06.08.10

European Lesson About Novell’s Software Patents, Germany Seemingly Continues to Allow Software Patents

Posted in Europe, IBM, Law, Novell, OIN, Patents, Servers, SLES/SLED, SUN at 2:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

German flag

Summary: How S.u.S.E. turned from an opposer of software patents into an extension of Novell which legitimises them in Germany (where software patents continue to challenge Europe’s status quo)

Henrik Ingo from Finland writes about software patents as “a bad legacy to leave behind”. He partly refers to MySQL and to Sun, whose patent portfolio got absorbed inside another company. For about three years we’ve heard the excuses from Novell apologists who told us that Novell’s software patents are a good thing because of OIN, but now that Novell’s patent are likely to be sold, the following analysis is worth some attention:

What neither of these gentlemen pointed out is that this is exactly what happened also with Sun. It wasn’t widely mentioned in public, although Mr Piana does single out patents as his first motivation to help Oracle clear the Sun acquisition. (Personally his fear that Microsoft would be allowed to buy any piece at all of Sun was in my opinion always just completely unrealistic (for the same reasons Oracle was in trouble), but I’m willing to give him a point about patent trolls offering to buy Sun’s patents.) Other than that it wasn’t spoken about (and journalists reporting on the case were mostly nowhere near the real issues anyway) but also other FOSS personalities who took Oracle’s side did mention in private conversations with me that for FOSS in general and Linux in particular, it was absolutely vital to make sure that Sun’s Unix and other patents would not fall into the wrong hands.

A personal observation is that it seems that particularly the lawyers of our community subscribed to that way of thought, whereas the “hacker” types like Stallman of FSF, Karsten Gerloff of FSFE, Alan Cox of the Open Rights Group, etc. came out clearly on the side of us where we argued that MySQL should not have been allowed to be acquired by it’s main competitor. (I should add that within the MySQL community, essentially old MySQL AB employees and other external contributors, the party lines followed completely different logic than in the broader FOSS community, and patents played no role whatsoever in people’s opinions.)

Let’s keep an eye on Novell in the coming weeks. Those many patents it has might even be passed to pro-software patents lobbyists (if not patent trolls) like IBM, which supported Novell’s acquisition of S.u.S.E. and also the patent deal with Microsoft. As the following news article reminds us, Novell is very IBM dependent, not just Microsoft dependent.

Despite struggling through Q2 of 2010 with a US$12m drop in net income on the same period last year, Novell continues to plough optimistically forward into the mainframe market with its support for the IBM System z Series.

The 451 Group has just correctly stated that Novell “is placing less emphasis on the Linux and open source technologies” — an argument we made many times before. To quote this within context:

While the company is placing less emphasis on the Linux and open source technologies that represented the bulk of the former Open Platform Solutions business unit, open source is no less important to Novell.

Open Source was never important to Novell, but it viewed this as a marketing opportunity and failed when it sidled with Microsoft and therefore repelled many clients who liked Open Source. They just took their business elsewhere. S.u.S.E. was popular among the European crowd where it originally came from, but why would anyway pay Novell extra for software patents that make Microsoft richer? And why in Europe where those patents are not even legal? Novell dared to advertise those software patents specifically in Europe and Groklaw got hold of reports. Shame on Novell for promoting software patents in Europe (also around the time of the major directive). Novell is at least partly responsible for pushing into Europe the notion that software patents can or should be considered there.

“Software to process telephone calls [are] patentable in Germany,” shows [PDF] the president of the FFII, Benjamin Henrion. This bizarre case is predating the Siemens case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and even Microsoft’s latest FAT ruling in Germany. What is going on in Germany?

“Software to process telephone calls [are] patentable in Germany”
      –Benjamin Henrion, FFII
German patent lawyers drool over any patent in a field that they specialise in. The Bastian Best blog is no exception. He gives a new example from Apple, one from Google (in German), and another tidbit about Apple (also in German). For those who do not remember, Apple is a patent aggressor that even assaulted Linux with software patents. HTC is fighting back, but it surrendered to Microsoft. According to some news sites, HTC grows with an acquisition (also here). Not that it would affect the patent case, but still…

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2010/06/08/novell-and-germany/

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. Links 10/4/2021: Linux on M1, Wine 6.6, ClamAV 0.103.2

    Links for the day



  2. Lunduke: On Mob Justice in the Tech Industry

    A new video from the former Microsofter who fears the phenomenon that’s adopted by companies like IBM



  3. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 09, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 09, 2021



  4. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli's Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli

    Local copies with evidence of or something concrete about Benoît Battistelli’s connection to unsavoury — and by today’s standards outright fascistic — politics



  5. IBM Doubles Down on Masters Being an Acceptable Word in the Context of Technology

    3 days after this post which disproves IBM's stance or shows its double standards it once again says “Masters” in its official blog (won’t that offend and alienate some people as they insist?)



  6. Hate Letter Against Richard Matthew Stallman (RMS) Backfired So Spectacularly That Signers Asked to Revoke Their Own Signatures and the List Was Then Frozen Permanently (Updated)

    "An open letter in support of Richard Matthew Stallman being reinstated by the Free Software Foundation" tops 6,100 signatures (graph generated just moments ago)



  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 11: The BMJV's Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst

    The right-hand man of António Campinos plays a role similar to that of Herr Lutz before him



  8. Links 9/4/2021: Tanglet 1.6.0 and HPVM 1.0

    Links for the day



  9. The Libel Against Richard Stallman Did Not Age Well

    Almost 2 years down the line libel about the founder of the FSF remains online, uncorrected (in sites funded by Microsoft and IBM)



  10. The Letter in Support of the FSF and Richard Stallman is Backed by the International Community, Not American Monopolies and Nationalistic Elements

    Free software is for everybody to use, internationally, it is not the asset of a bunch of current and old monopolists (connected to the US military) that also control the media; the nature of the signatures says that out loud



  11. Gemini Over IPFS (Decentralised Web, Accessed Over Gemini Protocol)

    The Gemini protocol (gemini://) can already be used to fetch (at the back end) and present objects from a P2P-like network; we're currently exploring practical use cases and possibilities



  12. News Sites That Talk About Patents Have Become Shameless Self-Promotion 'Plugs' by Law Firms (and Sometimes Outright 'Spam' for Litigation)

    The sources of news about patent affairs have dried up; sites that actually used to investigate and report facts have since then shut down or defected to the Public Relations/marketing industry



  13. Links 9/4/2021: Kubernetes 1.21 and FFmpeg 4.4 Released

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 08, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 08, 2021



  15. [Meme] Self-styled Judges

    To suit a recurring theme at the EPO we hereby present Roland Lutz, a self-styled judge



  16. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff

    "In any event, the "Nazi" jibes directed against Lutz seem to have triggered Battistelli who decided to take revenge on his perceived enemies inside the EPO by smearing them as “Nazis”."



  17. Links 8/4/2021: GnuPG 2.3.0, Xen 4.15, Xfdashboard 0.9.2

    Links for the day



  18. The Hate Letter Which Backfired

    The FSF is more closely aligned with its founder's vision, his antagonists have left or are leaving, and that old hate letter turned out to be a loud minority (made to appear louder by biased media) emboldened by a gish gallop of lies



  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 07, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 07, 2021



  20. IBM: We Can Say It... You Cannot

    Blog posts such as this new one help show the hypocrisy or the double standards of IBM, looking to control speech while attacking people's (software) freedom/civil liberties and profiting from atomic bombs



  21. The Collapse of Microsoft Windows

    Although the corporate media keeps insisting that Microsoft is doing well, government (or military) bailouts keep the company afloat while its desperate attempts to remain relevant (as the common carrier languishes) merit a debate



  22. Links 8/4/2021: Mesa 21.0.2, GNU Releases, and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  23. Petition in Support of FSF's Decision to Put Its Founder in the Board Doubles Size of Hate Letter Propped Up by Corporate Media (Partly Funded by Monopolies)

    You cannot fool the population for eternity and there's a reflexive response to a campaign of misinformation, as the graph above shows; notice it keeps growing and growing, albeit not the defamatory one from the (Google-funded) Mozilla- and Red Hat-connected Luis Villa, who put in the GNONE Foundation Microsoft people



  24. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry

    "Lutz is also reputed to be closely linked to the German branch of the influential UPC lobby group centred around Prof. Winfried Tilmann."



  25. He Said, Xi Said: Hard to Censor Techrights and It's More Than a Web Site

    An explanation of some of the latest Techrights changes (mostly work on IPFS and Gemini this week, as they complement the Web site)



  26. A Patent System for Giant Corporations Like Boeing and Airbus, Not for Ordinary European Citizens

    There's hardly any illusion left that the patent system in Europe is supposed to serve the public; instead what we're seeing is an office that lost sight of its purpose and is instead trying to make law firms and their largest clients richer



  27. Links 7/4/2021: Godot 3.3 RC 8, Canonical Targets Robotics

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, April 06, 2021



  29. Pro-Free Software Foundation Petition Soon Reaching 6,000 Signatures (and Still Rising Steadily)

    It seems rather apparent that not many people have been conned by the hateful corporations, their corporate media, and corporate-led (or funded) NGOs that insisted FSF should reject its very own founder



  30. Links 7/4/2021: “Getting Things GNOME” Reaches 0.5, IBM Boasts Its Role in Masters

    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