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12.19.08

Wine Project Responds to Microsoft FUD Award

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Wine at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cheers (wine)
Toasting to FUD? Why?

THE financial SourceForge-Microsoft link is a subject that we covered before [1, 2, 3, 4], so the following award, granted to Wine, was in a way sponsored by Microsoft. The Wine project, which has a new site design, has just formally responded:

The Wine project has won an award from the SourceForge 2008 Community Choice Awards.

We won the category:
“Most Likely to Be Ambiguously and Baselessly Accused of Patent Violation”.

Nice. It’s good to have Microsoft inside open source, is it not [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]?

Some upcoming conference ([1, 2, 3] below) show just how hard lobbyists are pushing to introduce software patents outside the United States. Glyn Moody has meanwhile responded to UKIPO research.

UK Businesses Indifferent to Intellectual Monopolies

[...]

The results of the research suggests that UK business simply doesn’t think intellectual properties are worth expending time and effort on, because they don’t really matter in this day and age. And, of course, they’re not alone: most young people would tell you exactly the same thing.

It’s important to remember that, to UKIPO at the very least, more Intellectual Monopolies mean more ‘business’ and more revenue.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

____
[1] Patents, Copyrights and Knowledge Governance: the next four years

There are high profile right-owner lobbying efforts directed at higher standards and tougher enforcement of intellectual property rights, and growing interest among consumer groups, academics and many innovative businesses to protect the public domain and retain or even expand user rights. There is also much interest in exploring newer approaches to the support of creative and inventive communities, that do not rely on notions of exclusive rights.

[2] The Limits of Abstract Patents in an Intangible Economy

Meanwhile, the issue has been resurrected in Europe. Three years after the European Parliament rejected a proposed directive after extraordinarily contentious debate, the EPO President has asked the Enlarged Board of Appeals to determine where and how the line should be drawn on computer programs. The UK Intellectual Property Office has announced an economic study of software patents to provide input to the EPO. There is also vigorous debate in India, centered around patent office interpretation of recent legislation.

[3] Conference on Computer Implemented Inventions

The one-day conference is dedicated to exploring the treatment of computer-implemented inventions under patent law in Europe, Japan and the U.S. Renowned experts – Judges, academic and practitioners – from all three jurisdictions will present the case law and praxis of the relevant patent offices and courts in the respective jurisdictions, both with regard to the particularities of obtaining and enforcing patents for computer implemented inventions

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6 Comments

  1. seller_liar said,

    December 19, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Gravatar

    Microsoft Uses the awards name to legitimate the patents idea.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, even though most projects are located in countries where software patents are against the law. They just ring the “patent” alarm.

    Here is a Microsoft employee suggesting [PDF] that they “plant the bug of FUD in their [customers] ears”. Sounds like the “Get the Facts” campaign, doesn’t it?

    From w-carrin Mon Oct 15 12:18:05 1990
    To: bradsi
    Subject: Getting the word out about DR DOS
    Cc: kathrynh; russw
    Date: Mon Oct 15 12:09:08 1990

    Concerns have been raised that DR-DOS incompatibilities and flaws are being overlooked by reviewers.

    ..

    We recommend that we *informally* plant the bug of FUD in their ears. “Have you heard about problems with DR DOS?”

    “That security feature is a neat idea and, gosh, such a feature would be great, but it’s just too easily circumvented”

    “Gee, it’s unfortunate that DR DOS can’t be loaded high all the time. MS-DOS 5.0 can” We’ll do this very tactfully.

    ..

    The security features may lead someone to a false sense of security and someone may break into their payroll.

    ..

    * If Digital Research can to Microsoft for help in making DR DOS work with Windows, would Microsoft help them? Maybe not?

    They try to stigmatise.

  3. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 19, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Gravatar

    I may be wrong, but I got the impression that award was meant in jest (by the Sourceforge award judges). Also, I’m not sure where the idea that Microsoft was involved in the decision-making process of deciding which project got which award comes from.

  4. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 19, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Gravatar

    Also, if Microsoft was involved in the decision to give WINE an award (which comes with funding, does it not?) then one could argue that Microsoft is funding WINE development. In that case, Microsoft would have a hard time convincing any judge that WINE infringes upon their patents.

    Either way, I see this as a win for WINE – funding for development at worst, funding + legal protection in the best case.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Gravatar

    I may be wrong, but I got the impression that award was meant in jest

    I’m not laughing. Google’s sense of humour is better.

  6. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 20, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Gravatar

    Agreed, it’s not a very funny joke.

    I just figured it had to be one because I can’t imagine there’d be a “most likely to be sued” award in a serious setting.

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