05.02.11

What Google Should Do Now That Android is Being Poisoned by Novell (With Mono) and Sued by Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 4:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rock in lake

Summary: Why Google should toss Mono in the lake and also work to abolish software patents rather than acquire patents

THIS post is an unintended continuation of prior ones on the subject. It deals with Novell’s promotion of Mono and Moonlight for Android , as recently covered by Paul Krill.

SUSE has failed to spread further since the Microsoft patent deal, so Novell uses other platforms as “hosts” by which to spread the disease. In Ubuntu, for example, there is a new Mono Trojan horde called Banshee (a Novell project), but according to this one blogger, removing Mono from Ubuntu 11.04 is maybe “intentionally easy”. The blogger writes:

There are many people who are unhappy with Canonical Ltd’s inclusion of Mono in Ubuntu and furthermore there are many who avoid using/promoting Ubuntu as a result.

Thankfully Ubuntu is not heavily dependent on Mono and removing it is easy, particularly in 11.04.

Compare that to the ravings of OMG Ubuntu, whose Mono contributors (they have tactlessly appointed Mono people to work among the authors) are launching off-topic personal attacks on yours truly this week. Here is more Banshee promotion from that site:

The new Banshee development cycle has official begun and within comes a number of big changes. Before you read any further, if you are currently using the Banshee Daily PPA now is probably a good time to disable it. With that said, let’s look at what is already in the tree now and which will be in the first development release 2.1.0 (currently listed on the Banshee calendar as landing on the 11th of May).

First we had the pollution of Ubuntu with Mono and now that a lot of people embrace Android there is also an increased focus at Novell — focus that puts Android in a lot of Mono press releases. For shame. Google should know better, especially now that Microsoft and others try to use patents against Android. We already know that Mono is a patent liability. Brian Proffitt addresses one of the latest lawsuits against Google:

If there were ever a week where anyone could see just how remarkable stupid patent infringement litigation had become, this would certainly be it.

First, there was the $5 million jury decision against Google in the patent infringement case filed by Bedrock Computer Technologies, LLC.

The suit alleges that a patent that Bedrock owns, US 5,893,120, is infringed by Google and the other defendants in the suit (Yahoo! Inc., MySpace Inc., Amazon.com Inc., PayPal Inc., Match.com, Inc., AOL LLC, CME Group Inc, Softlayer Technologies, Inc., and CitiWare Technology Solutions, LLC) because such a method is employed by the Linux operating system and as major users of Linux, the defendants are liable for damages.

Microsoft is also attacking Google directly using patents. Well, it does not sue Google directly, but it is using its own legal department to sue Android distributors with patents that should never have been granted in the first place. Groklaw looks for prior art/research summaries while we continue to communicate with someone from MIT whose very broad tablet patent Microsoft seems to be interested in buying (more on that at a later date).

Check those dates, Barnes & Noble! No. I will do it for you. The patents that Microsoft hilariously claims are being infringed by Android were issued in the following years: 1998, 2002, 1999, 2005 and 2005 respectively. I am looking at my calendar. OMG. The year 1994 comes before all of them. My, my. That predates all of Paul Allen’s patents too. Check out the video. I see a “Tell Me More” column. And it had a Personal Interest feature. It even had a touchscreen. Say, Google, are you aware of this? If not, here’s a present for you and Android, I hope.

And here’s the interesting part. I just checked Microsoft’s patent No. 5,778,372, and I don’t see this Knight-Ridder tablet listed as prior art. That, of course, is the issue Microsoft has raised in its appeal to the US Supreme Court in the i4i v. Microsoft case, what level of evidence is required to toss overboard a wrongly issued patent that was not considered by the USPTO examiner prior to its issuance. Talk about conflict. If this turns out to be relevant prior art, what will Microsoft want to happen now, I can’t help but wonder?

Katherine Noyes has good coverage which also blames the system, not just the patent or Microsoft. Mike Masnick is meanwhile claiming that Google’s strategy is unfruitful. The headline says “Unintended Consequences Of Google’s $900 Million Nortel Patent Bid: Creating New Patent Trolls”:

A few weeks back, Google got a ton of attention for offering a $900 million bid for a bunch of Nortel patents. Google made it pretty clear that it was seeking these patents largely to keep them out of the hands of someone else who might start suing everyone. However, there may be some unintended consequences. The publicity around Google’s role and the size of the bid (which rumors say has already been surpassed by others) has drawn some renewed interest by some companies in “monetizing” their own patents. Greg Sandoval over at News.com has the story of a company called ReQuest, who claims to hold patents (7,577,757 and 7,136,934) on syncing — and is now sending out letters to companies asking for licensing fees. The letters apparently make it clear that “patent lawyers” are interested in buying up the patents, which is a pretty transparent threat: license up or we’ll sue.

We have already said why Google's strategy is misguided. Instead of legitimising and adding to the so-called ‘value’ of patents, Google should help fund groups like the FFII. It is possible that RIM will get those Nortel patents at the end, and maybe that would be for the better. RIM is a proprietary software company; the patent strategy for a company like Google ought to be antithetical w.r.t. patents. Here is a group of recent videos about WebM and software patents [1, 2, 3, 4]. Basically, the whole idea behind WebM is to dodge patent thickets that typically come with multimedia codecs. Google has done a good job there, so why be hypocritical with a massive patent purchase?

The patent system is broken. Google knows it, everyone else knows it, except the patent lawyers and the monopolists whom they serve. The latter group can just pretend and even convince itself that it is doing the right thing. Watch this latest Federal Appeals Court cock-up:

Among the fastest growing problems within the realm of malignant monopolies is the disturbing frequency of abuse that lawyers now use to try and keep court documents under seal and away from public scrutiny. This results in a monopoly of information that is often abused by corporate powers within the legal system.

It is gratifying to know that the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has sanctioned at least one attorney for abusing that process in the course of a patent infringement lawsuit.

Patents are not for the market anymore, they are for lawyers. To quote Bob Hauck from a few hours ago, “that is not the purpose of patents or copyright. The purpose as defined by the US Constitution is to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts”.

“So patent protection should be offered only to the extent that the gains from offering it oughtweigh the costs of monopoly to society. It is not something inventors are automatically entitled to.”

Google should help achieve some real patent reform; it oughtn’t buy patents. It oughtn’t accept patent traps like MonoDroid [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15], either.

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/2011/05/02/tossing-mono-in-the-lake/

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

2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 2, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Gravatar

    Mono is also about making bad engineering acceptable, the Windows experience in a nutshell.

  2. twitter said,

    May 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks, Roy, for your longstanding warnings against Mono and Microsoft’s patent machinations. I read that there are now 41 software patent lawsuits against Android. Think how much more potent that attack would be if people had actually fallen for Microsoft’s Trojan horses five years ago. As things are, it is clear that Microsoft’s actions are an abuse of process with vague patents against software they had nothing to do with. The public and judiciary will be able to see through this charade a lot easier and should be inclined to award Google damages if there is anything left after the US DOJ finally wakes up. A steady focus on facts at Boycott Novell and now Techrights exposed Novell and Microsoft’s fraud for all to see. It put a floor on free software liability that performance issues alone might not have. That is a fine accomplishment and I’m proud for what little help I might have been. The insults slung by Microsoft attack dogs like Jack Sckofield and Florian Mueller are flimsy, personal and only go to show that you were on the right track all along.

    There’s lots of work to be done but things look good. The Groklaw community is coming to help and more journalists are starting to get a clue. The academic community is, of course, outraged. Here’s something PJ noticed in her news picks, the patent Google was recently charged $5 million over has been reduced to pure math. PR people can spew on and on but it will be hard for the legal world to ignore simple demonstrations like this. With a little effort on everyone’s part, the broad consensus against software patents will eventually find an expression in law.

What Else is New


  1. The EPO's Virtual Injustice and Virtual ('News') Media

    A discussion of this morning's post (part 10 in a series) about the shallow media/blog coverage that followed or accompanied last month's notorious EPO hearing



  2. Links 18/6/2021: LibreOffice 7.2 Beta, Elementary OS 6.0 Beta 2, and Linux Mint 20.2 “Uma” Beta

    Links for the day



  3. The Self-Hosting Song

    Cautionary tales about outsourcing one's systems to companies that could not care less about anyone but themselves



  4. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, June 17, 2021



  5. [Meme] Swedish Justice

    The EPO‘s patent tribunals have been mostly symbolic under the Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos regimes; giving them back their autonomy (and removing those who help Battistelli and Campinos attack their autonomy) is the only way to go now



  6. Virtual Injustice -- Part 10: Vapid and Superficial Coverage in the 'IP' Blogosphere

    The media has come under attack by Benoît Battistelli; during the term of António Campinos most of the media critical of the EPO has mostly vanished already; so one needs to look carefully at comments and social control media



  7. Links 18/6/2021: RasPad 3 and Pushing Rust Into the Linux Kernel

    Links for the day



  8. Heli Pihlajamaa Promoting Software Patents to Patent Maximalists

    "Ms Pyjamas" from the EPO is promoting illegal software patents to a bunch of patent zealots (CIPA)



  9. The Lying by Team UPC, Led Again by Kevin Mooney

    Team UPC, or specifically Mr. Mooney, lies to the public about the prospects of the UPC; similarly, EPO and EU officials keep bringing up false claims about the UPC, so while the UPC itself has likely died for good the lies have not



  10. Links 17/6/2021: Cutelyst 3 and Lenovo Move Towards ThinkPad BIOS Configuration From Within Linux

    Links for the day



  11. Too Much Noise and/or Distraction and General Loss of Focus (on the Real and Urgent Issues, Such as the Ongoing Anti-FSF 'Coup')

    The media is full of Microsoft fluff and technical blog posts still focus on the Freenode fiasco, among other things that don't matter all that much; but we certainly need to talk about steps undertaken to undermine the FSF's power because long-term ramifications may be huge



  12. [Meme] The Enlarged Bored People With Presidential Decrees

    The laughable state of the EPO‘s EBA (or EBoA) is rarely commented on anymore, not even in so-called ‘IP’ blogs; maybe they’re just so eager to see patents on everything, even European software patents, so tyrants who destroy the courts (with UPC lobbying and removal of EBA independence) don’t bother them so much anymore



  13. Response to Misinformation From EPO Officials

    Opponents of European software patents are clearly being mischaracterised by EPO officials, who also use meaningless buzzwords to promote such patents; as an aside or footnote that relates to our ongoing series we’re making this quick video, which is days late



  14. [Meme] Tilting the Scales for Software Patents

    Shovelling up lots of patents, even worthless patents such as software patents, dooms the EPO (EPC violations, lawlessness), dooms European professionals, but the wrong people have been put in charge and courts are being intimidated by them



  15. Virtual Injustice -- Part 9: Heli, the EPO's Nordic Ice-Queen

    Team Campinos is full of people who instead of grasping and working to promote innovation are boosting the agenda of litigation (scientists are not being employed)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, June 16, 2021



  17. Links 17/6/2021: elementary OS 6 Beta 2 and JingPad Linux Tablet Crowdfunding

    Links for the day



  18. Techrights Statement on IRC

    Freenode needs to explain what the hell happened this week and why communities that make up the network weren't informed or consulted



  19. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, June 15, 2021



  20. Virtual Injustice -- Part 8: A Well-Connected 'IP' Maximalist

    The EPO‘s lobbying for European software patents goes all the way to the top, including António Campinos and his circle



  21. Links 16/6/2021: Alpine 3.14.0 and DXVK 1.9

    Links for the day



  22. Links 15/6/2021: Debian Installer Bullseye RC 2 and Zink Updates

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, June 14, 2021



  24. Virtual Injustice -- Part 7: Musical Chairs and Revolving Doors

    Cross pollination in Alicante and Munich serves to show that people aren't picked for their skills and experience; it's like a private club or a clique



  25. Hardly Shocking and Not At All Surprising That Thugs Who Run the EPO Hired External Thugs to Help Them Oppress Aggrieved Staff

    With the EPO's management flooding the bank accounts of aggressive law firms (at our expense) we need to ask serious questions about how such a "Mafia" (what EPO staff calls the management) managed to metastasise inside Europe's second-largest institution and how to remove this "Mafia" as soon as possible (some arrests too are well overdue)



  26. [Meme] There Are No Elections in Mafia-Type Regimes; It's About Family and Friends...

    With no real concept or notion of "elections" (the so-called 'mafia' members choose their successors and colleagues) the EPO's patent examiners clearly need outside intervention, e.g. inquest by the EU authorities (the EPC died and maybe the EPO too; it's unregulated and it grants false patents that harm Europe because the courts don't function, either)



  27. Today's Linux Standing for the Opposite of What Linux Users Stand for

    The so-called 'Linux' Foundation or the "Corporate Linux Foundation" is alienating many of the original users of GNU/Linux and it still insults their intelligence; it's rewriting history, it still distorts the objectives, and before we know Linux will perish and lose momentum because all the excitement associated with the brand will fizzle away



  28. Links 14/6/2021: Kdenlive 21.04.2 and Raspberry Pi 400 Support in Linux

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] EPO 'Lawfulness' as Crude Budget Wars

    A war of attrition against EPO staff won’t ensure justice is done; it’ll only increase the number of casualties and accomplish nothing good



  30. A Parade of 'Yes Men': EPO's Budget and Finance Committee as Rubber-stamper of the Dictatorship That Pays the Salary

    The lack of oversight at the EPO has long been apparent and it is becoming ever more problematic now that huge sums of money are passed by the EPO's management to law firms whose sole role is to fight against aggrieved EPO staff


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