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Acacia Slanders GNU/Linux

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 3:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The patent troll “seems to be trying to do Microsoft a favor by painting Linux vendors as… well… thieves,” argues Groklaw, which parsed the court proceedings of IP Innovation vs Red Hat and Novell

THE PATENT troll known as Acacia operates under an even larger umbrella (“IP Innovation”) and it is operated by some former Microsoft staff, having been paid by Microsoft in recent years (on several occasions in fact). In some ways, Acacia is like another SCO and we’ve just found an interesting observation from Groklaw, which went through a lot of filings:

The plaintiffs’ opening statement, by Arthur A. Gasey of the firm Niro Scavone Haller & Niro, offended me, as he made remarks that were pejorative about Linux, seeming to imply that Open Source software is pirated. And I was puzzled why he would mention Windows, when there is no established connection between Microsoft and these plaintiffs. But he does. For example, here’s a brief whiff…


The jury ruled otherwise, but did you get the feeling that this guy misunderstands Linux? And that he seems to be trying to do Microsoft a favor by painting Linux vendors as… well… thieves? He is stressing how significant it is to have 4 desktops, because they get more money if the feature they claim is infringed is the reason you want the product. Of course, that is the last thing you need in a server, and most of Red Hat and Novell’s money comes from servers, so it sort of makes no sense, his little speech.

A lot more interesting stuff is in there. Thanks to Pamela Jones for all the good work she has done on this post. Acacia helps show the distortion of the patent system, where non-practicing entities and monopolies (along with their lawyers) take all the money and power, thus leaving the market with a lot less value.

Patents diagram

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  1. twitter said,

    November 11, 2010 at 9:24 am


    Acacia is basically representing Microsoft in this case. That’s not surprising, given the level of funding Microsoft has given them but it is irritating to see the puppet master portrayed as a good example.

    Novell, like Red Hat, competes with Microsoft. They compete with Windows. They want their customers to go ahead and use their products instead of Windows. And they want to be able to leap-frog, to move ahead of Windows.

    Specifically, Microsoft’s virtual desktop incompetence is portrayed as obedience to patents while Red Hat and Novel are portrayed as theives. For years Microsoft has spun their incompetence as not wanting to “confuse the user” but it has really been an issue of poor design all along. Companies like Nvidia made virtual desktop software for Windows for years, but it was always unwieldy, slow and unstable rather than confusing. It’s a good thing these patents were invalidated but a shame that Red Hat was put to the cost over such obvious business methods.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Nvidia really provides this functionality?

    twitter Reply:

    They used to have multiple virtual windows and a virtual desktop that was larger than the screen as part of the driver and software set for some of their older video cards. I saw it on Windows 98 and Windows XP. It relied on hotkeys to switch and slowed system performance to unusable levels. Here is a user manual from 2003 which is later than what I saw, but it is still a complicated mess to set up and use. NViewis still with us ine the era of Vista. Microsoft once built a power toy for Windows XP which I did not see operate. Microsoft and others would rather force people to buy extra monitors and video cards to get more screen space.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Multi-head in Windows is tricky or plainly impossible to set up if different types of GPUs are used (at least in Vista with Aero) and multiple desktops in Windows 2000/XP were implemented badly based on plug-ins I saw on a colleague’s machine. I quite liked visual kpager back in the days of SUSE ~8.

    I hadn’t heard of GPU drivers adding virtual desktop functionality to Windows, but then again I never had a real graphics card when I was a Windows user (90s). Few people even know about the possibilities of multi-head displays (which I found gruesome to work without since age 19).

    I wonder how Wayland copes with all of that. I fear that it has catching up to do in some areas.

    twitter Reply:

    If you liked visual kpager, you would like E16 pagers. Those pagers and snappy response are why I use that window manager. Nothing in the Windows or Apple world has come close, but virtual desktops have been around in the GNU/Linux world longer from the beginning. Enlightenment had pagers in E13, which came out sometime in the mid 90s. Try it out some time and give yourself a nice 3×3 virtual screen desktop or two. You can move your work from one desktop pager to another or dump it on your current screen. If you turn on compositing, updates of thumbnails are close to real time, which is fun with video conferencing. I doubt Wayland will be able to replace the desktop I’ve become accustom to.

    Virtual screens and desktops in Windows is a waste of time, due to performance reasons. Performance with Nvidia’s add on was no better than what you noticed with XP. Windows uptime is not long enough for people to organize any of their work and session management in Windows is hit and miss, not to mention hibernation or suspend.

    Microsoft people, like the Acacia lawyer, do not misunderstand how GNU/Linux works, they misrepresent it. It is clear that he understood that multiple virtual desktops is something that a 1,500 hour study proved people wanted but other Microsoft mouthpieces claim that the single screen GUI of Windows and daily boots is what people really want.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft people, like the Acacia lawyer, do not misunderstand how GNU/Linux works, they misrepresent it.

    So Microsoft+Acacia are the Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron of IT.

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