EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.10.13

FAT is Free (Gratis) as Long as You Serve Microsoft’s Agenda

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 8:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just so you know who’s in control…

Privacy

Summary: What EFI teaches us about Microsoft’s use of software patents

THE emergence of UEFI restricted boot is probably the latest major attack on computing freedom, or merely the denial of users’ control over their computers (booting control is Microsoft’s, not the users’). UEFI restricted boot helps Microsoft control what people are allowed to do with hardware, not just with software. This is a serious antitrust issue, but it was never pursued by those who are affected in this way. UEFI going mainstream (with FAT as part of) helps Microsoft only as long as Microsoft controls and uses it to tax every device formatted with FAT (when it is used widely by Linux-based devices). And we are talking about software patents that should never have been granted in the first place. TomTom‘s mistake is that it used Linux in conjunction with FAT, which is a Microsoft trap. This whole episode helps teach us that, for monopolists, patents have nothing to do with innovation and everything to do with control, i.e. power over others. The OIN’s CEO confirmed to us that FAT is Microsoft's method of taxing just about any Linux vendor which is claims to be paying for Linux. I recently talked about this with Dr. Garrett, who kindly provided some pointers to the role of FAT patents in UEFI. It’s similar to what we saw in Novell with patent traps like Mono, OOXML, etc. and it should be noted that the Linux Foundation — unlike the FSF — serves Microsoft’s agenda by letting former Novell staff prop up Microsoft with UEFI. SUSE does too. James Bottomley is not alone in this, but here he is in a new article from SJVN:

  • Linux Foundation releases Windows Secure Boot fix

    James Bottomley — Parallels’ CTO of server virtualization, well-known Linux kernel maintainer, and the man behind the Linux Foundation’s efforts to create an easy way to install and boot Linux on Windows 8 PCs — announced on February 8 that the Linux Foundation UEFI secure boot system was finally out.

Please don’t do this. Please file a formal complaint. And as one follower put it in JoinDiaspora.com:

This may come to you as a shock, but I’m not particularly happy with Linux Foundation going that route. Not that I don’t want to have new hardware working with GNU/Linux. It’s just that Linux Foundation is playing Microsoft’s game from now on, and they’re gonna have some pretty tough time playing it later. Once you’re cached you’re actually dead. Never allow yourself to play the game of your enemy. It’s their rules, they know the tricks and they know better than you how to destroy the enemy.

Sad, but true IMHO.

We have studied the UEFI FAT licence and found some information of relevance in Wikipedia

Disk device compatibility

In addition to the standard PC disk partition scheme, which uses a master boot record (MBR), EFI works with a new partitioning scheme: GUID Partition Table (GPT). GPT is free from many of the limitations of MBR. In particular, the MBR limits on the number and size of disk partitions (up to 4 primary partitions per disk, up to 2 TiB (240 bytes) per disk) are relaxed.[19] GPT allows for a maximum disk and partition size of 8 ZiB (270 bytes).[19][20] The UEFI specification explicitly requires support for FAT32 for system partitions, and FAT12/FAT16 for removable media; specific implementations may support other file systems.

[...]

OS loaders are a class of UEFI applications. As such, they are stored as files on a file system that can be accessed by the firmware. Supported file systems include FAT32, FAT16 and FAT12. Supported partition table schemes include MBR and GPT. UEFI does not rely on a boot sector.

There is also a talk about it in Wikipedia:

I’ve also left the information regarding FAT issues on the talk page below. These are certainly an issue for providers of EFI systems and Open Source operating systems, but I don’t think that an article describing EFI needs to get bogged down in a patent discussion: it’s certainly not an issue particularly specific to EFI as compared to any other computer technology. You wouldn’t include a huge patent debate in a digital camera article, even though they use FAT, too…

Tmassey 20:06, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Regarding FAT, many links are included there too:

According to this presentation from WinHec 2004 (page 15), the EFI System Partition (ESP) is FAT-32: EFI And Windows “Longhorn”

And Microsoft just won the case about the FAT patents: Microsoft’s file system patent upheld

So to use FAT you need to license the IP from Microsoft: Microsoft FAT license (Broken link?)

But you can do that for free if you are implementing EFI, here:

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmware/fatgen.mspx

The standard doesn’t say anything about other partitions than the ESP, so that doesn’t rule out MacOS.

So FAT is OK when it puts Microsoft in charge, but it’s a patent trap otherwise. The whole thing is about control, it’s not about innovation, ‘respecting’ patent law, or whatever Microsoft claims it to be. The Linux Foundation must stop being submissive and acknowledge the problem for what it really is. Complicity has no excuses.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

What Else is New


  1. Rumour: EPO in Berlin the Next Casualty of Battistelli's 'Reform' (Organisational Suicide Plan)

    Months after we learned that a former staff representative in Berlin had been dismissed we come across an anonymous claim that Berlin's 'branch' of the EPO will be folded onto Munich's



  2. Caricature: the Maas App

    The failure of Maas to even bother with regulation of Battistelli (among others) earns him this cartoon



  3. Links 5/12/2016: Linux 4.9 RC 8, DeepMind as FOSS

    Links for the day



  4. Leaked: Battistelli Acknowledges Bunk 'Justice' in About 100 Cases at the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

    A look at Battistelli's response to the latest from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), exceptionally delivering two decisions at the very end of last month



  5. The UPC Scam Part V: Unitary Patent Regime a Fantasy of Patent Trolls

    "Good for trolls" is a good way to sum up the Unitary Patent, which would give litigators plenty of business (defendants and plaintiffs, plus commissions on high claims of damages) if it ever became a reality



  6. EPO at a Tipping Point: Battistelli Quarrelling With French Politicians, Administrative Council Urged to Act, Staff Unrest Peaking

    The latest messages about Battistelli's regime at the EPO, which faces growing opposition from more directions than ever before



  7. Quality of Patents at the EPO Dependent on the Appeal Boards When Battistelli Assesses Performance Using the Wrong 'Production' Yardstick

    A look at some recent articles regarding patent quality in the US and in Europe, in particular because of growing trouble at today's EPO, which marginalises the appeal boards



  8. Microsoft's Push for Software Patents Another Reminder That There is No 'New' Microsoft

    Microsoft's continued fascination with and participation in the effort to undermine Alice so as to make software patents, which the company uses to blackmail GNU/Linux vendors, widely acceptable and applicable again



  9. Links 5/12/2016: SparkyLinux 4.5 Released, Kondik Exits Cyanogen (Destroyed After Microsoft Deal)

    Links for the day



  10. Software Patents Continue Their Invalidation Process, But Patent Law Firms Try to Deny This in Order to Attract Misinformed (or Poorly-Informed) Clients

    A roundup of news about software patents and demonstration of the sheer bias in the media, which is mostly controlled or steered by the patent microcosm rather than actual inventors



  11. Patent Trolls of Microsoft and Ericsson Are Trying to Tax Everything, Especially Linux Devices

    An update on Intellectual Ventures and Unwired Planet, whose operations pose a growing problem for Free software and Linux-based products (e.g. Android)



  12. Asia's Patent Litigation Chaos Getting Worse, Reaching Countries in the West, and Sites Like IAM Actively Promote This

    The race to the bottom (of patent quality) in China, the growth of patent trolls in the region, and the ruinous litigation strategy which now spills over even to the US -- through the Eastern District of Texas -- and may inevitably come to Europe (especially if the UPC ever becomes a reality)



  13. More French Politicians Are Complaining That Benoît Battistelli is a Disgrace to France and Urge for Action

    The backlash against Battistelli spills well outside the EPO and is now apparent even at the French National Assembly



  14. Links 3/12/2016: Mageia 5.1 Released, Mozilla Revenue at $421.3M

    Links for the day



  15. Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) Sees Decline in Patent Applications and It May Actually be a Good Thing

    Challenging the false belief that the more patents society has the better off it will be, citing examples and news from north America



  16. Blockchain Domain Infested With Software Patents, MasterCard Among the Culprits

    Worrying signs that an area of Free/Open Source software innovation is getting impacted by the plague of software patents



  17. Dutch Media Covers Latest EPO Scandals, German Media Totally Absent (a Media Blackout of Convenience)

    Our observations regarding the apparent media disinterest in EPO scandals, especially at the very core of the EPO (principal host country)



  18. Relocating the Boards of Appeal to Haar is a Poisonous Priority at Battistelli's EPO

    Revisiting Battistelli's effort to chop off the appeal boards that are necessary for ensuring patent quality at the EPO



  19. Links 2/12/2016: Mint Betas, Chrome 55, KDevelop 5.0.3, PHP 7.1.0

    Links for the day



  20. The Rule of Law and Justice Don't Exist Inside the EPO, Confirms the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

    Further analysis of the latest rulings from the ILO -- decisions that were long expected



  21. A Day in the Life of... Battistelli's Banana Republic

    This is part 5 of a fictional diary from the EPO



  22. Links 1/12/2016: Devuan Beta, R3 Liberates Code

    Links for the day



  23. Two ILO Decisions on EPO Cases Are Released, at Least One Judgment is Considered Good for Staff

    Years later (as justice is too slow, partly because of the EPO, being the principal culprit that clogs up the ILO's tribunal system) there is a couple of new judgments about EPO abuses against staff



  24. Dutch and French Politicians Complain About the European Patent Office, British Media Coverage Regular Now

    Pressure from the political systems, the scientific community and from the media is growing, as it becomes abundantly apparent that the EPO cannot go on like this



  25. Links 30/11/2016: Git 2.11, GOG Surprise Tomorrow

    Links for the day



  26. The UPC Scam Part IV: Bumps Along the Road for UPC, With or Without the UK and Brexit

    A sobering reality check regarding the UPC, no matter what Lucy Neville-Rolfe says under pressure from Battistelli and some selfish law firms that are based in London



  27. The UPC Scam Part III: The “Patent Mafia”

    Bigwigs like Lucy Neville-Rolfe and Benoît Battistelli, together with Team UPC and its tiny minority interests (self enrichment), are conspiring to hijack the laws of Europe, doing so across many national borders with unique and locally-steered patent policy in one fell swoop



  28. The UPC Scam Part II: The Patent Echo Chamber at Work, Prematurely Congratulating Itself in Its 'News' Sites





  29. The UPC Scam Part I: EPO-Bribed Media Outlets Lie to Brits (and to Europeans) About the UPC

    An introductory article in a multi-part series about UPC at times of Brexit and Lucy Neville-Rolfe's bizarre sellout to Battistelli



  30. European Public Service Union Asks EPO Administrative Council “to Re-establish the Rule of Law at the European Patent Office”

    The chinchillas of the Administrative Council are assertively asked to tackle the abusive management of the EPO, which gets condemned not only by CERN but also EPSU, which is working with the Dutch government to end lawlessness at the EPO


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts