[A]s a consequence of this particular piece of UK case law, the UK Patent Office UK-IPO had established a practice of flatly rejecting patent claims to computer program products contrary to the practice of the EPO. Last year, five companies, namely Astron Clinica Limited, Cyan Holdings Plc, Inrotis Technologies Limited, Software 2000 Limited and Surf Kitchen, Inc., INTERNAL LINKhad appealed against this restrictive practice.
Now, and this seems to be quite surprising, the table appears to be turned again: On the well-known EXTERNAL LINKIPKat Blog, EXTERNAL LINKMr David Pearce reports that the Honourable Mr Justice Kitchin has ruled yesterday that the current UK Patent Office practice of flatly rejecting patent claims to computer program products is wrong.
Mr Pearce characterises himself as being quite amazed by the judgment because before the recent judgement he had been convinced that, under the system of UK case law, there was no room for manoeuver after Aerotel/Macrossan, and he asks the important question as to whether the UK-IPO can simply all go back to falling into line with the EPO, or if they will judge that this one is worth going further on. ¶
[I]n conclusion then, Kitchin J found that the appeals should be allowed. Each application concerned a computer related invention where the examiner had allowed claims to, in effect, a method performed by running a suitably programmed computer and to a computer programmed to carry out the method. ¶
[I]t is important to know this because we will always face pressure, from those who are powerful and would like to take away our freedom, to surrender our freedom—and they frequently offer us something attractive in exchange. For instance, B’liar wanted to abolish the Rights of Englishmen, and to serve his American master, Bush, faithfully; so he offered Britons “protection” from this or that, plus the imagined idea that he influences his master on their behalf through the “special relationship”. ¶
This development might be difficult to reverse. Another part of the world has gone mad by permitting people to own mathematics and charge money for respective use. █
You must realize that Novell’s wildly successful NetWare product of the late 1980′s and early 1990s was filling a void in the Microsoft eco-system…
VMware has it in its power to not let history repeat itself, but it’s a mighty mountain to climb!…
The purpose of this blog item may be too reduce confidence in VMWare, which will most likely resort to legal action at a later stage when Microsoft abuses its dominant poisiton (pay attention to the quote from Steve Ballmer). Has everyone forgotten Ballmer’s old remarks about Google being just a “house of cards”? And Android being just “some words on paper”? What about “I’m going to f***ckin bury that p*ssy” (referring to Eric Schmidt)? More recently he said that “Google reads your mail”. It was miserable attempt to create Google FUD. Here it is in video (thanks to Slated):
Is the Burton Group not even trying to conceal its love and obedience for Microsoft? Remember that previous post and very recent "love letter"? How about the Group’s dependence on Microsoft technologies? Who will the Burton Group attack next, on behalf of its beloved masters? That is just what today's analysts are for.
Kay added that Microsoft might even be interested in acquiring Citrix. Microsoft and Citrix have a very longstanding partnership, which has seen Citrix make a tidy living out of providing terminal services to remote desktops over its own protocol, ICA. Were this to happen, the combination would present a huge competitor for VMware, although the US$6.4 billion market cap Citrix would be a big mouthful to swallow.
Whether we like it or not and whether it’s acknowledged in public or remains hidden, it is rather clear that many resources are invested in hurting VMWare and Red Hat, among other companies and emerging threats (to Microsoft), such as ODF and Google. It’s vital to ensure that none of this goes unnoticed and unreported. It’s a reality and it’s not far-fetched once you get the many dots connected. █
Microsoft is playing with people’s minds. It has the players in mind. For a variety of convincing reasons, we brought up the BBC fiasco on numerous occasions throughout the past year [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. As you may or may not know, Microsoft hopes to essentially ‘hijack’ the media industry. Let’s just see how.
Windows Media Player
Do remember that Microsoft elbowed RealNetworks using illegal anti-competitive acts, accompanied by ‘smoking gun’ exhibits that prove it. There is one E-mail, for example, where Microsoft explains that it wants to ‘pull a Netscape’ on this smaller company before it grows bigger (i.e. use prebundling into Windows as an unfair weapon). Erik Huggers, who is now a senior at the BBC, was apparently among the felons. He used to work in this division at Microsoft. He even attended the antitrust trials in Europe where Microsoft lost the case to RealNetworks and was forced to pay compensation (heavy fines).
Then you have Adobe with its large variety of Flash-based media players. YouTube is a prime example but it is only one among many more.
Microsoft pretty much attacks Google's YouTube by proxy. Google happily uses Flash and competes against Microsoft’s Soapbox, so it’s hardly surprising. Lastly, there is Silverlight, which includes Microsoft’s ambition to make all Web-based video players dependent on Microsoft-patented technology (.NET). Novell helps Microsoft in that regard because it supports Silverlight through development of Moonlight. This probably does more harm than good in the same way that Novell’s paid-for OOXML support harms ODF.
Media Center (Set-top Boxes)
There is another vector of attack. Remind yourselves of the fact that Microsoft was recently accused (several times in fact) of fueling DVD format wars in order to eliminate physical media altogether, or at least make it less attractive. Microsoft strives to have physical media replaced by Microsoft’s download services (VoD on XBox360, Media Player/Center in Windows Vista, et cetera).
Blu-ray Disc beat HD DVD, but who cares? Downloads, not physical media, are the future of HD content consumption. So said Apple CEO Steve Jobs this week, a comment that’s a distant echo of allegations made by Transformers director Michael Bay last year.
Bay grumbled that the HD format war was, in part, Microsoft’s fault, the fight being stirred up to worry consumers into not buying eitehr format and give the software giant to put movie download and rental services in place. Which is, of course, just what Apple launched this week: HD-ready iTunes Movie Rentals.
But who would possibly choose Microsoft over Adobe? And why? Well, Microsoft has a very extensive ecosystem of partners and it already uses many of the partnerships to spread Silverlight. One example to name here is the big partnership in China. You will need Silverlight to watch the Olympics Games. Despite the fact that China has some sort of an exclusive relationship with Microsoft, there will be some Free software in the back rooms at these events and Windows Vista has already been rejected (they bought XP laptops from Lenovo in advance). Why not GNU/Linux? Just watch how cozy and close Bill Gates and the Chinese authorities have grown.
In the following new article, Sam Varghese reminds us of the BBC fiasco. A tax-funded establishment sold itself to Microsoft, which then used the BBC to extend is software monopoly and control more of media (see 11 links at the top).
The BBC and Linux – when you see the two words juxtaposed together, one tends to be surprised. Simply because all the recent coverage of the Beeb has been about the iPlayer fiascos – how the biggest public broadcaster came out with a player that could cater to just one platform.
Europe Being Played by Microsoft
If you thought the BBC story was as obnoxious as it gets, then look away at the sight of this news. It has just been published and it seems to suggest that Microsoft is doing it again in more and more countries. They are ‘pulling a BBC’.
Microsoft is also approaching the problem with a new range of software, the Citizen Service Platform (CSP), launched at the Berlin conference. The idea is to facilitate cooperation by offering the same products to everybody, as has already occurred in offices and households worldwide with its Windows operating system.
IPTV Plays the Microsoft Tune
Microsoft’s IPTV ‘battle against Linux’ received no proper coverage in this site. To give just a few of instances of Linux success in this domain consider:
Visioneering Corp. and DigiLink Software announced the availability of a compact hardware/software reference design for an IPTV set-top box (STB). The design runs MontaVista Linux on Visioneering’s TI DaVinci-based Sonata STB hardware platform, and comes with DigiLink’s Linux-based software stack, codecs, and development kit.
Microsoft’s many failure in this areas are omitted from this post for they can be viewed as “Microsoft bashing”. Regardless, through the use of contracts and approach towards politicians, Microsoft has been able to circumvent the dominance of Linux at times. There are new examples too.
Daum, South Korea’s second-largest Web portal and search engine company, will develop the IPTV content, while Microsoft will offer the latest version of its Internet television software platform, Microsoft Mediaroom, the release said. Celrun, a Korean digital device maker, will provide set-top boxes and other digital devices, the release said.
Why are politicians still falling for this scam? █
Accusations against H-P and Palamida seem baseless
It wasn’t long ago that McAfee and InformationWeek were both harshly (and rightly) accused for spreading GPL fear [1, 2, 3]. This was not appreciated. It is actually worth reminding ourselves of speculations and predictions of a McAfee-Novell tie-up because Novell too was caught using FUD to market itself.
“Empty allegations are used against Hewlett Packard (H-P) and Palamida and we wish to present them here in order to make some clarifications.”On the other hand, some baseless accusations are flying about at the moment. Having been in touch with some of the parties involved, we wish to debunk FUD (or just lies) about FUD that never was. Empty allegations are used against Hewlett Packard (H-P) and Palamida and we wish to present them here in order to make some clarifications.
Let us start with H-P. Just the other day, when H-P introduced a set of services and tools that assist tracking of software and licensing, Dana Blankenhorn accused rather than thanked.
The Hewlett-Packard open source strategy is becoming clear.
Fear the source.
I’m certain HP officials will disagree with that. But when your press release is headlined, ” HP Promotes Open Source Software Governance with New Initiative,” there is no other conclusion to draw.
Your big company can’t go into open source alone. It’s dangerous out there. Here, hold our hand.
PJ disagrees with this, as do I. “HP is trying to do something very good with Flossology. I totally support it,” she says.
Why would anyone try to show just the negative side-effect (and yes, we’re sometimes accused of doing this as well)? Maybe because it stands out from the crowd and because ZDNet bloggers can be rewarded for provocations. Regardless of the issue at hand, H-P did make either an observation or a complaint back in 2005 (maybe 2006) when it said there were too many open source licences. But coversely, In this newer case, there is an attempt to address the issue, not just raise it. We should be happy. We should be thankful. And here were have the latest report from Palamida (published on Friday) which heralds to the world that GPLv3 finds love. This is good news, not bad news. Project evolve successfully.
The GPL v3 growth for this week is consistent with our average growth rate. As of January 25th, the GPL v3 count is at 1579 GPL v3 projects, up 44 projects over the past week. The LGPL v3 list is growing slowly but steadily and is currently at 150 LGPL v3 projects, as compared to last weeks number of 148 LGPL v3 projects.
At least one person claimed to have found flaws in Palamida’s work. Here is what one of our readers had to tell to us before we heard from Palamida (it’s reverse-chronological):
I have been visiting Palamida GPLv3 site and I think they are doing a great job at tracking the license adoption, and their statistics can be very useful to counter the established proprietary software oligopolies’ and the mainstream tech media’s FUD machine.
But today I have been warned by Pieter Hitjens about the following: I copy-paste the conversation about recent statements made in the palamida gplv3 site (gplv3.palamida.com -which redirects to –> gplv3.blogspot.com)
This site looks like it’s promoting GPLv3 but in fact it looks like subtle anti-GPLv3 FUD. E.g.:
“In the case of putting a GPL v3 project under a commercial license as well, there is high potential to violate the terms of the GPL v3. This is not to say that any of the aforementioned projects are or are not
in violation of the license, since our analysis of the terms are not yet complete, but caution should be used if a project is under both the GPL v3 and a commercial license.”
What they are saying, I think, is that GPL projects that do not have a clear copyright centralization cannot easily be re-licensed. However they don’t state this clearly, and they are not publishing my comments on the blog.
as somebody who has gotten note of Palamida very early after GPLv3 was released and I’ve got a bit of contact with actual GPLv2->v3 conversions, I can say this:
Palamida, the owner of this blog (it’s advertized in the banner on the top of the blog) is a company who’s business is software risk management, so it’s the business of marketing at this company to show what risks may be there and that risk is increasing.
It is increasing, because GPLv3 makes things indeed a bit more complicated by the simple fact that it is a successor of GPLv2.
The only long-term solution to that which I see is to convince as many free software developers that licensing under “GPL v2 only” is a __very__ bad idea.
I think you guessed right that they may suggest that companies might want to buy services from Palamida, to improve legal security in software distribution.
What I see, rather looks like research which gives great information of the GPLv3 adoption, and no clear FUD.
I see clear FUD, in this respect.
Dual-licensing is in fact a very strong argument for using GPLv3 but it depends on clear centralization of copyright. Projects like 0MQ – see www.zeromq.org – are careful to demand copyright assignments and/or MIT licensing from all contributors. For these projects, dual licensing is essential. This statement:
“This is not to say that any of the aforementioned projects are or are not in violation of the license, since our analysis of the terms are not yet complete, but caution should be used if a project is under both the GPL v3 and a commercial license.”
Is really bad. It suggests that we have to wait for Palamida to give the green light on whether it’s safe to use 0MQ. That’s very misleading and designed to create business for Palamida by exaggerating the complexity of the GPLv3 and ignoring the key role of copyright ownership.
If a company owns its code, how can it be in violation of the GPLv3 by dual-licensing its own code? That’s pure FUD, and worse, it brings into question one of the key business models for new smart FOSS businesses.
Care if I forward your message to Pamela Jones (groklaw) and Roy Schestowitz (boycottnovell) so they alert about the issue. Think the palamida guys, who are doing a great tracking of projects adopting the GPLv3 should be aware as well. And of course the FSF/FSFE
Forward away, of course. Tracking GPLv3 usage is fine. Throwing fear and uncertainty onto other businesses to try to create extra business is not fine.
Shared with implicit permission, the above is intended to at least show the arguments that were thrown into this debate, which we believe is resolved by several factors.
For starters, PJ says: “I don’t agree they are doing that [spreading fear]“. Further: “They want business, so they highlight problems without telling you the solution, because they want business, but that isn’t, to me, exactly the same thing as FUD, although it can have a similar effect.”
Our reader adds: “Up to now, their work at tracking GPLv3 project has proven nice and useful to counter quite a lot of FUD [...] I think Palamida at least should publish Pieter’s comments. If they don´t do it after a while, “someone” should be pointing at the problem. Of course making clear that the tracking of GPLv3 projects is nice and useful.”
We received a response from Palamida quite quickly and it was very convincing. Judge for yourselves however:
I can say with 100% honesty that no, Palamida does not resort to FUD to sell our services. However, we do point out what can happen if you don’t know what you’ve got in your code base, which is a reality, and it’s what drives a lot of lawsuits and insecure apps. It’s just something people want to avoid and we’re here to help organizations figure it out so they can get it right. There is a subset of folks (including you) that know what the heck is going on and would vet and check you code, versions, and licenses ahead of time. Funny though that very large organizations often do not, or possibly can not, because of their size and geographically dispersed team of developers. These are the folks who have the Top 5 Most Overlooked OS vulnerabilities (and many more but let’s stick with 5) and don’t know it.
So in general, our message and mantra has always been “Know What’s In Your Code.” It’s a message that shouldn’t be considered FUD, because not knowing has very real consequences (can anyone say Busybox?).
Since H-P came under similar unjustified scrutiny we brought up this issue, which quite expectedly revealed sympathy:
In general, we like HP but here’s something to think about. Back at the beginning of Palamida, folks used to ask us, “Why wouldn’t I just use Google Code Search instead of paying for Palamida?” Our response was always that
they certainly could use Google if they only wanted a skim the surface view of what was going on in one single segment (say, JBoss code). However, our expertise coupled with the depth and breadth of our code base (which weighs in at 3 Terabytes) could give you a little more (to put it mildly). So I personally feel the same about FOSSology. This is my singular opinion, it’s a fantastic tool but it answers only one of the many, many questions people need to be asking (take a look at the blog we just posted Friday) about: what code are you using? What version? What license is it under? Is it secure?
How often is the FOSSbazaar updated? What does it include? What are its rates of false positives or irrelevant search matches? How comprehensive is it? Who has tested it? Would you bet your eBanking system security on it?
That sort of thing.
This hopefully resolves the issue, at least for those who were involved in a blame game. Censorship (aka “selective approval”) of comment was probably the main reason for going this far. We never delete comments in this Web site and only a single abusive reader has his comments flagged (still truly visible) for repetitive abuses even against other readers. Transparency brings better answers than censorship, which we last complained about just an hours ago (ODF/OOXML). █
According to our reader, “there is the concrete problem with crapflooding Google and other search engines. Hence my complaints about Google News. Google News itself may be unimportant but letting MSFTers outside or inside Google bury topics is not appropriate.” A similar problem exists in Yahoo and MSN/Live and we will get to this at the end of this post.
Speaking for myself, luckily enough I have access to Google News, so I can add several FOSS or Linux items per day. Google has a list of sites to pick news from and the LinuxElectrons Webmaster kindly invited me some time ago. The site is on Google’s aggregator, but there appears to be some human moderation involved.
“Could it be gaming of the algorithm? Corporate secrecy paying its toll?”Another issue then arose. Our reader asked: “How does that work and is that how the ODF news search is spammed with anti-ODF material?” Whether there is an automated filtering algorithm or not it probably would be hard to tell (too much secrecy involved), but having tried a few queries in Google News, it’s clear that everything “ODF” or “OpenDocument” is ‘poisoned’. It’s biased beyond repair, in OOXML’s favour. Our reader was then wondering how they prioritise and how they tie search words to the articles. “Starting last summer, ODF-related documents stopped appearing in the search results,” he said. Could it be gaming of the algorithm? Corporate secrecy paying its toll? On the need to point that stuff out we were told: “It’s hard to. Since it takes time and work to collect data and somethings work fine for years. Google’s taken two hits. One in 2002 or 2003, I forget, and then another this summer with News.” The problem is not just search engines though.
Social News Poisoning
I later raised the issue of known Internet trolls, some of whom have done this since the OS/2 days. They admit trolling popular Web sites like Slashdot and Digg, but there are no access logs available for public viewing. There is more than sufficient evidence, however, including usernames and open admissions. In simple terms, this means that even the so-called ‘social news’ will be poisoned by corporate interests. It’s a fact. Everywhere you turn for information on this subject of document formats, money dominates [1, 2]. OOXML is all about the money whereas ODF is about leveraging healthy competition.
Our reader adds:
“My girlfriend once tracked down two astroturfers on some other forums. One had given up and decided to spill the beans. Another kept going, but laid low for a few weeks after his site of disinformation got shut down. Mostly they are easy to spot because they use the exact same phrases or “talking points” and logical fallacies.”
“My girlfriend once tracked down two astroturfers on some other forums. One had given up and decided to spill the beans. ”They have done this for many years, but how much searching can we do on Slashdot with/without a subscription? Is there an API for at least some of the raw data? Probably not. We thought about writing a script to automate a quick check, but I raised the problem that Internet trolls with corporate interests typically use Web proxies, at least based on observations made throughout a miserable experience (I get abused by anonymous people). About that particular issue I said: “I sometimes get so angry that it distracts me. The libel and stuff is actually effective. It makes me emotional. I write less rationally.” The response was interesting: “That’s their job to do so. PJ at Groklaw gets the treatment as well.” I am aware of the E-mail abuse that had her look away and make another address just a short while ago. These issues might be worth further attention in future posts.
“Honest people tend not to [use proxies]. Not that all proxies will be trolls, but that it can be a factor,” our reader says. He then throws an interesting example into the pool:
“Also, once we use a method, and then they will adapt. For example with Microsoft paying people to write in to congress, they got caught and then paid proxies to write. Now, AFAIK, they just lobby, both over the table and under the table.
I notice that the Senate data is now available as XML, see
For years, I have watched and admired you from afar, playing witness to your unshakable dominance of office productivity suites, wept when it seemed the world spoke coldly of Office 2007, and protested with great vehemence against your blisteringly unfair convictions as an evil monopolist. Why does the world misunderstand you? Why does it question your intentions?
I hope that next month, when the International Organization for Standardization reviews the 3,500 technical issues raised regarding your proposed OOXML standard, that beautiful standard it so cruelly rejected last year, justice will prevail and you will go on to succeed in yet another proprietary vendor lock-in.
The Burton Group
Ok, so the recent report issued by Burton Group, a research firm specializing network and applications infrastructure technologies, doesn’t come right out and profess its love to the Redmond-based software company, but it might as well.
The report reads more like a love letter than a critical study aimed at taking a hard look at whether the Open Document Format realistically stands a chance against Microsoft’s everpresent Office Open XML file format. Had it done that, it could’ve been incredibly interesting.
Instead, the lengthy report, when boiled down, not only disses the long-term relevance of the Open Document Format, but then goes and blames Sun Microsystems for the format’s downfall (if and when a downfall is to occur).
By co-incidence, Ziff-Davis (aka ZD-NET) is the company behind something like 50% of what the media has to say about computers, through various tentacles. CNET was the Pepsi to ZD-NET’s Coke (or Coke to Pepsi?), but now they merged. But of course this list applies to the bloggage of corporate A-listers, no matter who they work for.
We previously discussed irregularities in search results, Microsoft’s spamming against against search engines and other bizarre exclusions of pro-ODF stories. And a few days ago there was this from the Microsoft Blog:
Is Microsoft tinkering with Live Search results?
Is Microsoft filtering out from its Live Search results those it considers “undesirable” for the company?
Similar types of concerns or accusations were raised by the BadVista writers several months ago. It seems as though self-promotional censorship is more than likely. This isn’t the same as political censorship in China because herein it’s all just a matter of money and corporate interests. Mind Yahoo’s possible role that we covered and explored further in the past. █