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

02.24.10

When Microsoft Racketeering Meets Apathy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Where are we on this Jihad?”

Bill Gates

Summary: Microsoft’s extortion racket against Free software is debated further and the Linux Foundation, which is not opposed to software patents, chooses to ignore the problem

IN OUR PREVIOUS TWO posts about the Amazon patent deal with Microsoft [1, 2] we called for a boycott against Amazon and complaints about Microsoft, which are hinged on the RICO Act. Microsoft has become a rogue corporation that operates based on threats or retaliation and that’s just neither acceptable nor legal. “I’m outraged,” says this one person who explains what Microsoft is doing here:

Every time I read about these ‘secret’ deals I’m outraged. M$ consistently alleges patent infringements in Linux without exposing the details.

So, first of all, the alleged infringements cannot be challenged, tested and validated or removed if extant, or kicked into touch if not validated. M$ use their (financial) muscle to achieve this, intimidation by any other name.

Furthermore, I’ve always understood that once a patent infringement is identified (alleged) it must be exposed to preclude profiteering. Secret deals do not satisfy this satisfy this requirement and, are in my opinion an abuse of an already discredited patent system by a discredited monopolist. It seems to me that this is just legal chicanery and legal extortion (the new version of the twenties protection racket).

Ballmer used to speak of Linux as a cancer. It seems to me that M$ are now the cancer, exhibiting all the symptoms of the development, growth and potential consequences of a cancer.

Microsoft booster Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says that “Microsoft puts an end to Amazon’s ‘free’ Linux usage” (that’s his headline) and other articles [1, 2, 3] put it more gently. Microsoft Nick just cites someone who knows better:

As my colleague Darryl Taft points out in his most excellent article on eWEEK, Microsoft has signed more than 600 licensing agreements since launching its IP licensing program in 2003, with companies ranging from Apple and Hewlett-Packard to Nikon and Fuji Xerox. Such deals help avoid those pesky patent-infringement lawsuits hated by virtually everybody except intellectual-property attorneys with Bentley payments.

Yes, that’s Hewlett-Packard (HP) in there. There is some interesting history to be seen. Consider this similarity between Dell and HP when it comes to patent cross-licensing. According to the following (and maybe it’s just incorrect), HP may have also caved somewhere along the way:

Microsoft has long maintained that free and open-source software violates 235 of its patents. It’s already used this fact to coax companies including Novell, HP and TomTom into signing patent agreements.

The deal has already stirred up open-source advocates. “If the strategy isn’t to create uncertainty around Linux, it’s hard to say what it is,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.

What disappoints us but not exactly surprises us is that Zemlin, speaking on behalf of the Linux Foundation, says that there is “Nothing to See Here”. He writes:

Companies reach broad cross-license agreements all the time, never disclose the patents involved and don’t often issue press releases about it. Amazing how despite the “broad range of products and technology” covered in their cross license, Microsoft chose to focus on Linux and open source – distinctly calling it out from “proprietary software” and wasn’t specific about any patents.

What Zemlin might not say though is that he works for advocates of software patents. As the president of the FFII put it last night, “The Linux Foundation supports the USPTO’s drive to improve the quality of software patents.” It’s not exactly news that it's a front of IBM et al (IBM is supporting software patents) and Todd Bishop calls them “Linux boosters”, arguing that they “give a shrug to Amazon’s Microsoft patent deal” (that again is from the headline).

Well, IBM or the Linux Foundation are not spokespeople of the whole GNU/Linux system; maybe they speak for the kernel, but the operating system involves many more people and groups. Here is the ‘Microsoft press’ referring to the Novell deal in its coverage of this latest deal with Amazon.

Microsoft elicited controversy among open source Linux advocates when it announced a deal with Novell in November of 2006 over IP used in Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. In May of 2007, Microsoft was accused of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt over Linux licensing after a Microsoft executive claimed that Linux violated 235 of Microsoft’s patents.

It’s Novell that came to Microsoft and started a lot of this patent crusade against GNU/Linux. This is why Boycott Novell exists.

Pamela Jones from Groklaw wrote the following text about this deal with Amazon:

Amazon isn’t a Linux company, and it sells a hardware device. And I gather Microsoft’s MO is to make any company signing up with them in a patent cross licensing deal sign an NDA, so only Microsoft speaks in public, then they put out a press release which makes claims no one can check or verify, wave their arms about Linux, then go on to the next victim. Unless they show some details, it means absolutely nothing to me, except that Microsoft is very good at marketing (fear, uncertainty and doubt.)

ZDNet makes a Nazi era analogy and Jason from The Source feels similarly (to Groklaw). Here is one report that says:

The paper also says that Microsoft has reached a patent licensing agreement with Amazon.com that gives the online retailer rights to use open source software in its Kindle e-book reader. At the moment, the Kindle uses both open source and proprietary software components made by Amazon. Under the agreement, Microsoft said Amazon will pay it an undisclosed sum.

As long as Amazon does not deny Microsoft’s statement about the Kindle and GNU/Linux servers being part of this deal, well… then Amazon is complicit.

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. your_friend said,

    February 25, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Gravatar

    No one can speak for the Linux kernel, it is free software and has no owners. The Linux Foundation may do good or bad things to Linux and they own the trademark, but ultimately, GNU/Linux belongs to each person who uses it as long as the user avoids non free software. Linux itself is only one of many free kernels.

    Software patents threaten all software freedom and the Linux Foundation will learn this at great and immediate cost. ACTA, if it’s as bad as people fear, will allow the people who stole the first generation of free software to steal everything in the GNU/Linux world. The software will live on, in the stale and sad kind of condition that BSD lives in Windows, but the Linux Foundation and most of the wonderful companies using free software will be eliminated. People who ignore threats to their freedom for some small advantage now will learn the price of slavery later.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    February 25, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Gravatar

    Speaking of secret deals, what happened with M$ versus the UK schools? BECTA was going to publish how much the UK flushes down the drain on M$ products. How much did it turn out to be?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I don’t think they ever disclosed the numbers. If they had, I didn’t noticed.

    BECTA is no better than a parent imposing a belief system upon a child; to make matters worse, BECTA is neither a parent nor does it have a right to make that “belief system” an abusive corporation from another country.

What Else is New


  1. British Media Slams Battistelli for Attempting to Cover Up 2 Years of Juridical Abuses With Help From the Administrative Council of the EPO

    A growing voice of concern about the integrity of the European Patent Organisation, whose management appears to be in cahoots (overseers/regulators included) so as to cover up its own serious abuses



  2. Boards of Appeal Still Under Attack From Team Battistelli While the EPO Proceeds to Granting Patents on Carlsberg BEER!

    The lunacy of the EPO with its patent maximalism will likely go unchecked (and uncorrected) if Battistelli gets his way and turns the EPO into another SIPO (Croatian in the human rights sense and Chinese in the quality sense)



  3. Memo “Deliberately Leaked to Cover up the UPC” With Its Many Associated Issues Amid Brexit

    Some eye-opening updates about the awkward move from Lucy Neville-Rolfe, who made promises (expression of intent) she can neither fulfill nor justify to the British public



  4. Links 8/12/2016: Korora GNU/Linux 25, SparkyLinux 4.5.1

    Links for the day



  5. Links 7/12/2016: ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5, Ubuntu Touch OTA-14

    Links for the day



  6. The UPC Scam Part VII: A Fine Mess in the Making, as Nothing Can be Made of It Amid/After Brexit

    The final part in this multi-part series about UPC, which cannot be implemented in the UK as long as Brexit is on the agenda



  7. The UPC Scam Part VI: The Real Story Which People Missed Due to Puff Pieces Seeded by Battistelli-Bribed Media is That UPC Technically Cannot Come to the UK

    Another long installment in a multi-part series about UPC at times of post-truth Battistelli-led EPO, which pays the media to repeat the lies and pretend that the UPC is inevitable so as to compel politicians to welcome it regardless of desirability and practicability



  8. EPO Spiraling Down the Drain as Experienced Examiners and Judges Are Seemingly Being Replaced by Interns

    Implementing yet more of his terrible ideas and so-called 'reforms', Battistelli seems to be racing to the bottom of everything (patent quality, staff experience, labour rights, working conditions, access to justice etc.)



  9. A Lot of News From the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Today, With Some Important Decisions on Patents Coming Soon

    A roundup of today's outcomes from the US Supreme Court, which intends to review and decide on important patent cases



  10. In Historic Blow to Design Patents, Apple Loses to Samsung at the Supreme Court

    A $399 million judgment against Android devices from Samsung, with potential implications for other Android OEMs, is rejected by SCOTUS



  11. Good Riddance. Ray Niro is Dead.

    The infamous father of patent trolling is dead, so we need to remember his real legacy rather than rewrite his history to appease his rich relatives (enriched by destroying real companies)



  12. EPO Suicides Greater in Number Than is Widely Reported, Unjust System a Contributor to These

    The horrible regime of Benoît Battistelli has an enormous human toll (fatalities), far greater than the Office is willing to publicly acknowledge



  13. Lobbying Disguised as 'Reporting' by the Patent Microcosm, Which Wants More Patents and More Lawsuits (Lawyers Needed)

    A rebuttal to some new articles about patents, especially those that strive to increase patent-related activities (usually for personal gain)



  14. USPTO Echo Chamber That Lacks Actual Software Professionals Deciding on Patentability of Software

    A look at yesterday's "Roundtable on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility," which lacked involvement from those actually affected by patents rather than those who sell, trade, and exploit these



  15. More Examples of Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Taxing Linux, Even After Microsoft 'Joined' (Paid) the Linux Foundation

    A quick look at the past week's news and clues about Microsoft's (and its broad army of patent trolls) strategy for taxing Linux, or imposing bundling at zero cost (to Microsoft)



  16. Heiko Maas, the SPD “Cash for Access” Affair, and Suspicions of Unwarranted Censorship at IP Kat (Again)

    Unsayable views or just a glitch? Readers of IP Kat express concern about a culture of censorship at IP Kat



  17. Endgame for Battistelli at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Battistelli turns bad into worse by spitting on the very notion of accepting justice (from the highest court in The Hague or even the UN in this case)



  18. Les Échos Chamber: Having Corrupted the Media (With EPO Money), Battistelli Now Uses It for More UPC Propaganda

    The lies about the Unitary Patent are now being broadcast (Battistelli given the platform) by the publication that Battistelli pays



  19. Rumour: EPO in Berlin the Next Casualty of Battistelli's 'Reform' (Organisational Suicide Plan)

    Months after we learned that a former staff representative in Berlin had been dismissed we come across an anonymous claim that Berlin's 'branch' of the EPO will be folded onto Munich's



  20. Caricature: the Maas App

    The failure of Maas to even bother with regulation of Battistelli (among others) earns him this cartoon



  21. Links 5/12/2016: Linux 4.9 RC 8, DeepMind as FOSS

    Links for the day



  22. Leaked: Battistelli Acknowledges Bunk 'Justice' in About 100 Cases at the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

    A look at Battistelli's response to the latest from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), exceptionally delivering two decisions at the very end of last month



  23. The UPC Scam Part V: Unitary Patent Regime a Fantasy of Patent Trolls

    "Good for trolls" is a good way to sum up the Unitary Patent, which would give litigators plenty of business (defendants and plaintiffs, plus commissions on high claims of damages) if it ever became a reality



  24. EPO at a Tipping Point: Battistelli Quarrelling With French Politicians, Administrative Council Urged to Act, Staff Unrest Peaking

    The latest messages about Battistelli's regime at the EPO, which faces growing opposition from more directions than ever before



  25. Quality of Patents at the EPO Dependent on the Appeal Boards When Battistelli Assesses Performance Using the Wrong 'Production' Yardstick

    A look at some recent articles regarding patent quality in the US and in Europe, in particular because of growing trouble at today's EPO, which marginalises the appeal boards



  26. Microsoft's Push for Software Patents Another Reminder That There is No 'New' Microsoft

    Microsoft's continued fascination with and participation in the effort to undermine Alice so as to make software patents, which the company uses to blackmail GNU/Linux vendors, widely acceptable and applicable again



  27. Links 5/12/2016: SparkyLinux 4.5 Released, Kondik Exits Cyanogen (Destroyed After Microsoft Deal)

    Links for the day



  28. Software Patents Continue Their Invalidation Process, But Patent Law Firms Try to Deny This in Order to Attract Misinformed (or Poorly-Informed) Clients

    A roundup of news about software patents and demonstration of the sheer bias in the media, which is mostly controlled or steered by the patent microcosm rather than actual inventors



  29. Patent Trolls of Microsoft and Ericsson Are Trying to Tax Everything, Especially Linux Devices

    An update on Intellectual Ventures and Unwired Planet, whose operations pose a growing problem for Free software and Linux-based products (e.g. Android)



  30. Asia's Patent Litigation Chaos Getting Worse, Reaching Countries in the West, and Sites Like IAM Actively Promote This

    The race to the bottom (of patent quality) in China, the growth of patent trolls in the region, and the ruinous litigation strategy which now spills over even to the US -- through the Eastern District of Texas -- and may inevitably come to Europe (especially if the UPC ever becomes a reality)


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts