EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.24.08

Symbian is Not About Freedom, It’s About DRM and Software Patents (Update)

Posted in Deception, DRM, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Patents at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An open-source lip service, side-stepping Freedom

IS SYMBIAN really open source? And if so, then what is the meaning of open source compared to — let us say — Free software in its purer form?

Two years before Symbian is actually EPL-licensed, its guys already announce this very broadly just so that they can present this in the press as “open source”, giving the illusion that it’s “Equally® Open®” w.r.t. Linux. It’s worth adding that Symbian has attacked Linux in the press for years, often using “fragmentation” as a weapon of choice.

We covered some of these issues earlier in the week and decided to stay quiet about Symbian, but now they have begun spreading some FUD about the GPL, which is precisely what Nokia appears to be escaping. Nokia, a massive lobbyist for software patents in Europe, wanted to justify restricting people’s freedom just about a month before taking control of Symbian and announcing an ‘open source’ strategy for it, only under the terms of the IBM-affiliated Eclipse Public License (EPL). We note from Wikipedia that “The Eclipse Foundation replaces IBM as the Agreement Steward in the EPL,” but its roots remain. IBM does not care so much about freedom; not as much as it cares about openness, especially open standards and cross-platform capabilities. Nokia might be after more lenience — a licence or community that tolerates and facilitates hostile technologies like DRM.

“Nokia might be after more lenience — a licence or community that tolerates and facilitates hostile technologies like DRM.”Pointing to this news article, one reader writes to us and warns: “Both ZDNet rep David Meyer and Symbian rep David Wood spread a little old-fashioned disinformation about the GPL.”

Some of this appears in page 2 of the article. “Wood provides the disinformation and Meyer provides a snide comment or three,” alerts the reader.

It’s worth adding that it was only about a month ago that David Meyer physically visited Symbian, so there might be reasons for affinity here. Maybe not, but who knows?

As long as Symbian pursues software patents (Novell does this too and so does Sun Microsystems) it can only be treated as an open source dabbler. Another black sheep which comes to mind is TiVo, whose Tivoization problems are further exacerbated by its obsession with software patents, which are used offensively and aggressively. Here is the latest report on that situation (recently mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4]).

Off and on for the past six years I’ve been an armchair quarterback for TiVo telling them they should do anything and everything to become profitable, among other things: they should offer pay-per-view downloads (I asked for this in 2002), they should broker deals with cable companies, that they should release software for PCs, that they should move to international markets, and that while I’m not a fan of software patents in general I feel the TiVo patents are original and worth fighting.

What I realized this week is that TiVo has spent the past couple years starting battles on all these fronts, and it looks like (at least to this outside observer) like TiVo is winning on all fronts. Even as their CEO admits more people are using DVRs and skipping lots of ads, I’d say TiVo is doing well.

For Symbian to be treated like a respected member of an open source community it ought to at least set aside the GPL falsehoods and somehow make up for ruining the UK patent system. Software patents are dangerous and moronic, for reasons that the following new post explains.

[w]e believe that the patents system has moved much away from it[s] original purpose but we especially believe the problem is in software patents/algorithms. Saying that algorithms nowadays are more complex and therefore is ok to patent is incorrect. Algorithms get built over others and with knowledge of previous algorithms, a lot of people are near about the same distance from the frontier. The chances of different people hitting the same method to solve a problem is much higher now than before. This is especially true in the entrepreneurial culture (startups) of today.

An open source software patent lobbyist is much like vegetarian cannibal. Goodwill value is earned not just by visibility of some source code and Microsoft too has found that out. Symbian should know better.

Update: in Mr. Meyer’s defence, he later posted this in his blog.

Symbian, GPL tension and ‘bright lines’

[...]

I gave Wood a call. He conceded that there was “tension between these remarks”, but pointed me to an article by Bruce Perens (the originator of the phrase “open source”) which discusses something called ‘bright lines’ – effectively ways of separating open source code from proprietary code in a way that avoids GPL violations.

It’s a fascinating article (and flattering, of course, since it responds to an exclusive of ours), and well worth reading. Whether or not it solves the issue of what can be allowed under the GPL, I don’t know. But ‘bright lines’ is the idea that’s informing Symbian’s metamorphosis into open source. So there you go.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft is Not an Open Source Company But Microsoft Bribed and Took Over Many Open Source Authorities (Rivals' Voice Hijacked)

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and GNU/Linux are being taken over by Microsoft moles, bought by Microsoft Corporation, and the collective voice of the alternative to Microsoft and Windows is being muzzled (they tell us they "love" us while they're attacking us and sometimes suing us)



  2. Techrights' Interpretation of Koch v EPO: The EPO's Management Still Attacks Staff Representatives

    The EPO hopes to get its victims (of EPO abuse) to not only foot their own bills but also the EPO's



  3. Understanding Thierry Breton: “Mister Cash” Arrives at France Télécom

    The psychological harassment of the France Télécom workforce led the "suicide wave" after Breton had left France Télécom



  4. The Breton-Battistelli Relationship and Breton Hiding His Employment Record at Rothschild & Cie Banque

    EPO scoundrels such as Battistelli are closer to Breton than most people care to realise; Breton is hiding part of his career ahead of today's grilling



  5. A Lot of EPO Staff on Dutch Land Protested (Despite Abusive Threats From Management) and a Strike is Reportedly Next

    EPO management in Rijswijk tried hard to prevent workers from protesting on their free time (lunch break), reaffirming that same old belief that nothing is changing at the EPO and nothing will change without truly disruptive action



  6. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 13, 2019



  7. Links 13/11/2019: Docker Enterprise Bought, WordPress 5.3, Qt 5.12.6 Released

    Links for the day



  8. Rebranding Malware and Spyware as 'Linux' to Dilute the Brand (and the News)

    Signal-to-noise ratio continues to be reduced, as a lot of "Linux" news has nothing to do with GNU/Linux or even with Free software



  9. Understanding Thierry Breton: In the Beginning...

    Career roundup of Thierry Breton, possibly the next EU Commissioner



  10. Startpage Has Been Delisted, But it Ought to be Blacklisted

    Startpage has just warned its fans (I am a former fan) of what Startpage itself covertly became months back



  11. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 12, 2019



  12. Links 12/11/2019: Plasma 5.17.3, More Intel Defects, Bytecode Alliance

    Links for the day



  13. You've Gotta Go When You've Gotta Go

    How most staff of the European Patent Office (EPO) feels these days



  14. Teaser: Thierry Breton and His Disquieting Past

    "The company attracted notoriety and loathing in the UK for its role in assessing disability benefit eligibility."



  15. EPO and EU: People Behind the Faces

    It’s no secret that the EPO breaks the law and European officials have taken no concrete steps to intervene; to make matters worse, potentially new EPO allies may soon be put in charge of the EU Commission



  16. Maintaining the 'Delete Github' page

    "This list really is a starting point, which can hopefully increase awareness about the issue of concern."



  17. Linux Foundation Picking Money

    The dating standards of the Linux Foundation



  18. Microsoft 'Borrows' the Linux Brand

    With help from the likes of the Linux Foundation Microsoft continues to misuse and ‘dilute’ the Linux brand (and registered trademark)



  19. EPO Corruption Compared to Cocaine Scandals in Antwerp

    Days after the Dutch protest discussion is sort of 'uncorked' regarding EPO corruption (published, as usual, in the form of anonymous comments)



  20. SUEPO Showed That the Media Won't Cover EPO Corruption Until Half the Workers March in the Streets

    What ought to have been a central (if not 'the' central) issue of debate in Europe is still being treated as borderline irrelevant or marginal



  21. Meanwhile in California

    News from California is being spun by Microsoft this week, owing to weak journalism that's more like PR than journalism



  22. Privacy-Centric Services and Even Drupal/Acquia Defect to the Camp of Mass Surveillance

    In search of money [pun intended] companies and services that are supposed to respect their customers and users turn out to be doing the opposite; this merits research and public discussions



  23. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, November 11, 2019



  24. Links 12/11/2019: Sparky 2019.11 Special Editions and Twisted 19.10.0 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft's Abduction of the Voice of Its Opposition Highlights the Urgency of the Movement/Campaign to Delete GitHub

    Microsoft understands that by entrapping FOSS and GNU/Linux inside proprietary software platforms like GitHub and Azure it can utilise the false perception that it somehow speaks on behalf of both (whilst attacking both)



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 10, 2019



  27. SUEPO Protests Against Management of the European Patent Office Brought Back Discussions About Corruption

    The atmosphere at the second-largest institution in Europe has long been toxic; now it is becoming a lot more visible again and comments highlight the reasons for the cover-up (gross misuse of billions of euros)



  28. Links 11/11/2019: Linux 5.4 RC7, HandBrake 1.3.0 and Analysis of XFCE

    Links for the day



  29. Links 10/11/2019: digiKam 6.4.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Alpha and OpenZFS Plans

    Links for the day



  30. Video: Dutch Media on EPO Protest

    The new video added by SUEPO on Saturday in order to show Dutch media coverage of last week's protest in The Hague


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts