Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th Oct 2007 15:12 UTC
Legal This week's 'big' news on OSNews was about software patents. You know, those things that say you cannot stack four pixels on top of one another unless you pay money to the guy who invented four-pixel-stacks (or the guy who bought the guy who invented four-pixel-stacks). A company called IP Innovation, LLC, has sued Novell and Red Hat for infringement of the company's IP portfolio. Software patents are of course generally completely ridiculous, so I will not focus on that here. I want to focus on something else.
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RE[3]: non-sensical article
by segedunum on Sun 14th Oct 2007 21:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: non-sensical article"
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

They will only cease to be coincidences as soon as definitive, conclusive proof has been given that they are, in fact, not coincidences - before that, they are just coincidences, and people using them as conclusive proof are making up a conspiracy.

Thom, strong circumstantial evidence is still strong circumstantial evidence, regardless of whatever way you want to cut that. Coming along and saying "Oh, it's all a coincidence!" is simply not a counter argument, and quite frankly, the article was utterly pointless. There was no logical reasoning at all to counter what Groklaw had come up with, and you seem to have got a bee in your bonnet about conspiracy theories at Groklaw.

If I work at Microsoft and then leave, yes, the odds are pretty good that I'm going to then work for another technology related company. No surprise there. If I work at Apple, IBM, HP or another tech company and leave, then yes, I might end up working for other tech companies. No surprise there. That's not a counter argument here.

However, if several former Microsoft employees join an IP troll company at the same time that Microsoft's CEO says that Linux companies will have to cough up effectively, and then said IP troll company with former Microsoft employees then sues said Linux companies, then the chances of that being a coincidence, and a black helicopter conspiracy as you amusingly call it, are practically zero.

Oh, and these are specialists in IP litigation as well. They're not just random tech people who've left Microsoft to actually create the IP Innovation they claim they own!

Those events at different times may mean nothing and might be coincidences. Those events happening at the same time mean quite a bit.

I just tend to look at the world from a more scientific point of view...

OK. Your argument boils down to the fact that you're arguing that tech employees move around all the time, and that there is nothing unusual about a handful of Microsoft employees leaving and going to IP Innovation. Can you go and find out how many former employees of IBM, HP, Apple and others have joined IP Innovation? I doubt you'll find many, and I doubt you'll find many whose former employers are currently threatening IP litigation.

You see, going out and finding that kind of evidence would have provided a counter argument for what you're trying to say. Squealing for a smoking gun is simply not an effective response. It never has been and it never will be because it's not an effective counter argument to what has actually been observed.

That is how peer review works.

No it isn't. Peer review depends on someone having something effective you can respond to.

It's now your turn to make your case, as a supporter of the original premise.

When I see your actual response, I'll be all ears.

Sadly, you seem unable to, and only had to resort to personal attacks.

Ahhh, the old personal attacks ploy. Sadly Thom, there were absolutely no personal attacks at all in the post you replied to.

Like the original poster in this thread says, it's like claiming that water doesn't boil just because you've heated it, or protons, neutrons and electrons don't exist because you haven't seen them with your own eyes. The evidence that they exist is just a coincidence.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[4]: non-sensical article
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 14th Oct 2007 22:13 in reply to "RE[3]: non-sensical article"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Thom, strong circumstantial evidence is still strong circumstantial evidence, regardless of whatever way you want to cut that.


Except for the fact that the evidence in question isn't strong.

There was no logical reasoning at all to counter what Groklaw had come up with, and you seem to have got a bee in your bonnet about conspiracy theories at Groklaw.


Of course there was. They claim MS is behind it all, and had come up with a few pieces of evidence, evidence that, according to me, is extremely weak. Enough to counter, if you ask me.

However, if several former Microsoft employees join an IP troll company at the same time that Microsoft's CEO says that Linux companies will have to cough up effectively, and then said IP troll company with former Microsoft employees then sues said Linux companies, then the chances of that being a coincidence, and a black helicopter conspiracy as you amusingly call it, are practically zero.


You are leaving out a few facts here. You are making it seem as if the recent threats by MS were the first threats Microsoft has ever stated. Nonsense of course - they have been saying the same thing for years. In other words, Microsoft threatening open source companies this way is not new, it has been doing it for ages, and hence can be left out of the story.

Then we move on the suing part. You are forgetting that this company used the exact same patent against Apple in April this year, settling it out of court, so it only makes sense they are going after other operating system vendors too. Red Hat and Novell are the big two desktop Linux vendors - the only two where money is to be found. So, it makes sense that after a succesfull attempt against Apple, they bare now gunning for more vendors.

So, that's two of your "conincidences" easily refuted as being *logical*, following events of the past.

That makes the employee bit stand on its own, refuted in the article. Coincidence? Could be, like I said, I really don't know. All I'm saying is that the "evidence" presented by Groklaw is so easily explained in simpler ways that it is hard to take it as evidence at all.

Ahhh, the old personal attacks ploy. Sadly Thom, there were absolutely no personal attacks at all in the post you replied to.


"Yeah, Thom is a master of using logical fallacies."
"Thom also knows that."

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: non-sensical article
by SReilly on Sun 14th Oct 2007 22:26 in reply to "RE[4]: non-sensical article"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

You are leaving out a few facts here. You are making it seem as if the recent threats by MS were the first threats Microsoft has ever stated.

I'm afraid you're leaving out facts in this case.

I think it's safe to say that anyone who is arguing for MS being the culprit know what MS has been threatening for years. What you have left out is that, for the first time, and barely a week before this court case was filled, Balmer stated that other companies would start looking for damages concerning Linux's supposed patent infringements.

Now, taken on it's own, that statement means nothing. But if I take the whole chain of events and add them up, I'm more inclined to listen to what PJ says, even if I'm still not 100% behind her.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: non-sensical article
by segedunum on Sun 14th Oct 2007 22:26 in reply to "RE[4]: non-sensical article"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Except for the fact that the evidence in question isn't strong....Of course there was. They claim MS is behind it all, and had come up with a few pieces of evidence, evidence that, according to me, is extremely weak.

Is this a competition to get the word 'evidence' into a post the most times?

Enough to counter, if you ask me.

You can't counter things just by saying that there is no evidence.

Nonsense of course - they have been saying the same thing for years. In other words, Microsoft threatening open source companies this way is not new, it has been doing it for ages, and hence can be left out of the story.

Again, you're viewing this as an individual event here. What Groklaw and everyone else is doing is taking all of those events together. Yes, Microsoft have been threatening Linux for years, but public statements about it have been more carefully selected - and it wasn't a simply a 'Linux has our IP in it' threat either, it was a specific "Cough up!" threat.

Then we move on the suing part. You are forgetting that this company used the exact same patent against Apple in April this year...

So what? The Microsoft employees joined after that, and it was at that point that Ballmer made a specific cough up threat against Linux vendors, and IP Innovation then went after those same Linux vendors after specalists in IP law from Microsoft had left and joined IP Innovation.

That makes the employee bit stand on its own

Can you tell me how many IBM, HP, Apple, Sun and other employees have been recruited by IP Innovation, and how many are specialists in IP law?

I mean, it follows that if this is merely a coincidence then we should have seen former employees of other companies joining IP Innovation during that period.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: non-sensical article
by archiesteel on Mon 15th Oct 2007 19:55 in reply to "RE[4]: non-sensical article"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

They claim MS is behind it all, and had come up with a few pieces of evidence, evidence that, according to me, is extremely weak. Enough to counter, if you ask me.


To be fair, they do not *claim* that MS is behind it, they suspect it is, and raise some good questions about the whole thing.

Therefore, they don't produce evidence, but rather elements that raise serious questions about the whole thing - and while you're ready to give MS the benefit of the doubt, many others aren't ready to dismiss it off-hand. To me, the questions still remain, and possible links should be investigated.

However, one thing neither me, you or Groklaw can do, is positvely affirm that MS in involved, no more than we can say that it's *not* involved. Right now we're still in the realm of possibilities, and we're likely to remain there for many months on this issue. We might in fact never know.

In other words, as of now all possibilities are there, and the only thing we can disagree on are their respective probabilities of being true...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: non-sensical article
by DrillSgt on Sun 14th Oct 2007 22:49 in reply to "RE[3]: non-sensical article"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"Can you go and find out how many former employees of IBM, HP, Apple and others have joined IP Innovation?"

Well, there are 2 from IBM and one that used to work for both IBM and Intel. No former Apple Employees. There are 4 from Microsoft, and the rest scattered from different companies, the biggest proportion being law firms that handled these types of things prior to them joining IP Innovations. This is not a new industry, just one where we hear more about it these days.

As for the time frame, Ballmer has been making these claims about IP and patents for years, since about 2003 or so, maybe even before, not just recently. This is well before the first person left MS to join this company, which was in 2005 if I read the history correctly. Ballmer's comments are not new, nor are they at the same time when "...several former Microsoft employees join an IP troll company...".

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: non-sensical article
by SReilly on Sun 14th Oct 2007 23:16 in reply to "RE[4]: non-sensical article"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

Ballmer's comments are not new, nor are they at the same time when "...several former Microsoft employees join an IP troll company...".

Ballmer making comments on Linux supposedly violating patents is certainly not new, but stating that other companies would start looking for blood in regards to patents is. Couple that with IP Innovations filling suit not even a week later and you have to admit it suddenly starts to smell a bit more.

Granted, it's not rock solid proof but it does lend more weighter to PJ's argument.

Reply Parent Score: 4