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04.20.12

Microsoft’s Man-in-the-Middle Attack on Free Software (Article by Formic)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: “Microsoft will only be able to survive as a patent litigator/royalty collector,” writes Formic

We have discovered that Microsoft is using sneaky underhanded tactics again. It’s obvious to us that Microsoft has not changed. A lot of free software groups have been creating licenses which have clauses that require contributors give up the right to sue over patents they own that are related to their contributions. Microsoft has figured out a loophole to avoid having to give up the right to sue. I call it Microsoft’s “Man in the Middle Attack”.

“3. Firewall open source licensing. Licenses like the GPLv3 are an inescapable fact of open source and they do a fine job protecting their communities. However, they do that by placing responsibilities on corporate participants, especially on how they handle patents. Most modern licenses include a “patent peace” clauses, removing rights from community participants who turn out to be patent litigators.

“Microsoft has figured out a loophole to avoid having to give up the right to sue.”Those clauses also give broad patent licenses to a contributor’s patent portfolio. Additionally, most open source licensing experts believe all open source licenses give implied licenses to patents infringed from a contributor’s portfolio. A separate subsidiary provides an “arms length” relationship so that license terms can’t affect the parent company and unintentional free patent licenses don’t get given away. It wouldn’t do to be unable to collect fees from open source competitiors.”

Source: IDG

They have created a subsidiary which will contribute on their behalf. The effect of this is that since Microsoft isn’t contributing directly; they don’t have to give up the right to sue over patents they own. The subsidiary doesn’t have any ownership of their patents.

“They have created a subsidiary which will contribute on their behalf. The effect of this is that since Microsoft isn’t contributing directly; they don’t have to give up the right to sue over patents they own.”This is extremely dangerous to free software. By using this “Man in the Middle Attack”, they could contribute code by proxy that infringes on their patents. They can then claim ignorance since on paper; they aren’t in direct control of their subsidiary.

After doing this Microsoft will behave like it always does. It will start suing companies and blackmailing them with settlements that require paying royalties. With all the popularity of Android smart phones and tablets; Microsoft will only be able to survive as a patent litigator/royalty collector. They will become a company just like SCO with no real products, spending their money on lawsuits to collect more royalties.

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13 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    April 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Gravatar

    MS is being asked to give up their rights and they are finding ways not to.

    And this is bad? It is bad to ask people or organizations to give up their rights.

    formic_ Reply:

    Give up their right to sue over patents they insert via a third party? Yes I would… Microsoft can add code on purpose that infringes their patents because their subsidiary has no patents to grant when submitting code.

    It’s a loophole, they’ll use it to collect royalties because they have no creative talent anymore. They just copy apple and collect royalties.

    Michael Reply:

    Your last paragraph is just silly and unsupportable. While they do continue to copy Apple, as much of the tech industry does, they also innovate on their own (a lot more than, say, Samsung did with their phones and tablets).

    formic_ Reply:

    Sure

    if innovation = {old product + new paint +updated drm}

    Examples:

    Windows 7 (New paint slapped on Vista)

    Windows 2000/XP (New paint slapped on NT4)

    Windows 98/ME (New paint slapped on 95)

    MS-DOS/PC-DOS (New paint slapped on 86-DOS/QDOS)

    IE 4.x/5.x/6.x (New paint slapped on IE 3, IE4, IE5)

    IE8 (New paint slapped on IE7)

    Office 2003 (New paint slapped on Office XP, Office 97)

    Office 2010 (New paint slapped on Office 2007)

    the list goes on

    Michael Reply:

    Sure
    if innovation = {old product + new paint +updated drm}
    Examples:
    Windows 7 (New paint slapped on Vista)

    Unsupportable silliness. I mean, really, it is the next version of the same OS, not an entirely new product, but there s nothing wrong with that. But if you are looking for features which were new and improved in Windows 7 compared to Vista, it is not hard to find: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_7
    What more do you expect from one version of an OS to the next?

    Windows 2000/XP (New paint slapped on NT4)

    Unsupportable silliness

    Windows 98/ME (New paint slapped on 95)

    Unsupportable silliness

    MS-DOS/PC-DOS (New paint slapped on 86-DOS/QDOS)

    This is what you use to show what they do "any more". Even the last few… the idea you include this in recent items is just laughable.

    IE 4.x/5.x/6.x (New paint slapped on IE 3, IE4, IE5)
    IE8 (New paint slapped on IE7)
    Office 2003 (New paint slapped on Office XP, Office 97)
    Office 2010 (New paint slapped on Office 2007)
    the list goes on

    Yes, your list of unsupported, absurd, and biased comments goes on and on and on. What innovations form other groups are you thinking of where they are falling short? I mean, really, other than advetising your own bias, what as the point of that list? Just silly.

  2. formic_ said,

    April 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Gravatar

    They are taking old products, adding a few new features and then selling it as if its brand new. There is no innovation. Look at how badly IE did for innovation until Firefox started eating market share.

    Microsoft only ‘innovates’ by copying the ideas of people who are crushing them. Yet, theres nothing wrong with Apple or Microsoft copying. FLOSS shouldn’t copy them without paying patent royalties to these criminal corporations right?

    Phone7 failed, so they had to resort to patent blackmail on Android handset manufacturers.

    Michael Reply:

    An interesting example of paranoia. I mean, really, I am not saying MS is as innovative as, say, Apple, but they clearly innovate. This is not something that anyone with knowledge of the tech industry questions… it is one of those things that if you are ignorant of it you are ignorant of the tech industry as a whole.

  3. formic_ said,

    April 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Gravatar

    Regarding this:

    “Unsupportable silliness. I mean, really, it is the next version of the same OS, not an entirely new product, but there s nothing wrong with that. But if you are looking for features which were new and improved in Windows 7 compared to Vista, it is not hard to find: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_7
    What more do you expect from one version of an OS to the next?”

    It’s commonly known that if you’re familiar with the windows server family, that you know Vista and 7 are the same.

    Server 2008 is Vista, literally. With some features turned on or off by default. You can use software to turn Server 2008 into Vista, and they even share drivers and service packs.

    Server 2008 R2 is Windows 7, the difference with R2 is that it comes with more updates and service packs built in. Server 2008 is not significantly different from R2, you can get the same thing by running all the updates available for 2008 and its essentially the same as R2.

    R2 also has software that will turn it into Windows 7.

    On a technical viewpoint, Vista = Windows 7. Mind you, with updates, service packs and some additional features have been turned on. Windows 7 also shares service packs with Server 2008 R2.

    Michael Reply:

    Regarding this:
    “Unsupportable silliness. I mean, really, it is the next version of the same OS, not an entirely new product, but there s nothing wrong with that. But if you are looking for features which were new and improved in Windows 7 compared to Vista, it is not hard to find: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_7
    What more do you expect from one version of an OS to the next?”
    It’s commonly known that if you’re familiar with the windows server family, that you know Vista and 7 are the same.

    They are not the same. Windows 7 is the version of Windows that came after Vista. The next version is Windows 8.

    Server 2008 is Vista, literally. With some features turned on or off by default. You can use software to turn Server 2008 into Vista, and they even share drivers and service packs.
    Server 2008 R2 is Windows 7, the difference with R2 is that it comes with more updates and service packs built in. Server 2008 is not significantly different from R2, you can get the same thing by running all the updates available for 2008 and its essentially the same as R2.
    R2 also has software that will turn it into Windows 7.
    On a technical viewpoint, Vista = Windows 7. Mind you, with updates, service packs and some additional features have been turned on. Windows 7 also shares service packs with Server 2008 R2.

    It is the next version of the same OS. I do not know why this is exciting to you… but it does give you a way to dodge your claims about MS and them not innovating. OK, so you made that up. Fair enough – you wanted to please your cult-like group of Stallman supporters. No big deal/

    formic_ Reply:

    Michael,

    Why don’t you put down the marketing propaganda and actually learn the internals. Just because Microsoft is able to turn features on and off, and increments the version number doesn’t mean you have a brand new product.

    When Linux goes from 3.3 to 3.4, do you have a brand new kernel and operating system? Hell no, its just a newer revision. However Microsoft thinks people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to upgrade their kernel and a few built in applications.

    When XP came out, the service packs for 2000 included stuff from XP that they fixed. All of a sudden 2000 was able to run the same software and play direct x games just as well as XP.

    “Geez, Vista and Windows 7 are different! LOOK AT THE NAMES!” – Paraphrased Snit

    My *experience* proves you wrong. I’ve used these OS’s and I’ve *seen* how they work. You are just playing the incremental numbers marketing game and you don’t fool me or anyone here. You spend a ridiculous amount of time and effort on USENET defending Apple and Microsoft. I know what *your* bias is. It’s unhealthy too. You literally posted a reply 4 minutes after me, which had been 3 days after your first comment. Seek help (again).

    Mankind does not go forward in technology or science by hoarding.

    Michael Reply:

    Michael,
    Why don’t you put down the marketing propaganda and actually learn the internals. Just because Microsoft is able to turn features on and off, and increments the version number doesn’t mean you have a brand new product.

    I do not even follow where you are getting this. Turning features on and off to get a new product? That is a part of your cult-like mythology, not mine. It has nothing to do with my views or my comments.

    When Linux goes from 3.3 to 3.4, do you have a brand new kernel and operating system? Hell no, its just a newer revision. However Microsoft thinks people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to upgrade their kernel and a few built in applications.

    Ah: jealousy from you. Right: Linux is given out for free but people are willing to pay for upgrades from MS. But this off the topic of innovation. It is not as though anyone is denying others beside MS are innovative or that newer versions of Windows are not newer revisions of the same OS. In fact, that was my point, above. You are arguing against straw men and your own cult-like mythology… you are not arguing against me.

    When XP came out, the service packs for 2000 included stuff from XP that they fixed. All of a sudden 2000 was able to run the same software and play direct x games just as well as XP.
    “Geez, Vista and Windows 7 are different! LOOK AT THE NAMES!” – Paraphrased Snit

    Making up comments for me does not further your argument. Remember, I am the one who noted they were different versions of the same OS.
    Oh, and your implied straw man that different versions of the same OS cannot show innovation is not something I have overlooked, even if I have not focused on it. But let us focus on it now: what makes you think upgraded versions of the same OS cannot be innovative? It is a bizarre assumption you are making and one I do not share… nor do those in the tech world. Heck, look at how people appreciate the innovations in many of Apple’s OS X updates – that does not mean OS X suddenly becomes OS Y as it is updated!

    My *experience* proves you wrong. I’ve used these OS’s and I’ve *seen* how they work. You are just playing the incremental numbers marketing game and you don’t fool me or anyone here. You spend a ridiculous amount of time and effort on USENET defending Apple and Microsoft. I know what *your* bias is. It’s unhealthy too. You literally posted a reply 4 minutes after me, which had been 3 days after your first comment. Seek help (again).

    Ah, now you sink to insults and claim you have some experience with disproves the reality of how products have grown over the years. Bizarre. No: you cannot have any experience which will force Windows 7 to act like the original Windows NT nor remove any of the growth and innovation that has happened since then. You are showing off your own ignorance of the industry.
    As far as defending MS or Apple – I am defending common sense. Desktop Linux over that same time has also grown and matured a great deal. I have no dog in this race… I have no cult-like leader whose words I take as gospel (such as you "Free" OS folks do with Stallman – a repulsive and dishonest man who has managed to build a cult-like following). Remember: I use Windows, OS X, and Linux and find benefits and faults in each of them (and in their development models). I have a far too much of an open mind and too much of an understanding of technology to think there is a one-size-fits-all solution or to think that only one development model can be the best for all situations and goals. But I understand that you are not able to see that and my words will not change that – you will accept what Stallman says with almost no exception or variation. You are close minded and focused on his cult-like "teachings". This discussion will not change that.

    Mankind does not go forward in technology or science by hoarding.

    Your view on this is not relevant to the discussion. Nor is your comment accurate. Heck, a lot of technology has come from governments working against each other in times of war – or even in times of peace. I am certainly not putting down the open source philosophy, but I do not cling to it in a cult-like way as you and your fellow Stallman-followers do. As noted: I have a much more open mind.

  4. formic_ said,

    April 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael,

    You started with the insults. Implying I have some pro stallman bias, that i’m part of a cult, etc. You even called me insane in another posting.

    Can’t take what you dish out?

    Michael Reply:

    I am not saying I am offended by your bias or your attachment to Stallman’s cult-like teaching. That is another of your projections.

    But I prefer to talk about technology. Notice how I made it very clear how I use multiple OSs and respect them and their development processes for their strengths and also recognize their weaknesses. Unlike you I do not deny the innovations – nor the challenges – of OS X, Windows, or desktop Linux.

    Your comments show this is not the same for you. To say that you are close minded and see little other than the benefits of desktop Linux and its development model and the downsides of the competition is just a fact – one you advertise in almost every post of yours.

    When you have such tunnel vision you are, by definition, close minded. And I think it is clear your vision is very much aligned with Stallman’s cult-like teachings. If you disagree perhaps you can speak about where you think he is wrong. A no-brainer on that is to speak about his repulsive comments / views on sexuality and kids. Only the most die-hard cultist could accept his comments on such topics without revulsion… and you can speak of him being so grotesque there without even putting down his views on technology and how it should be.

    Or maybe you can comment on the fact you previously rejected: the massive innovation that happens when different groups work *without* direct and extensive collaboration, such as war-time technologies during WWII and other war-based technologies. Very clearly true and completely contrary to your claims.

    These are the types of things you can speak about and show you do have a deeper and more open understanding than how you have presented yourself. Sure, you might not be ready to acknowledge the downsides of the OSS model (or the “Free” model if you prefer that term, as dishonest as it is), but you can acknowledge smaller things which a reasonable person would have no compunction with disagreeing with.

    Can you do that? If not you are showing you are more closely tied to the Stallman cult-like group than I have said. If you can, however, you will be showing an indication you are not as fully tied to such irrationality as some others who hold similar beliefs as yours. I would welcome that and would be happy to see you being more open minded than I have insinuated and, at least to some extent, suggested.

    So shock me and prove me wrong and do those things. I would welcome it. I do not mind being wrong – but I do ask for evidence to show it, not just empty claims of your “experience” teaching you that facts are not real. That was a rather silly claim of yours.

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