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02.18.10

Patents Roundup: Centrify Brings Microsoft Patents to *NIX, Red Hat Denounces the Patent Trolls, and Google Still Endorses Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Google, IBM, Interoperability, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Patents, Red Hat, Samba, Servers, UNIX at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Centrify

THIS post will be kept as short and compressed as possible due to lack of time.

Centrify

Centrify is a company whose genesis we explained before (Microsoft). We do not trust Centrify and its new product does not excite us because it brings Microsoft patents over to UNIX and Linux instead of encouraging standards. But anyway, here is its latest press release:

The new DirectManage Deployment Manager discovers UNIX and Linux systems within the environment, determines their readiness to join Active Directory, and enables administrators to promptly deploy the Centrify Suite to the targeted systems, and join the systems to the Active Directory domain.

The problem with Active Directory is similar to the problem with Mono and Moonlight. With Samba, Microsoft is at least forced to play nice (because of the European Commission).

Google

It is no secret that Google has been somewhat of a problem when it comes to software patents (just like IBM). We have already produced a lot of evidence, including videos that show Google executives talking about the subject, but here is more new evidence for the pile:

Google Patents Country-Specific Content Blocking

theodp writes “Today Google was awarded US Patent No. 7,664,751 for its invention of Variable User Interface Based on Document Access Privileges, which the search giant explains can be used to restrict what Internet content people can see ‘based on geographical location information of the user and based on access rights possessed for the document.’ From the patent: ‘For example, readers from the United States may be given “partial” access to the document while readers in Canada may be given “full” access to the document. This may be because the content provider has been granted full rights in the document from the publisher for Canadian readers but has not been granted rights in the United States, so the content provider may choose to only enable fair use display for readers in the United States.’ Oh well, at least Google is ‘no longer willing to continue censoring [their] results on Google.cn.’”

That is a soft patent.

Red Hat

Rob Tiller, a top Red Hat lawyer who frequently speaks about the subject of software patents, has just unleashed this post titled “Calling a troll a troll” (with the picture we used a few weeks ago).

It is clear enough what message Tiller is trying to get across:

There is increasing recognition in the FOSS ecosystem that troll lawsuits are a serious problem for open source. This is an unfortunate but real indicator of the remarkable success of open source. As the profits and profiles of open source products have risen, even trolls have taken note. So much for the good news. The bad news is that trolls view open source like a Somali pirate views a container ship – that is, purely as a target. Troll lawsuits are at best a tax on collaborative innovation and at worst, for a particular target, an existential threat.

Quintura

Speaking of trolls, here is what DownloadSquad has to say about Quintura: “Quintura chooses software patent claims as revenue stream”

I’m not a fan of software patents, and I’m particularly not a fan of companies who use them as a business model. While the concept of patenting software makes sense, in practice it is a complete mess.

Patents are not products. They are only a hindrance.

ACTA

On many occasions in the past we’ve explained why ACTA makes the patent system even worse. The president of the FFII therefore tracks developments around the ACTA and some days ago he showed a European “MEP ask[ing] for ACTA docs, [should] start a motion based on Lisbon Article 218 “parliament fully informed”.” He also wrote about a “New ACTA leak, it is a memo from the European Commission to the European Parliament INTA (LIMITED!)”

The cited posts are not in English [1, 2], but they hopefully help. The FFII’s president is Belgian. Yesterday he linked to this article and wrote that the “European Parliament points to the high cost of the patent system for SMEs, and the threat of litigation of patent trolls.”

This system needs mending, but ACTA takes it in the very opposite direction.

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