04.13.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

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

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.

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).

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 20/05/2022: Thunderbird Revenue Rising

    Links for the day



  2. Outsourcing Sites to Social Control Media is an Outdated Mindset in 2022

    Centralised or federated censorship/filtering platforms (also known as "social [control] media" [sic]) aren't the way forward; we're therefore a little surprised that Linux Weekly News (LWN) bothers with that languishing bandwagon all of a sudden



  3. Links 20/05/2022: Plasma's Latest Beta in Kubuntu 22.04, Kapow 1.6.0 Released

    Links for the day



  4. Turkey's Migration to Pardus Linux and LibreOffice Explained 2 Months Ago in LibrePlanet

    This talk by Hüseyin GÜÇ was uploaded under the title “Real world GNU/Linux story from Istanbul”



  5. In Turkey, Windows Market Share is Down to Almost Nothing, 'Linux' is About Two Thirds of the Connected Devices

    Watch this graph of Windows going down from around 99.5% to just 11.55% this month



  6. The Lies and Delusions of António Campinos

    Monopolies and American corporations (and their lawyers) are a priority for today's EPO, Europe's second-largest institution



  7. Links 20/05/2022: Fedora BIOS Boot SIG

    Links for the day



  8. Links 20/05/2022: Oracle Linux 8.6 and VMware Security Crisis

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 19, 2022



  10. Links 19/05/2022: Rust 1.61.0 and Lots of Security FUD

    Links for the day



  11. EPO Eating Its Own (and Robbing Its Own)

    António Campinos is lying to his staff and losing his temper when challenged about it; Like Benoît Battistelli, who ‘fixed’ this job for his banker buddy (despite a clear lack of qualifications and relevant experience), he’s just robbing the EPO’s staff (even pensioners!) and scrubbing the EPC for ill-gotten money, which is in turn illegally funneled into financialization schemes



  12. [Meme] EPO Budget Tanking?

    While the EPO‘s António Campinos incites people (and politicians) to break the law he’s also attacking, robbing, and lying to his own staff; thankfully, his staff isn’t gullible enough and some MEPs are sympathetic; soon to follow is a video and publication about the EPO’s systematic plunder (ETA midnight GMT)



  13. EPO.org (Official EPO Site) Continues to Promote Illegal Agenda and Exploit Ukraine for PR Stunts That Help Unaccountable Crooks

    epo.org has been turned into a non-stop propaganda machine of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos because the EPO routinely breaks the law; it’s rather tasteless that while Ukrainians are dying the EPO’s mob exploits Ukraine for PR purposes



  14. [Meme] EPO Applicants Unwittingly Fund the War on Ukraine

    As we’ve just shown, António Campinos is desperately trying to hide a massive EPO scandal



  15. EPO Virtue-Signalling on the Ukrainian Front

    António Campinos persists in attention-shifting dross and photo ops; none of that can change the verifiable facts about the EPO’s connections to Lukashenko’s 'science park' in Minsk



  16. Links 19/05/2022: PostgreSQL 15 Beta 1 and Plasma 5.25 Beta

    Links for the day



  17. A Libera.Chat Anniversary and Happy Birthday (Maybe the Last) to 'Leenode'

    What became known as the so-called ‘Leenode’ is a cautionary tale, but maybe it is also a blessing in disguise because IRC as a whole seem to have become a lot more decentralised (as everything should be)



  18. Links 19/05/2022: The Gradual Fall of Netflix/DRM

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 18, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 18, 2022



  20. Links 18/05/2022: Qt Company Loses Chief; OpenSUSE Leap Micro 5.2 and RHEL 9 Final

    Links for the day



  21. Jim Zemlin's Wife is Funded by Puppies (Microsoft)

    Jim Zemlin — like his wife — is bagging millions from Microsoft, but that’s clearly a conflict of interest for the Linux Foundation



  22. Links 18/05/2022: More Defections From WordPress to Gemini

    Links for the day



  23. Links 18/05/2022: PikaScript and cURL's Annual User Survey

    Links for the day



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 17, 2022



  25. Phoronix: Microsoft and Phoronix Sponsor (and Close Microsoft Partner) AMD All Over the Place

    When you’re taking massive 'gifts' from AMD (and also some from Microsoft) maybe it’s not surprising that editorial decisions change somewhat…



  26. EPO Has No F-ing Oversight

    Earlier today SUEPO mentioned this new article demonstrating that EPO President António Campinos can very obviously and blatantly violate the Code of Conduct of the Office without facing any consequences; there are translations too, so the report is now available in four languages



  27. [Meme] Linux-Rejecting Foundation

    The Linux Foundation never really leads by example; by default, it uses proprietary software



  28. Linux Foundation Almost Never Uses Open Source

    The Linux Foundation uses proprietary software (look where they hire and take money from) and be sure they're probably not even aware of it



  29. Links 17/05/2022: Many More Games on GNU/Linux, YaST Development Report

    Links for the day



  30. Links 17/05/2022: Rocky Linux 8.6 and Budgie Desktop in Fedora

    Links for the day


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