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. Links 2/4/2020: Linux 5.6.2, Qt Creator 4.11.2, LineageOS ROM Based on Android 10

    Links for the day



  2. OIN in 2020 Resembles Linux Foundation in 2020 (Corporate Front Group Piggybacking the Linux Brand)

    We regret to say that the Open Invention Network seems not to care at all about Software Freedom; to make matters worse, it is a proponent of software patents and a voice for companies like IBM and Microsoft, not the "Community" it fancies misrepresenting



  3. Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) - Part IX: Semi-Happy Ending

    Richard Stallman is here to stay and the FSF will let him stay (as chief of GNU); we want to close the series on a positive note



  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 01, 2020



  5. Upcoming Articles and Research Areas

    Although we've failed to write as much as usual, we're still preparing some in-depth articles and maintaining Daily Links (in spite of unforeseen ordeals like a forced laptop migration)



  6. Links 2/4/2020: ProtonMail Bridge for Linux, GTK 3.98.2 and Red Hat DNF 4.2.21

    Links for the day



  7. Links 1/4/2020: Linux 5.7 Merges, Qt 5.14.2, GhostBSD 20.03, Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Plans, WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 31, 2020



  9. Techrights to Delete Articles From All Past Years to Save Disk Space

    What if we deleted over 25,000 posts?



  10. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, March 30, 2020



  11. Links 30/3/2020: GNU Linux-libre 5.6, WireGuard 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, March 29, 2020



  13. Links 30/3/2020: Linux 5.6, Nitrux 1.2.7, Sparky 2020.03.1

    Links for the day



  14. The Fall of the UPC - Part IX: Campinos Opens His Mouth One Week Later (and It's That Hilarious Delusion Again)

    Team Campinos said nothing whatsoever about the decision of the FCC until one week later, whereupon Campinos leveraged some words from Christine Lambrecht to mislead everybody in the EPO's official "news" section



  15. Pretending EPO Corruption Stopped Under António Campinos When It is in Fact a Lot Worse in Several Respects/Aspects (Than It Was Under Benoît Battistelli)

    Germany's eagerness to keep Europe's central patent office in Munich (and to a lesser degree in Berlin) means that politicians in the capital and in Bavaria turn a blind eye to abuses, corruption and even serious crimes; this won't help Germany's image in the long run



  16. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, March 28, 2020



  17. Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, March 27, 2020



  19. The Fall of the UPC - Part VIII: Team UPC Celebrates Death, Not Life

    Team UPC plays psychological games now; it is trying to twist or spin its defeat as good news and something to be almost celebrated; it is really as illogical (and pathetic) as that sounds



  20. Links 27/3/2020: GNU/Linux Versus COVID-19 and Release of GNU Guile 3.0.2

    Links for the day



  21. When Your 'Business' is Just 'Patent Portfolio'

    Hoarding loads of patents may seem impressive, but eating them to survive is impossible if not impermissible



  22. LOT Network is a One-Man (Millionaire's) Operation and Why This Should Alarm You

    The ugly story of Open Invention Network (OIN) and LOT; today we take a closer look at LOT and highlight a pattern of 'cross-pollination' (people in both OIN and LOT, even at the same time)



  23. Faking Production With Fake Patents on Software

    The EPO with its illegal guidelines (in violation of the EPC) can carry on churning out millions of fake patents that European courts would only waste time on and small companies be blackmailed with (they cannot afford legal battles)



  24. With the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Out of the Way Focus Will Return to EPO Corruption

    Expect the European Patent Office (EPO) to receive more negative attention now that the ’cause’ of UPC is lost and there’s no point pretending things are rosy



  25. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, March 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, March 26, 2020



  26. Links 27/3/2020: qBittorrent 4.2.2, Krita 4.2.9, pfSense 2.4, Bodhi Linux 5

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, March 25, 2020



  28. Still Work in Progress: Getting Those 2,851 Pages of Police Report About Arrest for Pedophilia in Home of Bill Gates

    It’s extremely difficult to get those police records, which were requested exactly one day before the media started attacking Richard Stallman (associating him with pedophiles based on a deliberate distortion)



  29. Links 26/3/2020: Plasma Bigscreen, New Kubernetes, Fedora's New Identity and Bodhi Linux 5.1.0

    Links for the day



  30. Guest Article: Window Managers, Github and Software Disobedience

    "Walking away from monopolies is the essence of freedom"


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