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08.29.09

Patents Roundup: Tuxera Came to Microsoft, TiVo Misbehaves, Updates on Facebook and Amazon

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Patent news from the past few days

Tuxera

Tuxera

WE may have some updates regarding the Tuxera situation [1, 2, 3] which continues to be covered in the news.

“Why did they do this,” wondered a reader, who eventually found this interesting bit of text in Linux Magazine:

“We came to Redmond to have an agreement, and in the end that is what we got. Three days of meetings and talking.” Even Microsoft was impressed by the eagerness with which an open source firm wanted to close a deal with them: “After we had signed, someone from Microsoft asked: ‘Have we ever done a deal so quickly?’ ‘I don’t think so,’ was the answer.”

So, it is similar to Novell in a sense. It was Novell that came to Microsoft in order to sign the deal, but it took almost half a year to work out, not 3 days.

The impact of the Tuxera deal is really bad, not just for exFAT and potentially NTFS; this deal sets a negative precedence and it also helps put a Microsoft tax on flash cards. Carla writes:

What is exFAT and why should you care? Because the SD Card Association made exFAT the standard file system for the new SDXC cards, and because exFAT is a Microsoft filesystem that claims to be like so totally interoperable, but it isn’t.

[...]

So it’s business as usual in Redmond. Never mind all the fine talk about interoperability, Job One is still controlling the entire tech industry and erecting as many toll gates as posssible. Why not use something like ext2, which it seems to me is a good candidate for a low-overhead fast embedded filesystem? It minimizes writes, supports file sizes up to 64 TiB, and supports different block sizes so you tweak it for your particular application. But good heavens no, because that would require adding a driver to Windows, and even worse would not gouge money out of everyone. No, the MS way is to force a new closed proprietary standard and make everyone else dance to their tune. Ah well, it’s economic stimulus in a way, by mandating makework industry-wide. Very innovative.

Tuxera really blew it. Why are the details of this deal kept confidential? They are likely to provide an explanation.

TiVo

TiVo is another embarrassment for Free software because although it uses Linux, it is also attacking other companies using patents [1, 2, 3]. Watch TiVo’s CEO talking about “Intellectual Property” in this article which passed through CNN.

TiVo Inc. (TIVO) needs to move quickly to stop the unauthorized use of its intellectual property, according to Chief Executive Tom Rogers.

He must have meant “intellectual monopoly”. TiVo cannot compete effectively, so it’s busy trying to extract money from other companies.

Facebook

As some people may remember, Facebook has a newly-found obsession with software patents and Mark Zuckerberg even met Microsoft's patent troll a few months ago. Here is Facebook’s latest attempt to hoard simple ideas and block competition this way.

Facebook is the biggest social network in the world, so it may come as a surprise to some that up until early 2008, it didn’t offer any localized versions of the site at all. The company managed to jumpstart its international presence with an application fittingly called Translations, which took the time-consuming and costly task of translating the site and crowd-sourced it, asking the network’s millions of users to lend a hand.

[...]

In layman’s terms, Facebook’s Translation app presents users with words that need to be translated, and they submit their entries. The system then invites other users to vote using Reddit-style up/down arrows to vote on which translations are best. This helps generate translations that are not just technically accurate, but also helps eliminate awkward or overly formal wording.

Amazon

Another company with controversial patents is Amazon with its one-click shopping patent. How ironic is this from the news?

Last month, we wrote about how Amazon was defending itself against a patent on one-click ordering (click here once — oh no are we infringing too? —– to read the story). It was funny because ten years ago Amazon had threatened the world with its own patent on one-click ordering.

Solutions

The best solution is to ban software and business method patents. They don’t belong in society as they contribute nothing towards advancement. This was proven scientifically time after time.

FFII’s president warns about a “Software Patent Troll in Sweden,” adding that the “Goodit patent seems to be granted in Sweden [but] SE514733 Can’t find it on the Swedish Patent Office website.”

Microsoft is still a key motor in trying to legalise software patents in Europe. So to those who complain that F/OSS people are “picking on” Microsoft, it is important to remind that Microsoft is “picking on” Free software. Microsoft is trying to change the law so as to illegalise Free software. Why? Because it’s convenient to Microsoft, not because it would benefit society.

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A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    August 29, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Gravatar

    Why are the details of this deal kept confidential?

    The details are secret because they are lying. We can not know the details nor why this deal happened. You should not trust what the company has to say now either because you should not trust people who hide important details from the investing public, customers and their own employees.

    These terms are intentional, M$ wishes to deliver the maximum damage with every deal. Secrecy creates mistrust that’s the antithesis of the free software community. In this case they got to threaten another piece of free software dealing with Winblows interops.

    To minimize the damage, it is best to assume that M$ did what they did to Novell. They brought an irresistibly large pile of cash to a company that was not doing so well. The worker bees get to work on for another year or two and the executives responsible for the deal get to retire rich. As long as M$ has a few billion to squander, they will be able to do this to small companies. Better terms for this are bribery, conspiracy and fraud.

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