07.06.11

IRC Proceedings: July 4th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Microsoft Extorts Another Company That Sells Linux (Chrome OS)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 2:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Update/correction: Dj Walker-Morgan makes a constructive statement by saying that Wistron’s 2010 financials show a revenue of US$18bn, so it is not a small company, just a lesser-known one.

Intent man

Summary: Wistron is the latest company that pays Microsoft for Linux, this time in the form of Chromebook too

MICROSOFT has been attacking many small companies recently, demanding that they pay Microsoft for Linux or face a lawsuit. Microsoft’s booster Jon Brodkin, in his usual fashion, plays along with this blackmail [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. He throws a softball and starts counting just like Microsoft Florian, the notorious lobbyist. Slashdot says that Android is becoming “Microsoft’s Hottest New Profit Center” because Microsoft extorted another obscure company, Wistron, not Google itself (update/correction: see correction at the top). But just how much does Wistron really sell? This is a symbolic deal which Microsoft hopes to increment a count with and then intimidate larger companies that sell GNU/Linux and/or Android. Brodkin writes:

Microsoft’s latest target is Wistron Corp., which has signed a patent agreement “that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Wistron’s tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome platform,” Microsoft announced.

Microsoft is no longer extorting large companies because it tends to backfire. And Microsoft would not be making much money from those small companies it signed deals with. I will issue some commentary pieces separately and make them in video form because it’s faster and requires no proofreading or the likes of those preparatory steps (I no longer have as much free time as I used to).

The main point though is that Microsoft is afraid to actually challenge the big companies over Android because as this new post from Slashdot reminds us, “More Oracle Patents [Are Being] Declared Invalid” (after it sued Google over Android):

The validity of another Oracle patent has become doubtful in the dispute with Google about the infringement of Java patents and copyrights on Android devices. The US Patent Office and Trademark Office (USPTO) has provisionally declared all 24 claims of patent number 6,125,447 as being invalid. The USPTO based its decision on a patent that had been used in another case. This patent was granted in 1994 – three years before Sun filed its Java patent application. The US patent office also considered two publications released in 1996 as evidence that Sun’s described method for protecting applications via ‘protection domains’ was anticipated by ‘prior art.’

Google should really start working towards abolishing all software patents. Maybe Microsoft too will decide to take this route one day. As Pranesh Prakash notes, “Idiocy of #SoftwarePatents #swpats : RT @HuffPostTech: Google, Microsoft sued over 3D map technology

“Novell pays us some money for the right to tell customers that anybody who uses SuSE Linux is appropriately covered.”

Steve Ballmer

Software Patent Holders Who Wish to Kiss Goodbye to Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 1:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Model

Summary: The push against software patents spreads wider than generally imagined

SOME weeks/months ago Techrights was approached by a patent holder who felt he had been mistreated and exploited by Microsoft and Apple. In the FFII’s mailing lists we have just seen a similar story, which goes as follows:

I am no fan of software patents and would like them to be abolished.
However, my name is on a software patent issued to a former employer
many years ago! The work which was patented was very technical and
was the result of considerable numbers of man-hours of discussion of
how best to solve a technical problem. Although the patent is not
frivolous, I do not believe that the work was sufficiently innovative
that a patent is reasonable — any of our competitors at the time who
had been willing to invest resources in solving this problem would
have come up with essentially the same solution.

I have been approached by a lawyer for the current owner of the patent
who is using it in litigation. I have no desire to support that
litigation. On the other hand, all they are asking me for (for the
moment, at least) is to be willing to confirm certain facts.

I would be interested in the view of the list on what action I should
take. Some actions I am considering include:

1) Answer their questions. I have respect for the law and feel a duty
to co-operate with the legal process. I am not an expert and it is
for others to argue whether the patent is valid.

2) Decline to answer their questions (possibly on the basis that it
was a long time ago and I can’t remember). But take no further
action.

3) Tell them my view, as a listed inventor, that the patent should not
have been granted and the litigation is unreasonable.

4) Track down and tell their opponents my view, as a listed inventor,
that the patent should not have been granted.

Also, should I tell my current employer? The patent and the case are
nothing to do with them, but they might have a view on whether they
wish to see me potentially called as a witness or even on which of the
actions above I should take. My current thought is that it is nothing
to do with them.

[...]

It appears I have not been clear. I am NOT looking for any legal
advice, thanks. I am confident that I understand my legal obligations
and if that changes I will seek professional legal advice, in my own
jurisdiction.

I am, however, interested in the views of the list on the ethical
issues involved. As someone who does not support software patents, do
you feel there is a moral obligation (not commenting on whether there
is a legal one) to the (successors to the) former employer who bought
out my rights for token sum many years ago? Or, at the opposite
extreme, should a campaigner against software patents actively
campaign to have their own patents invalidated?

And do you feel there is any moral obligation to give my current
employer (who also holds many software patents, although none in which
I am involved) a say in my actions in this area (again, without
commenting on any legal agreements I may have with my employer).

I realize that asking a list full of lawyers for ethical advice may be
foolish but there must be some non-lawyers on the list :-)

Any ideas on this would be appreciated.

TechBytes Episode 53: WebOS, Universal Laws, and Tablets

Posted in TechBytes at 1:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechBytes

Direct download as Ogg (1:37:34, 21.6 MB) | High-quality MP3 (34.6 MB) | Low-quality MP3 (11.2 MB)

Summary: Tim and Roy catch up with last week’s news and also some developments from the long weekend

LAST NIGHT’S show covered some issues to do with UK law and extradition. It also covered a lot of GNU/Linux, WebOS, and problems at Microsoft.Update: the show notes are out.

The show has 3 tracks. Tim’s track is “Demon Ridden” and the ones I chose are “When Are We Gonna Do It?” by Linus Of Hollywood and “Dear Love” by Maren Parusel. We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):

Download:

Ogg Theora
(There is also an MP3 version)

Our past shows:

November 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 1: Brandon from Fedora TechBytes Episode 1: Apple, Microsoft, Bundling, and Fedora 14 (With Special Guest Brandon Lozza) 1/11/2010
Episode 2: No guests TechBytes Episode 2: Ubuntu’s One Way, Silverlight Goes Dark, and GNU Octave Discovered 7/11/2010
Episode 3: No guests TechBytes Episode 3: Games, Wayland, Xfce, Restrictive Application Stores, and Office Suites 8/11/2010
Episode 4: No guests TechBytes Episode 4: Fedora 14 Impressions, MPAA et al. Payday, and Emma Lee’s Magic 9/11/2010
Episode 5: No guests TechBytes Episode 5: Windows Loses to Linux in Phones, GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share Estimations, and Much More 12/11/2010
Episode 6: No guests TechBytes Episode 6: KINect a Cheapo Gadget, Sharing Perceptually Criminalised, Fedora and Fusion 14 in Review 13/11/2010
Episode 7: No guests TechBytes Episode 7: FUD From The Economist, New Releases, and Linux Eureka Moment at Netflix 14/11/2010
Episode 8: Gordon Sinclair on Linux Mint TechBytes Episode 8: Linux Mint Special With Gordon Sinclair (ThistleWeb) 15/11/2010
Episode 9: Gordon Sinclair returns TechBytes Episode 9: The Potentially Permanent Return of ThistleWeb 17/11/2010
Episode 10: Special show format TechBytes Episode 10: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux 19/11/2010
Episode 11: Part 2 of special show TechBytes Episode 11: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux – Part II 21/11/2010
Episode 12: Novell special TechBytes Episode 12: Novell Sold for Microsoft Gains 23/11/2010
Episode 13: No guests TechBytes Episode 13: Copyfight, Wikileaks, and Other Chat 28/11/2010
Episode 14: Patents special TechBytes Episode 14: Software Patents in Phones, Android, and in General 29/11/2010
Episode 15: No guests TechBytes Episode 15: Google Chrome OS, Windows Refund, and Side Topics Like Wikileaks 30/11/2010

December 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 16: No guests TechBytes Episode 16: Bribes for Reviews, GNU/Linux News, and Wikileaks Opinions 3/12/2010
Episode 17: No guests TechBytes Episode 17: Chrome OS Imminent, Wikileaks Spreads to Mirrors, ‘Open’ Microsoft 5/12/2010
Episode 18: No guests TechBytes Episode 18: Chrome OS, Sharing, Freedom, and Wikileaks 11/12/2010
Episode 19: No guests TechBytes Episode 19: GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktop at 4%, Microsoft Declining, and ChromeOS is Coming 16/12/2010
Episode 20: No guests TechBytes Episode 20: GNU/Linux Gamers Pay More for Games, Other Discussions 18/12/2010
Episode 21: No guests TechBytes Episode 21: Copyright Abuses, Agitators and Trolls, Starting a New Site 20/12/2010
Episode 22: No special guests TechBytes Episode 22: Freedom Debate and Picks of the Year 27/12/2010

January 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 23: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 23: Failuresfest and 2011 Predictions 2/1/2011
Episode 24: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 24: Android, Microsoft’s President Departure, and Privacy 10/1/2011
Episode 25: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 25: Mono, Ubuntu, Android, and More 14/1/2011
Episode 26: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 26: £98 GNU/Linux Computer, Stuxnet’s Government Roots, and More 18/1/2011
Episode 27: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 27: Linux Phones, Pardus, Trusting One’s Government-funded Distribution, and Much More 22/1/2011
Episode 28: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 28: The Weekend After Microsoft’s Results and LCA 30/1/2011
Episode 29: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 29: KDE, Other Desktop Environments, and Programming 31/1/2011

February 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 30: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 30: Microsoft at FOSDEM, Debian Release, and Anonymous 7/2/2011
Episode 31: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 31: Nokiasoft and Computer Games 13/2/2011
Episode 32: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 32: Desktop Environments, Computer Games, Android and Ubuntu as the ‘New Linux’, Copyright Mentality 22/2/2011

March 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 33: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 33: Patent ‘Thieves’ and News That Deceives 6/3/2011
Episode 34: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 34: Done on a Dongle 13/3/2011
Episode 35: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 35: You Can’t Please Some People 19/3/2011

April 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 36: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 36: “Come to Take Me Away” 3/4/2011
Episode 37: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 37: Escaping the Soaps 4/4/2011
Episode 38: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 38: Thanks for Reaching Out 11/4/2011
Episode 39: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 39: Groklaw wins, Microsoft me too’s and trolls fail 13/4/2011
Episode 40: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 40: Video Begins at 40 17/4/2011
Episode 41: Tim, Gordon, Rusty, and Roy TechBytes Episode 41: Going Rusty 24/4/2011
Episode 42: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 42: Bandwidth, Android and Patents, Games, and Computer Nostalgia 29/4/2011

May 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 43: Tim, Jono Bacon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 43: At Home With Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager 4/5/2011
Episode 44: Rusty, Gordon, Tim, Roy, and Brandon Lozza TechBytes Episode 44: The Four Horsemen Reunited; Fedora Ambassador Interview 7/5/2011
Episode 45: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 45: Skype, Facebook, and Weekly Musings 14/5/2011
Episode 46: Rusty, Gordon, Tim, and Roy TechBytes Episode 46: GNU/Linux in Germany, Android’s Openness, and More 15/5/2011
Episode 47: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 47: Unity With the Wife 21/5/2011
Episode 48: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 48: Will The Real Steve Ballmer Please Step Down? 27/5/2011

June 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 49: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 49: Linux – To Boldly Go… 3/6/2011
Episode 50: Rusty, Tim, and Roy TechBytes Episode 50: With Rusty Again, Challenging FUD 6/6/2011
Episode 51: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 51: Nokia and Apple, GPL’s Importance, Silverlight’s Death, and Copyrights Unrest 15/6/2011
Episode 52: Rusty, Tim, and Roy TechBytes Episode 52: Desktop Environments and the Demise of Ubuntu 26/6/2011

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