While it’s probably a case of stating the obvious, the fight here is not solely a fight against Novell, but a case against ‘Novellification’ (or “Novellisation”) of GNU/Linux. Everyone ought to be aware by now that buying SUSE is a case of paying Microsoft. Microsoft does not get paid for writing code or for marketing. Microsoft gets paid for merely claiming that certain abstract methods of achieving something are its own private properly. Not physical property. Not even copyrighted code that could be printed out. Here was talk about ideas. Technical ideas. Maths. Logic. Algorithms. Recipes.
A site that was hardly seen before, called
MilkingTheGnu.org, draws the correlation between software patents and Free software. It is an issue whose importance continues to escape many people’s attention — people who may be distracted by the smaller problems (think about Lessig fighting over copyrights before realising that it’s political corruption that stood in his way all along). Watch this new blog item: [via Digital Majority]
Don’t wanna pay for Linux? Beware of software patents
Do you really want to wake up one morning and pay Microsoft or SUN royalties to have the right to use Linux on each of your boxes? Probably not. However, if companies continue playing the little game of open source vs. software patenting, that time might come much sooner than you think.
Take Microsoft for instance, they have a great code repository called CodePlex, one of their show-rooms for open source development advocacy. Except that in the last months, developers have lost their ability to license their code under the GPLv3. As we’ve shown earlier, Microsoft don’t like the GPLv3 because it provides protection against software patenting.
The latest victim to date is MySQL who has always had a very strong stance against software patent. But like Icarus flying too closely from the sun, MySQL burned its wings: their anti-patent manifesto has abruptly disappeared from their site. (The complete story here).
The patent storm is not a storm in a teacup. It’s very real and it draws in many complaints, leading to overworked and underpaid development of products. Just looking at new headlines you find:
It is the second time Klausner has had a bash at the suit, after it updated its original complaint from December. The outfit claims both Apple and AT&T infringed its patent of a “Telephone Answering Device Linking Displayed Data with Recorded Audio Message”.
The lawsuit calls for a preliminary injunction to stop Apple from infringing on the patent. Klausner is also asking for monetary damages and court costs.
Watch what is happening in Wisconsin at the moment. It’s not just Texas courts anymore, so culprits multiply.
Patent case filings are climbing in the district based in Madison, including cases involving companies headquartered outside the area. Lawyers say they’re attracted by the district’s educated jury pool, which reflects the work force and populace connected to the University of Wisconsin and the thriving local high-technology sector.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has upheld a second and a third University of Wisconsin-Madison patent covering embryonic stem cell research at the school.
Digital Majority has this good new paper with further commentary.
Should standardisation and interoperability be ,,blocked” by computer-related patents?
There is nothing inherently ethical about patents. In the case of software patents, it’s a step way too far. But as long as someone benefits from misuse and abuse of the system, there will be selfish resistance to change. If nobody stands up, there will be no change. █