Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Nov 2006 23:05 UTC
Red Hat While Microsoft is hoping to enter into a patent deal with Red Hat similar to the one it has with Novell, the software giant has not ruled out going it alone and providing some sort of indemnification for its customers who use Red Hat Linux. Bill Hilf, Microsoft's general manager of platform strategy, acknowledged that it is an awkward situation having Microsoft's customers who use Novell's SUSE Linux covered by the covenant not to sue, while those Windows users running Red Hat Linux are not.
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RE: Unfathomable
by gnemmi on Thu 16th Nov 2006 00:09 UTC in reply to "Unfathomable"
gnemmi
Member since:
2006-08-17

Of course, the real reason for this continued talk is to try to establish the meme that OSS users need indemnification. Expect more of this. They believe that if they just keep saying this long enough, people would come to believe it is true.

I couldnīt agree more ...

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Unfathomable
by jakesdad on Thu 16th Nov 2006 00:29 in reply to "RE: Unfathomable"
jakesdad Member since:
2005-12-28

I am starting to change my tune about the Novell/MS deal... Thanks to many points that have been brought up in the past week or so...
Anyway... Consider this. Someone somewhere claimed that linux may infringe on up to 240 patents(dont remember the number). just humor me and say that it does.
The FOSS community states that they dont want to use patented code. So if some software does contain patented implementations the FOSS community states that they will just remove the offending code or write around it. Fine and dandy. But the code has been distributed as GPL and the updates that work around that patent would only be available going forward. Meaning, that it could still be in use today, tomorrow or whenever (I still find redhat 6.2 servers around).
So even if the code is removed/worked around the patent is still being violated. How do you correct that?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Unfathomable
by TechGeek on Thu 16th Nov 2006 02:26 in reply to "RE[2]: Unfathomable"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

While there was a possibility of Linux infringing Unix code due to the similarities and common ancestory, I doubt that there is much of a chance between Linux and Windows. MS has been anal about keeping their code to themselves, they really have no way to claim Linux infringes their code. Also remember that reverse engineering for the purpose of interoperability is legal AFAIK. Not to mention that MS isnt in a position to enforce patents against Linux without serious risk of antitrust violations.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Unfathomable
by hal2k1 on Thu 16th Nov 2006 04:11 in reply to "RE[2]: Unfathomable"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//Someone somewhere claimed that linux may infringe on up to 240 patents(dont remember the number).//

The statement comes from a patent lawyer who said that Linux MAY infringe on up to 284 patents. The lawyer was hired by a firm offering patent indemnification insurance, so take that with a grain of salt (it is better for those who hired the lawyer if there is some concern that Linux may infringe someone's patent).

Of the 284 potential areas of infringement, only 28 of those patents belong to Microsoft.

Since the time of that lawyers initial investigation, IBM and Novell have donated a significant number of patents to Linux.

None of the patents involved have been confirmed to be valid patents, and Linux has not been confirmed to violate any of them even if they are valid.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Unfathomable
by markjensen on Thu 16th Nov 2006 14:28 in reply to "RE[2]: Unfathomable"
markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

So even if the code is removed/worked around the patent is still being violated. How do you correct that?

Recoding and distributing the new code free of patent (or copyright, etc) infringement is enough to satisfy their legal requirements.

After that point, it is the end user who is responsible, and end users are generally small potatoes that large corporations don't go after (except if you are a 12 year old kid or a 87 year old granny and the RIAA thinks you are sharing music). ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Unfathomable
by hal2k1 on Thu 16th Nov 2006 23:31 in reply to "RE[2]: Unfathomable"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//So even if the code is removed/worked around the patent is still being violated. How do you correct that?//

If this turns out to be the case in an actual instance, then this is a failing of the US patent Office.

Any patent is supposed to be awarded for "a good new method of doing <something>". It is not supposed to be awarded for "any method of doing <that same thing>".

If it is not possible to "work around" a patent by coming up with a distinctly different method of doing whatever the patent describes, then the original patent is too broad (and probably therefore invalid).

As an example, take the electric light. It should be possible to get a patent for "a method of producing light from electricity" based on the original electric light. That method was (historically) an incandescent bulb, where a wire was placed in an inert gas and heated using the electric current to the point where it became so hot as to emit light. OK, so that is the patent that could be awarded for that method of "producing light from electricity".

This patent would not then cover flourescent tubes, nor would it cover super-bright LEDs. Those are both distinctly different methods of "producing light from electricity". They should not violate the original patent for incandescent bulbs, because a distinctly different method is used to accomplish the same end result.

That is, in essence, how one goes about "correcting" any patents in software. One finds a distinctly different method of achieving the desired process.

Edited 2006-11-16 23:36

Reply Parent Score: 1