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Why Software Patents are Wrong (Video)

Posted in Patents, Videos at 11:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Link to the page, for gnash users.

Will Exclusionary Deals and ‘Binary Bridges’ Remain a Necessary Evil? EC Says No.

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Samba, Servers, Standard at 11:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s all about Microsoft products and Novell products.”For quite a few months, the Indian press has been quoting Novell on Linux matters very extensively. I have observed this because it’s quite consistent. It is worrisome because Novell gives its twisted perspective which includes mambo-jumbo about ‘interoperability’ (binary bridges based on patents). It does not, however, place much emphasis on standards. Instead, it gives the impression that Linux and Microsoft are happy partners because pay one another. Here is the most recent such article.

Cochran said that he was aware that to be successful, Microsoft’s role must be to build a bridge to the open source community. “Our relationship with Novell is important for several reasons. Through our TCA (technical collaboration agreement), we are delivering solutions that allow you to deploy Microsoft/Novell solutions that work better together in the areas of virtualisation, systems management, directory federation and document compatibility.”

He continued by stating “It’s also important to note that Microsoft and Novell have created a new model for sharing valuable intellectual property that respects the diversity of one another’s business models and it’s this respect that allows our relationship to exist.” Customers not only benefit from the tangible results of the TCA, but also from an assurance, secured through a legal covenant, that they are not subject to patent assertion by either company.

Mind the fact that Linux is not even mentioned. It’s all about Microsoft products and Novell products. Therein lies the controversy. The companies work in unison and in isolation.

There is hope, however, thanks to the highly-anticipated ruling in Europe, which ended in favour of open source. Microsoft is now being requested — possibly even forced — to let go its interoperability secrets.

By this judgment Microsoft is forced to publish protocol definitions for Windows servers under “reasonable” and “non-discriminatory” terms so that fully interoperable software can be developed by other parties. The deadline set by the Court is January 15th 2008. Microsoft accepted this judgment. Now SerNet asks Microsoft to disclose the protocol definitions for use in developing the open source software Samba. SerNet is the leading service company regarding Samba with offerings to customers worldwide. The Samba Team is an international association of software developers, working together on Samba – that is in principle an implementation of the SMB/CIFS protocol for Linux/Unix and some other operating systems.


“It is of course crucial that Samba can be developed continuously under the GPL in version 3,” says Johannes Loxen, author of the letter on behalf of SerNet, “Microsoft’s programs MCPP and WSPP are not feasible regarding Samba.”

As for these latter issue, we covered it before and it is worth exploring further. Microsoft has tried (and it still does try) to use the Novell deal in order to keep its protocols secret or expensive. Microsoft essentially uses Novell to undermine real interoperability that is based on transparency. Remember that all of this is part of a strategy. As the Halloween Memo teach us, there is also the deliberate attempts to break compatibility and interoperability. Another issue which springs to mind is the possibility that back doors are embedded in these secret protocols.

In relation to the issue of sharing technical API and protocol information used throughout Microsoft products, which the states were seeking, Allchin [of Microsoft] alleged that releasing this information would increase the security risk to consumers.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the national security is also implicated by the efforts of hackers to break into computing networks. Computers, including many running Windows operating systems, are used throughout the United States Department of Defense and by the armed forces of the United States in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

It is known (at least to some sources) that Windows has some convenient back doors and loopholes, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. One has to question the prospects of ever opening up these protocols.

Glyn Moody on the GNU GPLv3

Posted in FSF, GPL at 10:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

First they ignore it, then they laugh at it, then they fight it, but eventually it wins

Richard Stallman

Linux Journal has a new writeup about GPLv3. It explains why widespread adoption of GPLv3 is probably inevitable.

Ultimately GNU GPL version 3 will supersede version 2 not because it’s better – that’s a matter of opinion – but because three is bigger than two, which is a fact.

Only yesterday we posted an up-to-date perspective on GPLv3 adoption.

Related articles:

Novell Gets the (Digital) Spanking from Groklaw, Matt Asay

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 10:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

For those who believe we’re the exception here at Boycott Novell, be aware that other respectable entities and individuals perceive Novell’s deal with Microsoft similarly. Groklaw, for example, has just published a lengthy piece. Here’s a fragment:

But the main takeaway, as they might put it, for me is that this [Novell/Microsoft deal] is an anti-Red Hat deal, and Novell is thrilled about that. Justin Steinman reveals that to market their SUSE Linux Enterprise Server against Red Hat they ask, “Do you want the Linux that works with Windows? Or the one that doesn’t?” It’s just appalling. Let me ask you developers who are kernel guys a question: When you contributed code to the kernel, was it your intent that it be used against Red Hat? How about the rest of you developers? Is that all right with you, that your code is being marketed by Novell like that?

This is far from the first time that PJ slams this deal with Microsoft. PJ ought to be aware of the fact that Novell took a rather passive stance when Microsoft attacked Linux, with the exception of Novell. The company also perceives patent FUD as a competitive edge and advantage. This, more than anything else, is what makes Novell a threat to Linux. Fear in the Linux world is in Novell’s interest.

Matt Asay has his own lengthy piece and what makes his view exceptional are his roots in Novell, where he once actually worked.

Novell has a duty to the community to sell its excellent open-source software for what it is: excellent open-source software. It should not (as it does – I’ve talked with its salespeople – and which it has gone on the record as noting that it does) use lame patent FUD and equally lame patent protection to sell that software. It does not need to. We don’t expect better of Microsoft – it has been competing this way for decades. But we should expect and get more from one of our own.

While the press is likely to carry on with its blind obedience to advertisers and some critical figures will continue to shy away from criticism, this Web site will carry on protesting. It is nice to find other prominent sites and blogs which support the same cause and whose assessment aligns with ours. An intersection of minds gives more validity to our views.

Novell Tux
Novell’s lost Linux identity requires an
identity management solution.
Doctor, heal thyself.

Is Novell Patrolling Open Source Blogs?

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell at 4:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The blogsphere isn’t a police state and anonymous comments make it hard to understand just how much astroturfing is really going on.

It was previously mentioned that Novell bends the arms of bloggers (also here, among other incidents). This is unacceptable. If a blogger has criticism directed at Novell, it needs to be addressed not behind the scenes and not in unpleasant ways. Arm-bending tactics do not work; neither does viral marketing or grassroots support.

“Should bloggers be bullied whenever they question Novell’s alleged ‘success’?”I’ve just spotted a new post from Dave Rosenberg, whose blog I regularly read and enjoy. He offered his interpretation of Novell’s latest figures — figures which we haven’t faith in.

There’s no concrete evidence, but only strong suspicion. Knowing what we know and having learned from past experience, however, it seems likely that Novell (or at least its community) is up to old tricks.

Have a look at this new blog item.

I’ve left two comments, but only one shows up (probably because of moderation, which limits posting to just one per IP address). The second comment (if it appears) will talk about the strange pace of responses, which consistently support Novell. This pattern can be seen despite the fact that Novell support comes from a quiet minority, based on I hear from other people. Notice how once again, a Novell critic gets immediate opposition from anonymous commenters. What is going on there? Should bloggers be bullied whenever they question Novell’s alleged ‘success’?

Patent Idiocy du Jour (Video)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents, UNIX, Videos at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watch the attitude that’s projected in the following promotional video. It’s probably a real commercial.

With a mentality like this, no wonder Microsoft patents something like sudo. Is that what Linux supposedly infringes on? Has Microsoft done its homework and reached the shelf for some prior art?

A Look Back: Novell’s Route to “Balance-sheet Liability”

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Quote, Ron Hovsepian, Steve Ballmer at 3:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ron Hovsepian confusedLooking back at some older material and putting pieces together, the following shall illustrate that Novell willfully gave Microsoft just what it had wanted — anti-Linux FUD (even, potentially, “innovation tax” and “interoperability tax“). Novell must have realised what it was doing. It must have known about the consequences. Maybe it perceived the FUD-to-come as a competitive advantage to Novell.

Here is one thing that Ron Hovsepian, Novell’s CEO, said in the press conference in November, right after the deal had been signed:

As Brad [Smith] had highlighted, we do have our own portfolio of our intellectual property and that was very important in the relationship as well.

In other words, Novell used its intellectual property to balance it against something else. 2-3 weeks later, both sides responded in order to clarify (they contradicted one another). Let’s not forget, however, how Microsoft has used this patent deal as the very solid backing for its claims. To repeat some facts:

In mid-November, shortly after the pact was announced, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer said companies that sell or run Linux, but aren’t covered under the Novell deal, are illegally using Microsoft’s IP. “We believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability,” he said.

He said in a later meeting: “I do think it [Novell deal] clearly establishes that open source is not free.”

We all have Novell to thank for statements like these. Whether the statements are valid or not, some people read them and believe them.

Palamida’s GPLv3 Adoption Meter Approaches 4-figure Territories

Posted in FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 2:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One of the most effective ways to combat patent infringement accusations is to upgrade projects to the GNU GPLv3.

Palamida’s research on GPLv3 adoption continues to fascinate, and while there are doubters of their methods, these methods can trivially be defended. Under the premise that projects do not upgrade the licence until the next release, GPLv3 can, in some cases, be assumed. As such, GPLv3 adoption is not as slow as the press would have you believe. Au contraire — GPLv3 is being adopted quickly, unlike Windows Vista. Palamida lists almost 1,000 GPLv3-adopting projects.

Linux-Watch has just delivered a new whitepaper that explains the differences between GPLv2 and GPLv3.

Do you find open source licenses a puzzle? Does reading stories about the legal side of open source give you the heebie-jeebies? If so, then we have the document for you.

Hopefully, such papers will help developers wash away the effects of disinformation, which was systematically spread by Microsoft’s own people, its proxies, its lobbyists, paid-for ‘studies’, hired ‘researchers’, and maybe even Wikipedia edits. To put it bluntly, if one searches the Web for information on GPLv3, there will be a lot of garbage (placements and other brainwash) that deceives one’s mind.

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