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06.29.10

.NET Violates Patents, Sued

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Oracle, Patents at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Microsoft’s imitation of Java is mentioned by Salesforce in its counter lawsuit; more news about the MPEG-LA threat

WE ALREADY know that Microsoft has .NET patents which it uses to keep Mono at bay. But we’ve just found an interesting observation about the Salesforce case [1, 2], which is still in some headlines:

The complained mentioned .NET platform and SharePoint collaboration software violates Salesforce.com patents.

Oracle’s Java patents are also a problem to .NET, but what makes Mono and Moonlight rather unique is that they are encumbered by patents owned by the company which actively attacks GNU/Linux with patents. What we are trying to say is, software patents in general are a problem, but those who actually use them against GNU/Linux are so far Apple, Microsoft, and the patent troll called Acacia, which has Microsoft connections.

“It’s a fine example of the need for immediate reform (Bilski wasn’t it).”Just looking at some new press releases, we realise that software patents are not just a “Microsoft thing” (or Apple or IBM for that matter). Small companies too are showing them off in press releases [1, 2], but they never attack GNU/Linux. They have no interest in doing this because they don’t defend a monopoly with profitable products like Windows.

On the other hand, large companies use software patents to build fences around existing monopolies. TechDirt comments on the Amazon patent we mentioned a day ago. It’s a fine example of the need for immediate reform (Bilski wasn't it).

There is one last item regarding MPEG-LA, which we wrote about in:

FFmpeg writes about its newly-added VP8 support:

Now that the hype is over, let’s talk the real deal. How good is Google’s VP8 video codec? Since “multiple independent implementations help a standard mature quicker and become more useful to its users”, me and others (David for the decoder core and PPC optimizations, Jason for x86 optimizations) decided that we should implement a native VP8 decoder in FFmpeg.

As Slashdot points out:

They were able to keep the line-count low by relying on heavy reuse from the existing H.264 codebase.

The thing is, encoding with matrices and compression is a mathematical process. To allow a monopoly on such a thing is to grant exclusionary rights on natural, logical things. The FFII’s president considers this to be a pretext for lawsuit, but what we understand is that VP8 shrewdly evaded being classified as fulfilling all the conditions in patents held by MPEG-LA (which typically extorts companies using peripheral pressure).

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