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

05.29.10

Novell’s Software Patents and Microsoft Copycats Turn Into Greater Threats to GNU/Linux

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 3:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Inventive people [at Novell] write more software patents per capita than anywhere else.”

Jeff Jaffe, Novell CTO at the time

Summary: Further analysis of what Novell’s likely sale means when it comes to its patents and what it is currently doing to MeeGo, to which it added a Mono stack

LinuxCon 2010 is almost upon us (Microsoft will be there too). The CEO of OIN will speak about patent trolls in a talk titled “Patents, Probes and Strength in Unity: Participate in Keeping Open Source Open”. From the introduction/abstract of this talk:

Recently significant capital has been invested in patent speculation and for the last eighteen months, Congress has been discussing patent reform. Hedge funds in need of generating quick returns in this challenging market are seeking investments in patent trolls.

Yes, OIN says that hedge funds are looking for patent-trolling opportunities because there are good returns. Novell is being pursued by hedge funds while Apple and Microsoft happen to be investing in the world's largest patent troll too — the same troll who collected the patents of Linux Torvalds’ old employer.

What would happen if Novell got snapped by a hedge fund and its patents then auctioned?

Matt Asay, a former employee of Novell, explains why “Novell auction could be patent troll bonanza”:

This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that Novell has a treasure trove of patents, with at least 450 patents related to networking, office productivity applications, identity management, and more.

When I worked for Novell, we didn’t worry too much about a lawsuit from Microsoft. After all, Novell had (and, I presume, still has) patents that directly impact Microsoft’s Office business. I could see Microsoft lining up to buy out these patents from a private equity firm, but I could also see a non-practicing entity (aka “patent troll”) buying them to extort money from Microsoft.

Perhaps some would cheer, but they shouldn’t.

After all, Novell also has valuable Unix copyrights (sorry, SCO) which, in turn, affect Linux. Given Novell’s history in the networking market, it almost certainly owns patents that also could have a big impact on defending Linux.

Or attacking it. Depending on who gets those patents.

This same intellectual property motivated Microsoft to pay Novell a $536 million settlement back in 2004. How much would Novell’s intellectual property be worth to a patent troll?

[...]

Let’s hope so. Novell long ago faded from many people’s minds, but it has never been more relevant with its business and, by extension, its intellectual property, available for the highest bidder.

Novell keeps accumulating more and more software patents every month, as we last showed and warned about some days ago. The OIN is being pointless here. OIN loves to talk about “good” software patents, but a good software patent is like a “good” nuclear warhead. You just don’t want any of that stuff around and once you make it, it is hard to get rid of (although it can wind up changing hands and reaching fanatics like trolls).

The post from Asay has attracted some interesting comments (some inane ones too). Novell’s CMO left the following comment twice:

Matt,

I understand your need to editorialize our earnings. To be accurate, our revenue (not earnings), driven by services decline you point out, was down 5.4%. As you have long criticized our Microsoft partnership, I’m sure you took note that our core Linux products – EXCLUDING Microsoft certificates, yielded an impressive 46% invoicing growth in Q2.

John Dragoon

In the latest episode of The Linux Link Tech Show [Ogg], the guys are discussing what would happen if Google bought Novell (it starts around 27min:50sec). Who would possibly want to buy Novell as a whole? The company is so diverse; it’s all over the place, so it happens to compete against almost any company that’s a potential buyer.

“Novell Revenues, Linux Business Slide,” says the headline of this new article, which concurs with our insinuation that Novell will need to sell.

It’s been a tough quarter quarter for Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) as questions about its future ownership remain on the table. Novell is also facing pricing pressure on its Linux business as renewals come up on Microsoft’s SUSE Linux Enterprise subscriptions.

Novell this week reported its second-quarter fiscal 2010 earnings, showing a decline in revenue, which came in at $204 million for the quarter, a drop from the $216 million it brought in a year earlier. On the positive side, net income hit $20 million or $0.06 per share, which is an improvement over the $16 million or $0.05 per share Novell reported for the second quarter of 2009.

But the slide in revenue continues for Novell, which provided third-quarter revenue guidance for revenues between $205 million and $210 million.

In the mean time — until Novell sells itself to someone else — Mono continues to spread, even in MeeGo. Novell employees put software which Microsoft clearly excluded from the MCP right inside MeeGo (that would be Banshee, which has a vision of connecting with Moonlight). Meeks puts Novell’s Evolution Express in:

Some ramblings about the creation of a new user interface for mail, calendaring etc. specifically for MeeGo; something I’ve been working on, amongst other things, for the last three months.

[...]

Initially for Moblin 2.1 we tried a more invasive re-working of the user-experience: called Anjal. That was not uniformly positive, missing many features (by design), and didn’t have enough time to mature. As such, it was decided by the MeeGo team that we should try a new approach. This would take Evolution, and adapt it’s UI for the netbook screen-size, tweaking all the relevant defaults. We would merge the best features from Anjal, and then build from there. The result is some great MeeGo, netbook goodness, despite being done at high speed over three months.

Meeks and his own software patents were covered here before. Well, at Novell, even British workers apply for US software patents that are not legitimate in Britain.

On the relatively positive side, more software is being created which can replace the Mono intrusion vector known as GNOME Do. Here is a new article which compares Launchy, GNOME Do, and Kupfer.

To many people, application launchers are not really worth much attention. After all, it’s just a box to type in a command, right? Perhaps that used to be it, but these days there are some tiny programs that can make a huge difference in productivity. Not only can you run a command, but you can search for files, search the web, check the weather, even run a mini calculator. Today we’ll compare three of the better known launchers for Linux – Launchy, GNOME Do, and Kupfer. While they all have roughly the same function, each has a different take on how it should be done, and the configuration capabilities vary greatly from one to the next. Here, you’ll see what makes each one unique and hopefully find the one that works best for you.

In summary, Novell is polluting GNU/Linux environments with Microsoft software patents which Microsoft has explicitly excluded from its so-called ‘promise’ (MCP). At the same time, Novell’s own software patents are at risk of being handed over to entities which would use them aggressively, even against UNIX/Linux.

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. With UPC Dead for Battistelli's Entire Remaining Term, No Reason for the EPO or the Administrative Council to Keep Battistelli Around

    Thoughts about what happens to the EPO's leadership after 'Brexit' (British exit from the EU), which severely undermines Battistelli's biggest project that he habitually used to justify his incredible abuses



  2. Links 24/6/2016: Xen Project 4.7, Cinnamon 3.0.6

    Links for the day



  3. Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated)

    Benoît Battistelli continues to break the EPO's own rules, not just national laws, as a new decision helps reveal



  4. Fake Patents on Software From Fake Australian 'Inventor' of Bitcoin and the Globally-Contagious Nature of EPO Patent Scope

    News from Australia regarding software patents that should not be granted and how patent lawyers from Australia rely on European patent law (EPO and UK-IPO) for guidance on patent scope



  5. Patent Lawyers Love (and Amplify) Halo and Enfish, Omit or Dismiss Cuozzo and Alice

    By misinterpreting the current situation with respect to software patents and misusing terms like "innovation" patent lawyers and others in the patent microcosm hope to convince the public (or potential clients) that nothing in effect has changed and software patents are all fine and dandy



  6. Looks Increasingly Plausible That Battistelli is Covering up Bogus and/or Illegally-Obtained 'Evidence' From the EPO's Investigative Unit

    Why we believe that Benoît Battistelli is growingly desperate to hide evidence of rogue evidence-collecting operations which eventually landed himself -- not the accused -- in a catastrophic situation that can force his resignation



  7. As Decision on the UK's EU Status Looms, EPO Deep in a Crisis of Patent Quality

    Chaotic situation at the EPO and potential changes in the UK cause a great deal of debate about the UPC, which threatens to put the whole or Europe at the mercy of patent trolls from abroad



  8. Another Demonstration by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff on Same Day as Administrative Council's Meeting

    SUEPO (staff union of the EPO) continues to organise staff actions against extraordinary injustice by Benoît Battistelli and his flunkies whom he gave top positions at the EPO



  9. Links 23/6/2016: Red Hat Results, Randa Stories

    Links for the day



  10. Interview With FOSSForce/All Things Free Tech

    New interview with Robin "Roblimo" Miller on behalf of FOSSForce



  11. Links 22/6/2016: PulseAudio 9.0, GNOME 3.21.3 Released

    Links for the day



  12. IP Europe's UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

    The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric



  13. EPO “Recruitment of Brits is Down by 80%”

    Letter says that “recruitment of Brits is down by 80%” and "the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year"



  14. The Conspiracy of Patent Lawyers for UPC and Battistelli's Role in Preparing by Firing People

    The parasitic firms that lobby for the UPC and actually create it -- firms like those that pass money to Battistelli's EPO -- are doing exactly the opposite of what Europe needs



  15. Patent Lawyers, Having Lost Much of the Battle for Software Patents in the US, Resort to Harmful Measures and Spin

    A quick glance at how patent lawyers and their lobbyists/advocates have reacted to the latest decision from the US Supreme Court (Justice Breyer)



  16. Links 21/6/2016: Fedora 24 and Point Linux MATE 3.2 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  17. Supreme Court on Cuozzo v Lee Another Major Loss for Software Patents in the United States

    Much-anticipated decision on the Cuozzo v Lee case (at the highest possible level) serves to defend the appeal boards which are eliminating software patents by the thousands



  18. As Alice Turns Two, Bilski Blog Says 36,000 (Software) Patent Applications Have Been Rejected Thanks to It

    A look back at the legacy of Alice v CLS Bank and how it contributed to the demise of software patents in the United States, the birthplace of software patents



  19. EPO Self-Censorship by IP Kat or Just Censorship of Opinions That IP Kat Does Not Share/Accept (Updated)

    ree speech when it's needed the most (EPO scandals) needs to be respected; or why IP Kat shoots itself in the foot and helps the EPO's management by 'sanitising' comments



  20. Caricature: Bygmalion Patent Office

    The latest cartoon regarding Battistelli's European Patent Office



  21. Links 21/6/2016: GNU/Linux in China's HPC, Linux 4.7 RC4

    Links for the day



  22. Under Battistelli's Regime the EPO is a Lawless, Dark Place

    How the EPO's Investigative Unit (IU) and Control Risks Group (CRG), which is connected to the Stasi through Desa, made the EPO virtually indistinguishable from East Germany (coat of arms/emblem above)



  23. New Paper Demonstrates That Unitary Patent (UPC) is Little More Than a Conspiracy of Patent 'Professionals' and Their Self Interest

    Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna's latest paper explains that the UPC “expert teams” are in fact not experts but people who are using the UPC as a Trojan horse by which to promote their business interests and corporate objectives



  24. Money Flying to Private Companies Without Tenders at Battistelli's EPO (by the Tens of Millions!)

    Extravagant and cushy contracts to the tune of tens of millions of Euros are being issued without public scrutiny and without opportunities to competition (few corporations easily score cushy EPO contracts while illusion of tendering persists -- for small jobs only)



  25. Patent Examiners and Insiders Acknowledge Profound Demise in Patent Quality Under Battistelli

    By lowering the quality of patents granted by the European Patent Office Battistelli hopes to create an illusion of success, where success is not measured properly and is assessed by biased firms which he finances



  26. Jericho Systems Threatens Alice, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Threatens the Patent Trial and Appeal (PTAB)

    A look at the two latest threats to those who helped put an end to a lot of (if not most) software patents in the US



  27. How the Halo Electronics Case Helps Patent Trolls and How Publications Funded by Patent Trolls (IAM for Instance) Covered This

    A Supreme Court ruling on patents, its implications for software patent trolls, and how media that is promoting software patents and patent trolls covered it



  28. Patent Lawyers' Fantasy Land Where Software Patents Are Suddenly Resurrected Even When They're Not

    A quick glance at where the debate over software patents in the United States stands and how profiteers (such as patent lawyers) not only mislead the public but also bully the messengers



  29. Links 19/6/2016: Randa Over, Fedora 24 Release Soon

    Links for the day



  30. [ES] La Oficina Europea de Patentes de Battistelli Amplia su Contrato con el Nefasto FTI Consulting Para Neutralizar a los Medios, Desperdicia Millones de Euros

    Sacando a luz a lo que pasa con el presupuésto de la EPO y como es puesto “a trabajar” bajo la tiranía sin precedente de Battistelli (Eponia) justo en el corazón de Europa


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