Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:01 UTC, submitted by AdministratorX
Microsoft In its second such agreement this week, Microsoft has struck a deal under which it will extend amnesty to a company that's using what the software maker claims is patented Microsoft intellectual property embedded in the open source Linux computer operating system. Under a deal with LG Electronics, disclosed late Wednesday, Microsoft will forgo any Linux-related patent claims against the South Korean electronics manufacturer. In return, Microsoft will gain access to certain intellectual property produced by LG.
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Scare tactics
by Laurence on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:09 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

....and all this achieved without MS actually announcing what patents they own.

It's disgusting behaviour

Edited 2007-06-08 15:12

Reply Score: 5

RE: Scare tactics
by orfanum on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:29 UTC in reply to "Scare tactics"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

Maybe they do not 'announce' but show and tell individual companies under non-disclosure agreements?

In any case, my Korean patriotism has just taken quite a bashing...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Scare tactics
by jayson.knight on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Scare tactics"
jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

"Maybe they do not 'announce' but show and tell individual companies under non-disclosure agreements?"

That's exactly what they are doing, and is what they said they would do from the beginning. Announcing to the general public wouldn't do much good from their perspective now would it?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Scare tactics
by twenex on Fri 8th Jun 2007 23:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Scare tactics"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

That's exactly what they are doing, and is what they said they would do from the beginning.

If Microsoft actually did something they said they would do, the stress would explode the universe.

Announcing to the general public wouldn't do much good from their perspective now would it?

Since patents are generally available to view (the idea being that if you don't want to violate a patent just make sure you look any patents up you might be violating, to make sure you aren't), what harm would it do?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Scare tactics
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 8th Jun 2007 20:07 UTC in reply to "Scare tactics"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I'll admit to being pretty cynical about Microsoft-bashing these days, especially as most of it seems to be stuff that was already trite ten years on Usenet.

But I agree, this is pretty damn sketchy. The characterization someone made the Xandros comments was pretty spot-on: "That's a real nice business you got there, something bad could happen to it - so give us money and we'll protect you and your customers."

Hell, I'm starting to believe the conspiracy theories about the SCO nonsense being a "dry-run" for this sort thing. Almost has a feel of "Oh damn, the current government's not going to be around much longer - we better do this stuff now, on the off chance that the next bunch won't let us get away with it."

Reply Score: 4

RE: Scare tactics
by knightrider on Sun 10th Jun 2007 22:43 UTC in reply to "Scare tactics"
knightrider Member since:
2006-12-11

You are so right. I can't believe LG fell for that without putting up a fight. Someone needs to tell MS to put up or shut up.

Reply Score: 1

Remarkable
by monodeldiablo on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:14 UTC
monodeldiablo
Member since:
2005-07-06

I just can't believe this is working. Why would any company capitulate to such a dubious claim? Software is the only world in which it's imaginable that the users of some product could be sued for its content. Am I the only person for whom this seems utterly ridiculous?

On the most fundamental levels, this doesn't make any sense. I'm more than a little unnerved by what this suggests about the incompetence of some of the leaders in the IT world.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Remarkable
by Laurence on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:22 UTC in reply to "Remarkable"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I couldn't agree more.
It seems absurd for LG to surrender some of their intellectual property to MS simply because MS make unproven accusations about their patents.

It's completely bonkers. Why don't these businesses stand together? After all - United we stand, devided we fall.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Remarkable
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Remarkable"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It seems absurd for LG to surrender some of their intellectual property to MS simply because MS make unproven accusations about their patents.

That's my point. All I can think of is that the patent claim actualy *shock gasp horror* holds any water.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Remarkable
by AlexandreAM on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Remarkable"
AlexandreAM Member since:
2006-02-06

That's exactly what I was thinking: what if MS is actually showing these companies what they're talking about ? It would surely bring more credibility to their claims -- if the claims are valid ayways.

On the other hand, what if MS is just somehow getting those companies to agree, in order to get the rest of the IT world thinking just like the above conclusion ?

Things are messy. Really messy, these days... and I can't still find any reliable source about how software patent laws apply here in Brazil. Anyone have a clue?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Remarkable
by Laurence on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Remarkable"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

"

That's my point. All I can think of is that the patent claim actualy *shock gasp horror* holds any water.
"

I do see where you are coming from and if thats the case then MS have a *cunning tactic there (basically picking companies out one by one and scare them sh*tless until everyone follows suit). They'll gain more this way than a long and expensive, yet legitimate court battle.

* I say 'cunning' but what I really mean is 'evil'.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Remarkable
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Remarkable"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

MS pays these companies much more than they give MS in royalties (for now, anyways...) though. You rally have to wonder why they would give up all their patents to a vicious competitor just for a few hundred million though. Perhaps just greedy and thinking in the short term blip on their financial statements?

Edited 2007-06-08 18:33

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Remarkable
by Beta on Fri 8th Jun 2007 20:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Remarkable"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

"All I can think of is that the patent claim actualy *shock gasp horror* holds any water."

You're not trying nearly hard enough.

Being businesses, what's the downside for them agreeing to this deal? None, apart from some "minor GPL problems".

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Remarkable
by korpenkraxar on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Remarkable"
korpenkraxar Member since:
2005-09-10

It seems absurd for LG to surrender some of their intellectual property to MS simply because MS make unproven accusations about their patents.

I guess we have to assume that MS has shown them to LG at least.

I had been thinking of making a poll or bet at some site about which additional Linux distributors after Novell and Xandros the community think is most likely to sign similar deals (Linspire? Mandriva? Mepis?), but by now this is turning too unpredictable. What next? Volvo? The Catholic Church? Antarctica? The little smile on babies' faces?

[Edit: minor typo]

Edited 2007-06-08 15:52

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Remarkable
by ebasconp on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Remarkable"
ebasconp Member since:
2006-05-09

I cannot understand why a company of the size of Microsoft can try to shut up to its competition by that kind of dirty legal ways?

If Microsoft has so many resources, so many brilliant developers and engineers, is it so hard for them fighting against Linux in a technical way instead of using FUD and those Al Capone deals?

If Microsoft thinks the community is infringing several software patents, why they do not make them public before expanding the scare?

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Remarkable
by SlackerJack on Fri 8th Jun 2007 20:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Remarkable"
SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

The thing with a company like Microsoft is that they want to keep their monopoly since competition means less money for them as their shareholders.

I think they are afraid of competition since the only way to deal with them is to roller them out of business. I'm pretty sure they know that Linux IS a great OS and if the server market is anything to go by, the desktop market could go the same way.

I think this is another attempt at laying a brick wall in front of the desktop market with a 'Keep Out' sign on it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Remarkable
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Remarkable"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Again, Microsoft is paying LG for access to their intellectual property. They made the CHOICE to agree upon and sign the contract.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Remarkable
by Laurence on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Remarkable"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

"

Again, Microsoft is paying LG for access to their intellectual property. They made the CHOICE to agree upon and sign the contract.
"

I'm well aware of that, but how much arm twisting was envolved before LG 'chose' to sign that contract?

I doubt a company like LG would sell their IP unless they were either pushed into it or offered a very very sweet deal. Going by MS's past tactics I wonder how much of the latter went into the negotiations with LG

Edited 2007-06-08 16:02

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Remarkable
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Remarkable"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Now you're making assumptions. I'd only rather deal with what we know. LG executives are big boys, I'm sure they can handle themselves.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Remarkable
by sbergman27 on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Remarkable"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Why don't these businesses stand together? After all - United we stand, devided we fall.
"""

Corporations are whores.

And cooperation to achieve a common goal has always never been their strong suit. It seems like the history of this industry has been one deal after another, with corporations pledging to work together to achieve some goal... but the goal is rarely achieved before they lapse back into their back-stabbing ways and the whole thing falls apart and is forgotten.

That's one of the things that scares Microsoft so much about the GPL. It's been more effective than anything in this industry at getting at least some companies effectively cooperating each other, in at least some areas, in a meaningful and long term way.

It's hard for Microsoft to sell their software as "rocket science" in the presence of examples of how a little cooperation between players can turn "rocket science" into "garden variety".

I'm afraid that it is up to us. Keep a list of those companies who enter into these deals. Do not buy from them and discourage others from doing so. Send those companies a courteous note explaining *what* you are doing and *why* you are doing it. Send a note to your new suppliers informing them of why you are switching to them.

Our wallets and our keyboards are the most effective weapons that we have in this important fight. I only hope that we can wield them effectively and that they are enough.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Remarkable
by poundsmack on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:09 UTC in reply to "Remarkable"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

not that i am giving microsoft the benefit of the doubt but, I doubt we know whats going on in the backround of this. microsoft might not have made what pattents avalible publicly. but they did give a number of how many. meaning they probly know(assuming its not all BS). and given that they k know it wouldnt be hard for them to show companies like LG and so on. reasons for not publicaly anouncing all of them could be anywhere from being lazy, or not wanting to start an all out pattent holocaust. That would not go well at all for MS espcialy prior to the EU courts making there decision in september. I am sure a pattent war where MS would be the bad guy sparking from that would hurt them in those respects...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Remarkable
by monodeldiablo on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Remarkable"
monodeldiablo Member since:
2005-07-06

You're missing my point. Linux is a product that LG uses. Microsoft can no more sue them for using that product than GM can sue me for driving a Toyota, regardless of the number of infringing patents.

It's as if people have abandoned reason purely out of fear. This is the textbook definition of extortion.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Remarkable
by orfanum on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Remarkable"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

But if GM had shown to Toyota just such a potential infringement, and a recall of said Toyota model were a result of an actual infringement of parts or mechanical processes, GM might have just pulled you up...;-)

By the way, I am not defending Microsoft, just analyzing this analogy.

Reply Score: 1

hold water
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:19 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Well, I would first want to see these so-called patents myself before saying they actually hold any water or not. The fact that both Novell and Xandros legitimated the patents by signing the deal means little to me; Xandros and Novell both compete in the same area as Microsoft, and both can benefit from interoperability with Microsoft products.

LGe, however, is a different matter altogether. LGe is a hardware company; it's one of the biggest players in, for instance, the flat panel industry. However, it barely competes in a head-to-head way with Microsoft in the way Novell and Xandros do.

In other words, There must be something else that LGe wants/is getting from Microsoft. Could it be that the patents actually hold any water?

I can barely believe it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: hold water
by orfanum on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:33 UTC in reply to "hold water"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

I am guessing that LG's stakes are these: providing low-cost Linux-driven mobile phones to the mass Chinese market, and avoiding any interference along the way.

Reply Score: 2

RE: hold water
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:25 UTC in reply to "hold water"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Maybe some of MS's hardware patents hold water. But since all the Linux products/companies involved in these deals have said in public that MS did not show them any patents, then I don't know why they are including Linux in the deals! (except for MS's purposes, which are to block GPLv3)

Edited 2007-06-08 19:25

Reply Score: 2

RE: hold water
by twenex on Fri 8th Jun 2007 23:36 UTC in reply to "hold water"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Xandros and Novell both compete in the same area as Microsoft, and both can benefit from interoperability with Microsoft products.

(Yet another) something that should make you hoot with laughter if you know anything about the history of Linux. Linux developers have paid attention to "interoperability with Microsoft" since day one - it's Microsoft that has historically gone to great lengths to make sure anyone - not just Linux users - who wants to interoperate with them has to continually pay catch-up.

Could it be that the patents actually hold any water?

Again, events in the wider world provide a clue. (A) The US is the only jurisdiction that matters that currently allows software patents, (B) The Supreme Court of the United States recently cast down on the validity of the vast majority of software patents. Therefore, until they are proven otherwise I would say that any claims made by anyone on any software patent granted in the US are suspect, until proven otherwise. And that's without factoring in the Microsoft (lack of) credibility factor.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: hold water
by PlatformAgnostic on Sat 9th Jun 2007 06:40 UTC in reply to "RE: hold water"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

I really don't understand where you get these "catch-up" ideas. Windows interoperates with old versions of itself. If the Samba folks (or the OOo or any other group that tries to interoperate with microsoft's stuff) made their software correctly, it would just behave as an old protocol version and do the right thing, just as Office and Windows does.

I think OSS users need to realize that OSS devs are frankly not that interested in becoming compatible with Microsoft. It's not fun and requires a high level of skill, so it's just one of those things that doesn't get done. Microsoft could do it when they needed to because money is an even better motivator than fun.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: hold water
by twenex on Sat 9th Jun 2007 09:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: hold water"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I really don't understand where you get these "catch-up" ideas. Windows interoperates with old versions of itself. If the Samba folks (or the OOo or any other group that tries to interoperate with microsoft's stuff) made their software correctly, it would just behave as an old protocol version and do the right thing, just as Office and Windows does.

I really don't understand where you get these ideas. Windows and/or Microsoft's Windows programs often don't interoperate with old versions of themselves - Vista drivers, programs, and Word 97 anyone?

As Jeremy Allison stated in court, if Microsoft released the specs to it's "Common" "Internet" "Filesystem", or simply stopped continually changing it, Samba would just behave correctly and do the right thing, just as Office and Windows do.

I think you need to realise that OSS devs are frankly very interested in becoming compatible with Microsoft. It's not fun and requires a high-level of skill because Microsoft are always making gratuitous changes, so it's just one of those things that doesn't get done quickly. (Jeremy Allison himself said that Linux should be looking to create a directory service which uses a database instead of lists.) Microsoft could do it when they needed to because, er, our protocols are open, theirs and aren't and they are, er, theirs.

For a "Platform Agnostic" you seem ready to give Microsoft a helluva lot of credit they don't deserve. Maybe you should ditch platform-agnostic for platform-knowledgeable.

Reply Score: 3

Breaking story...
by fretinator on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:21 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

A scene at the local Linux Software Store:

Microsoft: So, we're not planning on goin' after anybody for patents, ya see. We're just here to ...uh... make sure nothing bad happens to you. AFter all, we're all like family here, ya see?

Vendor: [Smiles nervously] Yes, family. Um, what are you asking of me?

Microsoft: Well, my boys have written up a little deal here that says we won't come after you for any of dat Patent business, ya see. You just sign here that you agree, and everybody's happy. You're safe. Everybody's safe. Capice?

Vendor: Yessir, but, um, what is it I am doing that I need protection from? Have I done something wrong?

Microsoft: [Bangs the counter with fist] Wrong. Right. Everybody's wrong, everybody's right. All I'm saying is there's a little trouble brewing around this here patent stuff, and you wouldn't wanna be on the wrong side, you know. As I said, we're on your side. Let's just write it down, OK? [Menacing glare]

Vendor: OK, family. I get it. Do you want some of my software? I have very good software.

Microsoft: Sure, sure. Send me a present. I like presents. I have some for you, too. See, now we're friends. [pats Vendor on the cheek]

Vendor: [Signs document]. Friend, come back soon. [Eyes look down]

Microsoft: Sure, sure. I'll check back now and then to make sure you're doing OK. And ... tell you're friends!

Reply Score: 5

RE: Breaking story...
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:37 UTC in reply to "Breaking story..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

That's a poor analogy. In this case, Microsoft is not threatening LG, but in fact promising, under contract, to not sue them and also paying them for access to some of their intellectual property.

The way you make it out to be, LG would be paying Microsoft, which is simply not true.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Breaking story...
by fretinator on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Breaking story..."
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

No, the point of the story is nobody's paying anybody. If any software is exchanged (such as with Novell), it's just incidental. The key is the signed contract and the supposed "protection" being offered.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Breaking story...
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Breaking story..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

No, Microsoft is paying LG for access to their intellectual property. That's one of the terms of the agreement. And the "supposed" protection is not supposed. It's protection under law. They are not making LG pay them for this protection.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Breaking story...
by fretinator on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Breaking story..."
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Again, the point of what I am saying is _YES_ there may be an exchange of IP, Software, assets, etc, but I believe they are incidental to what is really happening. What is happening is the old protection racket - my parents lived through it in the 40's and 50's with a small store. And yes, the protection is real. Microsoft will not come after LG, Novell, Xandros, etc - just like the "boys" would not come after my parents if they singed. What I feel is wrong is the whole threat itself. Microsoft is using trumped-up Patent threats in order to secure its territory. The goal is two have two classes of Linux vendors - those with "protection" and those without. This divides the Linux world. As for the threat being real, I do not know. For the purposes of what is happening, it doesn't matter. It is the "threat of a threat" that matters. It is a "protection" racket.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Breaking story...
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:02 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Breaking story..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Were your parents paid money in exchange for something of value?

No, it's likely they have to hand over something of value for the promise not to be physically hurt and protected from other threats.

It's a poor analogy. Your parents faced threats of probably violence of livelyhood and they weren't paid anything. They also didn't likely didn't have any choice. If they didn't agree, they would face some serious consequences.

To compare these deals to that is just ridiculous and I can't believe you would do such a thing. The circumstances are quite different as well as the dynamics.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Breaking story...
by archiesteel on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:28 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Breaking story..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Actually, the fact that there is a second part to the deal does not invalidate the fact that the "patent amnesty" part is tantamount to protection.

The analogy still stands very much, despite the added artifice of MS buying some IP rights from LG.

Reply Score: 5

RE[7]: Breaking story...
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Breaking story..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

No, it doesn't stand because it is a false analogy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Breaking story...
by Fergy on Sat 9th Jun 2007 05:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Breaking story..."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

If linux violates patents linux should be able to pay up and remove the stuff. Easy. Instead they want to keep it secret and get money from everyone. With your Mafia analogy: if everybody would work together like with linux the Mafia wouldn't stand a chance. It's the way MS singles out companies instead of Linux itself that's dishonest.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Breaking story...
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Breaking story..."
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

The GPL makes it "supposed" protection. Especially in the case of MS's deals, because they hardly cover anything! Read "Excluded Products" like office applications, servers, business applications, financial applications, client-servers, WINE, samba, etc in their SEC filing.

http://www.secinfo.com/dsvrp.uc2x.6.htm#1stPage

That's why Novell and Xandros and (we don't know yet) probably LGe offer protection to their Linux customers, to get around section 7 of the GPL.

I believe they all indemnify each other's companies and cross-license, but they can't do that with Linux products because of the GPL, so they offer "supposed" protection to customers.

Edited 2007-06-08 18:41

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Breaking story...
by archiesteel on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Breaking story..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Microsoft is not threatening LG, but in fact promising, under contract, to not sue them


It's an implicit threat:

MS: "We won't sue if you accept this contract."
Other company: "And if we don't?"
MS: "Do you really want to find out?"
Other company: "Ok, where do I sign."

This is all part of MS's new FUD offensive against Linux.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Breaking story...
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Breaking story..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

You don't know that's how it went down. The fact that there are other parts of the deal (money from MS to LG and intellectual rights) hurt the argument even.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Breaking story...
by archiesteel on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Breaking story..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Not really. If it was only a matter of MS buying intellectual rights from LG, they wouldn't have included the "patent amnesty" clause. This part of the deal is clearly meant to give weight to MS's patent ploy against Linux and FOSS.

It's FUD, pure and simple.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Breaking story...
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:47 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Breaking story..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

The fact is that it gives LG amnesty, nothing more. Anything else is speculation.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Breaking story...
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:14 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Breaking story..."
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

If it deals with GPLv2 sofware, then that patent license doesn't apply to them distributing Linux as well as paying money to MS for use of Linux, or else they run into Section 7 trouble, don't they? And then they can't use GPLv3 software (as the draft currently stands) unless they change the discriminatory patent license's terms as they apply to GPLv3 software.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Breaking story...
by archiesteel on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Breaking story..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

The fact is that it gives LG amnesty, nothing more.


And that's exactly the point.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Breaking story...
by Phloptical on Fri 8th Jun 2007 22:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Breaking story..."
Phloptical Member since:
2006-10-10

Uhh, but it is...actually. Threats...promises...what's the difference, the end result? Microsoft is benefiting, albeit freely, from LG's IP. That would be akin to being paid for items/services they don't own (ie. protection money).

You really need to watch some mob shows to see how this thing is done properly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Breaking story...
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 23:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Breaking story..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Threats and promises are quite different actually. Microsoft is benefiting from LG's IP by PAYING FOR IT.

Reply Score: 1

Incredible
by Buck on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:23 UTC
Buck
Member since:
2005-06-29

This is incredible. Extending "amnesty". Bah. I wish Microsoft just jumped off a high building collectively. Stifling software innovation that they all love to tout so much.

Reply Score: 5

One by One ...
by PLan on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:25 UTC
PLan
Member since:
2006-01-10

One by one companies are being picked off by Microsoft; and those that are left will be viewed by the public as having a patent "Sword of Damocles" hovering over them.

Reply Score: 4

Come on...
by chocobanana on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:40 UTC
chocobanana
Member since:
2006-01-04

Ok, I've been following this issue and here's a little summary:

- So far, there's already 5 deals with the same terms.
- General assumption is that Microsoft hasn't disclosed the patents on which OSS code infringes.
- General assumption is that this is a FUD campaign.

I haven't commented on this one yet because I wanted to see this go on for a while and I don't want to take any conclusions yet, but I'll speculate a bit this time.

Think a little bit, is there any a chance a giant company like Novell or LG would sign deals like this without knowing what's at stake?

What I think is that all or some of these 235 patents were shown behing closed doors under NDAs etc. etc. or something else, like some kind of colective company conspiracy agreement is being forged against OSS. So it might be in MS interest that we don't know anything about these patents - it's easier to create FUD than digg real proof or tell the truth.

All these deals involve mutual payments between Microsoft and the other company, plus some kind of intelectual property share agreeement, so in the end there might also another mutual benefit here (think access to MS closed source code on one hand, think creation of FUD on the other hand or something else, yes, this strange, I'm also confused).

Both companies on each deal pratically don't loose money, but the big winner may be Microsoft because they just started a huge, deranging and confusing campaign and they won't spend a (million) dollar in courts because in the end they're the ones who decide if there's a litigation case or not.

Edited 2007-06-08 15:43

Reply Score: 4

RE: Come on...
by KenJackson on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:47 UTC in reply to "Come on..."
KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

but the big winner may be Microsoft because...

I'm sure that what Microsoft wants. But there's another issue alluded to in the article. Microsoft may be racing to get ahead of GPL3. So maybe it's Microsoft that has the "Sword of Damocles" (PLan's analogy) hanging over its head.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Come on...
by Cutterman on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Come on..."
Cutterman Member since:
2006-04-10

MS is not "racing to get ahead of GPL3".

MS _adores_ GPL3, it _wants_ GPL3 as soon as possible and it wants GPL3 to be as exclusionary as possible.

Then it can turn to businesses and say, "C'mon, you don't want to use software that is licences under GPL3 do you? Why that gives those smelly longhairs the right to all your code, invalidates all you patents and Stallman will come in at night and rape the company cat".

MS couldn't give a twopenny shit about what happens to Novell, Xandros etc. after GPL3 - they're just so much toilet paper.

And GPL3 will fragment the Linux codebase into two incompatible halves, to the disadvantage of developers and folks trying to keep their licences in line. That'll suit MS down to the ground.

Oh no sirree, LS is crazy for GPL3, and all these shenanigans are designed to provoke the FSF to release GPL3 as soon as possible and make it as tight as possible.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Come on...
by KenJackson on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Come on..."
KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

And GPL3 will fragment the Linux codebase into two incompatible halves,...

Unfortunately, that is a possibility. And maybe you are right that MS is expecting it to happen. So maybe their current actions are simply intended to goad infighting amongst the principals of free software, whom they no-doubt view in they way you have depicted Richard Stallman.

But I am hopeful that whatever Microsoft thinks, expects and wants will be held at arm's length and not be allowed to affect the course of free software.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Come on...
by sbergman27 on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Come on..."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
And GPL3 will fragment the Linux codebase into two incompatible halves, to the disadvantage of developers and folks trying to keep their licences in line.
"""

That was a real danger, and my main objection to GPLv3 last year. However, as of draft 3, the FSF really seemed to start listening to the criticisms and took action to address them instead of just blithely claiming that the critics didn't understand the license.

I believe that we have averted most of the damage that might have been done.

It will still cause some needless license fragmentation. But I think that the danger has been reduced from the "catastrophic" variety to the "damned nuisance" variety.

As things stand, the advantages may actually outweigh the disadvantages, in the long term.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Come on...
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:45 UTC in reply to "Come on..."
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Good analysis, but Novell and Xandros have both stated in the press that Microsoft did not show them patents in Linux. Do we believe them or not? I don't know. Can an NDA compel them to lie?

Humourously, Xandros' CEO also spoke to a reporter with an MS person on the line, said he wasn't sure if they had any patents, then hung up and phoned back and said Linux wasn't infringing on patents.
http://redmondmag.com/news/article.asp?EditorialsID=8654

"Within a half-hour of the end of the interview, Typaldos left a voice message for this reporter in which he said, "I wanted to make it very clear that your question about 'Do I think that Linux is infringing on Microsoft patents'? The answer is a categorical no. The answer is no.""

http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/4008
http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/community_open_letter.html
"We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents. Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property. When we entered the patent cooperation agreement with Microsoft, Novell did not agree or admit that Linux or any other Novell offering violates Microsoft patents."

Microsoft on patent specifics (very much BS): http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/24/microsoft_novell_patents/
" First you get everyone riled claiming open source and Linux infringe on your patents, then you won't detail those patents. Why? The paperwork.

Yes, Microsoft cited administrative overhead for not detailing the 235 Microsoft patents its chief legal counsel recently told Fortune exist in Linux and open source.

Microsoft patents attorney Jim Markwith told OSBC it would be "impossible" for Redmond's bureaucrats to respond to the volume of responses that would result from disclosure. Also, apparently, it's ungentlemanly to name names.

"Most people who are familiar with patents know it's not standard operating procedure to list the patents," Markwith said. "The response of that would be administratively impossible to keep up with." Far better to rattle sabers instead."

Edited 2007-06-08 18:48

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Come on...
by Silent_Seer on Sat 9th Jun 2007 14:20 UTC in reply to "Come on..."
Silent_Seer Member since:
2007-04-06

they won't spend a (million) dollar in courts because in the end they're the ones who decide if there's a litigation case or not.


They (MS) would rather spend a 100 million dollar campaign to claim that linux infringes on their patents and that users (as in corporations) need to license it from them as well (without knowing what the patents are), keeping away a majority of those CEOs who are skeptical of linux and even those who are evaluating it.

It's your word of mouth against their media campaign. Any guesses why they are, well, er, not so loved, by many folks out there?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Come on...
by Elektro on Sun 10th Jun 2007 18:31 UTC in reply to "Come on..."
Elektro Member since:
2006-08-19

Why should someone talk about patents under NDA? Patents are published, for everyone to see.

Reply Score: 1

SamAskani
Member since:
2006-01-03

Can this be understood as MS preparing the legal grounds for a big assault against the FOSS?

it seems that MS is creating a portfolio of FOSS users who have deals with them about the authorized use of their patented software. I assume that these FOSS users, after accepting these deals, are acknowledging that the FOSS that they are using implies the use of the MS intellectual property. I guess that these users don't have the resources (or are just to scary of the 1000 lawyers arriving to their doors) to verify the MS's claims and they just prefer to sign an agreement to avoid any future confrontation.

A portfolio of key users signing these deals gives to MS the "moral/legal" veracity of their infringement claims. They could use this in a variety of scenarios as suing any FOSS developer that uses the so claimed MS property. For example, If User A acknowledges that the FOSS product Z has MS property, then MS could have a legal ground for suing the developer of Z.

I'd like to avoid being pessimistic, but this is scary and shows the worst of the worst faces of MS to deal with competition.

Reply Score: 5

KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

I'd like to avoid being pessimistic, but this is scary ...

I think Microsoft wants you to be scared. But I suspect Microsoft is scared.

They used to just ignore all GNU and Linux and BSD as worthless bother. Now they know for sure there is a very real threat. They see the handwriting on the wall. They are slashing and punching like a dying man. Maybe.

Reply Score: 5

Phloptical Member since:
2006-10-10

This is simply what happens when capitalism is allowed to run unchecked by any federal agencies.

Microsoft represents the worst kind of monopoly, and the most corrupt form of capitalism.

Reply Score: 4

Microsoft
by SlackerJack on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:46 UTC
SlackerJack
Member since:
2005-11-12

Business as usual and people wonder why the EU are so "hard" on them.

Reply Score: 5

Haha
by moleskine on Fri 8th Jun 2007 15:56 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

Ironically, LG Electronics is a member of a group called the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum. The group comprises a number of electronics manufacturers that embed Linux into their products. On its Web site, CELF says part of its mission is "to operate completely within the letter and the spirit of the open source community."

You have to laugh. Probably, there will be plenty more deals like this one. My impression is that many of the Far Eastern tech outfits are fabulously corrupt and will sign up to almost anything if the price is right.

I suppose the results depend on how paranoid you want to be. My feeling is that Microsoft is borrowing Roman siege tactics and is using these agreements like a long wall to stealthily encircle their opponents. Then they'll have the few non-signers - Red Hat and Ubuntu, e.g. - where they want them, trapped (supposedly). The rest of the world - the signers - will be "persuaded" to turn the taps of Linux compatibility, drivers and features on or off as Microsoft dictates. Linux won't be shut down, just turned into a captive plaything fenced off by hordes of MS lawyers.

Just remember, it takes two to play this game. Microsoft's tactics may be shameful but that hasn't stop three outfits, now, from shaking hands and taking the money.

Edited 2007-06-08 15:57

Reply Score: 5

RE: Haha
by l3v1 on Fri 8th Jun 2007 20:23 UTC in reply to "Haha"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

many of the Far Eastern tech outfits are fabulously corrupt and will sign up to almost anything if the price is right


Oh, you really don't have to go that far.

Reply Score: 2

Poker game
by acobar on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:09 UTC
acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

Microsoft does not want to show its hands, as it would mean nothing for must of the OSS community. Think. If there were offending non trivial, non prior art and enforceable in court patents on their hands the code/paradigm in question could, in theory, be changed without too much effort. Remember that most, if not all, of the computer interface that could really affect users have already come to age these days. The rest could be replaced, right? I think not so easy.

MS had worked with hardware vendors for years on interface specifications, drivers technology and so on. That is where I think they are planning to get legs and why they are going after hardware guys, they need control where it can hurt and is not that old.

And all in all, if you are a computer hardware company and want to sell your products to ~= 90 of the market you better work with them. And in this case you really can not afford to see your sales be blocked by litigation, don't you?

I expect to see more hardware vendors inking deals. It is disgusting, but it is real life.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Poker game
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:18 UTC in reply to "Poker game"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

There's a conspiracy theory that this is one reason why nVidia and ATI don't open specifications. They both used to have somewhat open drivers, apparently, before signing up with Microsoft on various ventures (eg., Xbox).

That's what DRM is about too, like Peter Gutmann's excellent "Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection" states, since hardware implementing DRM everywhere as MS would love can't be open.

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

(google cache here since it doesn't seem to be loading right now: http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:dU1lF0ao8cMJ:www.cs.auckland.ac...

Edited 2007-06-08 18:19

Reply Score: 5

Aha! I knew it!
by korpenkraxar on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:09 UTC
korpenkraxar
Member since:
2005-09-10

Obviously the heat is generated from repeatedly bootstrapping Gentoo!

http://us.lge.com/products/model/detail/home%20appliances_cooki...

Reply Score: 3

Microsoft and UNIX patents
by Javier O. Augusto on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:15 UTC
Javier O. Augusto
Member since:
2005-08-10

Tell me who in this world "patents" something just because they want to? Instead, you do just for the sake of making profit out of it.

Fact is that Microsoft does hold UNIX patents. Nobody's saying anything about rippin' off "code" or something else, just pure "patent infringement". Read more about it if you feel so..

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

So IMHO, that's the only weapon Microsoft has against "Linux", not even GNU land, just LINUX. And they've just started using it...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Microsoft and UNIX patents
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:06 UTC in reply to "Microsoft and UNIX patents"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

People also patent things so someone else doesn't go and patent it them sue them. It's a sad state of affairs but it is the reality.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Microsoft and UNIX patents
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:22 UTC in reply to "Microsoft and UNIX patents"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

"Fact is that Microsoft does hold UNIX patents."

Where is that a fact? Isn't UNIX from the 70s and any patents now long expired, since they're supposed to only last 20 years? (although I don't think people had software patents until the 80s)

Reply Score: 4

interesting...
by smashIt on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:43 UTC
smashIt
Member since:
2005-07-06

it's interesting to read through all the comments.
ms being evil, lg being corrupt, ms under pressure by gpl3, and the user is the victim...
did anybody notice that lg makes consumer electronics, and ms is holding a lot of patents regarding codecs like vc1?
you can flame ms as much as you want. but do you realy think that playing wmv-files under linux is legal? do you realy think that ntfs isn't covered by some patents?

Reply Score: 4

RE: interesting...
by Buck on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:50 UTC in reply to "interesting..."
Buck Member since:
2005-06-29

ou can flame ms as much as you want. but do you realy think that playing wmv-files under linux is legal? do you realy think that ntfs isn't covered by some patents?

This has nothing to do with Linux. Then Microsoft should direct their FUD efforts towards mplayer and the filesystem guys. And in the end it's all "thinking, supposing, presuming" etc. This has no substance.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: interesting...
by smashIt on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:03 UTC in reply to "RE: interesting..."
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

This has nothing to do with Linux. Then Microsoft should direct their FUD efforts towards mplayer and the filesystem guys. And in the end it's all "thinking, supposing, presuming" etc. This has no substance.
enlighten me. did they contact torvalds or distribution-vendors?

Reply Score: 1

RE: interesting...
by tomcat on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:50 UTC in reply to "interesting..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Excellent points. The fact of the matter is that we don't know what MS showed to LG, Novell, and other companies. It was all done under NDA, naturally, so it's pretty silly for people to assume that they know everything there is to know about these deals, that Microsoft is bluffing, the companies are corrupt/weak, yadda, yadda, yadda. Not to mention that there are mutual interests between the parties at stake here (ie. cross-licensing of technology, etc) that may have nothing to do with the issues that people are discussing here.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: interesting...
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:11 UTC in reply to "RE: interesting..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

But Microsoft is evil

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: interesting...
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:24 UTC in reply to "RE: interesting..."
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

It's done under NDA so people can't code around the patents AS MANY FS program have done in the past, or be able to call them out as obvious, or find prior art. The Supreme Court in the US has taken a very dim view on patents recently.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: interesting...
by archiesteel on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:25 UTC in reply to "RE: interesting..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

All the time they spend *not* identifying which patents Linux allegedly infringes on actually weakens their case. There is an accepted legal principle in IP law that the plaintiff must mitigate damages, i.e. that it must inform the alleged infringer as soon as possible in order to minimize the impact of the infringement.

So far, MS has made vague allegations but it hasn't revealed anything specific to those it holds responsible for the alleged infringement. That's a good indication that they don't believe their case is strong enough to litigate.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: interesting...
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: interesting..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

"There is an accepted legal principle in IP law that the plaintiff must mitigate damages, i.e. that it must inform the alleged infringer as soon as possible in order to minimize the impact of the infringement."

Bolded the key part. We don't know what they showed Novell, Xandros or LG.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: interesting...
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:08 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: interesting..."
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Those companies said MS didn't show them anything!

Edited 2007-06-08 19:08

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: interesting...
by tomcat on Sun 10th Jun 2007 00:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: interesting..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Those companies said MS didn't show them anything!

It wasn't necessary for them to see anything. They get the dual benefits of indemnification from Microsoft and cross-licensing of technology. W

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: interesting...
by archiesteel on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: interesting..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Novell has gone on the record saying that they do *not* believe that the Linux kernel infringes on any Microsoft patents. For all we know, MS didn't show them anything.

In any case, the alleged infringer here wouldn't be Novell, Xandros or LG, but the kernel developers. The longer they wait before showing the kernel devs the alleged infringement, the more it hurts their case.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: interesting...
by DigitalAxis on Sat 9th Jun 2007 00:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: interesting..."
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

The patents are supposedly written so the user who RUNS the software is liable.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: interesting...
by archiesteel on Sat 9th Jun 2007 00:49 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: interesting..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Yes, well, let's just say that I'd be really curious to see this end up in court...

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: interesting...
by tomcat on Sun 10th Jun 2007 00:31 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: interesting..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Yes, well, let's just say that I'd be really curious to see this end up in court...

Personally, I hope that this never goes to court. Litigation signals that two parties aren't able to reach some kind of reasonable accomodation. While some people might like to go to court to make a statement about grand principles, it's a waste of money and very distracting, either way. I think that both parties would be better off spending their physical and intellectual capital on creating new technology, not arguing about who did what when.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: interesting...
by tomcat on Sun 10th Jun 2007 00:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: interesting..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

All the time they spend *not* identifying which patents Linux allegedly infringes on actually weakens their case. There is an accepted legal principle in IP law that the plaintiff must mitigate damages, i.e. that it must inform the alleged infringer as soon as possible in order to minimize the impact of the infringement.

The door swings both ways, I'm afraid. By not identifying any infringing technology -- but nonetheless advancing vague claims of infringement -- Microsoft can argue specific infringements later on without prejudice.

So far, MS has made vague allegations but it hasn't revealed anything specific to those it holds responsible for the alleged infringement. That's a good indication that they don't believe their case is strong enough to litigate.

Litigation is the option of last resort. You don't automatically default to it. Personally, I think they're much better off negotiating with various Linux companies than going to court.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: interesting...
by trenchsol on Sun 10th Jun 2007 01:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: interesting..."
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

No, this is a good indication that Microsoft has no intention to go to court, just as they said more than once.

Far as I understand, this is not so much about Linux and accompanying applications. It is just an initiative to establish mutualy agreed patent protection. I am FreeBSD user, and those patents might address FreeBSD, too, but I am not worried at all.

I don't think that there is a reason to worry for anybody. People making noise about the deals are just Microsoft haters who can't stand to see their favourite software being involved. It is purely ideological/religious.

Reply Score: 1

RE: interesting...
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:24 UTC in reply to "interesting..."
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

NTFS is a trade secret, not a patent.

I don't know everything about WMV, but yes it's legal if you pay the licensing fees from software patent holders as Fluendo has done, or if you're in a country that doesn't legislate software patents; since people use ffmpeg now, it's not even a copyright issue. Why wouldn't LG just do that instead if that's the issue?

Edited 2007-06-08 18:27

Reply Score: 3

RE: interesting...
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:29 UTC in reply to "interesting..."
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Edit timed out, but wanted to add that you pay Fluendo for the WMV codecs, which I believe they offer and then pay royalties to the licensors, and then it's legal AFAIK (if you're in a country where software patents are legal and you can't use reverse engineered decoders)

http://www.fluendo.com/products.php?product=plugins Buy plugins

Edited 2007-06-08 19:29

Reply Score: 3

bluffpoker
by netpython on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:52 UTC
netpython
Member since:
2005-07-06

It's all bluffpoker of the richest.

Reply Score: 3

could all this fuss be about
by rkoot on Fri 8th Jun 2007 16:55 UTC
rkoot
Member since:
2006-01-03

FAT16/32 ?
that would make sense: MS did come up with the fat rubbish, and while it's outdated, it's still a very popular format!
I can imagine that some embedded devices made by LG actually use a fat implementation (maybe even linux' vfat ) and therefor are in muddy waters.
just a thought.

Reply Score: 1

RE: could all this fuss be about
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:29 UTC in reply to "could all this fuss be about"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

I thought that (long file name/fat) patent was knocked down in the US or Germany when MS tried to enforce it.

http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2004/09/30/microsoft_fat_patent_rejec...

"Microsoft's attempt to create a lucrative future revenue stream from its patent portfolio has tripped at the first hurdle. After an appeal, the US Patent Office has struck down Microsoft's '517 patent (USPTO 5,579, 517) on the FAT file system. Camera makers, amongst many other consumer electronics manufacturers, use the FAT file system on compact flash cards and other removable media."

Reply Score: 4

sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

I like how the fact that they applied for a patent automatically meant they were going to sue for it/license it.

Reply Score: 1

ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Well that's what the article said they did.

"Microsoft introduced FAT in version 2.0 of MS-DOS in 1982, but was not granted patent '517 until 1996. Last year Redmond used it as the basis of its first ever licensing program, offering manufacturers the right to use the ubiquitous file system in return for a low royalty rate. At the time, Microsoft described this as "liberalization". Industry watchers noted how earlier in the year, Redmond had hired Marshall Phelps, the IBM attorney who in the Eighties, built up Big Blue's IP program from nothing into a multi-billion dollar business."

Reply Score: 4

when M$ gets enough
by Mkane on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:04 UTC
Mkane
Member since:
2007-05-01

These companies make me sick cowing to MS. MS should be forced to prove these claims.

All these companies signing on to the crap from MS are being used by MS. MS fears Linux and open software like Open Office. I figure when MS buys enough US politicans and judges then they will try to use the courts to stop open source software.

I wish the EU would shug and ban MS products from Europe. Maybe this would wake MS and the US up.

Reply Score: 2

RE: when M$ gets enough
by twenex on Sat 9th Jun 2007 09:08 UTC in reply to "when M$ gets enough"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

[i]I wish the EU would shug and ban MS products from Europe. Maybe this would wake MS and the US up. [i]

I don't. You know why? I can't wait to see the looks on Gates' and Ballmer's faces when they start losing in the marketplace (not in court). And remember, for them "losing" means "still having the will, but no longer the ability, to dominate all life - or at least all computer life".

Reply Score: 2

Devious
by airwedge1 on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:08 UTC
airwedge1
Member since:
2006-02-22

Personally I think the MS crap goes deeper then the deals themselves. Every company that makes a deal is soon afterward given flak about them making the deal. I think it is just a scheme to piss off, and divide the linux community. ie. Novell made the deal. They need something committed to the linux kernel. Linux core developers, with hatred toward MS, will pay much less attention to their request, because they hate Microsoft. Everything Microsoft does is devious. But I agree I still don't understand why any company would make this deal. MS will never release what patents they think they have, and they will never try to enforce them, and the patents would never hold up in court.

Reply Score: 4

Loops and Conditionals
by jelway on Fri 8th Jun 2007 17:40 UTC
jelway
Member since:
2006-05-14

I think what they're doing is perfectly legal. All they've done is shown how corrupt and immoral the open source community is. They open source community deliberates violates patents that Microsoft has put a lot of R&D into over the past few decades.

In other news, Microsoft has announced they've always had the patent for the "for loop" as well as the "if statement". However litigation this time will cover all forms of derivative products - including binary form.

Reply Score: 1

sweet.
by helf on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:24 UTC
helf
Member since:
2005-07-06

I wish I could sell protection like this! I'd be rich ;)

Reply Score: 1

I bet SCO wishes they were Microsoft right now
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:31 UTC in reply to "sweet."
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Poor SCOSource, zero revenue this quarter. Beaten out by the bigger dog, still selling a valueless product.

Reply Score: 3

RE: sweet.
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:48 UTC in reply to "sweet."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft isn't selling protection.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: sweet.
by helf on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:28 UTC in reply to "RE: sweet."
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

since they havent actually said what patents *might* be getting infringed upon... yet are selling 'amnesty'... seems like good old fashion mafia 'protection' to me! ;)

i could be wrong. if anyone wants to write out exactly why im wrong to clear it up for me, go ahead. because i would really enjoy reading. really, im not being sarcastic.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: sweet.
by twenex on Fri 8th Jun 2007 23:39 UTC in reply to "RE: sweet."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Microsoft isn't selling protection.

On what planet? Sounds like a nice one.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: sweet.
by sappyvcv on Sat 9th Jun 2007 02:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: sweet."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Earth. You might like it. I repeat: Microsoft is not selling protection. To sell protection, you have to offer said protection in exchange for money. This is not the case.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: sweet.
by twenex on Sat 9th Jun 2007 09:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: sweet."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

[i]Earth. You might like it. I repeat: Microsoft is not selling protection. To sell protection, you have to offer said protection in exchange for money. This is not the case. [i]

FYI, money changed hands in the MS/Novell deal (and in the Novell -> Microsoft direction, too). Ooh, sounds like a protection racket to me - on Earth or any other planet.

Besides, "sign this agreement and we'll protect you" is as much a "protection racket" as exchanging money for same, if the alternative is to be sued out of existence on some dubious evidence. Just to be clear, this isn't "insurance" because insurers don't say "buy our house insurance or we'll huff, and we'll puff, and we'll knock your house down."

Reply Score: 3

Almost a syllogism
by justin.68 on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:42 UTC
justin.68
Member since:
2006-09-16

Microsoft's new policy seems to have changed. In the past they resorted to theft, today they acquire new ideas through intimidation and extortion. If they can do that disregarding and circumventing the law, I wonder why I shouldn't support the use of pirated MS software and be an overt apologist of such practice. But basically the fact is their software has never been better than free software, so why pay for it?

Again, now that they no longer need to invest in research, because they acquire knowledge for less than a song and get cash on the nail for mysterious patents through threats, why should the consumers give them their money? Because it's ethically just?

Reply Score: 4

RE: Almost a syllogism
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:55 UTC in reply to "Almost a syllogism"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

What extortion? Microsoft is paying them.

What laws are they breaking? You may find what they are doing immoral, but that does not make it illegal.

Get your facts straight.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Almost a syllogism
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 18:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Almost a syllogism"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

You can't pay your competition to exit a market or collude with you to raise prices.

Antitrust 101...

Edited 2007-06-08 18:59

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Almost a syllogism
by sbergman27 on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Almost a syllogism"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
You can't pay your competition to exit a market or collude with you to raise prices.

Antitrust 101...
"""

Agreed... unless the current administration is favorable to you.

Good Ole Boy 101... ;-)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Almost a syllogism
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 20:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Almost a syllogism"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

They are not doing either in this case.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Almost a syllogism
by jayson.knight on Sat 9th Jun 2007 04:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Almost a syllogism"
jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

"You can't pay your competition to exit a market or collude with you to raise prices. "

Then why are these companies signing contracts instead of calling up their local DA? What really makes more sense here, especially knowing that any company in the world who thought they had a winnable case against Microsoft would sue them to the ground?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Almost a syllogism
by justin.68 on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:32 UTC in reply to "Almost a syllogism"
justin.68 Member since:
2006-09-16

The facts seem to be quite clear. MS claim Linux infringes some patents and nobody knows exactly what they're talking about exactly. They collect money from companies using Linux and this appears to be a fact, too. They might not be after the money all the times. In fact they have plenty of it and use different tactics when they can get something better. They approach a company using Linux and go: "Guys, get this money and give us free access to what we may find useful for our business. If you don't we might as well as burn the money on a case in court and you would have to do the same. We might not win on each point, but if we win on a couple of them you're going to lose twice and it WILL cost you a fortune".

I've not said MS is breaking the law, they are circumventing it. This isn't a business model and they didn't learn it from IBM. It's mafia style. And it's about power.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Almost a syllogism
by sappyvcv on Fri 8th Jun 2007 20:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Almost a syllogism"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

They collect money from companies using Linux and this appears to be a fact, too.

Who are they collecting money from?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Almost a syllogism
by justin.68 on Sat 9th Jun 2007 14:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Almost a syllogism"
justin.68 Member since:
2006-09-16

If you browse through the previous news posted here you should find out the link to the article yourself. It's written black on white MS is collecting money from unspecified companies using Linux, because of their mysterious patents. The news has neither been officially confirmed nor denied, which to my mind is disturbing enough. So I've been making assumptions: any company smaller than MS willing to stay in business and having nothing to trade would sooner fork out some cash rather than risk messing with MS's lawyers. There's really no choice.

Reply Score: 1

GPLv3 Grandfather clause
by ubit on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:01 UTC
ubit
Member since:
2006-09-08

So with GPLv3 as it is in Draft 4 section 11, LG/Xandros/Samsung/Fuji either can't convey GPLv3 software (grandfather clause not applicable), or they have to change the MS patent contract so it doesn't apply to them at all, or applies to all GNU/Linux users.

" If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it.

A patent license is "discriminatory" if it does not include within the scope of its coverage, prohibits the exercise of, or is conditioned on the non-exercise of one or more of the rights that are specifically granted under this License. You may not convey a covered work if you are a party to an arrangement with a third party that is in the business of distributing software, under which you make payment to the third party based on the extent of your activity of conveying the work, and under which the third party grants, to any of the parties who would receive the covered work from you, a discriminatory patent license (a) in connection with copies of the covered work conveyed by you (or copies made from those copies), or (b) primarily for and in connection with specific products or compilations that contain the covered work, unless you entered into that arrangement, or that patent license was granted, prior to 28 March 2007."

Edited 2007-06-08 19:04

Reply Score: 4

food for thought
by milles21 on Fri 8th Jun 2007 19:44 UTC
milles21
Member since:
2006-11-08

I am by no means a MS supporter but I have to start to wonder weather theses patent agreements contain confidential agreements. I cannot for the life of me understand how smart and successful companies are signing these agreements without being presented any info.

It could very well be that MS has something, not to say that we as the Linux community could not remove, however I think that is the reason for not announcing. I believe that there may be something infringing. MS may not want to release because they know that we would just re-write the code and remove it . Instead they would rather approach companies individually on some patent extortion tactics.

This just my guess approach the company get them to sign a license agreement strenghten the belief that the code has infringed and caused you damage, use the people who have signed the agreements as evidence of their belief in the violation.

Reply Score: 1

RE: food for thought
by twenex on Sat 9th Jun 2007 09:22 UTC in reply to "food for thought"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

[i]I am by no means a MS supporter but I have to start to wonder weather theses patent agreements contain confidential agreements. I cannot for the life of me understand how smart and successful companies are signing these agreements without being presented any info. [i]

Because the level of trust in Microsoft is far higher than it should be (i.e. zero)?

Reply Score: 2

Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

Microsoft cannot possibly be allowed to exist like this much longer. This is like Hitler strolling across Europe, rather freely, in the mid-1930s and occupying whatever country he pleased. At some point, someone is going to have to draw a line in the sand and say, "Enough of your bullsh*t!". I hope Google is the one to do it.

Reply Score: 4

Other possibility
by DigitalAxis on Sat 9th Jun 2007 00:28 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

Is it possibly that Microsoft and LG signed an agreement to exchange intellectual property, etc... and Microsoft just threw in the 'will not sue over Linux' clause in because that's what they do now, and they want to look like they're serious?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Other possibility
by archiesteel on Sat 9th Jun 2007 00:55 UTC in reply to "Other possibility"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Yes, that is my intuition as well. The deal had probably nothing to do with Linux & patents, but MS probably ended up tagging this to the contract to support their current FUD campaign.

Reply Score: 2

Something has to give soon...
by garymax on Sat 9th Jun 2007 04:35 UTC
garymax
Member since:
2006-01-23

Microsoft has stated its position on Linux rather loudly over the last few months starting with the Novell deal. The more Microsoft enters into agreements with distros and companies who use Linux, the stronger their hand is going to become when the day of reckoning arrives.

Sometime soon, someone will have to challenge the legal aspects of these agreements. Not so much whether Microsoft has the right to enter into an agreement as any two companies may do that. What I have reference to is entering into patent agreements without showing or proving that there are really patents that have been infringed.

It would be a real shame if after all is said and done the patent agreements turn out to be unnecessary due to the patents being "obvious" or prior art invalidating the whole lot of them.

But until someone challenges Microsoft over this, they will continue to seek and make agreements. And the more they make, the deeper their hands get into the Linux machine...and it just gets worse for Linux.

Here's a thought: perhaps Microsoft is building Linux alliances so that if the Linux community becomes fragmented Microsoft already has its partners in place to guarantee their piece of the Linux pie.

Reply Score: 1

...
by raid517 on Sat 9th Jun 2007 09:59 UTC
raid517
Member since:
2006-01-22

This is all working out very well for MS. They get access to lots of lovely IP, purely on the insinuation of some unspecified threat concerning patents which no one knows the basis of. Is this really how business works in the US?

In any case it sounds very much like the old days of Sco to me. The only difference being that many companies appear much more ready to capitulate to Microsoft than they ever were to Sco, possibly due to the fact that Microsoft have much better lawyers than Sco did. (Not that that would mean they would win anything in court - but it does seem to be enough to make many companies afraid of them).

What we need is another company (like IBM) with balls who will stand up and say 'So sue me!' Then we will see if there is any basis to Microsoft's claims or not.

Until then all they have is FUD - although, as I said, this does seem to be working out very much in their favour.

Reply Score: 1

RE: ...
by sappyvcv on Sat 9th Jun 2007 13:06 UTC in reply to "..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

No, there was money involved too.

Reply Score: 1

no suprise
by trenchsol on Sat 9th Jun 2007 13:46 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

It is obvious to me that all the corporations making deals with Microsoft, are doing that for mutual benefit. There will be more and more such companies. I don't see any blackmail in it, just getting rid of legal problems. Nobody is happy having to deal with patent laws in court, especially Microsoft.

FSF may try to prevent corporations from benefiting on Linux, only to make those corporations alienate from it turn to something else. Those alienated corporations will not contribute either to Linux or FSF any more.

The only reason why some company would not want such deal is of idelogical/religious nature, and not doing something for such reasons is ridiculous.

Reply Score: 2

mafia tactic
by Robocoastie on Sat 9th Jun 2007 16:52 UTC
Robocoastie
Member since:
2005-09-15

it's the old mafia "protection" system all over again that MSFT is doing.

Reply Score: 0

This doesnt matter
by ChrisA on Sat 9th Jun 2007 20:43 UTC
ChrisA
Member since:
2006-05-06

when the GPL 3 is released, Microsofts LG and Xandros deals are dead. I would suggest that the community start planning some class action law suits against Microsoft for their despicable behavior and their false statements.

Reply Score: 1

80|K0T T0 M$-AL|AN2E
by space0022s on Mon 11th Jun 2007 15:37 UTC
space0022s
Member since:
2007-05-18

i think that we need make a boikot to any company thet colaborate with MS, no buy no use the service, talk with the agent of sales to inform the why for no buy. and make an FL055-AL|AN23 on for open hardware, software, human knowledge, no manipulation of peple data (MS secutity certificate, changing the PA$$P0RT work, taking any user private information)

Reply Score: 1

shaking coins out
by pingu on Tue 12th Jun 2007 02:48 UTC
pingu
Member since:
2006-10-04

MS is holding kids upside down and shaking them to see how much money comes out - then spending it at the school canteen.

Reply Score: 1