03.07.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

Innovative Microsoft

Posted in Action, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, OIN, Oracle, Red Hat, TomTom at 8:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

INNOVA~1 Galore

“I don’t understand how IE is going to win. The current path is simply to copy everything that Netscape does packaging and product wise.”

Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

Summary: Synopsis of developments regarding the legal challenges Microsoft unleashes upon Linux

THE principal question about TomTom’s lawsuit has recently been transformed into one which revolves around GPL compliance and ethical traps. This latest angle is already being examined, explained, and summarised. Mary Jo Foley, who is in good terms with Jeremy Allison (she interviewed him before), wrote about this issue which was first raised by him. She summarised the TomTom issue — as it appears at this stage in particular– without provoking:

[I]t’s looking more and more like the open sourcers are right and TomTom is the canary in the Linux-patent coal mine.

One of our readers explained this whole situation in simple terms, as follows: “The lawsuit publicizes a patent trap of Microsoft’s own creation. Microsoft created a de facto industry standard in the FAT (File Allocation Table) format that it made widely available for adoption without letting it be known that it held and would assert the patents behind the standard. What makes the FAT patents valuable is not the technology behind them but the fact that they were promoted and accepted as a standard without word that Microsoft would someday come asking for money. Two of the patents are for converting between long and short file names – a FAT function that is commonly implemented in digital cameras, MP3 players, and other devices, not just in Windows and Linux.

“Some wishful thinkers within the open source community may accept Microsoft’s claim that this is about TomTom rather than Linux, along with the blather that accompanies most patent litigation about how Microsoft would rather license than litigate. But this is in fact a landmark assault into the most troubled and controversial terrain of the patent system. It will reverberate for a long time to come.”

Microsoft’s latest action has already led to public protests. Here is the leaflet distributed in Brussels protests a few days ago [PDF]. To quote a portion:

Economic Parasites

When your tech product or website is accused of infringing a software patent, you can:
• Pay the patent holder a licence fee; they decide the amount
• Fight the patents in court – expensive and time consuming

• Take your product off the market
These are the options currently being considered by Tom Tom NV.
Microsoft is claiming that Tom Tom’s car navigation systems violate eight Microsoft patents.

Groklaw has begun taking a closer look at the TomTom case and one person points out (from the comments): “I *also* wonder this: Microsoft is a big company. Has Microsoft *ever* distributed a Linux based device with VFAT support? If so, would the fact that, under the GPL they cannot do so without conveying a patent license to the recipient that is transferable to anybody the recipient sees fit, and the fact that Microsoft as owner of the VFAT patents is able to provide such a license mean that it can be legally assumed they DID provide such a license?”

Asks one informant of ours: “What about Microsoft’s Linux lab and their offerings to Apache and SAMBA? What if Microsoft released something under the GPL (to anyone), doesn’t that mean they relinquish any necessary patent claims?” We already know for a fact that Microsoft uses GNU/Linux-based products, but using is not necessarily selling.

A few days ago, Red Hat got sued by a partner of Microsoft (little more information here), but that’s not the main concern in people’s mind because it symbolises Red Hat’s rise to prominence. An interesting addendum from Open Sources states this:

[UPDATE: 2009-03-05 9.30a ET] I’m told that Oracle is also a defendant, although this filing is from April 2008.

Oracle is a member of OIN, so it is likely to be part of the battle that was initiated against TomTom. Additionally, the last time this case was mentioned it was also shown that Google had grown tired of the patent system (Google too is a relatively recent addition to OIN’s members). The word is still spreading out there and since many people respect (sometimes love) Google, they come to disrespect the patent system. Academics too continue to dispute the viability and value of this system.

Markets outperform patents in promoting intellectual discovery, say economists

When it comes to intellectual curiosity and creativity, a market economy in which inventors can buy and sell shares of the key components of their discoveries actually beats out the winner-takes-all world of patent rights as a motivating force, according to a California Institute of Technology (Caltech)-led team of researchers.

Further discussion at TechDirt:

[O]nce again, the study found that a free market solution greatly outperforms a patent monopoly solution where the “first” provider gets a monopoly. The research was led by economist Peter Bossaerts and a team of others — and it made a point that won’t surprise anyone who’s studied the economics of monopolies. Patents tend to function just like any other monopoly system: it shrinks the overall market, decreases net social benefit, provides monstrously excess rewards to a single provider and harms everyone else. In fact, the research found that the patent system created a massive disincentive for many people to participate in the very process, even if their contributions could have been quite helpful in speeding along the innovation.

Given that software patents may have already died (most of them anyway [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]), Microsoft’s last resort in the fight against Linux may be dead on arrival. Linux vendors can carry on doing business with confidence that Linux is here to thrive, as is GNU.

Google’s market cap is not far from surpassing that of Microsoft. That’s how deep in trouble Microsoft is, especially now that Google expands from Linux phones to Linux 'desktops' (sub-notebooks), as of yesterday’s reports.

GNU and Linux

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 09/12/2022: Kubernetes 1.26 and Linux 6.1 Ready This Weekend

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] Sirius Corporation: In A League Of Its Own

    When I joined Sirius ‘Open Source’ it was still funded well enough to offer swag, uniform, and even sponsorship; gone are those days



  3. Lack of Principles and a Lack of Honesty at Sirius ‘Open Source’ (Which Was Gradually Moving Away From Open Source)

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ is still the official name of the company, but the company isn't really ‘Open Source’ anymore; it's not a viable company either, it's run by only a handful of people



  4. The Linux Foundation's Annual Report Was Made on an Apple Mac and Published in Proprietary Web Site

    Today (or earlier this week) the Linux Foundation boasts about its “community” (Microsoft and other Linux-hostile corporations it fronts for); it probably doesn’t want readers to know that its rejection of both GNU/Linux and “Open Source” is showing (the Foundation is not run by people who support Linux, they’re just exploiting the brand)



  5. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 08, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 08, 2022



  6. Links 08/12/2022: Deepin 20.8 and CERN, Fermilab Move to AlmaLinux

    Links for the day



  7. [Meme] Sirius Corporation Run by Dummies

    At Sirius ‘Open Source’, the fish rots from the head down



  8. Code of Conduct-Like Culture at Sirius ‘Open Source’ (Managers Never Held Accountable for Anything, Other Staff Blamed for Management's Failures)

    Sirius was abandoned a week ago (my wife and I resigned with immediate effect), leaving a skeleton crew that’s about 50% ‘management’ (barely qualified or not qualified at all) and 50% 'low-paid' geeks (what’s left of them); guess who’s blaming who and who always gets punished



  9. Virtually (i.e. Online) and for Only One Hour the EPO's Staff Representation Was Allowed to Discuss Many Lingering Concerns

    “Report on the LSCMN meeting with VP4 of 9 November 2022″ (i.e. one month ago) is being circulated this week; “On 9 November 2022,” says the union or the local officials (Staff Union of the EPO, or SUEPO for short, has overlaps), “the Local Staff Committee Munich (LSCMN) met with VP4, Ms Nellie Simon, to discuss a number of prevailing local matters in a virtual meeting which had been scheduled, as had the previous one, for one hour only.” (the usual; they intentionally don’t allocate sufficient time)



  10. [Meme] António Campinos-Controlled (EPO-Commissioned) Surveys Are Just for Show (to Help 'Validate' Lies)

    The real EPO survey is not that one conducted by (and for) António Campinos



  11. European Patent Office (EPO) on the Decline, According to the Fifth Edition of the Technologia Staff Survey

    Today we share some documents that circulated amongst EPO staff yesterday; it's about this year's staff survey that was not conducted by the EPO itself (to serve EPO management and its twisted agenda



  12. Free Software is So Robust That Its Opponents Need to Travel 12 Months Back in Time in Order to Find Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) Material

    Microsoft- and Linux Foundation-connected sites help smear or stigmatise Free software (citing hostile 'experts'); this week they borrow news from 12 months ago to make a point



  13. IDG Has Resorted to Microsoft Marketing SPAM Instead of Actual Journalism

    Microsoft puff pieces are published as "opinions", disguised as "news" while in fact serving no purpose other than marketing



  14. Open Invention Network (OIN) Protects Amazon and AWS From Activists Like Us Who Want to Abolish Software Patents Through Reforms of the Patent Systems

    The Open Invention Network (OIN) does not exist to serve the Free software community but to work against it; the latest joining (AWS) proves this



  15. Sirius ‘Open Source’ and the Money Missing From the Pension

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ is unable to cope with basic legal requirements such as sending payslips to staff (this hasn’t been done for months already!) and such issues have gone on for almost 4 years already



  16. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 07, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 07, 2022



  17. Links 07/12/2022: ArcoLinux Beta 23.01 and Cryostat 2.2

    Links for the day



  18. [Meme] Where Did the Money Go?

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ became a company that cannot even do accounting right; pertinent technical employees had to do a lot of chasing for years just to get the basics rectified



  19. Evidence of Sirius ‘Open Source’ (or Sirius Corporation) Failing to Pay Pensions, Failing to Inform Staff, Not Responding to Staff

    The job my wife and I left this past Friday (after about 21 years combined) had turned sour years ago; hoping that this serves as a cautionary tale to others, we've decided to show pension lapses, lack of payslips, and excuses that accompanied that for years



  20. Links 07/12/2022: Blender 3.4 and Apple GPU Drivers Now in Asahi Linux

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 06, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 06, 2022



  22. Links 07/12/2022: Kali Linux 2022.4, GNUnet 0.19.0, and Pgpool-II 4.4.0

    Links for the day



  23. Subsidising the Likes of Rupert Murdoch is Not Supporting Journalism

    There are yet more attempts to tax citations; not only does that make no practical or moral sense, it's being lumped in or joined together with a must-pass "defence" (military) bill in order to suppress opposition



  24. Microsoft Layoffs Again

    The company behind Windows is in a bad state, but it is being propped up by the taxpayers; if rumours are true, Microsoft might get a lot smaller next year



  25. Microsoft is Killing Hospital Patients With Its Insecure-by-design Windows Operating System

    Many people continue to needlessly die because many hospitals still foolishly deploy Windows on mission-critical life-saving machines



  26. Sirius ‘Open Source’ Failing at the Most Basic Employment Regulations

    The company we left behind last week was a repeat violator of employment laws; to make matters worse, it led to its long-term or long(time)-serving staff becoming very baffled, having to contact the pension provider for clarifications



  27. Sirius ‘Open Source’: When the Company Stops Paying Your Pension and You Don't Know Until the Pension Provider Keeps Sending Physical Post to Alert You

    Today we turn our attention to pension blunders at Sirius ‘Open Source’; in recent years even something basic like pension contributions wasn’t smooth sailing



  28. [Meme] Sirius Open Source, Closed-Minded Bossing

    At Sirius ‘Open Source’, decisions are made in the dark without consultation with staff and many things go wrong as a result; of course the culprits never hold themselves accountable



  29. Links 06/12/2022: LibreOffice 7.5 Alpha and digiKam 7.9.0

    Links for the day



  30. Rumour: Very Large Microsoft Layoffs (Another Round) Next Month, Lists Already Being Prepared




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