A year ago this week Sun finally bowed to pressure and agreed to make Java a free, open source project. It was an odd move given Sun’s strong resistance to making Java open source for a more than a decade.
In the past few days (or months) we also found the following news:
All the stories above go beyond the scope of this Web site, so they won’t be discussed further. The big news today is Dell’s OEMing that involves servers with Solaris.
More curious, however, is the following news suggesting a GPLv3 embrace at Sun Microsystems. This is encouraging for a variety of reasons, including the effects on licensing of the Linux kernel (it could be pushed to GPLv3).
XVM consists of two components: xVM Server, a hypervisor with support for Linux, Solaris and Windows guest operating systems; and xVM Ops Center, a management console. The Ops Center project will be released under the open source GPLv3 license, and Sun has set up a community site at [www.openxVM.org].
Sometimes, it seems as if licensing and patent holding companies are holding a secret contest between themselves to see who can pack in the most defendants into a patent lawsuit. Technology Patents LLC may be the new champion for suing 131 companies worldwide—the list goes on and on, naming companies like Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Telstra, AT&T, Cincinnati Bell, Motorola, Microsoft, Helio, Taiwan Mobile, O2, Rogers Wireless, China Resources Peoples Telephone Company, Yahoo, Sprint, and everyone in between.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to protect consumers’ traditional right to use, repair, and resell the products they own, even if those products are patented. At stake is the enforceability of “single use” and “not for resale” labels on patented products.
Agreement will cover intellectual property contained in hardware and software products, including certain Linux-based technologies.
Which patents does Kyocera Mita allegedly infringe on? It’s safe to say that Kyocera Mita did not even ask and Microsoft would not say because, according to Microsoft, it requires too much paper.
Hey, Novell, didn’t you insist your stupid (and seminal) deal had nothing to do with patents? A lot of this can be blamed on you setting a precedence, just as Bruce Perens and others have predicted from the very start.
A US blogger who reported on a court ruling has been ordered by car rental firm Avis to remove an image of its logo from his blog posting to avoid charges of trademark abuse.
“Understandably, trademark law is not within your area of expertise. Therefore, we trust that this was done out of ignorance and not based on an intent to misuse our mark to the benefit of your personal injury practice. We ask that you remove it immediately and refrain from any similar use in the future.”
If Novell was ever to complain about the graphics used here, then it should seriously look at how it broke the GPL’s spirit.
Whenever The VAR Guy hears chatter about Novell, he thinks of Avis — the Number 2 rental car company that proudly declares “We try harder” as it pursues the market leader (Hertz, er, Red Hat). Hmmm. Is 2008 the year that all of Novell’s hard work in the open source market finally pushes the company into the fast lane? UBS, the Wall Street analyst firm seems to think so.
So, according to Joe, Avis == Novell. Sign of things to come? A beautiful coincidence in the news? Either way, our modified logos are merely an expression of truth.
In two consecutive days, The Wall Street Journal presented two different answers. The first is not surprising: Intellectual Ventures, the brainchild of ex-Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold. It’s now out “to raise as much as $1 billion to help develop and patent inventions, many of them from universities in Asia.”
It is curious that universities outside the US are mentioned. Japan seems to have accepted software patents, but it is one among very few countries to be on that boat (probably the only one in Asia). Mexico has always been edgy. Groklaw discovered a very interesting newsletter from last year and it speaks about the Mexican patent legislation.
Besides, CAFTA also requires the acceptance of any patents granted by the US Patent Office, including patents on ideas applied to software, mathematical algorithms, living matter and so on, and extends the copyright monopoly to at least 70 years past the death of the author.
An interesting topic to review regarding FTAs [Free Trade Agreements] is how, in several cases, signing such an agreement places the legal norms in a country in check. For example, in Mexico today there is an important confusion regarding software patents that did not exist before the FTA: Mexican patent legislation explicitly states that computer programs are not patentable (just like corresponding legislation in Argentina and Brazil). Nevertheless, the Mexican Patent Office has been granting software patents, in accordance with the FTA with USA, which brings a major uncertainty to the Mexican community.
There is a coordinated attempt to successfully push for similar confusion and mess in other countries [1, 2, 3]. There is heavy lobbying involved and some software patents actually ‘trickle’ through the European legal system. Consider Britain With new laws established, scaring businesses outside the United States, for example, would be easier. Remember accusations of a ‘patent terrorism’ culture. It’s all about fear (perception).
Microsoft’s appointed 'patent terrorist' recently quit his role in the company. This came just a year after Martin Taylor, the man behind the “Get the Facts” propaganda, escaped the company abruptly (and without even giving a reason).
Upon Bill Hilf’s departure from his position, let’s recall some of his ‘greatest hits’.
Here is what he said about ODF/OOXML (article pulled after a long time, probably because of Microsoft’s pressure, which Hilf himself talked about at the time).
Hilf accused his former employers, IBM, of starting a standards war simply because they wanted a part of the Office market
Does Hilf endorse the OOXML frauds that we still see? Does he approve sabotaging the typically-peaceful process of standards body in order to pass proprietary formats as though they were ‘open’?
Hilf did not shy away from the cameras when Microsoft attacked GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org with baseless FUD and accusations. Among the things he said at the time:
“We would like to strike similar patent deals with all the Linux vendors, but we had to start somewhere,” said Bill Hilf.
Hilf’s response was… priceless. “I get a lot of e-mail.” “People like to subscribe me to crazy newsletters and spam.”
Hilf is no longer at that position which he held. All I can personally say is: good riddance. Remember the article from the Bangkok Post (article pulled):
“The Free Software movement is dead. Linux doesn’t exist in 2007. Even Linus has got a job today.” Controversial statements from the head of Microsoft’s Linux Labs, Bill Hilf.
”OIN is intended to make the whole broken patent system collapse, as it should.“A regular reader of this site, having read some articles on the assorted patent trolls [1, 2, 3], wrote to inform us about a techdirt.com article. The article discusses Intellectual Ventures, on which he has commented. Since IANAL (neither is he, I assume), we wish to know whether organisations like OIN (Open Innovation Network) can use the method he has described to protect GNU/Linux entities from patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures.
My own answer is that it’s interesting scenario. Can OIN ever be counter-sued at all? Therein lies the strength of patent trolls which have patents but no actual products. They are like an amorphous malicious spirit. You can’t take a swing at them because there is no physical entity (product).
A friend recently told me about an idea which OIN supporters have in mind. OIN is intended to make the whole broken patent system collapse, as it should. Patent trolls don’t want it to collapse. OIN, on the other hand, wants patent trolling to end. If shattering the system is the means, then so be it. It renders the system obsolete and pointless.