11.16.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Microsoft is Paying Red Hat Foe Acacia and Bruce Perens Criticises Red Hat Over Acacia NDA

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Key

“Microsoft hardly needs an SCO source license. Its license payment to SCO is simply a good-looking way to pass along a bribe…”

Bruce Perens

Summary: Red Hat pressured but not vilified for the fact that it signed some deal with patent troll Acacia, locked it in a box, and hid away the key, leaving some developers in a state of uncertainty

We have already done quite a lot to pressure Red Hat to unseal the Acacia settlement [1, 2, 3]. Other did the exact same thing. It was all in vain.

Bruce Perens is now increasing the pressure on Red Hat. He explains why software patents — the main subject of Techrights since its beginning — is the main problem software freedom faces (a point we made many times before).

One pro-patents guy (for professional reasons) agrees with our assessment at the time and refers to this new piece from Bruce Perens, who was raining on Novell's parade a few years ago (Perens is more of a Debian person).

In this specific example, Perens echos the concern that Red Hat’s actions may have strengthened Acacia, and placed developers building JBoss related applications in a worse position by “validating” Acacia’s patent. Of course, the real issue is that no one knows (other than Acacia and Red Hat). The consequent confusion and uncertainty is benefits no one. For example, its possible that Red Hat obtained a license that specifically authorizes developers to build applications without fearing legal claims from Acacia. Its also possible that the legal doctrine known as “exhaustion” bars any relief that Acacia might have against downstream developers.

For those who do not remember, Microsoft has been paying Acacia on a few occasions, most recently because ACCESS had some sort of an alliance with Acacia. In his blog, the ACCESS mobbyist everyone likes to hate is now admitting being a “patent troll” too. This ought to explain those personal attacks against Richard Stallman, no? Anyway, Stallman’s colleague Bradley Kuhn comments on Perens’ piece as well. He starts by stating:

Bruce Perens and I often disagree about lots of things. However, I urge everyone to read what Bruce wrote this weekend about software patents. I’m very glad he’s looking deep into recent events surrounding this issue; I haven’t had the time to do so myself because I’ve been so busy with the launch of my full-time work at Conservancy this fall.

Despite my current focus on getting Conservancy ramped up with staff, so it can do more of its work, I nevertheless still remain frightfully concerned about the impact of software patents on the future of software freedom, and I support any activities that seek to make sure that software patent threats do not stand in the way of software freedom. Bruce and I have always agreed about this issue: software patents should end, and while individuals with limited means can’t easily make that happen themselves, we must all work to raise awareness and public opinion against all patenting of software.

Specifically, I’m really glad that Bruce has mentioned the issue of lobbying against software patents.

It’s probably just better to read Perens’ piece, including the comments (there is a discussion in Slashdot too, not to mentioned LWN). To quote some parts of the analysis:

When patent troll Acacia sued Red Hat in 2007, it ended with a bang: Acacia’s patents were invalidated by the court, and all software developers, open-source or not, had one less legal risk to cope with. So, why is the outcome of Red Hat’s next tangle with Acacia being kept secret, and how is a Texas court helping to keep it that way? Could the outcome have placed Red Hat in violation of the open-source licenses on its own product?

The suit in question — Software Tree LLC v. Red Hat, Inc. – claimed that JBoss, the well-known Java web software, infringed upon U.S. Patent No. 6163776 (PDF), which essentially claims invention of the object-relational database paradigm. In that paradigm, an object in an object-oriented software language represents a database record, and the attributes of the object represent fields in the database, making it possible for programmers to access a database without writing any SQL. It’s a common element in most web programming environments today.

The patent was originally filed by Software Tree Inc., a database software vendor. Acacia acquired Software Tree’s patent portfolio (with terms undisclosed) and formed the Acacia subsidiary Software Tree LLC, which pursues lawsuits against other companies and does not produce any products. Most of the press was misled by the similar names of the two companies and provided links to Software Tree Inc. in their reporting.

Soon after the judge produced a finding on claim language, a first step in such cases, Acacia filed a press release announcing that the parties had settled, while Red Hat gave a terse acknowledgment. But a month later, there has been no announcement of the terms of the settlement by either party. Open-source developers are especially concerned, because the license on the JBoss software, the Lesser General Public License (LGPL), contains language that prohibits one party from licensing a patent unless that license is available to all developers of the software.

[...]

Richard Stallman has said, “There’s no way to cure malaria by swatting mosquitoes — you have to drain the swamp.” Meaning that the solution is to fundamentally change the law so that free software and open source are protected from software patenting. But even Stallman’s legal counsel, Eben Moglen, acknowledges this is a lofty goal: “We can’t drain the swamp in the near future. So we need effective public hygiene that isn’t based on draining the swamp. What it will take is careful, constant, expensive, and difficult attempts to make the patent system part of the coexistence between freedom and business instead of a constant irritant and threat.”

For leaders like Moglen to discourage direct lobbying against software patenting probably won’t help to drain the swamp, either. The open-source community must start to take the problem of software patenting seriously, and must hold its commercial partners responsible to invest more of the profits made from open source into protection of the right to produce it.

It was not just Techrights advising Red Hat never to sign NDAs again (as it harms trust within the community and in turn hurts Red Hat). But in any case, Red Hat should find a way out of its NDA and just tell us what it has been trying to hide because as it stands, Red Hat provides ammunition to Microsoft and its mobbyists. They won’t leave it alone.

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  2. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  3. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  4. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  5. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  6. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  7. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  8. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.



  9. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...



  10. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)



  11. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day



  12. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  13. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021



  15. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day



  16. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year



  17. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be



  18. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them



  19. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing



  20. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 02, 2021



  22. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day



  24. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue



  25. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021



  26. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”



  27. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all still the same



  28. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  29. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  30. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation


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