likely banking on the idea that Linux itself infringes, and therefore they are victimized by your choice to use their patented innovations, but not run Windows.

Or at least that they'll be able to convince judges of that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Microsoft - victim
by lemur2 on Tue 15th May 2007 00:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Microsoft - victim"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{They're likely banking on the idea that Linux itself infringes, and therefore they are victimized by your choice to use their patented innovations, but not run Windows. }

Ancient Unix is public domain. BSD is pemissively licensed. The concepts and ideas that Linux itself is based on are decades old, published in literally hundreds of textbooks, and outside of any possible patent protection.

Windows, OTOH, is clearly a copy of VMS design. VMS is proprietary, and it doesn't belong to Microsoft.

IBM has already donated 500 patents to deploy in defense of Linux, and no doubt stands ready to donate many, many more. IBM has more patents than anybody.

Windows development has a long tradition of "embrace and extend". There are a vast array of technologies "embraced" by Windows. Even Windows networking, for example, which seems to be an area that Microsoft is keen to defend, is based on the SMB protocol which is an IBM invention.

It is far, far more likely that Windows itself violates many, many more patents than Linux.

Edited 2007-05-15 00:54

Reply Score: 3

M/S Patents... a sinking ship
by Ben Jao Ming on Mon 14th May 2007 19:40 UTC
Ben Jao Ming
Member since:
2005-07-26

Ah, so they can't make money on their new crappy O/S and instead try to squeeze a few bucks off Linux users because they are violating "intellectual" property... pathetic, Microsoft.

"We live in a world where we honor, and support the honoring of, intellectual property"... yeah right, Steve Ballmer... like you honor other people's patents.

I can't take this company serious.

Reply Score: 1

i thought linux was dead?
by qwerty2k on Mon 14th May 2007 19:47 UTC
qwerty2k
Member since:
2007-04-08

i thought not so long ago linux was dead and microsoft didn't need to concern itself with linux etc, shows just how far linux has come tbh, microsoft is now sitting up and taking notice.

Reply Score: 3

RE
by Kroc on Mon 14th May 2007 19:56 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Would you like to play a game of Global Thermo-nuclear War?

If Microsoft take this to court, they might be able to take out open source, but they know that by doing so, they will be obliterated by the opposition's salvo too.

Reply Score: 2

Yeah for convicted criminal monpolies!
by Milo_Hoffman on Mon 14th May 2007 21:36 UTC
Milo_Hoffman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Now who is gonna believe the words of a CONVICTED preditory monopolist?? Or the words of their CEO who faked testimony in open court?

Reply Score: 3

In a Galaxy Far Far away....
by hackus on Tue 15th May 2007 03:09 UTC
hackus
Member since:
2006-06-28

Commander! We have destroyed all of Microsoft's server room defenses!!!

They are running on open standards!! Proprietary shields are down to less than 20%

They are wide open too attack!

Set course for Microsoft's Home World Desktop!

Once in orbit have the fleet begin surface bombardment!!

We will bomb them into the DOS age....

MUHahahaahahahahaahahahaah.

-Stardate 20070514.2307 Commander Hackus, Fifth Regiment of the Galactic Penguinista Armada.

Reply Score: 2

RE: who is violating
by apoclypse on Tue 15th May 2007 13:22 UTC in reply to "who is violating"
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Nice article. Its good to see a whole country take part int he opensource movement. Its also nice to see someone give MS the proverbial FU.

Reply Score: 1

Mystery
by Ricardo_NY on Tue 15th May 2007 07:58 UTC
Ricardo_NY
Member since:
2007-02-12

MS doesnt think Firefox violates any patent? Why Firefox wasn't included in the list?... Mystery...

Browser: Opera/8.01 (J2ME/MIDP; Opera Mini/3.1.7196/1672; en; U; ssr)

Reply Score: 1

I'm going to screw micro soft.
by twister_ux on Tue 15th May 2007 12:14 UTC
twister_ux
Member since:
2007-01-21

count it 41 days and microsoft will start to fall rapidly. this is for sure. They have crossed all limits now.

Reply Score: 1

We just need one thing:
by deb2006 on Tue 15th May 2007 13:16 UTC
deb2006
Member since:
2006-06-26

Proof. If you have any, put it up on the table. If you don't have any, keep your f*** mouth shut. Nuff said.

Reply Score: 1

Microsoft = the new SCO
by Jeroenverh on Tue 15th May 2007 19:13 UTC
Jeroenverh
Member since:
2006-05-21

Is Microsoft the new SCO?

Reply Score: 1

amount
by jessica on Wed 16th May 2007 03:34 UTC
jessica
Member since:
2007-05-16

A good amount of free software developers don't live in USA, and several companies funding it are also not in USA.


Freeware Download
http://www.vdownload.org/

Reply Score: 1