04.13.09

How Microsoft (and Apple) Wants to Own GNU/Linux, in the ‘Intellectual’ Sense

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 5:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft pollutes data and programs using proprietary formats and software patents; Apple pollutes the Internet with software patents

Microsoft recently published its plan to fight GNU/Linux using software patents. It even wrote a book about it [1, 2, 3, 4]. Now comes ZDNet with the following remark which is true.

[I]n Phelps view, all this folderol about Microsoft “owning Linux” is really just a ploy to participate fully in the Linux ecosystem, through cross-licenses.

Glyn Moody addressed the OSI regarding patents just the other day, so it seems likely that this new OSI post is a response to Moody. It argues against patents as tools of innovation. Too bad the OSI let Microsoft get closer to it, eh? Microsoft is one of the biggest proponents of software patents right now.

Yesterday, wrote Pamela Jones in response to a post from Chris Kenyon of Canonical: “Nothing changes in Redmond, which is why it is unwise, in my view, to include Windows Media Player codecs, or FAT, or anything Microsoft.” Groklaw also opposes Mono, especially after the FAT debacle.

Over here in Ryan’s blog, it is made very clear that while Microsoft supports many codecs, it intentionally avoids supporting the free ones because these would advance fair competition.

Windows Media Player 12 in Windows 7 is all pay-for-play:

Playing around with Windows 7 I noticed a new “feature”…Windows Media Player 12 will no longer allow the user to use any audio or video format that Microsoft and the various partners don’t allow.

What does this mean for competing formats and free formats like Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora, and FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec)?

The European Commission should step in and force Microsoft to support these. Microsoft knows very well why it avoids supporting these formats; it wants to remain anti-competitive.

Microsoft is not alone in this by the way. It has many people outside its direct control who nonetheless promote its agenda. Groklaw has just published this article which challenges Alex Brown and the cronies-filled ISO. It is rather clear what happened there after Microsoft had dethroned opposition and overthrew objectivity.

Alex Brown recently tweeted to Microsoft’s Doug Mahugh the following about OOXML:

OOXML=tought [sic] fights; revealed JTC 1 procedures were rubbish.

The OOXML approval was marred by procedures that were rubbish, eh? How about the result, then? Wasn’t that exactly what the four appeals against adoption of OOXML stated as one basis, that the process was essentially rubbish? Were they right? One year later, it seems there are indeed some problems. Brown tells us on his blog that at the BRM “a number of existing Ecma-376 documents were unintentionally made invalid against the IS29500 transitional schema”.

Oops.

The UK, he writes, now is suggesting a retroactive fix to undo the changes made at the BRM. Say, what? Rubbish though they be, is there any JTC1 procedure that makes *that* an appropriate way forward? If so, why bother to even meet? Just let Microsoft or its little elves slip in anything they want and call it good.

That’s not all. According to Jomar Silva of Brazil, who attended the BRM and just received the secret report on progress on OOXML, several items that were supposed to be fixed are still not incorporated into the published text of the standard one year later, despite the fact that he says some voted a conditional Yes, contingent on those changes being made.

If you are considering whether or not to adopt IS29500, what should that tell you? That maybe you should wait until they get the kinks out?

[...]

[W]hy were the appeals denied? I know the JTC1 folks don’t care, but if you are thinking about adoption of ODF and/or OOXML, and you care about truly open standards, shouldn’t you?

The way to hold establishments accountable for their actions is to identify those who run them. Establishments like ISO are — after all — just people. The same goes for WIPO [1, 2, 3, 4], the BSA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], and even the Department of Justice [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. They are all helping Microsoft poison the waters for Free(dom) software, ensuring not only that access to data is prohibited or stifled; it’s about putting a ‘Microsoft tax’ on personal data. It’s people like Alex Brown and Miguel de Icaza who actively promote this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21].

To be fair, Microsoft is not the only culprit. Some argue that Apple is an evil sleeping giant which seeds the Web with software that it refuses to give free of charge (i.e. without software patents). Digital Majority has gathered many good links on the subject. Here is an Opera blog complaining:

Apple patent claim threatens to block or delay W3C specification

Early last month, it became clear that Apple might be causing trouble for the W3C Widgets specification. They are unwilling to make patent 5,764,992 (W3C information), which covers automatic software upates, royalty-free if the Widgets Update specification is found to use anything covered by the patent. This basically means a lot of additional work for the Working Group at the W3C, and might slow down the process of finalizing the widgets specification.

From the W3C:

This PAG is triggered by Section 7.1 (PAG Formation) of the Patent Policy, which states that a PAG is triggered in the event “a patent has been disclosed that may be essential, but is not available under W3C Royalty-Free licensing requirements”. The specific patent is 5,764,992 (U.S.), held by Apple, Inc. Apple Inc. has excluded all claims of patent 5,764,992 (U.S.)

A Mac-oriented Web site claims that “Apple threatens to block W3C widget standard” and one of the most avid Apple fans, who regularly writes for CNET, argues that “Apple [is] refusing royalty-free license to widget patent.”

It’s a little hard to tell at the moment exactly what claims overlap between Apple’s patent and the proposed standard, and why Apple is choosing to exert its right to contest the royalty-free licensing terms for those claims. An Apple representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

This means that Apple refuses to even take into consideration the public outcry. Its precious software patents seem to come before its obligation to the freedom of the World Wide Web and that’s just sad. The New York Times published background information about the Internet last week. There was this little portion about patents:

So there was plenty of natural pressure to avoid such hassles. It probably helped that in those days we avoided patents and other restrictions; without any financial incentive to control the protocols, it was much easier to reach agreement.

Both Microsoft and Apple are jeopardising this doctrine of sharing. First and foremost, they are motivated by greed of their shareholders and this denies the entry of GNU/Linux (as a Free platform) into parts of the network.

Rotten apple
Thanks, Apple

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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2009/04/13/microsoft-and-apple-patent-poison/

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

3 Comments

  1. aeshna23 said,

    April 13, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Gravatar

    “First and foremost, they are motivated by greed of their shareholders and this denies the entry of GNU/Linux (as a Free platform) into parts of the network.”

    The way large companies actually work is that the management makes decisions. The shareholders have almost nothing to do with it. Like a large percentage of Americans, I’m a shareholder in both Apple and Microsoft, because I hold stock in index mutual funds. I certainly don’t agree with what Apple and Microsoft are doing, and probably a huge majority of the individual holders have no clue at all about this battle over IP. In fact, a large majority of the individuals shareholders would benefit from Apple and Microsoft losing value, since the value of the other stocks in their mutual fund would increase.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    April 13, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Gravatar

    Agreed, “the shareholders” are used as a vague scapegoat for unethical, unsound and unscrupulous management initiatives. Most shareholder meetings have low attendance and even then the agenda items are set long in advance by management and the decisions are largely rubberstamps.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 13, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Gravatar

    When I write “shareholders” I generally refer to the goal of meeting or exceeding expectations in each quarterly report (thus pleasing investors).

What Else is New


  1. GNU/Linux Turns 38 This Year, But the (Partly) Microsoft-Led Linux Foundation Wants You to Think It's Only 30 and a Good Friend of Microsoft

    What the Linux Foundation calls “Linux” (as its PR staff members refer to it in their new press release) is 38 years old, not 30. “Open Source” as a term did not formally exist yet, so this latest waffle makes no sense at all (the press release keeps mentioning a term that’s designed to attack and replace the original). But it’s part of a broader pattern of deception, attacking software freedom and pretending GNU never existed. Did money corrupt everything and is it too late to salvage truth, let alone freedom?



  2. Richard Stallman on Paid Smear Campaigns

    Dr. Richard Stallman on people who lie about him online (4 years after the older campaign of hate and distortion and half a decade before the current one, coordinated by groups funded by monopolies that dislike GPL)



  3. Links 22/4/2021: Grafana Goes for AGPLv3, Godot 3.3 Released, Mesa 21.0.3 Available

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 21, 2021



  5. Behind the Curtains of Cheap and Cheesy PR the EPO is a Machine of Oppression (Against Its Very Own Staff), Tribunal to Rule on Strike Busting

    The laughable regime of Campinos is a naked emperor with nothing but diplomatic immunity (almost not a single member of staff trusts the President) and the PR strategic front is becoming worse than pathetic; it's like the place is run by infantile career-climbing sociopaths with no qualifications, trying to weaponise a sea of money against staff, inquisitive media, and states (by bribing them or hiring lawyers to intimidate/bankrupt them); while the EPO still swims in money its reputation drowns too quickly to ever resurface, recover



  6. Links 21/4/2021: University of Minnesota Blacklisted Over Defects, Red Hat Satellite 6.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  7. Links 21/4/2021: VirtualBox 6.1.20, GCC 11.1 Release Candidate, Nginx 1.20.0

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, April 20, 2021



  9. Some People Who Asked to Be Removed From the Slanderous Hate Letter Against the FSF Are Still Being Denied Removal (But Not All)

    I am aware of some people (evidence is in the public domain for all to see) who asked to be removed from the hate list; their requests have not yet been processed, or simply denied. Maybe they should ask again. There are silent and selective changes.



  10. Overt Abuse and Mischaracterisations by Bully de Blanc

    The campaign to ruin the FSF and silence its founder, Richard M. Stallman (RMS), goes months prior to the hate letter set up by Bully de Blanc, her boss, and the Microsoft-sponsored OSI; they just attack the licence (GPL/copyleft) and they try to redefine things for the corporations which fund them



  11. According to StatCounter, This Month GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktops/Laptops Exceeded 2% (Based on Sites They Monitor)

    StatCounter does not monitor everything and not every machine connects to the Web, but in relative terms, based on the chart above, no doubt GNU/Linux continues growing relative to other operating systems (chart plotted based on the latest raw data, rendered in LibreOffice Calc)



  12. At the EPO, Lawlessness Has Become “a New Normal”

    Without as much as a real consultation with those who are impacted (by the EPO's gross infringements) the management of the EPO rushes ahead again, enjoying zero oversight, no legal review, and no accountability or scrutiny of any kind



  13. Links 20/4/2021: Tails 4.18 and Mark Surman in Mozilla's Board of Directors

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft as a Censorship Machine Working to Undermine Free Software and Code Sharing (Also Sharing in General)

    Microsoft is, as usual, a tool of destruction rather than creation; it seems to be better at ruining things and censoring things, notably things that compete against Microsoft or pose a threat to Microsoft's business model (and close partners, such as RIAA)



  15. Phoronix Needs to Exercise Caution and Stay Vigilant/Careful of Microsoft

    Taking note or lessons from the blunder of Raspberry Pi (back in February), Phoronix should be careful of Microsoft 'freebies' as they're never free and there are strings attached, destined to alienate longtime supporters



  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 19, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, April 19, 2021



  17. Links 20/4/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 2.7.1, Phoronix Takes Microsoft 'Freebies', Microsoft Trying to Steal Credit for Linux on Mars

    Links for the day



  18. Richard Stallman on How UPC is a Trojan Horse for Software Patents in Europe

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, offers his analysis of the Unitary Patent (or UPC) and what it means for software patents in Europe now that the EPO increases its influence over continental law



  19. Technology Can Make Life Worse, Even in the Public Sector, Not Just the Private Sector

    There are growing concerns — increasingly justified concerns as a matter of fact — that customer service is universally going away and “COVID” has become the impenetrable shield or a cover in the face of facts, laws, and basic rights



  20. Links 19/4/2021: LibreSSL 3.3.2, OpenSSH 8.6, Firefox 88

    Links for the day



  21. Time to Move to Gemini, Wherever/Whenever Possible, as the World Wide Web is a Burden on Everybody

    A 30-minute rant about what the Web has become and the promise of gemini:// (designed to simplify everything, enable self-hosting, preserve privacy, and empower communities rather than military-connected monopolies)



  22. The Number of Signatures in the Anti-FSF Petition is Decreasing, Not Increasing

    A reader has notified Techrights that belatedly, perhaps where people’s job is at risk (we’ve heard of stories and situations wherein the employer’s view and a worker’s view diverge), the GNOME Foundation/OSI did in fact remove some people from the hate letter they had set up for their monopolistic sponsors. We do, however, still see some names in there of people who asked to be removed, so it must be a very selective process. They don’t want to lose face, so they must have made it very difficult to revoke one’s name. Exceptional circumstances? We have checked to confirm, based on the available archives, and indeed that number decreased since 10 days ago, whereas 6,415 people have thus far signed the support letter (it's still growing), so we’ve just re-plotted the chart.



  23. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, April 18, 2021



  24. How Many People Developed GNU (Maybe Hundreds) in the 1980s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains how code was managed and contributed in the early days of GNU



  25. Links 19/4/2021: Linux 5.12 RC8, GNU Poke 1.2, EndeavourOS 2021.04

    Links for the day



  26. Proprietary Software (BT Hub) Has Ruined My Whole Day

    While we did have some plans to publish long articles, those plans were curtailed or at least delayed due to the fact our sole device at home not to be controlled by us (a so-called 'Smart' Hub from BT) decided to break itself and by doing so bring productivity to a standstill (that firmware update, silently installed without notice or any form of consent, managed to screw with the local network)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 17, 2021



  28. Tolerating the Intolerant and Lacking Tolerance for Opposing Views

    The person who shouted...



  29. Letter of Support for Richard Stallman - Doing Better in Community

    "How do you support someone you’ve known for years who is unfairly attacked and publicly maligned?"



  30. Richard Stallman on Rejecting Workplace Bureaucracy in the 1970s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains what inspired him to get involved in non-software matters


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