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

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
  • Slashdot

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. Links 14/8/2020: GNUnet 0.13.2, Mesa 20.2 RC2

    Links for the day



  2. OK, Melinda...

    Teaching children about sex at the age of seven may seem controversial to most people, but not the Gates family



  3. High-Level Criminals Associate Privacy With Crime Because They Want Privacy Only for Themselves (Control But No Accountability)

    Tyrannical tendencies from the non-scientist who tries to paint himself as Mr. “science” (Jeffrey Epstein tried to do exactly the same thing, which is why he and Gates paid universities) are bare naked for everybody to see



  4. It Was Mozilla -- Not Google (or Chrome) -- That Liberated the World Wide Web From MSIE Monoculture and O/S Vendor Lock-in, But Firefox is Likely Dying

    Mozilla's attitude towards software freedom, privacy, and the most widely used free/libre operating system (O/S) isn't helping the "protected media" (DRM) Fox because its biggest selling point is becoming outdated/irrelevant/neglected



  5. Ars Technica, ZDNet and Bleeping Nonsense Still Misreporting to Blame 'Linux' for Malware One Can Merely Add to Linux (Distracting From Systems With Back Doors, Such as Windows)

    A revised (spun) 'report' that we alluded to last night is spreading to more sites today or overnight; but it's totally distorting the situation to make "Linux" seem a lot more dangerous than it really is



  6. DistroTube Does a Richard Stallman

    A video published yesterday in various sites



  7. Reporting Facts is Never a Crime (It Must Not Become That Way)

    The two-party political system in the United States is racing towards bipartisan (transcending perceived 'wings') rejection of free press, which won't be on the ballot box except for "third" parties; it's a real problem because it's designed to weaken if not obliterate accountability



  8. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, August 13, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, August 13, 2020



  9. [Meme] Linux Foundation and ZDNet Openwashing Proprietary Mass Surveillance (for a Fee!)

    The Linux Foundation and ZDNet tell us that Facebook is “open” (because it pays for that openwashing); the Foundation’s love of mass surveillance and spin regarding such surveillance is reaching new heights for the Foundation, clearly misusing the “Linux” brand, is rapidly becoming a leading voice for malicious surveillance companies that need openwashing to merely seem or feel “ethical”



  10. [Meme] IBM and Its Shakeups (Shaking up of the Earth)

    The Linux Foundation helps IBM seed shallow press coverage [1-6] about how IBM supposedly ‘saves the world from earthquakes’ 75 years after atomic bombs were dropped on Japan (after IBM had helped develop these), causing earthquakes-like effects and deaths of hundreds of thousands of people



  11. Backup: KIRO Report About Arrest of Rick Allen Jones

    We're making a mirror of this report as the media never touches the topic anymore



  12. Promoting False Perspectives and Narratives About GNU/Linux to Let Microsoft Dominate/Control Everything (Sometimes Quite Cynically in the Name of 'Security' or 'Responsibility')

    Microsoft's "perception management" games are progressing and are finding their way into official blogs of supposed 'competitors' like Canonical and SUSE



  13. Links 13/8/2020: New LibreOffice 6.4.x, Linspire 9.0, Endless OS 3.8.5

    Links for the day



  14. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) Identified Some of the Children in the Pornographic 'Stash' of Bill Gates' Engineer

    Today we carefully and responsibly disclose just 9 pages (out of about 2700 pages) with slightly redacted samples and a handful of exemptions to show what Bill Gates' engineer was amassing, including identified kids (known to NCMEC)



  15. A Red Hat Response to Factual Information About Red Hat

    So far we've seen only Red Hat employees blasting our articles about Red Hat/IBM and the responses lack any substance, just name-calling (so we must be on the right track; there's no refutation so far)



  16. Always Look for Stories the Media is Suppressing and Hiding

    Based upon closer scrutiny of the Jones case (engineer of Bill Gates arrested for pedophilia at the Gates mansion), the sentence he received is incredibly negligible or close to nothing (for possession and sharing/dissemination of massive troves of child pornography, typically leading to many years in prison), so we’re closely examining if he’s still working and whether he still works for Bill and Melinda (more FOIA requests may be necessary)



  17. On Web Servers, Microsoft's Collapse Continues More Rapidly Under COVID (a Million Domains Lost in the Past Month)

    Even though the Microsoft-sponsored media repeatedly refuses (or strangely enough just 'fails') to report on it, the days of Microsoft's IIS are likely numbered; it won't be long before less than a million computers run it



  18. Canonical is Boosting Microsoft's Proprietary Software With Extensive Surveillance

    Canonical’s commitment to Free software barely exists; with so-called “Apps” and “Snaps” and “Stores” we’re seeing a gradual transition to — and acceptance of — blobs and DRM, including Microsoft lock-in inside Ubuntu



  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, August 12, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, August 12, 2020



  20. Harfbuzz Joins LibFFI, Zlib1g in Dragging GNOME, All Free Software Towards Microsoft

    "...I don’t want to help them help Microsoft control my computing by proxy — by controlling the development platform itself"



  21. Links 12/8/2020: Go 1.15, LibreOffice 7.0 Downloaded About Half a Million Times, LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.4

    Links for the day



  22. Mega Setup, Mini Budget

    For a sum total of under £800 (eight hundred British pounds are about USD/$1043) one can piece together a versatile working environment (my latest additions, as of 5 days ago, are the 4 plastic plants)



  23. Twitter Appears to Have Taken Vendor/Platform Lock-in up Another Notch, Having Become Almost as Malicious as Facebook

    Twitter jumped the shark



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, August 11, 2020



  25. Infographic by Marcia Wilbur: Where's My Refund?!

    Tweet by Marcia Wilbur:



  26. Links 12/8/2020: New GNU Emacs, GXml-0.20, WordPress 5.5, and Mozilla is Laying off 250 Staff

    Links for the day



  27. You Just Know Somebody is in a State of Retreat When the Strategy Becomes to Discredit One's Critics (or Collectively Paint Them All as Wrong/Crazy)

    A goulash of bullcrap from Bill Gates doesn't add up; it seems like his media strategy has warped (or fallen back) onto discrediting his critics as though they don't exist, don't know anything, or are simply jealous



  28. United States v IBM Archives/Resources

    As the massive case against IBM monopoly (United States v IBM; 104,400 pages of trial transcripts and 17,000 exhibits) predates the World Wide Web it's difficult to find comprehensive literature about it any longer (Wikipedia and more modern sites are instruments of revisionism and reputation laundering)



  29. History Goes in Cycles

    Just like antiwar activism was 'quelled' or 'pacified' half a century ago nowadays we're led to think that software freedom is just fine and there's nothing left to argue about (except words and other petty nonsense)



  30. Looking Back at the Real Story of Microsoft

    Let's take a moment to examine what Microsoft was all along (since its formation in 1975)


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