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

05.06.10

Canonical, Ubuntu, and Software Patents

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Patents, Samba, Ubuntu at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How software patents tax comes into Ubuntu (at OEM level)

YESTERDAY we mentioned Canonical’s awkward situation when it comes to MPEG-LA. This whole subject has generally been explored recently in (chronologically ordered):

  1. Microsoft Brings MPEG-LA-LA Land to the Web and Threatens GNU/Linux With Software Patent Lawsuits
  2. Steve Jobs: “A Patent Pool is Being Assembled to Go After Theora and Other “Open Source” Codecs Now.”
  3. Apple’s and Microsoft’s New Motto: Do More Evil, Together
  4. “Behind the Open Codec FUD Attack, W3C Captured by Microsoft, Apple, Nokia and So On?”
  5. Behind the Microsoft Puppetmaster: SCO-Type Libel, Acacia-Type Patent Trolls, and Novell-Type Patent Deals to Make GNU/Linux Not Free (Gratis)
  6. Patents Roundup: Red Hat on Patent Trolls; Apple Antitrust; Microsoft Attacks Theora, Which is Needed to Save Our Video Culture
  7. Apple and Microsoft a Threat to Culture (Data), Not Just Software (Tools)
  8. “The fight has been around a long time, now the target of Microsoft is Theora”

Canonical is based in the UK, where software patents are mostly invalid (bar Nokia’s utter greed [1, 2], which makes no sense).

Gizmodo and Engadget have both just covered the legal minefield which is H.264 and more comments on the latter article can be found in LWN (a GNU/Linux perspective).

The president of the FFII interprets the above by quoting “In order to ship an H.264 decoder with Firefox, Mozilla would have to pay the MPEG-LA something around $5 million a year” and he also cites this item from The Register, which says: “What’s more, Canonical – Ubuntu’s commercial sponsor – is now the only Linux maker to license H.264/AVC, the closed and patented technology used to compress video.”

This is not entirely new to us and it can certainly explain price oddities. The H says that “Canonical clarifies its H.264 licence” and so does The Register.

When purchasing an OEM machine with Ubuntu pre-installed, there is currently no way to tell, without the manufacturer explicitly specifying them, which software and codecs are bundled with the machine. A device may be validated as Ubuntu Compatible, which means the OEM has tested the system and Canonical has verified the test, or as Ubuntu Certified, which means that Canonical have performed the testing. Kenyon points to the Ubuntu Certified list on the Canonical site, which lists systems from Lenovo, ASUSTek, HP, Toshiba, Samsung and Dell. Kenyon added “We have explored setting some minimum requirements for codecs, but this is not something that we presently do”.

So the rule of thumb is that an arbitrary Ubuntu system does not have a H.264 licence via Canonical, unless it’s an OEM system which specifically lists the H.264 licence in its documentation or marketing materials.

H.264 is not the only patent issue in Ubuntu. Last week we wrote about Likewise in Ubuntu and here is someone who is not concerned about it:

It’s funny, but when you talk to Jerry Carter, he doesn’t sound like someone who’s part of a conspiracy to bring down Linux/Windows interoperability and from there enable the downfall of Linux itself. He comes across as far less evil.

Yet last summer, Carter, who is Director of Engineering at Likewise Software, and his co-workers were practically accused of doing exactly that when Likewise CEO Barry Crist detailed the hows and whys of Likewise-CIFS pulling away from the Samba codebase.

In our previous posts about Likewise [1, 2, 3, 4] we explained their role in playing the software patents game. They are former Microsoft staff, hacking on Samba and selling it with patent ‘protection’. Ubuntu should stick with just Samba. As for codecs, people can fetch these themselves (if they are required at all).

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

What Else is New


  1. The Quality of Patents is Connected to the Quality of Life of Patent Examiners

    EPO staff is not happy (a new President has not changed things) and the problems associated with low quality of patents become more visible in courtrooms



  2. American Patent Courts Keep Narrowing Patent Scope, No Matter What Few Politicians Are Doing on Behalf of Litigation Firms and Patent Trolls

    Acts of desperation in the patent microcosm of the United States, where judges now overwhelmingly reject software patents at all levels (tribunals, lower courts, higher courts)



  3. Links 25/4/2019: Rancher Labs Releases Slim OS, OpenBSD 6.5 is Ready

    Links for the day



  4. Links 24/4/2019: Chrome 74, QEMU 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  5. Supreme Court of the UK, Which Habitually Throws Out European Patents, May Overturn Troublesome Unwired Planet v Huawei Decision

    A lot of European Patents are facing growing scrutiny from courts (Team UPC, including Bristows, publicly complains about it this month) and "greenwashing" of the Office won't be enough to paint/frame these patents as "ethical"



  6. German Federal Patent Court Curbs the Patent Maximalism of the EPO, Which Promotes Patents on Nature and/or Maths Every Single Day

    European courts are restraining the EPO, which has been trying to bypass or replace such courts (with the UPC); it certainly seems as though European Patents rapidly lose their legitimacy or much-needed presumption of validity



  7. Any 'Linux' Foundation Needs to Be Managed by Geeks, Not Politicians and PR People

    Linux bureaucracy has put profits way ahead of technical merits and this poses a growing threat or constitutes risk to the direction of the project, not to mention its ownership



  8. Links 23/4/2019: Kodi 'Leia' 18.2 and DeX Everywhere

    Links for the day



  9. Code of Coercion

    Entryism is visible for all to see, but pointing it out is becoming a risky gambit because of the "be nice!" (or "be polite!") crowd, which shields the perpetrators of a slow and gradual corporate takeover



  10. António Campinos Would Not Refer to the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal If He Did Not Control the Outcomes

    António Campinos and his ilk aren’t interested in patent quality because his former ‘boss’, who publicly denied there were issues and vainly rejected patent quality concerns as illegitimate, is now controlled by him (reversal of roles) and many new appointees at the top are "yes men" (or women) of Campinos, former colleagues whom he bossed at EUIPO (as expected)



  11. Links 22/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC6, New Release of Netrunner and End of Scientific Linux

    Links for the day



  12. USPTO and EPO Both Slammed for Abandoning Patent Quality and Violating the Law/Caselaw in Order to Grant Illegitimate Patents on Life/Nature and Mathematics

    Mr. Iancu, the ‘American Battistelli’ (appointed owing to nepotism), mirrors the ‘Battistelli operandi’, which boils down to treating judges like they’re stooges and justices like an ignorable nuisance — all this in the name of litigation profits, which necessitate constant wars over illegitimate patents (it is expensive to prove their illegitimacy)



  13. IRC Proceedings: January 27th, 2019 – March 24th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  14. IRC Proceedings: December 2nd, 2018 – January 26th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  15. Links 21/4/2019: SuperTuxKart's 1.0 Release, Sam Hartman Is Debian’s Newest Project Leader (DPL)

    Links for the day



  16. The EPO's Use of Phrases Like “High-Quality Patent Services” Means They Know High-Quality European Patents Are 'Bygones'

    The EPO does a really poor job hiding the fact that its last remaining objective is to grant as many European Patents as possible (and as fast as possible), conveniently conflating quality with pace



  17. A Reader's Suggestion: Directions for Techrights

    Guest post by figosdev



  18. Links 20/4/2019: Weblate 3.6 and Pop!_OS 19.04

    Links for the day



  19. The Likes of Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), Team Campinos and Team UPC Don't Represent Europe But Hurt Europe

    The abject disinterest in patent quality and patent validity (as judged by courts) threatens Europe but not to the detriment of those who are in the 'business' of suing and printing lots of worthless patents



  20. The Linux Foundation Needs to Change Course Before GNU/Linux (as a Free Operating System) is Dead

    The issues associated with the Linux Foundation are not entirely new; but Linux now incorporates so many restrictions and contains so many binary blobs that one begins to wonder what "Linux" even means



  21. Largest Patent Offices Try to Leave Courts in a State of Disarray to Enable the Granting of Fake Patents in the US and Europe

    Like a monarchy that effectively runs all branches of government the management of the EPO is trying to work around the judiciary; the same is increasingly happening (or at least attempted) in the United States



  22. Links 19/4/2019: PyPy 7.1.1, LabPlot 2.6, Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  24. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  25. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  26. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  27. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  28. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago



  29. Links 17/4/2019: Qt 5.12.3 Released, Ola Bini Arrested (Political Stunts)

    Links for the day



  30. Links 16/4/2019: CentOS Turns 15, Qt Creator 4.9.0 Released

    Links for the day


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