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Summary: The USPTO’s database is given help from the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures
Microsoft’s patent troll Nathan Myhrvold is mentioned in the following new post from O’Reilly (Microsoft partner). The post itself is not related to O’Reilly, but it seemingly gives praise to the world’s largest patent troll, without taking into sufficient account the effect on others.
It goes without saying that Google, the Internet Archive, and Intellectual Ventures are 3 groups that don’t often work together, and I think this illustrates the compelling public interest in making the patent database more broadly available.
As the first comment raises an important point about motives of Microsoft’s patent troll, a followup from Carl Malamud soon arrives, which pretty much gives it away:
Intellectual Ventures bought all the commercial data feeds from USPTO which come on DVDs. That includes page images, applications, grants. They’re one of a dozen vendors to have bought these roughly 1,000 DVDs of data.
Intellectual Ventures is simply putting the 1,000 DVDs on a disk drive, and making it available to people like the Internet Archive (Brewster got his disk last night) and Public.Resource.Org (we’re expecting ours this week).
In addition to the data on the commercial products, there is additional information available on-line inside of the PAIR system. People have tried for a while to crawl PAIR, but the PTO infrastructure is so poor that it was quickly overloaded and they put in a CAPTCHA system. So, individuals have been able to access this additional info on a one-off basis, but bulk providers have been unable to incorporate it into their systems.
Our goal is to *not* be in the crawling PAIR business, but it is a decent stopgap, particularly when coupled with the bulk DVD data, and hopefully will motivate the PTO to take more positive steps to provide their own database directly to the public.
So Nathan Myhrvold is only promoting the USPTO, which is his welfare system. It’s a case of self interests.
“[W]hat bizarre bedfellows,” claims Glyn Moody, who also wrote this new post about the main financier of Intellectual Ventures, who in turn has his own patent-hoarding firm. Yes, it’s about Bill Gates. For whatever reason, a convicted criminal is being held up as a role model.
If we’re searching for an “IT wizard” to hold up as an example, why not look closer to home, and choose Sir Tim Berners-Lee? He not only invented the Web, he *gave it away*, as one of the most glorious acts of altruism we’ve seen in recent years, kick-starting technological, economic and social changes that are probably unmatched since the Industrial Revolution.
Isn’t that something worth celebrating, and encouraging others to emulate? Or are we so mired in greedy materialism that we must instead hold up a man who not only accumulated a truly obscene amount of money by overcharging people for defective software through smart marketing, but is also founder of a company that was found to be a monopoly?
With regard to Bill Gates, he wasn’t a programmer and he was ridiculed by colleagues when he tried to write code. He also sabotaged computers in his younger days in order to make business. It was always about money because that was his professional background, in part. Nowadays, he is using a tax-exempt body to generate more profit and eclipse a history of unlawful activity using public relations professionals.
How easy it must be to forget who contributed to science, as opposed to those who instead focused on profit. It’s apparently about one who plundered the most, breaking the law all along. Glorification of the wealthy, no matter their deeds. █
“He [Bill Gates] is divisive. He is manipulative. He is a user. He has taken much from me and the industry.”
Summary: Novell’s latest moves clearly show a technical convergence with Microsoft, so why treat these companies separately?
OVER the past couple of days we’ve had the opportunity to comment on Novell’s fawning over .NET. See the following posts:
As a quick summary — based on this press release where Novell advertises Microsoft Visual Studio — it becomes clear that Novell is merely a drone. To quote what Ramon Cahenzli told me about an hour ago, “I think it’s hopeless now, what was once Novell is now a hollowed-out carcass operating in zombie mode for its overlord.”
Novell’s vice president, who is also a highly-groomed board member at Microsoft's CodePlex, is one among the Mono developers who are promoting Microsoft Visual Studio in their blogs (it’s also a bit of a Vista 7 advertisement). Although he is trying to put a spin on it using some blogs that may address the gullible, more informed individuals form their own opinions and write for example:
Today, Tuesday November 10, 2009, Novell announces a Visual Studio plugin that allows support for non-Microsoft operating systems that use .NET code development on a platform known as Mono via a new product called Mono Tools for Visual Studio 1.0. This is not a cost free toolset. In fact, it’s really quite pricey–starting at $99 for the Professional (Individual) version. Of course, compared to the exorbitant price of Visual Studio, that’s a mere pittance.
What do you think? Do you think the SUSE-only limitation is too great for widespread adoption or do you think it’s OK?
Microsoft is using Novell to increase use of proprietary software and sales of licences for Windows and Visual Studio. How is this beneficial to Free software? Had Novell wanted to promote cross-platform development and Free software at the same time, then it would allocate resources to projects like KDevelop. Instead, Novell has chosen to add features to Microsoft Visual Studio. As ITWire puts it in a new article:
Novell has produced technology like Moonlight, a clone of Microsoft’s Silverlight, courtesy of its vice-president, Miguel de Icaza, who has morphed from a free software supporter into a Microsoft apologist. But this software obviously isn’t ready for prime time; else why is Novell continuing to use Flash, with which Moonlight competes, on its own website?
Novell can also take credit for continuing to fund the Mono project, which is an attempt to clone Microsoft’s .NET development environment. As De Icaza puts it, Windows developers will start developing for Linux because of Mono. Sure. And I’ll be the next president of Mexico, senor.
If things are going so swimmingly at Novell and the Microsoft pact is salvation from on high, then why were nearly four percent of staff at Novell sacked recently? We haven’t seen any sackings at Red Hat, have we? Both companies are operating in the same Linux space.
If the pact with Microsoft was to bring better times, why did Novell end fiscal 2007 with a loss of $US44.4 million? A year later, it was still haemorrhaging – the losses were $US8.7 million. And 2009 isn’t looking so hot either.
Novell is currently very busy telling its lies to the public. Here is the joint Microsoft/Novell press release respun in order to defend the patent deal and also some feedback from real users of GNU/Linux:
i wonder what will happen if the sco mess
ever gets finished. will microsoft buy
novell or get novell to sell them unix.
will they then come after the rest of linux ?
If u want to get warts use gnome.
if u want to not get warts use KDE.
In reply to the above, says a Linux Today regular:
I would think (and certainly hope) that a Microsoft take over of Novell would never make it past the regulators. But if somehow MS came into possession of the Unix copyrights, I doubt they would get very far in trying to use them to “come after Linux.” Before the SCO vs IBM trial got short circuited by the copyright question, IBM was making mince meat out of SCO on the merit of the “claims.”
Whose side is Novell on? █
“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”
–LinuxToday Managing Editor
Summary: In order to bring change through the Bilski case, USPTO Director David Kappos may wish to review feedback from patent critics
IN two prior posts about the latest Bilski hearing [1, 2] we showed that there was substantiable hope for the abolishment of software patents. David Kappos, the new USPTO Director who seems a little hostile towards excessive patenting, finally has a blog and hopefully he will read other blogs too.
Groklaw, for instance, has just shown that Microsoft earns a patent on something that has been around for ages and predates Microsoft’s implementation maybe by decades. We wrote about this before (two and a half years ago).
Lordy, lordy, lordy. They have no shame. It appears that Microsoft has just patented sudo, a personalized version of it.
Here it is, patent number7617530. Thanks, USPTO, for giving Microsoft, which is already a monopoly, a monopoly on something that’s been in use since 1980 and wasn’t invented by Microsoft. Here’s Wikipedia’s description of sudo, which you can meaningfully compare to Microsoft’s description of its “invention”.
This is why what the US Supreme Court does about software patents means so much. Hopefully they will address the topic in their decision on Bilski. Sudo is an integral part of the functioning of GNU/Linux systems, and you use it in Mac OSX also. Maybe the Supreme Court doesn’t know that, and maybe the USPTO didn’t realize it. But do you believe Microsoft knows it?
It seems like old news (except the acceptance of this latest one) and it is only to be expected because Microsoft employees are explicitly instructed neither to look at other patents nor consider prior art. Microsoft’s practices in this case may not be against the law (patenting without checking), but those instructions are worth criminalising. If lawyers are actively advocating such destruction of the function of the patent system, they no longer deserve a place in this industry. In the i4i case, Microsoft was caught willfully and deliberately infringing patents.
Separately, Moody wrote about In Re Bilski. Here is a key point that our reader Jose X stresses repeatedly:
Remember, the patent system is supposed to encourage innovation of just this kind – not to snuff it out.
“A human CANNOT ‘own’ an idea, a sequence of words, a sound, a smell, an algorithm, an equation, a sequence of events (aka, method) – no human thought is ‘property’ owned by the thinker to the exclusion of all others! The very idea is insanity!”
Bob Robertson points to the paper Against Intellectual Monopoly and quotes: “We show through theory and example that intellectual monopoly is not [necessary] for innovation and as a practical matter is damaging to growth.” █
“[Y]ou’re creating a new 20-year monopoly for no good reason.”
–David Kappos, Director of the USPTO
Summary: Version 2 of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) addressed by Open Forum Europe and IBM’s Bob Sutor, along with a European colleague
What has happened to EIFv2 is a very serious matter that we wrote about (in chronological order) under:
The FEFE, the FFII, and several others have expressed their “dissatisfaction” with EIFv2 (that’s putting it too kindly) and Glyn Moody points out that “Open Forum Europe blasts leaked EIFv2 [pdf] – http://bit.ly/1YWylC calls “for a withdrawal of the document”; the pressure mounts #eifv2″
Quoting the founder of the FSFE, Moody also retweets: “The idea of the “Openness Continuum” in #EIFv2 is as sensible as considering North Korea a part of the “Democracy Continuum””
Arnaud Le Hors from IBM (Europe) wrote about the subject as follows:
The leaked updated document of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) is generating a lot of noise and for good reason. It is taking back what could be considered one of the most advanced features of the previous document: its insistence on the use of open standards.
In particular, the new document contains the following puzzling piece instead:
interoperability can also be obtained without openness, for example via homogeneity of the ICT systems, which implies that all partners use, or agree to use, the same solution to implement a European Public Service.
I don’t know about you but, to me this statement simply makes no sense. And I wonder to whom it could truly make sense.
Indeed, interoperability is defined in wikipedia as “a property referring to the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together”. That seems about right to me.
So, how could “homogeneity” possibly qualify has a way of obtaining “interoperability”? Aren’t “homogeneity” and “diverse” opposing each other?
In particular, OFE objects to the diminished role stated for open standards for interoperability. If you are European, I recommend you make your voice heard, one way or the other.
Microsoft itself is busy violating the GPL and running away from justice, as usual (same story with Hyper-V [1, 2, 3]). Ars Technica reiterates the fact that Microsoft pulls the evidence away from sight. █
“There’s free software [gratis, dumpware] and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”
–Bill Gates, April 2008
Summary: Conficker is still proving profitable to Microsoft; FUD against rivals of Internet Explorer arrives from Microsoft Certified Partner, Cenzic
BACK in July, one journalist pointed out that Microsoft was making big profits by pretending to solve problems that it itself was to blame for. That main problem was Conficker, which took advantage of some very major hole in Windows. Microsoft resorted to its typical PR stunts to shift the blame to someone else (see the links appended at the bottom).
According to this new article from IDG in Canada, Microsoft makes money in British Columbia by offering a so-called ‘solution’ to problems for which it is to blame.
How B.C. hospitals deal with Conficker
Its security measures include Microsoft Corp.’s Forefront Client Security, plus a firewall from Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. of Redwood, City, Calif.
Well done, Microsoft. Conficker has made the company quite a bundle, hasn’t it?
As a side note, the other day we explained how Microsoft lies about security of Red Hat and Firefox, some of its biggest Free software opponents. As we know from experience, Microsoft prefers to ‘outsource’ the messengers of FUD because it makes this more credible and Microsoft less susceptible to backlash.
As some readers may have noticed, an obscure firm called Cenzic throws FUD at Firefox at the moment — that’s the one that we addressed the other day without referring specifically to any of the claims (why give it visibility when it is a lie?). As one of our readers points out, Cenzic was “recognized as a Microsoft Certified Partner,” based on its very own Web site. Follow the interests, follow the money. █
Summary: The US Chamber of Commerce claims “transparency” of ACTA to be satisfactory
IT WAS no surprise to many that Obama kept the ACTA secret [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] after he had appointed a large number of RIAA lawyers to guard his legal institutions (fox, meet hen house). Many references are accumulated here.
Maybe it was reasonable to expect the United States Chamber to have higher standards, but recent incidents suggest that it has no shame, either. The Chamber abused copyright-related laws in order to have “Yes Men” sued for showing some guts in the face of policies that harm the environment and now we find the Chamber lying about ACTA. In a blog post, it claims: “The U.S. Chamber is unequivocally supportive of transparency and has been satisfied with the steps USTR has taken to make the ACTA negotiation process transparent.”
What utter nonsense. From the comments (there is only one):
The Obama Administration promised transparency, yet here you are defending secrecy because that is how it has always been done.
I am appalled by your organization’s support of ACTA and the secrecy around proposed ACTA terms. With this week’s leak of the proposed ACTA terms, your administrations claims of “national security” are obviously unfounded. The American People believe you are lying because you have sold them out to international special interest who wish to oppress people all over the world over commercial transgressions. There is no evidence that the egregious enforcement of copyright law against individual citizens will make people buy more product. Losses due to piracy are imagined. Reports sighting estimates of losses are completely fabricated, and the studies are paid by the industries that would benefit by these fabricated numbers.
We usually put ACTA news only in the daily links, but to make the exception, here is NBR speaking about it:
NZ should not sign international piracy agreement
This comment comes after the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (ACTA) returned to the drawing board last week in Seoul, to further discuss how to implement and police global copyright and counterfeit matters, and to sign an international treaty.
The three day meeting of the WIPO ACE concluded on a positive note with the Committee requesting the WIPO Secretariat to ramp up its work on undertaking an “an empirical assessment of the nature and extent of intellectual infringements” given the paucity of reliable data detailing the value of “international trade in IPRs-infringing goods”.
For those who do not understand the impact of these Draconian laws, here is a good talk that covers it. WIPO too does not serve the people, it serves elite interests. All of these things directly harm Free software. █
Summary: A show called “OpenMic” has literally nothing but Novell employees in it, even members of the board of Microsoft CodePlex (Novell’s de Icaza)
TO Novell, Zonker was a wage well invested. As we pointed out before, he uses IDG to boost SUSE. He exclusively invites Novell employees (i.e. colleagues) to be guests there, essentially talking to one another under the “Open” banner. We showed this in two prior posts, namely:
Still, I’m excited because a whole new era opens for me. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be working at Novell with some heroes like Federico, Rodrigo or JP. The reason I’m excited is that this job is about GNOME (upstream and in openSUSE) and this will allow me to stay involved in the project instead of disappearing in some black hole. Pretty good stuff, if you ask me. And it will be quite a big change from the academic life I had before!
This is yet another great example of Novell boosters in the press, including GNU/Linux news sites. Zonker serves his role as a PR rep, pushing Novell and SUSE into publications and giving them visibility. He does not even make it hard to see. That’s his job. Here is a guest post by Novell’s Zonker (Joe Brockmeier) from just a few days ago; it’s all about boosting in social media. In the case above, Novell employees are treated as representatives of Free/open source software, which they are not.
Speaking of misrepresentations, Our reader Goblin says that he is “[f]ed up with sites claiming one person represents the views of everyone. Check out my reply to this article that suggests I speak for the open source community in respect of Codeplex.”
Just like you to make a correct to this article of yours.
I do not represent the FOSS community, I represent my own views/opinions.
Please do not also suggest that just because its Microsoft, the open source community will be against it. (although who can blame people for being dubious when Ballmer makes comments about cancer in respect of it)
I am not critical of Apple or Google and they are both large firms (since its also suggested FOSS supporters hate large business) The reason why Im critical of Microsoft products is because I was burned by them AND FOR ME they are not fit for purpose. I cannot say the same about Apple or Google.
Just like I wouldn’t say this site represents those who support proprietary “expeditions” into the world of FOSS, please do not seek to generalize me or anyone else merely because our choices in software differ from yours.
NOTE: Incase you decide not to print this a screengrab has been taken.
Is it not funny that IDG lets Novell become a spokesman for the “open source” community and also allows the host to bring only people from Novell (conflict of interests), including Mono boosters? █
* Third time in a row that he brings over Novell employees, three out of three overall.
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