Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Apr 2010 18:32 UTC
IBM And thus our true colours reveal. IBM made a patent pledge in 2005, promising not to sue open source projects over a list of 500 patents the computer giant holds. Today, however, IBM has threatened to sue TurboHercules, a French open source software house which provides support for the Hercules open source s390 mainframe emulator. Some of the patents in question are on the 500 list.
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*sigh*
by poundsmack on Tue 6th Apr 2010 18:39 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

Is anyone else really not surprised that IBM would do this? IBM has contributes a lot of code to the OSS world, but in my mind they were always the most likely to pull something like this. I just don't trust IBM...

Reply Score: 5

RE: *sigh*
by SlackerJack on Tue 6th Apr 2010 18:50 UTC in reply to "*sigh*"
SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

Yes, it shows the whole Microsoft "patent promise" and other such things in their true light. These sort of things are not to be trusted because they're worthless in the hands of much companies.

I'd like to how this pans out for TurboHercules and to see if such a patent promise is actually worth something in court.

Edited 2010-04-06 18:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: *sigh*
by Hiev on Tue 6th Apr 2010 18:57 UTC in reply to "RE: *sigh*"
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

The difference ins the MS promise has legal validation and in a paper. Not just a promise.

Cut the trolling.

Reply Score: 8

RE[3]: *sigh*
by SlackerJack on Tue 6th Apr 2010 19:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: *sigh*"
SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

We'll see about that since it's a whole different story when stuff like this gets to court. A good set of lawyers can make any seemly solid "promise" not so.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: *sigh*
by poundsmack on Tue 6th Apr 2010 19:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: *sigh*"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

true, though MS's is a bit more binding in the legal world. What really confuses me is why would IBM go after them for this? it's not even that big a deal. If your going to toss your reputation as the good guys in the OSS world surely there would have been better, or more lucrative for IBM, things to go after than this. it just seems odd...

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: *sigh*
by Kebabbert on Tue 6th Apr 2010 20:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: *sigh*"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

The problem is that a TurboHercules based solution is quite fast.

An high end IBM z10 mainframe with 64 CPUs gives you 28.000 MIPS which is very good performance! I have read somewhere that an entry level IBM Mainframe with 100 MIPS or so, costs circa 100.000 USD. A high end IBM P595 Unix server used for former TPC-C world record, costs 35 million USD, list price. Imagine the price of a high end Mainframe? IBM Mainframe division has the highest margins and is most profitable.

If you use software emulator TurboHercules on an 8-socket Intel Nehalem-EX you will get 3.200 MIPS. Software emulation is 5-10x slower than native code. So the intel box would actually yield 16.000-32.000 MIPS if you ported the Mainframe OS to x86. You could probably buy maybe 50-100 intel boxes for the price of one IBM Mainframe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_emulator#Performance

IBM is afraid of people will run Mainframes on an cheapo x86 server, and then IBM will loose biiiiiig money. This is the same situation as when Microsoft tried to stop ODF in favour of OOXML.



Actually, IBM is famous for being the first company that systematically used FUD and other foul play:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt#Definition
The IBM FUD examples are numerous. (For instance, "an IBM Mainframe can consolidate 1500 x86 servers" - provided they all idle and the Mainframe is on 100% load).

Therefore some people dont trust IBM. IBM has supported open source, but the IBM sales persons always try to advocate expensive IBM POWER Unix machines. If that doesnt work, IBM offers Linux. But that is last option. IBM supporting open source is only a theatre, some people say. It is not true open source, why have not IBM opened up AIX? DB2? Mainframe OS? etc?

Here are some voices about IBMs business:
http://www.cringely.com/2010/01/ibm-2010-customers-in-revolt/

Reply Score: 6

RE[6]: *sigh*
by JAlexoid on Thu 8th Apr 2010 00:31 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: *sigh*"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

A: It's not the MIPS mainframes are notorious for. It's the I/O. Perfect for high DB loads.
B: If anyone would choose to move their production system from IBM's mainframe to anything else, that would be just actual asking to have the systems lobotomised.
C: It's no secret that Microsoft learned every tactic from IBM. FUD is just one of those tactics. IBM is over 120 years old.
D: Like most companies, IBM supports OSS as IBM sees value for itself.
E: Does not it make sense for IBM's sales rep to offer IBM's Power with AIX, before Linux? AIX is better suited for Power systems actually, but sure is ugly/unusable out of the box.
F: IBM has contributed a lot of code to Linux from AIX. Where code could not be contributed, research results were reimplemented.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: *sigh*
by Kebabbert on Thu 8th Apr 2010 09:01 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: *sigh*"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

A: True. But Mainframe CPUs are dog slow. Any modern x86 CPU such as AMD Magny Cours, Intel Nehalem-EX is 10x faster. For a fraction of the price.

B: It is funny there is a market for TurboHercules, where people use it when their Mainframe crashes. I thought Mainframe never crashes? If there is market for this product, it means Mainframes crashes.

C: Funny thing is, some years ago IBM was the evil company and MS was not. Now suddenly, MS has taken over IBMs role as the evil company. Maybe it will turn back, IBM will show it's true colors. Nothing has ever changed. IBM is as foul as ever. We see that in IBMs lies.

E: IBM sales rep downtalks Linux, explaining it is unstable, unreliable, etc. That AIX is superior and much better choice than Linux. Only if the customer persists, IBM sells Linux.

F: Yes, but IBM has not contributed any strategic code. IBM has never opened up AIX, DB2, etc. Play for the galleries.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: *sigh*
by twitterfire on Tue 6th Apr 2010 20:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: *sigh*"
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

true, though MS's is a bit more binding in the legal world. What really confuses me is why would IBM go after them for this? it's not even that big a deal. If your going to toss your reputation as the good guys in the OSS world surely there would have been better, or more lucrative for IBM, things to go after than this. it just seems odd...


It's not hard to understand: IBM did to Corporate users what crApple ® did to home users: they tied their software to their zSeries hardware. TurboHercules has found a way to circumvent this, and allow customers to run their apps on commodity hardware using an emulator. IBM makes big money from selling the hardware and doesn't like it.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: *sigh*
by poundsmack on Tue 6th Apr 2010 21:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: *sigh*"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

@ Kebabbert and twitterfire

you both make excellent points!

I guess well see how this all plays out...

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: *sigh*
by google_ninja on Wed 7th Apr 2010 15:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: *sigh*"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

probably the best out of all 81 comments on this story

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: *sigh*
by JAlexoid on Thu 8th Apr 2010 00:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: *sigh*"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

The difference ins the MS promise has legal validation and in a paper. Not just a promise.

Cut the trolling.


What court validated it and are you a lawyer?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: *sigh*
by miguel on Wed 7th Apr 2010 17:50 UTC in reply to "RE: *sigh*"
miguel Member since:
2005-07-27

The story is not that IBM used two patents that were pledged. Those two patents are basically worthless in court, that is merely a case of IBM's left hand not knowing what the right hand has done and just printing out whatever came up in their internal search.

The problem are the other 160+ patents that they hit these guys with.

Reply Score: 1

Captain Obvious strikes again
by WorknMan on Tue 6th Apr 2010 18:44 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

"This proves that IBM's love for free and open source software ends where its business interests begin,"


Well, no sh*t, Sherlock. Do you think any for-profit, publicly traded business is in the open source game for the good of mankind? LMAO!!!! As for the patent pledges, if you have any sort of agreement with a major corporation like this, you better make sure it's in writing and legally binding. Else you're going to get stabbed in the back when/if the company decides that it's more profitable to do that than to work with you.

If there's one thing that's in short supply in the corporate world, it's integrity. These companies are NOT to be trusted.

Edited 2010-04-06 18:45 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Captain Obvious strikes again
by bile on Tue 6th Apr 2010 19:50 UTC in reply to "Captain Obvious strikes again"
bile Member since:
2005-07-08

If there's one thing that's in short supply in the corporate world, it's integrity. These companies are NOT to be trusted.


No entity with a coercively held monopoly should be trusted. The problem is patents, not software patents. The fundimental problem is government enforcement of arbitrary monopoly privileges not these companies. The companies are playing within the set of rules provided for them. Limit competition and this is what you get. There simply aren't the checks and balances (ie competition) to keep them in line.

Reply Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Patents provide an incentive for innovation. People aren't going to spend years working on an invention if some large corp can just take it without compensation. The problem with software patents is that they're given out too easily.

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Patents provide an incentive for innovation. People aren't going to spend years working on an invention if some large corp can just take it without compensation. The problem with software patents is that they're given out too easily.


Almost, but not quite.

The problem with software patents is that software is not patentable subject matter. This is in part because software is mathematics, and mathematics should not be patentable.

It is also a fact that software has a very low capital investment required ... anyone can write software with no large outlay of capital required to start such a venture. Therefore, incentives to develop software should not be required, just as is the case for some other types of IP such as writing a book or composing a song (one cannot patent a book or a song). This is further vindicated by the observation that software was being written quite happily for decades before the first software patent was ever awarded.

Copyright protection for software is fine: people should write their own works, and not just copy and paste the works of others. No-one condones plagiarism.

Trade secret protection for software is fine: you should not have to reveal your software designs to anyone if you choose not to.

Trademark protection for software is fine: if I write a new wordprocessor application (even one that can read and write .doc files), I should not be able to call it "Word".

Patent protection for software: Not required. No way. Counterproductive, and restricts innovation. Holds progress back, for no good reason. Only lawyers benefit, no real value comes from it.

Edited 2010-04-07 07:18 UTC

Reply Score: 5

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


Patent protection for software: Not required. No way. Counterproductive, and restricts innovation. Holds progress back, for no good reason. Only lawyers benefit, no real value comes from it.


The problem with that outlook is that it doesn't account for reverse engineering.

Some software algorithms take years to produce and can be reverse-engineered overnight.

You say software patents restrict innovation but MP3 was created in a lab with the expectation that it would be protected by patents. It wasn't created by some open source basement programmer.

The problem is that software patents are given out too easily for things like mouse gestures that aren't distinguishable enough from existing technologies to deserve protection. But for something like a compression algorithm that was developed in a lab there needs to be protection from reverse engineering. There should also be laws against patent trolls. If you're not actively producing a product that uses the patent, you can't sue.

In pharmaceuticals they reformed the patent system to grant a longer monopoly for rare diseases. The problem was that drug companies were focusing r&d on widespread diseases since they had the most potential sales. The reform worked and there was a significant increase in treatment for rare conditions.

Of course there are people that argue that it's wrong for companies to make money from drugs but that is where most cures come from. They aren't coming from countries that ignore pharm patents.

Reply Score: 3

mikeinohio Member since:
2010-02-21

Patents provide an incentive for innovation. People aren't going to spend years working on an invention if some large corp can just take it without compensation. The problem with software patents is that they're given out too easily.


The problem with software patents is that they are given out at all. Patent law was meant to cover physical devices, such as a semi conductor. Software code is like writing and as such should be covered by copyright law.

In the real world, the large corps you are talking about are using software patents to maintain their entrenched monopoly status.

I really don't expect this situation to improve any time soon. The lawmakers in the United States really don't understand the fundamental differences between hardware and software. They just go along with whatever their lobbyist tell them.

Reply Score: 2

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

The lawmakers in the United States really don't understand the fundamental differences between hardware and software.


They understand very well but they like the situation.

Reply Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Writing software is a form of engineering. It's applied sciences in the production of a solution to a problem. It is not like writing a fictional work.

Copyright does not protect against cloning by reverse-engineering. Copyright can protect a software product from direct cloning but not the underlying algorithm. For something like a compression algorithm copyright does nothing since the software value is entirely in the algorithm. There is no interface that it needs to be tied to.

Speaking of interfaces that would probably be the easiest method of reform. Reduce interface patent time to four years. That's where most of the complaints are. The system needs to be reformed, not eliminated.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Writing software is a form of engineering. It's applied sciences in the production of a solution to a problem. It is not like writing a fictional work. Copyright does not protect against cloning by reverse-engineering. Copyright can protect a software product from direct cloning but not the underlying algorithm.


Writing software is entirely similar to composing music, or authoring prose. One takes a set of well-defined and understood basic components, and forms a large, integrated cohesive whole out of them with some specific theme in mind.

Reverse engineering is a completely legitimate activity. If anything, the original product is boosted by the compliment that someone has bothered to reverse-engineer it. To this day, the original Panadol can be sold at a higher price than other generic paracetemol tablets.

For something like a compression algorithm copyright does nothing since the software value is entirely in the algorithm.


The algorithm is just mathematics, and should not be patentable. Your contention that no-one would bother to develop codec compression algorithms without the incentive of patents is completely and utterly rebutted by the very existence of Vorbis, Theora, Dirac and speex.

The system needs to be reformed, not eliminated.


Disagree. Passionately disagree. Software patents need to be abolished, because they are utterly counterproductive economically, and they are a huge disincentive for ongoing software development. They hold the entire industry back.

Edited 2010-04-07 23:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

saynte Member since:
2007-12-10

[quote]The algorithm is just mathematics, and should not be patentable.[\quote]

How do we then distinguish that we're allowed to patent a process, but not an algorithm? One useful definition of an algorithm is that it is just a series of steps to solve a problem. This is much like a process; how do you disambiguate the two?

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"The algorithm is just mathematics, and should not be patentable.
How do we then distinguish that we're allowed to patent a process, but not an algorithm? One useful definition of an algorithm is that it is just a series of steps to solve a problem. This is much like a process; how do you disambiguate the two? "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent
A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state (national government) to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for a public disclosure of an invention.


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

In the EU:
The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions within the meaning of paragraph 1:
(a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
(b) aesthetic creations;
(c) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers;
(d) presentations of information.


My bold.

This is a large subject:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent

Essentially, the EU definition that programs for computers shall NOT be regarded as patentable subject matter (i.e. as inventions) is a perfectly sensible, workable decision, whereas the US propensity for allowing software patents is all but destroying the software industry.

YMMV.

Edited 2010-04-08 07:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

Patents provide an incentive for innovation. People aren't going to spend years working on an invention if some large corp can just take it without compensation. The problem with software patents is that they're given out too easily.


And you basically say that all R&D will stop if patents will no more enforced by law? Like humankind have newer made any improvements or discoveries and research until the appearance of patents?

R&D will continue. If not sponsored by large corporations , sponsored by large universities, governments or just sponsored by passion and aspiration for knowledge.

Word used to live and progress and can live and progress further without software patents and without large corporations.

Reply Score: 3

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


And you basically say that all R&D will stop if patents will no more enforced by law? Like humankind have newer made any improvements or discoveries and research until the appearance of patents?

R&D will continue. If not sponsored by large corporations , sponsored by large universities, governments or just sponsored by passion and aspiration for knowledge.


Most R&D is privately funded and would not be replaced. The money just isn't there. Aspiration and passion don't pay for large teams of programmers or researchers. There is also a lot of research that doesn't provide any inspiration. At the end of the day there is a lot of very boring work that will only be done with a financial motivator. You can see this in the open source world where everyone wants to work on the cool shiny stuff which leaves a lot of the boring work unfinished.

The financial motivator from patent protection is strong and this is well established. No modern economist would even suggest eliminating it. It was already well established during the cold war that the prospect of increased wealth was the best motivator of innovation. People are not going to spend their free time working on a slightly improved drive-train for a tractor just out of a passion for tractor drive-trains. It just doesn't work that way. Most patents are very boring and were developed for financial reasons.

Edited 2010-04-07 18:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

...
by Hiev on Tue 6th Apr 2010 18:58 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

Let's see what RMS has to say about this, maybe IBM being one of the main sponsors of FSF will shut his mouth.

Reply Score: 1

RMS has never shied from criticising IBM
by ciaran on Tue 6th Apr 2010 19:22 UTC in reply to "..."
ciaran Member since:
2006-11-27

From the q&a of this speech:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/stallman-mec-india.html

"IBM favors software patents, IBM thinks it stands to gain a lot from software patents. So what it stands to gain is that the IBM and the other very big companies would basically control software development, because it will be very hard to do independent software development.

"To develop nontrivial programs you're going to have to infringe patents of IBMs. Now if you are big and often lucky enough, you might have some patents of your own and make IBM cross-license with you. Otherwise you are completely at their mercy and you have to hope that they just let you pay the money."

More on RMS and swpats:
http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman_on_software_patents

Reply Score: 7

ciaran Member since:
2006-11-27

You're not making any sense.

You said he wouldn't criticise IBM, and I showed he already does criticise IBM. Now you reply by supposing, based on just your imagination, that he'll stop criticising them? Not much of an argument.

I'm afraid, if you want to criticise RMS and you think you can do it by questioning his integrity, you're barking up the wrong tree.

Reply Score: 8

Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

Well, lets waith and see if RMS comes with an opinion about this, lets say a week.

Reply Score: 1

FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

Just as today with hardware patents it is impossible for someone new to come in and create a mobile phone without 20 years of patents it will soon be impossible to create software without 20 years worth of patents.

To get anything done you will have to buy software, pirate software, or use patent infringing open source software. I choose patent infringing open source like ffmpeg, mplayer, xbmc and the like.

Reply Score: 4

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Just as today with hardware patents it is impossible for someone new to come in and create a mobile phone without 20 years of patents it will soon be impossible to create software without 20 years worth of patents.

To get anything done you will have to buy software, pirate software, or use patent infringing open source software. I choose patent infringing open source like ffmpeg, mplayer, xbmc and the like.

It's simple, progress has accelerated enough for patents not to expire fast enough to clear the field for new research and progress. 20 years in 1900 would have been reasonable, 2 years is what would be reasonable today.(Worthwhile idea will make you profit in those 2 years)

Reply Score: 2

RE: ...
by twitterfire on Tue 6th Apr 2010 20:32 UTC in reply to "..."
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

Let's see what RMS has to say about this, maybe IBM being one of the main sponsors of FSF will shut his mouth.


When was the last time that RMS has shutted his mouth, because I can't recall that?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: ...
by nt_jerkface on Wed 7th Apr 2010 06:20 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Back before he threw a fit over his MIT buddies leaving the lab to (gasp) go write software for a living.

Don't get mad, get even by starting your own tech cult.

Reply Score: 1

Previous, more flagrant betrayal
by ciaran on Tue 6th Apr 2010 19:17 UTC
ciaran
Member since:
2006-11-27

For me, IBM's most flagrant betrayal was in their 2009 brief to the Supreme Court for Bilski, where they said that free software needs and is fueled by software patents:

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Fake_representatives_of_free_software#IBM

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/IBM

Reply Score: 1

Well, of course...
by Tuishimi on Tue 6th Apr 2010 19:27 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

From what I can tell, TurboHercules is basically trying to steal away business from IBM.

TurboHercules came up with a bizarre method to circumvent the licensing restrictions and monetize the emulator.

...

Exploiting that loophole in the license


Meanwhile IBM has, and still contributes resources to the open source community.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Well, of course... - competition?
by jabbotts on Tue 6th Apr 2010 19:59 UTC in reply to "Well, of course..."
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Isn't TurboH providing a potentially better widget than IBM's not the very essence of what claims to be a free market capitalist economy?

The other bit is that IBM does not own the market, they have simply held the largest share in it. One can't steal away what is not owned by another. In this case, one can only attempt to earn a share of the existing market which, by it's very nature, means reducing the market share of another company. It's not like someone is walking into IBM's shop and depriving them of there own products; someone is simply providing an alternative solution to an existing problem.

Better products and services at lower costs and all that.

On the other hand, IBM is clearly attacking an Open Source product after putting so much effort into claiming it would never do this very thing. If IBM wanted to go about this the right way, they could use the product license to go after customers in civil court but instead it chooses to restrict competition through patent litigation.

Reply Score: 4

Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

I didn't suggest IBM owned any market at all. I was suggesting that they had a product [hardware/software tied together] that someone else was honing in on by circumventing license conditions. It might be legal, but it seems a little ... dirty. Not that IBM and other giants have pulled dirty tricks.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

IBM listed patents under a promis to allow FOSS developers to knowingly infringe on them. When a FOSS project does infringe on them with a potentially better widget, IBM suddenly doubles back and starts throughing patent threats around. If this is the case, I can't have much simpathy for the company going "Wait, your threatening our business with a better solution. We didn't allow that in our unlimited patent promise!"

If it is IBM's Z/os and hardware related license that is being broken then that is between IBM and the customer not the third party software provider.

Granted, if it was source code released under IBM's own permissive license that was being used it would be a different situation. It also may depend on which license but this article didn't read like it was TurboH, as a contracted client of IBM, breaking there agreement with IBM.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I believe there is a company that only emulates the zOS environment, these guy are letting z/OS to run on their virtualization platform.
Call me old school, but that is not really honest from TurboH side also.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Well, of course...
by chris_l on Tue 6th Apr 2010 20:45 UTC in reply to "Well, of course..."
chris_l Member since:
2010-02-14

[q]From what I can tell, TurboHercules is basically trying to steal away business from IBM.

TurboHercules came up with a bizarre method to circumvent the licensing restrictions and monetize the emulator.

...

Exploiting that loophole in the license



Exactly. This similar to the stunts the Ebay crowd tried pulling on RedHat by selling cdroms burned from the Redhat iso's and implying/claiming that the buyer was entittled to support from RedHat.

You're seeing the same kind of whining from this bunch of parasites now as when Redhat basically told them to f*ck off years ago.

Reply Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

In the case of Red Hat install disks being sold on Ebay:

- downloading install ISO is not a problem since Red Hat makes it's money off the update subscriptions.

- selling the ISO burnt to CD rom is questionable depending on the cost since places like Cheap Bytes do that exact thing but for little more than the price of the blank disk and shipping. Here, it depends on what Ebay sellers where charging.

- claiming that buyers where entitled to support contracts and update subscriptions from Red Hat based on the purchase of the third party burned ISO disks - that's a problem obviously.

TurboHurcules was not repackaging IBM's product and claiming that buyers where entitled to support from IBM based on that third party software. TH is providing a third party separate product that IBM customers may alternatively choose. It doesn't seem anything like fraudulent Red Hat software sales.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Well, of course...
by butters on Tue 6th Apr 2010 23:19 UTC in reply to "Well, of course..."
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

One could argue that these emulator users aren't really IBM's business, at least not anymore. They just have nowhere else to go because of legacy and inertia.

Running mainframe apps on commodity hardware using an emulator is a fairly obvious attempt at an exit strategy. Those aren't happy customers. If this were a truly competitive market, they'd have left already.

It's like in America, where the two major political parties fret about third-party candidates because they "steal their votes". Those aren't their votes. They only get those votes because there aren't any other viable options.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Well, of course...
by Tuishimi on Wed 7th Apr 2010 00:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Well, of course..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, that's true to an extent.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Well, of course...
by dylansmrjones on Wed 7th Apr 2010 08:59 UTC in reply to "Well, of course..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

It is not stealing. It is competition. And of course IBM doesn't like that kind of competition. They make money from uber-expensive hardware (the server equivalent of Apple tactics) and TH can be used to run software for these machines on much cheaper hardware. Oh noes! ;)

Reply Score: 3

Asbestos
by fretinator on Tue 6th Apr 2010 19:51 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Flame on
--------------
"This does illustrate quite nicely the underlying philosophical difference between Free Software and Open Sores Software" -- Freud
--------------
Flame off

Reply Score: 3

jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

I'm not sure the correct name but the patent pool group that also includes Red Hat and other prominent organizations. Perhaps the patents here where not part of what was included in the group's pool or some such thing?

Reply Score: 2

ciaran Member since:
2006-11-27

You mean Open Invention Network?

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Open_Invention_Network

They're a member alright.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Open Invention Network?
by lemur2 on Wed 7th Apr 2010 00:46 UTC in reply to "Open Invention Network?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

You mean Open Invention Network? http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Open_Invention_Network They're a member alright.


The Open Invention Network buys new patents in order to protect open source.

This situation is more akin to the Patent Commons organisation, where members pledge their existing holdings of patents to the same cause.

http://www.patentcommons.org/

IBM is a member of that organistaion, too.

Here are IBM's commitments:
http://www.patentcommons.org/commons/pledgesearch.php?titlecopy=&co...

This commitment in particular is the one on topic:
http://www.patentcommons.org/commons/pledgesearch.php?displaypledge...

The commitment is entitled: "IBM's Statement of Non-Assertion of Named Patents Against OSS".

The introductory text reads as follows:
"IBM Statement of Non-Assertion of Named Patents Against OSS

IBM is committed to promoting innovation for the benefit of our customers and for the overall growth and advancement of the information technology field. IBM takes many actions to promote innovation. Today, we are announcing a new innovation initiative. We are pledging the free use of 500 of our U.S. patents, as well as all counterparts of these patents issued in other countries, in the development, distribution, and use of open source software. We believe that the open source community has been at the forefront of innovation and we are taking this action to encourage additional innovation for open platforms.

The following is the text of our pledge. It is our intent that this pledge be legally binding and enforceable by any open source software developer, distributor, or user who uses one or more of the 500 listed U.S. patents and/or the counterparts of these patents issued in other countries.

IBM's Legally Binding Commitment Not To Assert the 500 Named Patents Against OSS

The pledge will benefit any Open Source Software. "


Edited 2010-04-07 01:03 UTC

Reply Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Patent Commons was the org I was thinking of but I'm happy to have the first mentioned org braught to my attention also.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Open Invention Network?
by strcpy on Wed 7th Apr 2010 13:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Open Invention Network?"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

There you have it above. In black and white.

Now the only thing to wait for is to see how the FOSS hypocrisy manages to sweep this under the carpet.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Open - FOSS hypocrasy?
by jabbotts on Wed 7th Apr 2010 19:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Open Invention Network?"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

It's the FOSS folks being targeted by the patent attack and left wondering what the F IBM is doing after claiming that this would not happen. Where do you see FOSS hypocrisy exactly?

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Open - FOSS hypocrasy?
by strcpy on Thu 8th Apr 2010 03:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Open - FOSS hypocrasy?"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

It's the FOSS folks being targeted by the patent attack and left wondering what the F IBM is doing after claiming that this would not happen. Where do you see FOSS hypocrisy exactly?


Being all tacit about it. When it was Apple (and god forbid, if it was Microsoft) people yelled their faces red with this stuff. Back then I said they'll sue, FOSS or not. And already back then I got modded down.

Reply Score: 2

v MS tactics perhaps?
by TechGeek on Tue 6th Apr 2010 20:08 UTC
RE: MS tactics perhaps?
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 6th Apr 2010 20:29 UTC in reply to "MS tactics perhaps?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Just... Wow.

Easy on the tinfoil, buddy. It can be lethal when swallowed.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: MS tactics perhaps?
by fretinator on Tue 6th Apr 2010 20:51 UTC in reply to "RE: MS tactics perhaps?"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Don't talk to Pamela that way!

(Actually, I like PJ but sometimes she gets a little too conspiracious for me. Yes, I made it up!)

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: MS tactics perhaps?
by TechGeek on Wed 7th Apr 2010 01:19 UTC in reply to "RE: MS tactics perhaps?"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

Well, it is really a pretty far stretch at this point, but I don't put it past Microsoft to use these tactics. I also wonder why the same names keep popping up. Could be coincidence.

Reply Score: 2

RE: MS tactics perhaps?
by Soulbender on Wed 7th Apr 2010 10:40 UTC in reply to "MS tactics perhaps?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Microsoft isn't really in a position to tell IBM what to do.

Reply Score: 2

Locking software and hardware
by twitterfire on Tue 6th Apr 2010 20:28 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

Do you know other company besides IBM that is being famous for locking their software? You are right, crApple does the same.

Anyway, TurboHercules filled a antitrust complaint against IBM in EU. It will be interesting to see to what it turns to. Maybe if IBM will be fined, crApple will be the next.

Reply Score: 2

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

Do you know other company besides IBM that is being famous for locking their software? You are right, crApple does the same.

Anyway, TurboHercules filled a antitrust complaint against IBM in EU. It will be interesting to see to what it turns to. Maybe if IBM will be fined, crApple will be the next.


Here is the story: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-23/ibm-faces-new-eu-compet...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Locking software and hardware
by chandler on Tue 6th Apr 2010 21:01 UTC in reply to "Locking software and hardware"
chandler Member since:
2006-08-29

I do appreciate your warning me about hardware lock-in. When you spell Apple "crApple" though, this is what I picture:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/07/22/

Reply Score: 4

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

LOL
That's a classic!

Reply Score: 2

Linus watch this space...
by spanglywires on Tue 6th Apr 2010 21:02 UTC
spanglywires
Member since:
2006-10-23

...for the outcome. You may be next when IBM deems Linux too successful.

Reply Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Why would IBM go after Linus? You need the rest of a distrobution wrapped around the Linux kernel before it's of any use.

(bad joke, but I couldn't resist)

Reply Score: 3

A slight defense of IBM
by james_parker on Tue 6th Apr 2010 21:10 UTC
james_parker
Member since:
2005-06-29

One thing that should be kept in mind here is that IBM is very large company. As a result, public statements and actions by its officers and employees aren't always consistent, and such inconsistencies are not necessarily lies.

It is quite possible that in this case those at IBM who made the promise regarding the 500 patents are organizationally distant from the mainframe CTO, and the decision to send the letter in question was not communicated to them until after it became public.

At this point, there might well be substantial internal discussions as to how IBM should reconcile their inconsistent positions. This could very well result in IBM dropping their litigation threats regarding the patents listed, and perhaps others used by FOSS software, while continuing the case on other grounds. If they can find evidence of such, they will likely accuse Turbo-Hercules of violating the GPL and use that to save face.

Reply Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

It's a corporate entity which makes it a legal entity. The actions of it's parts are a representation of the legal entity they make up. If Balmer says FOSS is a cancer then Microsoft says FOSS is a cancer. If someone at IBM threatens to file an infringement suit against another company then IBM threatens to file suit against another company. Heck, if a PR temp publishes a news post about some such thing; that is representative of the corporate entity not that PR staffer. Inconsistent message is just a symptom of poor communications within the legal entity not inosense of the offending message.

Reply Score: 2

james_parker Member since:
2005-06-29

I grant that it was unfortunate, and that it is indicative of poor communication. However, all large organizations, including corporations suffer from poor communication and intercommunication on a regular basis -- it's part of the very nature of large numbers of people attempting to communicate with one another (the number of communication paths increases by the square of the number of people attempting to communicate).

It is absolutely reasonable to accuse IBM of inconsistency in their statements; at this stage accusing IBM of "lying" is at this point not defensible. The latter specifically implies a lack of good faith dealing which could easily not be the case.

Now that the inconsistency has been identified and pointed out to IBM management, I suggest waiting to see how IBM responds before drawing any further conclusions.

Reply Score: 1

well...
by Anonymous Coward on Wed 7th Apr 2010 02:08 UTC
Anonymous Coward
Member since:
2005-07-06

Some of the patents in question are on the 500 list

Some....doesn't that mean that if they decided to not sue about those specific patents that they could still sue for the other patents not included among these patents?

Perhaps the promise not to sue about them includes the clause that you might be entitled to use them providing you aren't infringing on any of IBM's other patents.

Just a thought.... it's pretty rotten to do, but if there are other patents in question.... I can see where all bets would be off.

Reply Score: 3

RE: well...
by lemur2 on Wed 7th Apr 2010 03:06 UTC in reply to "well..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Some of the patents in question are on the 500 list Some....doesn't that mean that if they decided to not sue about those specific patents that they could still sue for the other patents not included among these patents? Perhaps the promise not to sue about them includes the clause that you might be entitled to use them providing you aren't infringing on any of IBM's other patents. Just a thought.... it's pretty rotten to do, but if there are other patents in question.... I can see where all bets would be off.


Well, FOSS projects could argue along the lines of "IBM claims that it encourages Open Source".

From their pledge:
IBM is committed to promoting innovation for the benefit of our customers and for the overall growth and advancement of the information technology field. IBM takes many actions to promote innovation. Today, we are announcing a new innovation initiative. We are pledging the free use of 500 of our U.S. patents, as well as all counterparts of these patents issued in other countries, in the development, distribution, and use of open source software. We believe that the open source community has been at the forefront of innovation and we are taking this action to encourage additional innovation for open platforms.


So, given that IBM pledge, and that earlier action, an Open Source project can now claim it is two-faced of IBM to now attack an Open Source project using its patents. Any of its patents.

I think the legal term is "estoppel" or something like that.

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

Reply Score: 3

ozonehole
Member since:
2006-01-07

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it so that France does NOT recognize software patents? In that case, Paris-based TurboHercules should be safe from these lawsuits.

Of course, if they're trying to do business with US customers, it's another situation. Any assets they keep in the USA would be subject to seizure if IBM could get a successful judgment against them. Unfortunately, US courts tend to favor US companies, regardless of the merit (or lack of it) in the American plaintiff's argument.

Software patents are an evil idea, designed to give large American corporations a legal monopoly. In so-called "free trade agreements" the USA has consistently tried to force other countries to adopt software patents, and a few (Australia, Japan) have succumbed. But other countries should resist this, and even economically boycott the USA and retaliate against American companies that try to sue their nation's companies on software patent and other bogus "intellectual property" issues. If the USA wants to engage in "financial terrorism" through the courts, then they should expect to be treated like terrorists. What goes 'round comes 'round.

Edited 2010-04-07 04:47 UTC

Reply Score: 3

spikeb Member since:
2006-01-18

_patents_ are an evil idea. there, fixed that for you. ;)

Reply Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Yes how evil it is that we reward people for their inventions.

We should just let everyone copy anything that they want. People that are currently working on inventions for personal wealth will just have to become motivated by a desire to support corporate wealth. Who wouldn't want to spend their free time working on a refrigerator cooling system patent with the knowledge that Maytag will just take it without any payment? Pleasing companies like Maytag sounds like just as good of a motivator as a million dollars.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

We should just let everyone copy anything that they want.


You appear to be very, very confused between the concepts of "patent" and "copyright". They are actually very different things.

No-one condones copying software where the author has not given permission.

That does NOT mean that people should be disallowed from writing new software with equivalent functionality as existing software. In fact, it is required that this be allowed in order to have competition in the marketplace.

Likewise, people should be allowed to write fictional pieces about young Wizards (e.g. the current TV series "Merlin"), even if someone else has just made yet another Harry Potter movie.

There should be no monopoly on ideas.

Edited 2010-04-07 07:26 UTC

Reply Score: 4

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Patents are ideas and ideas can be copied.

He called patents evil which is a position that would be laughed at by any modern economist.

A temporary monopoly is given in the form of a patent as an incentive to create. If you eliminate that incentive you eliminate the main driver of innovation. People are not going to take the time to invent something for the benefit of companies that will not compensate them.

Patents are used to direct capital towards r&d. It's a working system that modern economists support. It seems that you don't even understand why it exists.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Hardware patents make some sense as there is noticeable cost in duplicating the solution.

Once software is written, copy A.com B.com and your done. The cost to duplicate and distribute is minimal. I don't need the costs of a fabrication factory to reproduce software units for retail or even the traditional factory to store supply chain. Software has copyright which protects from duplication without permission. Software is mathematical formula and math is not patentable. Software is based on prior art unless you know of an app injecting new command sets into the CPU. Software patents are not being used to foster innovation but rather to provide chilling effect against innovation.

Software patents are to innovation and computing evolution as communism is to national governance. Even Microsoft lobbies for patent reform. The US government and USPTO seem to be the last organizations to clue in.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Patents are ideas and ideas can be copied. He called patents evil which is a position that would be laughed at by any modern economist.


I don't think so. In some instances (for example, new drugs) where the set-up and development cost is enormous, patents may be necessary in order to get any projects underway at all (otherwise the risks would be too high). This is clearly not the case for software (more on this later in this post). As for modern economists, there are plenty of calls for patent reform, and calls for abolition of software patents in particular.

A temporary monopoly is given in the form of a patent as an incentive to create. If you eliminate that incentive you eliminate the main driver of innovation.


This is clearly not the case for software. Patents are used to eliminate competition, and NOT as an incentive to create. There is a vast library of software written by colaboration. There are business models where software is written and given away for free, and the users are charged only for support.

There is no need at all to artificially "incentivise" the creation of software. This is trivially easy to demonstrate.

People are not going to take the time to invent something for the benefit of companies that will not compensate them. Patents are used to direct capital towards r&d. It's a working system that modern economists support. It seems that you don't even understand why it exists.


Again, this is trivially easy to rebut. There are myriad software projects undertaken without expectation of actually selling the software. Why don't you visit the websites Ubuntu Launchpad, Google Code or Sourceforge and have a look for yourself?

Furthermore, software patents actually reduces the amount of work for software programmers. If Microsoft, for example, had managed to achieve a patent lock on Office Suite software, then there would have been no work for some programmers at: Wordperfect, OpenOffice, Symphony, iWorks, Softmaker Office, Abiword, GNUmeric, KOffice, Siag Office, StarOffice, Kingsoft Office, Ability Office, Breadbox Office, Cellframe Office, EasyOffice, EIOffice, Framework, Clarisworks, NeoOffice, MarinerPak, Feng Office, ContactOffice, Simdesk, ThinkFree Office, Google Docs or Zoho Office Suite.

That is a lot of software authors to put out of work just for the sake of larger corporate profits for Microsoft.

Edited 2010-04-07 23:40 UTC

Reply Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Yes how evil it is that we reward people for their inventions.

We should just let everyone copy anything that they want. People that are currently working on inventions for personal wealth will just have to become motivated by a desire to support corporate wealth. Who wouldn't want to spend their free time working on a refrigerator cooling system patent with the knowledge that Maytag will just take it without any payment? Pleasing companies like Maytag sounds like just as good of a motivator as a million dollars.


Roger Bowler (Creator of Hercules and Co-founder of TurboHercules) Responds to IBM Patent Attack on Open Source

http://www.turbohercules.com/news/permalink/a-statement-from-roger-...

First let me deal with IBM’s claim that we at TurboHercules are “not really any different from those who seek to market cheap knock-offs of brand-name clothing or apparel”. To that I would like to say, Hercules is not a fake Gucci handbag. Hercules has never pretended to be an IBM-brand product, and no customer would ever mistake it for such. Hercules is a third-party, open source software-based emulator developed in good faith using IBM’s published documentation of its z/Architecture. I know from personal experience that among the thousands of satisfied users of Hercules over the years more than a few have been IBM employees. There was even a time when IBM thought highly enough of it to publish a friendly and quite detailed chapter in one of its famous Redbooks explaining how to use Hercules. This Redbook was freely distributed in print and on IBM’s web site for several years, until one day the Hercules chapter was silently deleted. Since that time of course IBM has launched its own mainframe emulator (zPDT) in competition with Hercules. Readers may draw their own conclusions as to whose software is the “knock-off” and whose is the real thing.


So, in this case, exactly who is copying whom?

Edited 2010-04-07 10:15 UTC

Reply Score: 3

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

People that are currently working on inventions for personal wealth will just have to become motivated by a desire to support corporate wealth.

Blah, blah, blah, the small inventor, blah, blah, blah.

Small inventors bring nothing to the table. Whatever they produce of enough value is bought off for chump change and is subsequently absorbed into a corporate setting anyways or if the demands are too steep to consider, corporations just wait 20 years for the patent to expire and then produce the invention enmasse without ever compensating the small inventor.

Patents are a big boys business. Individuals don't have the means to produce in any meaningful way what they dream up. The spectre of poor starving inventors in the attic the world over, is a sympathy ruse from the big players to make the patent business more palatable to the common man, who pays the surplus cost for 20 years of artificial monopoly.

Stuff got produced on massive scales before patents even existed and stuff will be produced on massive scales after patents are abolished. If you want to sell, you need to produce. Patent protection or not.

Oh, for the five small inventors who do starve in the attic. Get with the program and find a real job. I'm not willing to pay for your welfare check anymore.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

But I think your ignoring the contritions that have come from small inventors. I personally wouldn't desire a world that disparages inventors in there attics or basements as some of the most innovative technologies started out this very way.

The current problem is that things designed to originally protect the individual inventor have been fully usurped by big business for the purpose of blocking the individual inventor.

Reply Score: 3

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

But other countries should resist this, and even economically boycott the USA and retaliate against American companies that try to sue their nation's companies on software patent and other bogus "intellectual property" issues. If the USA wants to engage in "financial terrorism" through the courts, then they should expect to be treated like terrorists. What goes 'round comes 'round.


It's not the case. If you want to sell in US, you must obey american laws. If american companies wants to sell in EU, they should obey european laws.

IBM can sue TurboHercules in US (where patents hold by IBM are legal) but TurboHercules just made a complaint against IBM at the EU Commissioner for Competition.

Reply Score: 2

Tempest in a teacup
by sorpigal on Wed 7th Apr 2010 10:49 UTC
sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

Unlike this rather alarmist editorial the writeup on LWN is very balanced and tells the story more accurately. It's behind a paywall at the moment but I shall summarize the exciting conclusion:

Hercules is an open source project. It is not in danger of any kind of patent lawsuit from IBM.

TurboHercules is a company founded on the notion that Hercules is good enough to be sold as an alternative to buying IBM mainframes.

To make this work in a way which is best for TurboHercules customers TurboHercules requested licenses from IBM for IBM's proprietary mainframe operating systems so that TurboHercules could sell an emulator and the OS together.

IBM, rightly, said "No," because that would undermine its own hardware business.

TurboHercules filed an antitrust complaint with the EU.

IBM sent a list of applicable patents to TurboHercules with a polite note saying "If you want to throw down we're prepared to hit back."

That's all!

At no point has IBM said they will shut down or sue the Hercules project. At no point has IBM even denied the right of TurboHercules to sell a commercial version of the Hercules software. All that is happened is that IBM has said that they have good grounds for not being compelled to assist a competitor in cannibalizing their own business.

I'm not saying IBM is not evil, but you guys need to chill out.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Tempest in a teacup
by lemur2 on Wed 7th Apr 2010 11:47 UTC in reply to "Tempest in a teacup"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Unlike this rather alarmist editorial the writeup on LWN is very balanced and tells the story more accurately. It's behind a paywall at the moment but I shall summarize the exciting conclusion:

Hercules is an open source project. It is not in danger of any kind of patent lawsuit from IBM.

TurboHercules is a company founded on the notion that Hercules is good enough to be sold as an alternative to buying IBM mainframes.

To make this work in a way which is best for TurboHercules customers TurboHercules requested licenses from IBM for IBM's proprietary mainframe operating systems so that TurboHercules could sell an emulator and the OS together.

IBM, rightly, said "No," because that would undermine its own hardware business.

TurboHercules filed an antitrust complaint with the EU.

IBM sent a list of applicable patents to TurboHercules with a polite note saying "If you want to throw down we're prepared to hit back."


The three clauses within your text that I have highlighted in italics are in apparent conflict with each other.

The open source Hercules software is the only possible target of the listed IBM patents. Allegations of patent violation cannot be leveled at a company wishing merely to on-sell licenses for IBM Mainframe Operating Systems.

This point does not depend on whether or not it is valid (or if it is anti-trust) for IBM to refuse to provide Mainframe OS licenses for TurboHercules to on-sell.

Edited 2010-04-07 11:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Tempest in a teacup
by sorpigal on Wed 7th Apr 2010 20:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Tempest in a teacup"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

The open source Hercules software is the only possible target of the listed IBM patents.


No. The company selling the commercialized version is the target, IBM is not targeting the project. If (in theory) a suit went forward and IBM won this would not necessarily have any implications for the open source project unless IBM then went on to attack that project or its key developers.

Allegations of patent violation cannot be leveled at a company wishing merely to on-sell licenses for IBM Mainframe Operating Systems.


True. However, that is not what's going on here. I will directly quote the LWN article here

TurboHercules evidently sent IBM a letter questioning whether IBM actually owned any useful intellectual property in this area.


IBM's letter to TurboHercules was a reply to this letter. IBM's official stance is:

IBM sent TurboHercules a non-exhaustive list of patents that pertain to our mainframe technology. We did not make any explicit assertions or claims that TurboHercules had violated them.


Notice that there are no allegations of patent infringement.

What's more, based on what I have read exactly two of the patents in IBM's letter are alleged to be in the list of 500 patents IBM promised not to use against open source software.

This point does not depend on whether or not it is valid (or if it is anti-trust) for IBM to refuse to provide Mainframe OS licenses for TurboHercules to on-sell.


I am not sure what you're saying since antitrust issues are the only issues in this case. TurboHercules thinks it's being oppressed and filed a complaint. So far no one else has done anything.

IBM has not sued anyone. IBM has not threatened to sue anyone. IBM has implied that if TurboHercules wishes to attempt to strong arm IBM into granting an OS license on antitrust grounds IBM has means to defend its refusal to grant said license. All of this has exactly nothing to do with the Hercules project.

It is irresponsible to rail against IBM for being two-faced and attacking open source software. Nothing has happened. Even if something happens it doesn't necessarily mean that open source is in any way targeted. In fact, so far it has only a small chance of meaning that open source is targeted.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Tempest in a teacup - interesting
by jabbotts on Wed 7th Apr 2010 20:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Tempest in a teacup"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

The request for licenses does change things somewhat if that is how it happened. Why would one required a license from IBM for a basic emulator implementation?

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

The request for licenses does change things somewhat if that is how it happened. Why would one required a license from IBM for a basic emulator implementation?

They were trying to buy z/OS licenses.

Reply Score: 2

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

They don't require one for that. It appears that they wanted to sell their customers an emulator and the OS that runs on it, as opposed to simply allowing an existing IBM licensee to temporarily install the OS on the emulator "for backup and emergency recovery purposes" which AFAICT they have been doing without complaint from IBM.

Reply Score: 2

Evil is as evil does ...
by glarepate on Wed 7th Apr 2010 10:56 UTC
glarepate
Member since:
2006-01-04

Well, PCWorld http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/193559/opensource_adv... notes that:

"The [European] Commission is examining several complaints about IBM's behavior in the market for mainframe computers. One of the central concerns is about the way IBM uses patents to protect its core technologies from being cloned by others.

The most recent antitrust complaint was filed last month by TurboHercules, a small open-source software vendor in France."

And spends most of the rest of the article documenting namecalling between Florian Mueller and Thomas Vinje.

While El Reg http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/26/ibm_turbohercules_response/ also mentions the lawsuit by [non-Free] TurboHercules against IBM last month, which IBM seems to be responding to with its assertion of patents, they spend most of their time skewering IBM over both current and past practices in the mainframe arena as well as the antitrust and political arenas.


2 of the 106 patents are on the list of 500 that they said they wouldn't assert against FOSS but they seem to claim an exemption in the case of TurboHercules, to wit:

"TurboHercules is an "emulation" company that seeks a free ride on IBM's massive investments in the mainframe by marketing systems that attempt to mimic the functionality of IBM mainframes. This is not really any different from those who seek to market cheap knock-offs of brand-name clothing or apparel.
TurboHercules is a member of organizations founded and funded by IBM competitors such as Microsoft to attack the mainframe. Such an anti-trust accusation is not being driven by the interests of consumers and mainframe customers - who benefit from intellectual property laws and the innovation that they foster - but rather by entities that seek to use governmental intervention to advance their own commercial interests."

They don't quote IBM as saying that the patent pledge doesn't apply to non-Free projects or to those who sue over pantents or other IP owned by IBM.

YEOPEMV (Your Estimate Of Perceived Evil May Vary)

Reply Score: 2

Jumping the gun
by rdean400 on Sat 10th Apr 2010 04:52 UTC
rdean400
Member since:
2006-10-18

IBM hasn't broken its patent pledge until it actually takes an action based on any of the 500 patents in question. This letter doesn't constitute an action.

IANAL, but my understanding is this: Claiming that something infringes is a matter-of-fact statement. Infringement happens regardless of whether the patentholder takes action or not. In IBM's case, they're saying the code infringes, and there is clearly an undertone of being ready to enforce, but until they bring the two patents in question to bear (and I doubt their lawyers, who are competent, would allow them to do ... their patent pledge is binding).

In my opinion, IBM should have not allowed the pledge out the door without reserving self-defense as an exception in the pledge.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Jumping the gun
by TechGeek on Sun 11th Apr 2010 22:08 UTC in reply to "Jumping the gun"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

If you read the patent pledge, IBM does research the right to use them in self defense.

Also Thom: I am not the only one who thinks that Microsoft is really behind this:

from http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/193559/opensource_adv...

"Thomas Vinje, the founder of the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), which ranks IBM among its members, said that "Microsoft lies behind the antitrust complaints against IBM." Mueller can in turn be linked to Microsoft, he said, because he joined forces with Microsoft to oppose the Oracle-Sun deal, which was approved after an in-depth investigation by the Commission that ended in December. Vinje acted for Oracle in that case."

Reply Score: 2