06.19.08

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How Microsoft’s OSS Insiders Can Plant the Seeds of Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, Patents, Windows at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Covert ops’ for software patents among so-called ‘dissidents’

One of the disappointing things about Microsoft’s rocky affairs in Europe is that software patents get pushed onto table using buzzwords like “reasonable” (as in RAND) and "interoperabile" [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11].

As we showed very recently, based on unpublished research and reports from FFII, Microsoft still wants GNU/Linux tax (even in Europe). On the face of it, the US Department on Justice does not stand in the way of this self-serving plot. From last night’s news:

Microsoft, DOJ issue status report on interoperability compliance

[...]

Also, 49 companies have licensed patents for the communications protocols since the final judgment, with 36 of the companies signing aboard for a royalty bearing license.

[...]

To date the interoperability labs, which are offered free to MCPP licensees at its Microsoft Engineering Center, Microsoft completed an interoperability lab with one licensee in March and another in May.

Interestingly enough, here comes a timely interview that grills Microsoft on the issues it stubbornly tries to escape.

There has been some concern that GPL implementations of material covered by Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise are prohibited. Microsoft could resolve this with a clear statement that GPL implementations are OK. Why hasn’t it?

[...]

Microsoft made it clear last year that it wanted to encumber the open source communities with patent royalties. Do you expect that Microsoft sponsored standards will tend to be covered by Microsoft patents? CNN’s senior editor said: “If the company gets its way, free software won’t be free anymore.” is this an accurate claim?

Microsoft does not deliver answers. It just flees the them and hopes for uncertainty to prevail on the face of it. Here is what OSNews had to say about it:

He also gives a painfully polished response to CNN’s senior editor’s claims that the company is trying to eliminate free software.Typical Microsoft PR response to tough questions, but interesting nonetheless….

It remains true that Microsoft cannot compete with zero-cost or low-cost competition that thrives in massive-scale collaboration. The monopoly relies a great deal on being able to extract money from this competitor, if not just exclude, punish, intimidate and ruin its name. This way, not only can it make money as a licensor, but it also make its competitor’s offerings more expensive. It’s a win-win and a double-win situation, but how can Microsoft ever persuade Free software developers to comply with draconian laws? Using ‘plantations’ perhaps, as it is a matter of perception.

“OpenLogic, for example, is a company that is run by a former Microsoft chap.”There is an informational and also a technical aspect at play. On the one hand, Microsoft can try to deliver and perpetuate the belief that software patents are already honoured by Free software developers (and that they loathe GPLv3); on the other hand — and at the same time in fact — Microsoft can ‘poison’ Free software with what’s considered more trivially provable as infringing (Hallo, Moto Mono).

Yesterday we shared some commentary, which was backed with news, in order to show that the threat comes from the inside. OpenLogic, for example, is a company that is run by a former Microsoft chap. It claims to have established somewhat of a ‘census’ that encompasses open source, but it’s far from it. It could be used as just a monitoring project — spyware that’s akin to Microsoft Windows which sends Redmond a list of all your installed applications every time Windows Update is invoked (automatically).

At the same time, as just spotted in another site (ComputerWorld UK), Glyn Moody draws his conclusions about GPLv3 based on Microsoft Black Duck (CEO Doug Levin no longer works at Microsoft). Remember ACT?

Microsoft influence is only to be expected where there are inter-personal relationship and past colleagues (de Icaza, for example, has friends at Microsoft). They’re everywhere. And Dana Blankenborn has just explained how they buy their way into the ‘community’.

Why is it that all these open source news sites, blog sites, and resource sites are still being sponsored by Microsoft?

From an ‘us’ (Free software) against ‘them’ (proprietary suppression) situation it becomes a ‘them’ versus ‘them’ situation. They try to dominate both sides and control the direction of both — whether deliberately or not.

One subject that was discussed in the IRC channel a short while ago are ways in which people like Walli (former Microsoft employee with software patent/s) can steer developers away from the GPLv3 by befriending them. He is not alone.

There is a lot of deception already going on. For example, Microsoft is misusing the word “open” (claiming to be a fan of it). Yesterday we wrote about the "only 4" remark, which you can find out some more about if you are curious. It’s about OOXML.

The headline in this story tells the reader that Microsoft describes itself as “open and collaborative” despite the fact that it resorted to corruption, vicious attacks against ODF and those who defended ODF and even technical sabotage. Is that “open and collaborative”? No, it’s just useless marketing pitch. It’s a lie.

“The Norwegian [OOXML] affair was a scandal and we are still pursuing it. We haven’t given up hope of changing the vote back to No, and we hope people who experienced similar travesties in other countries will do the same.”

Steve Pepper

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