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04.19.11

OSI President: Microsoft Florian is Spouting Nonsense (About CPTN/Microsoft-Novell Patents)

Posted in Microsoft, OSI, Patents at 4:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael Tiemann

Summary: Michael Tiemann says that Florian Müller “proceeds to spout nonsense” after insulting the Open Source Initiative (OSI) regarding defence of Free/Open Source software

MICROSOFT is lusting for Novell’s patents and Microsoft Florian keeps licking his lips over the possibility that Microsoft et al. will get some so-called “FOSS patents” to threaten Linux with. It’s rather transparent based on what he writes, especially the reckless gloat (and insults) in his Twitter stream. He’s not alone though.

IDG’s Jon Brodkin, known to us for the Microsoft whitewashing efforts (we recently gave examples [1, 2, 3] and he too speaks to Florian), says that “U.S. Antitrust will review Microsoft/Novell patent sale for 30 more days”. Florian is meanwhile spreading disinformation; they try to rush the judgment or push this bit of disinformation while Florian deceives people (there is an inaccurate CPTN report in ZDNet UK, maybe as a result of this) when in fact even his online friend Maureen O’Gara realises that there is no clearance. Brodkin, a Microsoft blogger, is spinning it as defence for Microsoft (“Shield… From Lawsuits”) [1, 2]; it is arguably this headline which makes him a fan of the deal, just like Florian. The patent deal is atrocious (FSF and OSI agree and even work jointly against it, in an unprecedented fashion), whereas Microsoft boosters are predicting or heralding its success before it’s even cleared. Are they trying to influence the decision by generating fallacious claims? Truthfully, we wrote about this before. Since the pro-Microsoft crowd is so eager to see those patents falling into Microsoft’s arms, we know for sure that the FSF and OSI are correct and to quote a response from “barney”, aimed at Brodkin’s spin (headline is “Novell Patent Sale to Shield Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle From Lawsuits”):

Shield? don’t you mean sword

I really don’t see Microsoft, Apple, nor Oracle being passive with regards to using those patents and they way I see it, they will be used to cut down open source technology( aka Linux ) based products.

There is only one resoponse and one that does not take into account the companies’ prior attitude towards competition and how they use patents. They are aggressors. Meanwhile, the propaganda machine of Microsoft Florian kicks into gear again and the head of the OSI responds:

Florian Mueller accuses that the OSI is spouting nonsense, and then proceeds to spout nonsense. I’m calling him on it.
The FCO has clearly stated the conditions under which a deal can and must be blocked, which is when when the CPTN transaction would “create or strengthen a dominant position of one or several CPTN-investors on the markets on which they are active.” Florian thinks that is an impossibly high bar, because according to him, there’s really no way regulators can be expected to do their jobs. I reject such a cynical conclusion. And I am heartened that the regulators in both the US and EU are reading carefully both the legal requirements and the facts and evidence of the transaction. We have already seen a huge change to the structure of the CPTN transaction, indicating that there were clearly some very serious issues with the first structuring.
In the world of open source, a rejected patch is never automatically accepted merely because some random changes were made and the patch resubmitted. The patch must address the substantive issues, and must do so in a way that is accepted by the community. It is accepted when the *maintainer* says its good enough, not when the submitter claims it’s good enough.
The revised proposed CPTN transaction did address one of the many concerns raised by the OSI, but it leaves most of the concerns unaddressed. The FCO requested our input–as members of the community–and we have given our answer. We should let the FCO do their job, and not second-guess their authority, their ability, or their integrity.

As the next commenter pointed out:

I wish this summary, like most on Linux Today, had identified the author of the article. This is an important piece of information that I use when deciding whether or not to click through and read an article.

And the next one after that:

Thanks for that informative post, Michael. When is saw the link was to FOSS Patents, I decided to avoid clicking.

Barnie asks: “Florian – do you feed any of the Microsoft patent deals are justified?”

Over the last few years we have seen Microsoft make deals (it would seem by threat of legal action) extract patent deals from the likes of HTC, TomTom and many others.
Do you believe any of these deals are justified and do you believe the current system is working?

Florian appears a couple of times in this thread, only to insist on the same spin and distortion of facts (his main tactic, also against messengers he does not agree with, e.g. Groklaw and Techrights). Rainer Weikusat closes this conversation with:

> 1) If it were up to me, patents of that kind would
> not be granted in the first place.
.
But it isn’t ‘up to you’, meaning, any statement on
this from your side is entirely hypothetical: No
‘reality check’ of its truthfulness will ever occur
and in the context of the actual question, it is also
completely irrelevant.
.
> I don’t believe that it’s reasonable to grant
> 20-year monopolies on software-related ideas. This
> view is independent from whether we’re talking about
> a Microsoft FAT, Apple multitouch, Oracle virtual
> machine, Amazon one-click or Google Doodle patent
> (yes, they patented that one and the patent was
> granted recently, and in my view it’s the most
> abusrd one in this list).
.
It is at least about some original invention, as
opposed tasking someone with ‘design and implement
a way to add “long filenames” to a DOS-directory
in a way which will not disturb software written to
use 8.3 names’ (something any decent programmer should
be easily capable of) and then patenting the result
of this work in order to hamper independent,
interoperable implementations.
.
> 2) Given that such patents do exist nonetheless,
> it’s the normal course of business that right
> holders want to use them. If they grant licenses on
> reasonable terms, that’s infinitely better than any
> strategic exclusionary use of patents
.
The interesting question, however, is what precisely
constitutes ‘a reasonable term’. For instance, legally,
Linux is prohibited from being fully interoperable
with systems creating filesystems using the ‘long name
addition method’ patented by Microsoft, except
insofar proprietary kernel modules of legally dubious
status are used. And in my opinion, this is ‘strategic,
exclusionary use of patents’: While a license to use
this ‘invention’ may be available to ‘companies’ it
is only granted subject to the condition that said
companies to not participiate in large-scale
collaborative development efforts Microsoft considers
to be potentially detrimental to its ongoing business
success. This also conveniently ignores the fact that
a lot of ‘development’ is not done by ‘companies’
producing software because of its ‘sale value’ (and
thus, capable of paying royalties).

The legitimacy of Microsoft Florian in FOSS circles which he pretends to champion is at an all-time low. Anything which could be attributed to him in the past is being superseded by unacceptable deception and hostility towards software freedom, including crass behaviour and language. Florian the author is not Florian the lobbyist and he admits that he never wrote FOSS.

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A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    April 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Gravatar

    Florian’s disgraceful defense of Microsoft patent deals is detailed here.

    I tried to post this in Linux Today but the page formatting and advertisements were too obnoxious for Akregator.

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