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Patent System Needs a Rethink, Apple Continues to Harm the Whole Industry

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Jobs with patent
Original photo by Matt Buchanan; edited by Techrights

Summary: NPR the latest to argue for a patent system overhaul following high-profile fiascos; Apple is making devices worse for everyone while blocking from import those that are not

Apple is still quite prominent in patent news, owing of course to a record fine it has lobbied for, even at the cost of misconduct. In news that got mentioned this week, BSP’s case is being inherited:

In the US, electronic component distributor Avnet has acquired IBM analytics re-seller BrightStar Partners (BSP) and its BSP Software for an undisclosed sum. The news broke as IBM Cognos vendor Motio filed a counter-patent infringement lawsuit against BSP.

All these patent lawsuits involve software patents, which IBM promotes. Some suggest curious workarounds for the current patent system, with NPR dedicating a whole episode and TechDirt writing:

In something of a follow up to This American Life’s famous episode about the horrors of software patents, the Planet Money team brought on Mark Lemley to talk about how to fix the patent system. If you’re aware of Lemley (or read Techdirt) what he talks about isn’t all that surprising. He does note that, even if software patents are particularly silly, he doesn’t agree with trying to carve them out specifically. Instead, he’s still mostly focused on fixing the patent system by properly enforcing the laws already on the books. That means having the USPTO and the courts actually recognize that too many software patents are on general ideas (“functional claiming”) when that’s not allowed.

Swapnil Bhartiya uses the latest Apple call for Android ban to say:

The US patent system has become an abuse mechanism for companies like Microsoft and Apple which are using it to cripple competition and discourage innovation in the mobile industry.

In the end it’s American consumer who is losing.

One has got to love the reaction of Jobs Witnesses who say that it’s important to have devices like these taxed or banned. As if making unavailable the competition would somehow improve their lives. Or that these lawsuits somehow improve innovation. Destruction is never good for anyone, perhaps with the exception of a dead leader — one who favoured "thermonuclear" war rather than peaceful co-existence and fair competition.

It is worth noting that Apple is snubbing court orders:

In other words, it’s the petulant Apple “complying” with the UK judge, while at the same time making sure to add a “but, but, but… the judge is really wrong — other than the part where he likes our design.”

Microsoft folks say that Apple “slams” Samsung, but all it should say may be, “Apple slams the courts.” The arrogance at Apple cannot get any more lucid than that. There are more DRM patents coming from this empire of lock-down. To shed some details:

The patent, titled “Cross-transport authentication,” requires authentication controllers to be located at either the ports on a portable device and attached accessory, or the transport connector which can be a wire or cable. As seen with Apple’s Lightning connector, the authentication module can take the form of a chip integrated at one side of the cable, providing the necessary permissions for an accessory to interface with a portable device.

Yet more DRM. And some people still wonder why Apple is bad and why its devices are better off shunned. It’s not a fight between brands; it’s a fight between philosophies.

Links 26/10/2012: Talk of “EXT5″, Monsanto and Gates Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • How Linux makes the post-desktop world possible

    Much has been said about the look and feel of Microsoft’s new Metro interface and how the operating system that sits on 90-plus percent of the world’s desktops is now getting an upgrade that would be better suited for tablets and touch screens.

    That interface, and the direction that personal computing seems to be heading, represents a big opportunity for Linux… but perhaps not the one you’re thinking of.

  • Throwing Money at Shiny and Worthless Technology

    Intel had to find a way to get into the tablet market, but people only want to buy iPads and Android-powered ones. So Intel surrendered the consumer market altogether in favor of enterprise “solutions”, like its new Intel learning series “solution” for education, which relies on tablets nobody heard of with operating systems nobody heard of running proprietary education software nobody heard of. To sell those, Intel was looking for suckers, and in minister Nicolas Sehnaoui, it found the perfect sucker.

    Students in America are getting iPads, students in Africa are getting Kindles, but students in Lebanon will be getting MANDRIVAs.

  • Welcome Windows 8 to a Post-Desktop World

    Google’s Android OS only accounted for a 3.9% share of the smart phone market in 2009 (according to Gartner Group); last year that rose to 64% of the smartphone market. In 2011, smartphones for the first time outsold PCs (including tablets.) With hundreds of millions of those smart phones running Android, the consumer market is fully accustomed to Linux-based software.

  • Linux Foundation: Windows 8 is stuck in a “liminal space”

    If Microsoft has reinvented and reengineered itself to be able to position its OS to serve not just the desktop WIMP space, but also now the touch-enabled search-centric mobile-first always-on cloud-driven market — then this is a reinvention that was never going to happen without the firm facing a little criticism.

  • Desktop

    • ROSA Desktop 2012 Beta Is Compatible with Windows 8

      Konstantin Kochereshkin has announced yesterday, October 24th, the immediate availability for download and testing of the Beta release of the upcoming Rosa Desktop 2012 Linux operating system.

    • The Windows You Love is Gone

      Last month, I suggested that the transition to Windows RT bares the same hurdles as transitioning to Linux. Many obstacles blocking our path, like Adobe and PC gaming, are considering Linux; the rest have good reason to follow.

    • The Windows You Love is Gone

      Consumers who bought Vista or “7″ believing what they were told are justified in thinking “8″ is unnecessary. After all their current hardware idles all the time and it’s choked with RAM and storage. What could anyone possibly want from “8″? A new PC? Nope. They might buy a tablet this year however it won’t be running that other OS because all their friends don’t have that.

  • Server

    • Parallella: Low-Cost Linux Multi-Core Computing

      Parallella is an attempt to make Linux parallel computing easier and is advertised as a “supercomputer for everyone”, but will it come to fruition?

      Parallella is designed to be “a truly open, high-performance computing platform that will close the knowledge gap in parallel programing.” The Parallella computing board is built around Epiphany multi-core chips out of the Cambridge-based Adapteva semiconductor company.

  • Kernel Space

    • systemd for Administrators, Part XVIII
    • systemd for Developers III
    • Talk Of “EXT5″ File-System; Should EXT4 Be Frozen?

      In the discussion that followed when it was found a nasty EXT4 file-system corruption bug hit recent Linux kernel stable releases, one user proposed that EXT4 be put in a feature-freeze mode and future work then be put towards an “EXT5″ file-system, to which Ted Ts’o did respond.

      In the Phoronix Forums discussion about the EXT4 corruption bug hitting the Linux 3.4/3.5/3.6 kernels, Ted Ts’o, the EXT4 file-system maintainer, ultimately jumped in on the discussion to respond to the numerous and polarized opinions of Phoronix readers.

    • KVM Virtualization Support For ARM

      Within the forthcoming Linux 3.7 kernel there is support for Xen virtualization support on ARM when using a Cortex-A15 SoC. While not yet merged to mainline, KVM virtualization support for the ARM architecture is also coming about.

      Patches are now up to their third revision that enable KVM/QEMU support on ARM when using Cortex-A15 hardware. There’s kernel patches still needed to go upstream, which one would hope will happen for the Linux 3.8 kernel.

    • QEMU: Support KVM on ARM
    • AMD FX-8350 Linux Performance-Per-Watt

      The latest Phoronix benchmarks to share of the AMD FX-8350 “Vishera” processor are performance-per-Watt results for the Piledriver eight-core processor compared to the previous-generation Bulldozer FX-8150. Tests were conducted when running at stock speeds as well as overclocked settings.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ARM Freedreno Driver Begins Work On Gallium3D

        Rob Clark has provided a status update on Freedreno, his reverse-engineered ARM open-source graphics driver for the Qualcomm Snapdragon / Adreno hardware.

        The latest update on Freedreno came on Tuesday via his blog. Aside from getting the stencil buffer working and fixing batching problems in the 2D driver, Rob has also begun eyeing a Gallium3D-based driver and he’s already implemented DRI2 support within the xf86-video-freedreno DDX driver.

      • Atomic Mode-Setting Still Being Enriched
  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • BackBox 3.0 Screenshots
    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Recruitment: How do we perform?

        A couple of days ago, Tomas and I, gave a presentation at the Gentoo Miniconf. The subject of the presentation was to give an overview of the current recruitment process, how are we performing compared to the previous years and what other ways there are for users to help us improve our beloved distribution. In this blog post I am gonna get into some details that I did not have the time to address during the presentation regarding our recruitment process.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Linux 12.10 review

            As Canonical looks to recoup some of its investment in the Ubuntu Linux project it was widely thought that the firm would follow Red Hat’s route of offering paid product support, but instead Ubuntu 12.10 is the first glimpse of how Canonical apparently wants to recoup its investment. The firm’s decision to release Ubuntu 12.10 with Amazon adverts has added a sour taste to what still remains an accomplished desktop Linux distribution.

          • Mark Shuttleworth’s big mistake

            Last week marked eight years since Ubuntu made its appearance on the GNU/Linux scene. Since October 2004, there has been a release of this distribution every six months, the initial buzz being very loud and then gradually fading away.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Yocto Project 1.3 includes AutoBuilder

      With the release of version 1.3, the team at the Yocto Project has added a number of developer-visible features to its embedded distribution builder. First announced in October 2010, the open source collaboration project (a Linux Foundation workgroup) is aimed at device builders. It provides templates, tools and methods for developers to create Linux-based systems for various embedded systems and processor architectures such as ARM, MIPS, PPC or x86.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • IRCTC.co.in: Boon or Bane?

    It was in 2003, IRCTC felt the need of a high-performance and high-availability system to handle the high load of its operations and partnered with open source-based solution provider Red Hat to run its IT infrastructure, in order to automate and streamline its processes.

  • Why I left my MacBook for a Chromebook

    The Chromebook has inserted itself into my life in a way I never expected. Sorry, MacBook Pro — I just don’t need you right now

  • CMS

    • Acquia Introduces Open Web Experience Management For Drupal

      Acquia, a provider of paid cloud services specifically designed to support the Drupal open source web content management platform, is introducing a new concept it calls “Open Web Experience Management” or OpenWEM. It looks like digital marketing has officially come to Drupal.

  • Healthcare

    • VA unveils plans to certify VistA for meaningful use

      The Department of Veterans Affairs has laid out a roadmap toward meaningful use certification of its VistA EHR system, with a version that’s being updated and improved in the OSEHRA open source community.

      The Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA), a non-profit organization, manages a public/private community formed to modernize VistA for open source and to contribute to the VA-Defense Department’s integrated electronic health record (iEHR).

  • Public Services/Government

    • Cork City Council to increase open source use in IT projects

      Aidan O’Riordan, systems analyst with Cork City Council’s IS operations, confirmed that the council is undertaking the projects in a way that will be compatible with open source work that will be carried out by the LGMA and the Local Government Efficiency Review Group.


      Cork City Council already uses some existing open source applications and servers and is looking to build on that. To date, open source at the council had been restricted to operational applications, like network monitoring solutions or list servers rather than end-user applications, O’Riordan said.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • High School Teacher Lesson Plans Go Open Source

        For a high school French teacher looking for a creative approach to verb conjugation, new lesson plans are only a website away. The same is true for a biology teacher covering a unit on mammals, or a history teacher trying to spice up a lesson on the Gettysburg Address.

  • Programming


  • Exclusive: As Obama and Romney Agree on Afghan War, Israel and Syria, Third Parties Give Alternative
  • Australian Consumer Advocate CHOICE Encourages IP Spoofing To Get Better Prices

    I’ll be honest about my viewpoint to start this piece: I hate geo-restrictions, particularly on digital goods. I simply cannot see how they benefit anyone. Customers are blocked or pay different prices for like goods, often times angering them (not something you typically want to do to customers). Companies feel the brunt of this anger, or else at least feel the impact of the a restricted customer base through their own unwillingness to deal fairly in a global marketplace. Perhaps most importantly, for savvy customers, there are tools to simply get around the artificial barriers these companies erect, making them just more useless DRM-like nonsense.

  • Microsoft Surface gets the thumbs down in early reviews
  • ‘Obama, Romney – same police state’: Third party debate up-close (FULL VIDEO)
  • Security

    • Experts warn about security flaws in airline boarding passes

      Security flaws in airline boarding passes could allow would-be terrorists or smugglers to know in advance whether they will be subject to certain security measures, and perhaps even permit them to modify the designated measures, security researchers have warned.

    • Sony PS3 hacked “for good” – master keys revealed

      Perhaps “hacked” is the wrong word, because it can imply both criminality and lawful exploration. But we’ll stick with “hacked” here, in the sense of “some reverse engineers have figured out how you can adapt, or jailbreak, your PS3 to make it interoperable with software of your own choice.”

      The PS3 has been hacked before, but Sony was able to inhibit the hack with an update to its own firmware. This is much like the history of jailbreaking on Apple’s iOS, where hackers typically uncover a security vulnerability and exploit it, whereupon Apple patches the hole and suppresses the jailbreak.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP Deepwater Horizon Won’t Settle Before the Election

      Political cycles present the obvious opportunity for prognostication. Polling is happening daily. Rather than present another poll, let us take this opportunity to make a simple prediction.

      There will be no pre-election BP Deepwater Horizon settlement despite an $18 billion deal being on the table last month and a rumored $21 billion settlement this past Friday, October 19.

    • US downplayed effect of Deepwater oil spill on whales, emails reveal

      Documents obtained by Greenpeace show officials controlling information about wildlife affected by the disaster

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • NY Times blocked in China as it reveals Wen Jiaobao’s obscene family wealth

      I remember when Wen Jiaao first became prime minister. There were such high hopes, and they’ve never really abated: Wen has always been seen as “the good CCP leader.” As if by magic, he was always on the scene as tragedies struck, be they earthquakes or floods or winter storms in Guangzhou at Chinese New Year time or high-speed rail crashes. And there was something genuine about the Man of the People, the one who cared about China’s disenfranchised. And maybe he really does care. He would have to be a damned good actor if he didn’t.

  • Privacy

    • Don’t want us to give false details? Then don’t ask for them

      Debate has once again surrounded social media and the topic of whether individual’s should be able to post anonymously and give false details when creating a social media account. Andy Smith, head of security at the Public Sector Technical Services Authority, caused controversy by advising internet users that giving false details to social networking sites was a “very sensible thing to do”.

      In an age where our personal information is becoming more and more valuable as a commodity, it is clearly sensible that people don’t share data unless it is absolutely necessary. The answer to the problem is that internet services need to reassess how much personal information they request from a user, for instance is it really necessary for a social network site to ask for your full birthday and gender?

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Property Policy Incoherence at the African Union Threatens Access to Medicines

      In a stunning development, following an obscure vote of Heads of State at the Africa Union in 2007 (Assembly Council/AU/Dec. 138(VIII)), the AU Scientific, Technical, and Research Commission has proposed a draft statute to establish the Pan-Africa Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO). This proposed legislation will be presented to a meeting of the African Ministers in charge of Science and Technology on 6-12 November 2012 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

      The statute, drafted by true believers of IP-maximalist ideology, proposes to establish a region-wide intellectual property organization with the sole agenda of expanding IP rights, strengthening enforcement, harmonizing regional legislation, and eventually facilitating the granting of IP monopolies by a central granting authority that may well be legally binding on Member States.

    • Will Proposed Pan-Africa Intellectual Property Organization Enable The West To Impose Its Monopolies?
    • Monsanto, Bill Gates and AGRA (Axis of Greedy Rip-offs in Africa)
    • Gates and Monsanto Go After Milk

      In the near future, human development can potentially be dictated by corporate America, through the Bill & Malinda [sic] Gates Foundation and their $8.3 U.C. Davis grant.

    • Monsanto and Gates Foundation Push GE Crops on Africa

      Skimming the Agricultural Development section of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web site is a feel-good experience: African farmers smile in a bright slide show of images amid descriptions of the foundation’s fight against poverty and hunger. But biosafety activists in South Africa are calling a program funded by the Gates Foundation a “Trojan horse” to open the door for private agribusiness and genetically engineered (GE) seeds, including a drought-resistant corn that Monsanto hopes to have approved in the United States and abroad.

    • Wholesale Murder of Africans
    • Monsanto’s Former Head of Research Teams up with Bill and Melinda
    • Genetically Engineered Rice is a Trojan Horse: Misled by Bill Gates and Monsanto

      The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has approved $20 million in new monies toward the development of “golden rice” — an untested, highly controversial GE (genetically engineered) crop that threatens biodiversity and risks bringing economic and ecological disaster to Asia’s farms.

      The leader of the Golden Rice project is Gerald Barry, previously director of research at Monsanto.

      Sarojeni V. Rengam, executive director of Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), has called the rice a “Trojan horse.” According to Rengam, the rice is “… a public relations stunt pulled by the agri-business corporations to garner acceptance of GE crops and food. The whole idea of GE seeds is to make money.”

    • Copyrights

      • Making The Most Of File Sharing: Free Market Research & A Captive Target Audience

        The demonization of file sharing by copyright maximalists blinds many companies to the fact that it is marketing in its purest form. That’s because people naturally only share stuff they think is good, and thus everything on file sharing networks comes with an implicit recommendation from someone. Not only that, but those works that appear on file sharing networks the most are, again by definition, those that are regarded mostly highly by the filesharing public as a whole, many of whom are young people, a key target demographic for most media companies.

      • Overworked, Underpaid, Illegal? Hollywood Interns Fight Back (Guest Column)
      • How Porn Copyright Lawyer John Steele Has Made A ‘Few Million Dollars’ Pursuing (Sometimes Innocent) ‘Porn Pirates’

        The rather long list of “People Most Hated By The Internet” — that guy who sued the Oatmeal, RIAA, Hunter Moore, Julia Allison, Violentacrez… — would be incomplete were it not to include John Steele. Steele is a lawyer who has partnered with the pornography industry to go after “pirates” who download their XXX films without paying for them. He has filed over 350 of these suits, and says he is currently suing approximately 20,000 people.

      • Megaupload Can’t Come Back Online, U.S. Tells Court

        The U.S. Government has just submitted its objections to Megaupload’s motion to temporarily dismiss the criminal indictment against the company. Megaupload’s lawyers had argued that a dismissal would allow the cyberlocker to rehabilitate itself, but the U.S. believes this can’t happen as Dotcom has sworn that the old Megaupload won’t return. According to Kim Dotcom the DoJ’s opposition is “full of frustration.” “Their bluff case is falling apart,” he says.

      • Torrent Site Webhost Ordered to Pay “Piracy” Damages

        Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN has won a landmark case against XS Networks, the former hosting provider of torrent site SumoTorrent. The Court of The Hague ruled that the provider is responsible for damages copyright holders suffered through the torrent site’s activities. The Dutch verdict has far-reaching implications for the liability of hosting providers for the conduct of their clients.

      • William Faulkner estate sues Sony over Midnight in Paris line

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