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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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 7/12/2019: Fedora 31 Elections Results, Lots of Media Drama Over VPN Bug

    Links for the day



  2. Links 6/12/2019: DRM in GNU/Linux and Sparky Bonsai

    Links for the day



  3. The EPO Rejects Innovation

    The EPO ceased caring about the needs of scientists whose work involves invention; instead, EPO management crafts increasingly lenient guidelines that yield illegal European Patents (not compatible with the EPC) that heavily-besieged EPO judges are unable to stop



  4. Startpage CEO Robert Beens in 'Damage Control' Mode, Trying to Get Startpage Relisted After Selling to a Massive Surveillance Company

    PrivacytoolsIO is being lobbied by the CEO of Startpage to relist Startpage, based on no actual refutations at all



  5. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 05, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 05, 2019



  6. Links 5/12/2019: qBittorrent 4.2.0, Expensive Librem 5 and OpenBSD Bugs

    Links for the day



  7. Microsoft Staff Repeatedly Refuses to Tell How Many People Use WSL, Defends Patent Extortion and Blackmail of Linux Instead

    The people who develop WSL (mostly Microsoft employees) get easily irritated when asked how many people actually use this thing; but more interestingly, however, they reveal their disdain for GNU/Linux and support for Microsoft blackmail (for 'Linux patent tax')



  8. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 04, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 04, 2019



  9. Links 4/12/2019: Tails 4.1, UCS 4.4-3 and Proxmox VE 6.1

    Links for the day



  10. Google Tightens Its Noose

    Now it’s official! Google is just a bunch of shareholders looking to appease the Pentagon at all costs



  11. Europeans Still Need to Save the European Patent Office From Those Who Attack Its Patent Quality

    Patent quality is of utmost interest; without it, as we're seeing at the EPO and have already seen at the USPTO for a number of years, legal disputes will arise where neither side wins (only the lawyers win) and small, impoverished inventors or businesses will be forced to settle outside the courts over baseless allegations, often made by parasitic patent trolls (possessing low-quality patents they don't want scrutinised by courts)



  12. We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

    Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it's impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they're receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)



  13. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 03, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 03, 2019



  14. Links 3/12/2019: elementary OS 5.1 Hera, Plasma 5.17.4, Firefox 71

    Links for the day



  15. Laundering the Reputation of Criminals: That's an Actual Job

    An important reminder that the manufactured, paid-for (media is being bribed) image of Bill Gates is the product of the PR industry he enlisted to distract from his endless crimes



  16. 'Priceless' Tickets to the EPO's Back End and Team UPC

    CIPA's and the EPO's event (later this week) is more of the same; the EPO exists not to serve European businesses but a bunch of law firms and their biggest clients (which usually aren't even European)



  17. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 02, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 02, 2019



  18. New EPO Leak Shows That the Rumours and Jokes Are Partly True and We Know Who 'Runs the Show'

    Europe’s second-largest institution is so profoundly dysfunctional, a reprehensible kakistocracy of tribalism, money-grabbing career-climbing autocrats and possibly major fraud; today’s leak looks at what motivated and enabled the formation and latest incarnation of “Team Campinos”



  19. Links 2/12/2019: Linux Mint 19.3 Beta, DPL Sam Hartman Talks About SystemD

    Links for the day



  20. What Former Debian Project Leader (Second to the Late Ian Murdock) Thinks About SystemD in Debian GNU/Linux

    Now that Debian is debating and voting on diversity in the technical sense the thoughts of Bruce Perens merit broader audience/reach



  21. Free/Libre Software Will Eventually Become the Norm, 'Open Source' is Just Proprietary Software Trying to 'Buy Time'

    More people are starting to ask questions about Free software while “Open Source” languishes (people can see it’s just a mask for proprietary software); it was a two-decade delaying tactic that’s wearing off (people see GitHub and the OSI/Linux Foundation for what they really are)



  22. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 01, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 01, 2019



  23. Richard Stallman is Active and Doing Well

    The rumour mill may still be humming along; but against all odds — as Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project — Stallman keeps fighting the good fight (in the face of growing resistance)



  24. Banning Former Microsoft Employees Who Complain About Microsoft Lies, Abuses and Crimes

    The official account of Windows Insider is banning people whom it never even spoke to; this seems like a way of 'punishing' people who are not 'true believers' in Microsoft



  25. Wikileaks: Thierry Breton May Have Misused Regulatory/Government Positions to Attack His Competition (in the Market)

    Thierry 'revolving doors' Breton as seen by the United States government



  26. 13 Years of UPC Promises

    The anatomy of UPC 'fake news' or lobbying tactics along the lines of self-fulfilling prophecies and false predictions



  27. Is Water Wet?

    The criteria for patent eligibility reduced only to this question: will allowing these patents increase ‘production’ (number of patent grants)?



  28. The EPO's President Admits He's Illegally Granting Software Patents (CII, 4IR, IoT, AI and Blockchain Mean Software Patents at the EPO)

    The EPO's chief liar is openly and proudly promoting software patents using buzzwords and hype waves (and mysterious acronyms that are rather meaningless but spread by the media in exchange for money received from the EPO)



  29. Tone Policing and the Linux Foundation

    A timely example of situations where the Linux Foundation can seemingly 'cancel' people (using the Code of Conduct) for political opinions



  30. It EEEsn't Just a Microsoft Thing Anymore

    The EEErosion of Python's independence is a known problem and Microsoft is not the sole culprit


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