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

04.06.10

IBM Uses Software Patents Aggressively

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, UNIX at 3:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Beware the Big Blue monster

Dragon or sea monster on carousel

Summary: New leak shows that IBM not only lobbies to keep software patents, but that it also uses them against rivals

SHAME on IBM. In many previous posts we criticised IBM's stance on software patents and now we can criticise its legal actions too.

Regardless of the motives of TurboHercules (it has joined Microsoft’s lobby [1, 2]), it is now being confirmed that IBM not only lobbies for software patents but that it is also bullying TurboHercules with software patents (in Europe!).

Florian Mueller has just uploaded the following document, which led the president of the FFII to saying that “IBM [is] threatening Open Source Mainframe emulator with software patents…”

IBM letter dated 11 March 2010 to TurboHercules SAS

Scroll down to the list of patents.

Mueller writes that “IBM is using patent warfare in order to protect its highly lucrative mainframe monopoly against Free and Open Source Software.” He argues that “IBM breaks the number one taboo of the FOSS community and shamelessly uses its patents [...] This betrayal of the promise is unbelievable, but I never believed that IBM was sincere about that pledge in the first place.”

Some might suggest that Mueller is acting as a front for Microsoft, but regardless of all that, just looking at the original complaint against TurboHercules, IBM is clearly being a bully. Those recent suggestions that IBM can/should buy Novell are therefore worth a second look. With SCO cartoons abound [1, 2], this is no joking matter. Novell is up for sale (part of the reason we transition names) and it would be undesirable for a patent bully to acquire Novell’s patents.

Regarding that Novell acquisition, longtime SCO booster Paul Murphy is at it again, connecting this to SCO [1, 2] and leading to a timely rant from Groklaw:

I confess I have been cracking myself up this time by reading old Rob Enderle, Paul Murphy, and Maureen O’Gara articles I had saved from the early days, each predicting solemnly Linux’s doom. I can’t tell you how much *more* fun it is to read them now than when they first showed up in 2003 and 2004. Remember Why SCO Should Win? Or O’Gara publishing Dan Wallace’s letter supporting SCO’s then-theory that the GPL was unConstitutional? Here’s a law professor’s answer to Wallace, by the way, for those who are new.

Ah, those were the days, weren’t they? It’s so pleasurable to reread all the heady nonsense SCO and its supporters were spewing. My favorite was Murphy promising to quit if SCO lost. Of course, he hasn’t. He’s still at it. Would you like to see his new dire prediction? He seems to think Elliot Management is a front for Microsoft or some other player who can buy SUSE and the copyrights, and then go after Red Hat and you and me.

Oh goody. Some new FUD. Let’s enter, temporarily, then Murphy’s alternate universe, because he forgot one detail. Well. Two.

It’s not entirely impossible. Actually, it seems rather likely unless some company like IBM steps in (it’s a lot cheaper than Sun). Would that be any better given that IBM endorsed Novell’s patent deal with Microsoft?

Update: The FFII has just published the original letter as PNG images.

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

8 Comments

  1. uberVU - social comments said,

    April 6, 2010 at 4:26 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Identica by schestowitz: New leak shows that #IBM not only lobbies to keep software patents, but that it also uses them against rivals http://ur1.ca/tnf1 #swpat…

  2. dyfet said,

    April 6, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Gravatar

    I suspect the existence and availability of the Hercules emulator is the primary reason there exists S/390 support in the Linux kernel and in any case a large body of GNU/Linux packages ported to or otherwise tested for it, including of course Debian s390. IBM itself has made substantial money selling and supporting GNU/Linux on S/390.

  3. Agent_Smith said,

    April 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Gravatar

    I hate to say this, but some posts ago I commented IBM, Micro$oft, crApple, are all fruits from the same tree, and can not be trusted. Now, more evidences surface…

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    We have warned about IBM for some time.

    Chips B. Malroy Reply:

    I would not put IBM in the same class as MS and Apple. Somehow, this company while not close to perfect, has a relationship with supporting Linux that few corporations do. Is IBM greedy? Yes, but I believe there have been limits to their greed in the past, that would not have stopped the folks running MS and Apple. Remember the promise of IBM to its business customers that it would release and support OS/2? IBM did that even though it was not a money maker after Warp 3, to keep its word. Yes, its right to point out the bad that IBM is doing, but they have at times taking a moral high ground that MS will never be able to look up and see.

    As far as the patents, yes I can see IBM wanting to have the same nukes as MS, Apple, and others to take to court if need be. While we would be far better off without software patents, perhaps, in the rights hands, software patents could be a threat against those who also use them as a weapon. IBM contributes to the linux kernel, so it does help us. Of course, the fact that many IBM mainframes run Linux, and that IBM is big on supporting (service and setup) many fortune 500 corps with Linux (mainly Red Hat) systems is a source of wealth to them. As long as GNU/Linux and IBM have common goals there should be no problems.

    As far as Novell being bought by IBM, MS, Apple, Google, whoever, we will see. Its hard to see who is behind the Elliot bid, as the investors are private. Which sorts of makes MS unlikely, as a public corporation MS would most likely have to account for that money if it was in Elliot. Still, that does not stop private individuals like some of the ones that founded MS, or maybe their fronts, from being behind Elliot. Still its unlikely, the most likely case is Elliot is simply raiding to increase profit, and would really only buy Novell if the price is cheap.

    What exactly makes Novell a deal to buy? Suse? Well, its not Red Hat, but it might have a future, as its breaking even now and is the 2nd most profitable commercial business Linux desktop system. Oddly enough the bidding for Novell came about the same time as Novell got clear title in court to the Unix copyrights. My guess is that Elliot thinks the Unix copyrights are worth something.

    IBM has been suggested as a buyer of Novell, but I do not see it. First of all, IBM was and is prepared to go forward in the SCO case, as there is no Unix code in Linux that is not legal. So the Unix copyrights as a weapon to sue IBM and others for code in Linux are not worth beans. But they might be worth something as a scare (PR) tactic by MS. Wasn’t this what many people thought MS did by funding SCO so it was able to continue suing for seven years? So the Unix copyrights might mean something to MS as another weapon to scare users, and possilbly a way to get back into the Unix business. Even Suse would be a plus for MS, as they were selling Suse coupons to businesses. MS however, is faced with the idea that they would become another Linux distro, and I doubt they would buy Novell for this reason.

    IBM might buy Novell for the reason that they would save court costs by ended once and for all the SCO case. Other than that, IBM if it was going buy a distro, would look hard at Red Hat.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Still its unlikely, the most likely case is Elliot is simply raiding to increase profit, and would really only buy Novell if the price is cheap.

    Given the leap/prod it gave to the stock, Singer has already made over 20% of his investment.

    IBM might buy Novell for the reason that they would save court costs by ended once and for all the SCO case. Other than that, IBM if it was going buy a distro, would look hard at Red Hat.

    IBM is said to have looked at it for months. But it’s just rumours.

    Chips B. Malroy Reply:

    “IBM is said to have looked at it for months. But it’s just rumours.”
    ————————————————————————————————
    IBM most likely looking for a bargain, is all. Its really only 800 million, the Singer bid, when you really do the numbers.

    I doubt Google is interested in it, even though they have plenty of money. Just don’t see where Google buying Novell helps them.

    Now Apple, I do see a match. However I think Jobs will overlook it, as he thinks too much in the niche and has to have high profits. And Apple buying Novell, would be worst than MS getting it. Apple might like the Unix copyrights, as it acts like a patent troll more and more. Plus OS X is based on Unix (BSD). Suse can be of use to Apple. If Apple wanted its own linux distro it could modify and put on low end laptops to go after MS. By using an Apple labeled Linux, it could make a cheaper product, and keep its OS X line as a huge profit maker without reducing prices on higher end mac computers. Not all would be bad though if Apple bought Novell and promoted Suse on cheaper Mac units, or Mac Arm Laptops.

    Speaking of cheaper Apples, there is the Ipad. No matter what you or I think of how bad a product the Ipad is, there seems to be buyers for it. The question I have is what effect a $500 Ipad will have on Windows OEM’s laptops costing $500 and about in the short term?

    What is left to play out in the possible Novell sale? The white knight buyer?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Apple is not compatible with Novell’s assets (‘portfolio’). SAP and HP would make more sense.

What Else is New


  1. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  2. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  4. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  5. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  6. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  7. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  8. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  9. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  10. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms



  11. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 09, 2019



  12. Demonstration Against Unitary Software Patents, Thursday 12 Dec in Brussels

    FFII's call to demonstrate against the UPC



  13. Links 9/12/2019: China on GNU/Linux, Canonical Wants Help to Improve Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  14. Links 9/12/2019: Linux 5.5 RC1, EasyOS Buster 2.1.9

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 08, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 08, 2019



  16. Mandatory Education for Those Who Use and Misuse Buzzwords Would Go a Long Way

    In an age of substitution — where marketing terms replace meaningful words and concepts — it has gotten more difficult to have honest debates, for example about the scope of patents



  17. Once Upon a Time Banter Was Allowed on Mailing Lists

    Hours ago Torvalds announced RC1 of the next Linux (kernel) release; it has been a while since he last said something ‘controversial’ (following his month at the penalty box); free speech deficit can make us weaker, not stronger (advantage to those who work in the dark)



  18. Links 8/12/2019: Debian Init Systems GR, NomadBSD 1.3

    Links for the day



  19. Can We Quit Celebrating DRM in GNU/Linux?

    Over the past couple of days various news sites and "Linux" sites expressed great satisfaction [1-5] over the passive embrace of Disney's DRM ploy (Disney+), even when Disney itself rejects DRM, seeing the harms practically caused by it [6,7]



  20. You Know WSL is Bad for GNU/Linux Because Anti-Linux People, Microsoft and Its Propagandists, Want People to Use That

    Microsoft and its boosters (and media partners) haven’t grown tired of spreading falsehoods to stigmatise and take control of GNU/Linux by creating their own versions and traps for it



  21. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 07, 2019



  22. 5 Years Ago the Linux Foundation Turned Linux.com Into a Non-Linux Site

    One can leverage the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to better understand how, over time, the Foundation called “Linux” deviated or diverged away from its mission statement for the sole purpose of raising corporate funds and selling influence to corporations (passing the community’s hard work to them — a form of tacit privatisation)



  23. Microsoft Redefining Ownership and Identity of GNU/Linux

    The idea that “Microsoft loves Linux” is as insane as it gets; but the lie which is “Microsoft loves Linux” is a powerful enabler of Microsoft entryism, e.g. if Greg steps down, does a Microsoft employee become the deputy of Linus Torvalds?



  24. Things That Cannot Be Said

    The limits on what we can say are mostly defined by what sources permit us to say publicly (for the sake of source protection)



  25. Fake European Patents (on Algorithms) Leading to Fake Embargoes

    Law firms have gotten their way in Germany; instead of supporting the productive workers the patent system is nowadays promoting the litigation 'industry' and it ought to be corrected



  26. From Moderate Advice to FUD and Misinformation: The Case of a VPN Vulnerability (CVE-2019-14899)

    What should have been a trivial bugfix in a variety of operating systems and bits of software — both proprietary and Free software — somehow became anti-Linux FUD, clickbait and worse



  27. Dangerous Thinker

    Society oughtn't be alarmed by people who say unusual things; it should be wary and sceptical of those corporations ever so eager to silence such people



  28. Unitary Patent (UPC) Died Along With the Credibility of Managing IP and the Rest of the UPC Lobby

    It is pretty astounding that Team UPC (collective term for people who crafted and lobby for this illegal construct) is still telling us lies, even in the absence of underlying supportive facts, and pressure groups disguised as "news sites" latch onto anything to perpetuate an illusion of progress (even in the face of a growing number of major barriers)



  29. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 06, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 06, 2019



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

    Links for the day


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