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Rackspace and Red Hat Battle Against Vile Troll (‘Uniloc USA’) Can Help Weaken Software Patents in the US

Posted in Patents, Red Hat at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Rackspace helps beat software patents, with additional help from Red Hat

THE EFF is happy with the outcome of a trial that Dietrich Schmitz covered on Friday. “Luckily for the defendant,” he said, “the judge ruled early on before the case got under way and was saved a substantial sum in litigation fees for fighting a frivolous lawsuit.” But the main point here, patents got thrown out for being reducible to math, just like all software patents. This is major.

Here is an article about the decision:

Today was a big day in patent law, which is important to anyone who thinks they might one day have an original idea for a product, and wants to protect it. In particular, if that idea involves an algorithm or software.

First, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas threw out a claim against cloud storage company Rackspace, stemming from a 2012 complaint filed by Uniloc USA. The case, according to a TechCrunch report, asserted that the “processing of floating point numbers by the Linux operating system was a patent violation.” In other words, a processing method, or counting method, might be the exclusive property of Uniloc.

Here is other good coverage and some from the SFLC:

Several times in recent years, opponents of software patents have looked hopefully to Congress and the Supreme Court for a solution to the expensive problem of software patents, and several times we’ve been disappointed. The narrow Bilski v. Kappos ruling invalidated one business method patent but left the question of software patents to one side, and even arguably weakened a rule—the “machine-or-transformation” test—intended to limit the scope of patentability. The reforms of the America Invents Act were half-hearted; they provided additional opportunities to challenge patents at the USPTO, but did not fundamentally affect the rules for patenting software.

Despite these missed opportunities, there are signs of slower but consistent reform in the courts, and yesterday’s ruling in the Eastern District of Texas in Uniloc v. Rackspace is one of them. The Uniloc ruling is about as good as it gets for a defendant in a software patent case: the judge dismissed the case at an early stage on the grounds that the claim at issue described an unpatentable mathematical formula.

LWN wrote about this and Mark Webbink, formerly of Red Hat, covered this in Groklaw. Many correctly call Uniloc a patent troll, including this headline:

A patent troll that accused Rackspace of violating a patent merely by selling Linux-based servers has seen its case thrown out. A judge ruled the patent claim invalid because it describes a relatively simple math operation.

The company in question is Uniloc, which has a long history of suing tech vendors. In 2009, a US District Court judge overturned a $388 million verdict Uniloc had won against Microsoft. That litigation was finally settled late last year for an undisclosed sum. Uniloc continues litigating however, with at least a dozen lawsuits filed just last week.

Uniloc sued Rackspace in June 2012 in US District Court in Eastern Texas (PDF), claiming Rackspace violated its patent “by or through making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or importing servers running Linux Kernel (version 2.6 or higher), which is used to process floating point operations carried out on Rackspace’s servers including those servers used in conjunction with Rackspace’s hosting solutions/products.”

The fight of Rackspace against patent troll Uniloc is not Rackspace’s only battle against software patents, as was covered here before. Here is the press release about the outcome:

Plaintiff Uniloc USA, Inc. is a frequent litigator, having brought patent lawsuits against many high-tech companies including Adobe, Microsoft, Sony and Symantec. Rackspace provides its customers with managed servers running the Linux operating system. Red Hat, which supplies Linux to Rackspace, provided Rackspace’s defense as part of Red Hat’s commitment to standing behind customers through Red Hat’s Open Source Assurance program.

Here’s more:

Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) and Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (NYSE: RAX) announced that they have won a federal court decision granting early dismissal of all claims in a lawsuit brought by the patent assertion entity Uniloc USA, Inc.

Plaintiff Uniloc USA, Inc. is a frequent litigator, having brought patent lawsuits against many high-tech companies including Adobe, Microsoft, Sony and Symantec. Rackspace provides its customers with managed servers running the Linux operating system. Red Hat, which supplies Linux to Rackspace, provided Rackspace’s defense as part of Red Hat’s commitment to standing behind customers through Red Hat’s Open Source Assurance program.

The press release calls Uniloc plaintiff rather than troll. How polite. “Uniloc USA, Inc.” is not a company, this is a façade. Here is a good article from a FOSS news site:

Red Hat and Rackspace have won the court battle with patent troll Uniloc USA, Inc. The company alleged in its complaint that the processing of floating point numbers by the Linux operating system violated U.S. Patent 5,892,697. A federal court decision had granted an early dismissal of all claims in a lawsuit brought by Uniloc USA, Inc.

This bit of news got heaps of coverage (here is some in German), probably more than coverage of Red Hat’s financial results. Let’s hope this case has maximal impact on US law.

Microsoft Publishes List of its Offensive (Weaponised) Software Patents While Google De-Weaponises Its Own

Posted in Google, Marketing, Microsoft at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Two companies, two entirely different stories and strategies

GNU Google

Summary: PR moves from a patent aggressor and a notable patent victim which might be preparing for reactive lawsuits

A huge number of sites covered the news from Google, with the notion of ‘free’ software patents. How silly is that? Well, as put better by another site, “Google’s Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge: Don’t start nothin’, there won’t be nothin’.”

Microsoft, conversely, as a form of threat and PR did this:

Microsoft today launched a searchable list of its complete patent portfolio as part of its defense of the patent system, particularly software patents.

Now that mobile patents are extensively used in litigation and a quarter of issued patents are on mobile (Microsoft still aggressively patents mobile ideas), we expect this list to be used for extortion more than anything. It’s like an arsenal of nuclear weapons to be used to strike patent deals.

The newspeak of extortion as “transparency” is laughable. Watch the longtime Microsoft booster helping the PR by using this “transparency” buzzword in his headline:

Microsoft this morning published a searchable online list of its patent holdings — more than 40,000 patents held by the company and its subsidiaries in the U.S. and internationally — as part of its push for more transparency in the patent system.

What a load of nonsense. It is just hogwash.

Is Microsoft trying to steal Google’s thunder after Google followed the footsteps of Twitter, as we had urged it to do last year? The headline above is not an accurate headline, it is marketing. Here is another poor headline about the real news:

Google announced a “patent pledge” in which it will donate 10 patents related to MapReduce to protect the emerging cloud and big data industry from lawsuits.

The Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge is better than no pledge but not better than no patents. Here is more about it:

Google just announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge, a new initiative whereby the company has promised not to sue developers, distributors, and users of open source software utilizing Mountain View’s patents “unless first attacked.” In introducing the good faith effort, Google is reiterating its passion and support for all things open. “Open-source software has been at the root of many innovations in cloud computing, the mobile web, and the Internet generally,” writes Duane Valz, Google’s senior patent counsel. “We remain committed to an open Internet — one that protects real innovation and continues to deliver great products and services.”

The company isn’t throwing its entire patent portfolio up for grabs, however. Quite the opposite: it’s starting small, contributing a mere ten patents to the pledge. Google claims these patents are already in wide use and that it will eventually expand the set of Google-owned patents that fall under the pledge.

The original announcement generated press not only in FOSS sites but also large news sites [1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23]. The smart folks at TechDirt correctly point out that this might be a prelude to patent lawsuits from Google (preparation and damage control in expectation of negative press), as outlined here. One of our readers asked, “OIN all over again?”

Here is one of the most cited articles about it. it’s from Wired:

Behind the scenes, just about all of the web’s biggest names are mimicking Google. That includes Facebook, Yahoo, eBay, Twitter and so many more.

All of these web giants rely on Hadoop, an open source software platform for crunching data across hundreds or even thousands of computer servers, and Hadoop is based on technology originally developed at Google. A little less than a decade ago, Google published two research papers describing some of the software that juggles data inside its data centers, including a platform called MapReduce, and in short order, a community of software developers — led by Facebook and Yahoo — recreated these tools with open source code.

Expect Google to sue more, but only against companies that sued first.

Links 31/3/2013: Linux 3.8.5 Out, B0ng Bias Against Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Software Company Anahata To Use InSync For Google Drive Sync on Linux

    On Friday 24th of March, Pablo Rodriguez Pina, founder and co-director of the Perth (Western Australia) based software company announced the company will be InSync to sync Google Drive folders on PCs running any Linux distros.

  • The World IS Changing…Ask Robots

    Today, I read how the United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor, started a migration from Windows to Linux here. The article includes this interesting comment by Keith Chuvala:

    “We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could.”

  • My last comment on “Linux” vs “GNU/Linux”

    On Linux Advocates, Katherine Noyes recently raised the old question of whether the operating system should be called Linux or GNU/Linux. It’s a topic I don’t think much about these days, although I’ve had some unusual perspectives on it over the years.

    You probably know the argument: given that the operating system was originally the result of cooperation between Linux kernel developers and the members of The GNU Project, both should be given credit in the name. True, countless other projects are involved, but the reference is to the core operating system, and to mention one without the other is to write the excluded founding organization out of history. Or so free software supporters maintain, especially Richard Stallman, who has sometimes refused to be interviewed without a promise that GNU/Linux be used.

    Over the years, I’ve flip-flopped on the point several times. When I was a product manager and marketing director, I favored “Linux” simply because it was shorter and less clumsy-looking than “GNU/Linux,” and therefore made for better copy.

    However, as I became more involved in the community, I started having second thoughts. It wasn’t just that Stallman has a point — and Stallman, for all that he gets tiresome repeating the same ideas over and over, has an understanding of the implications of language that few of his critics can match.

    Rather, I couldn’t help noticing that many of the projects I admired most, such as Debian, used “GNU/Linux”. The more I thought, the more I realized that I was a free software supporter, so using “GNU/Linux” seemed the logical thing for me to do. If nothing else, it immediately served notice about where I stood in relation to free software and open source. I was never pedantic about its use, and I never went around correcting anyone, either in person or indirectly as I transcribed an interview, but otherwise I always used “GNU/Linux” where I could.

  • Is Bing biased against Ubuntu?

    As many of you know, part of my popularity analysis of GNU/Linux distributions includes search engine results. One thing I immediately noticed when I started analyzing the data was how fewer results Bing has compared to Google specifically for the term “Ubuntu Linux”. At first, I thought that perhaps Bing simply hasn’t indexed as much as Google and it will catch up. But over several ranking periods now, Bing is still, in my opinion, unusually low in “Ubuntu Linux” results.

  • Say Hi to J065514.3+540858

    For the last couple of years, I have been working on building a 5 meter radio telescope for educational purposes in my free time. Its primary purpose is to map neutral hydrogen distribution in the milky way. Hydrogen, the simplest atom, shines at the radio frequency of 1.42 Ghz (or 21 cm line), and we use multistage amplifiers to boost the very weak radio signal to something that can be processed by the electronics of a spectrometer.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Production-ready ZFS offers cosmic-scale storage for Linux

      The maintainers of the native Linux port of the ZFS high-reliability filesystem have announced that the most recent release, version 0.6.1, is officially ready for production use.

      “Over two years of use by real users has convinced us ZoL [ZFS on Linux] is ready for wide scale deployment on everything from desktops to super computers,” developer Brian Behlendorf wrote in a mailing list post on Wednesday.

    • Linux Kernel 3.8.5 Is Now Available for Download

      Greg Kroah-Hartman announced a few minutes ago, March 28, the immediate availability for download of the fifth maintenance release for the stable Linux 3.8 kernel series.

      Linux kernel 3.8.5 comprised lots of updated drivers (USB, Ethernet, i915, Radeon, etc.), filesystem improvements (EXT4, CIFSfs, JBD2, etc.), a couple of ARM fixes for Tegra chips, as well as networking (IPv4 and IPv6) and sound enhancements.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Why Wayland & Weston Were Forked

        Last week, Wayland/Weston was forked by a long-time contributor, Scott Moreau. The fork of the Wayland/Weston display server ended up becoming known as Northfield/Norwood, following disagreements within the Wayland development camp. Scott Moreau was ultimately banned from the Wayland mailing list and IRC channel, so he’s written an exclusive, independent article for Phoronix to explain his actions and why he felt a fork of the Wayland display server protocol and the reference Weston compositor were necessary.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Linus Torvalds’ Subsurface planning to switch to Qt

        Subsurface, the dive-tracking program written by none other than Linus Torvalds, is considering moving to Qt.

      • Distillation

        Wow, things got crazy with my two previous posts about KDE’s Git corruption troubles.

        Unfortunately, what became obvious from the comments on this blog (and, I assume, elsewhere, although I didn’t read comments on any other sites) was that the essential message was, almost universally, completely lost. I wrote the original post because KDE is an open-source project and we’ve never been about hiding issues from the community at large, so I felt it was perfectly fair to be open and honest about the troubles we had, in the hopes that it could help other projects from encountering them. Rather than take something useful away from it, most people seemed to take the Gawker approach. That’s fine, and I take no offense from people shooting the messenger when it’s clear they didn’t actually read past the headlines, but the point was to make people – especially other open-source projects – think about their own systems and their procedures. If I helped one other project avoid data loss because they reexamined their own systems, then great.

      • Kolab: David and Goliath

        Groupware is a tough domain to break into. With competition from giants the likes of Lotus Notes and Exchange, how can an open source offering, like Kolab, ever hope to compete?

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Nautilus Tips and Tweaks,openSUSE 12.3, GNOME 3.6

        Nautilus has undergone massive changes in recent versions and it is going to be a challenge figuring out a few things. The following long winded article would be useful in figuring out various “Hidden” functionalities of Nautilus. But before doing anything, do Configure Community Repositories openSUSE 12.3

      • GNOME 3.8 Released
      • Indexing preferences in GNOME 3.8

        GNOME 3 is not quite famous about the plethora of options that gives to users to tweaking their system. However anyone with a good will won’t face many issues.

        In this part I spend a few minutes discovering the options for customizing the behavior of Tracker, the searching and indexing tool of GNOME.

      • Snappy, a cool media player with a Clutter interface

        Snappy is a media player that gathers the power and flexibility of GStreamer inside the comfort of a Clutter interface.

        It has recently become a GNOME Project, with all the important points that that means (code, bugs, mailing lists inside the gnome project).

      • GNOME 3.8 brings polish and new Classic Mode

        With GNOME 3.8, the developers of the GNOME Project have released the latest version of their open source desktop environment for Linux and Unix systems. The release brings a number of major new features, such as the new Clocks application, enhanced search functionality, new privacy settings and a number of design changes throughout the desktop environment. The redesign of the Activities and Applications interface is supposed to make finding the right application easier and the Settings application has gained four new configuration panels.

  • Distributions

    • YUM vs. APT: Which is Best?

      Nothing stirs more debate with fellow Linux enthusiasts than their package manager.

      It’s a passionately contested issue. Which is better, YUM or APT?

      You’ll be surprised at the answers and it’s really interesting to see what people think of each.

    • What is going on for Kali Linux (Full Version)?

      Kali Linux is only a collection of pentesting tools Linux distribution. All the pentesting tools can be obtained free of charge from the internet as those are freeware or open source software.

      The development team of Kali Linux do not accept any voice from their users about their weakness of their product. For example, when telling them about the Kali Linux rebuild bugs, they always stating that they have built a lot of copies and they found no problem. Later, one of the developer fixed and it can be compiled correctly. You can refer to the following bug report for details.

    • Kali Linux ISO: Build a custom KDE image
    • Multiboot Linux distributions from one USB key
    • New Releases

      • ALT 6.9.0-20130328
      • GParted 0.15.0-3
      • Pardus 2013 Is Here!
      • Review: Pardus 2013 KDE

        Pardus is a distribution developed at least in part by the Turkish military. It used to not be based on any other distribution and used its unique PISI package management system, which featured delta upgrades (meaning that only the differences between package versions would be applied for upgrades, greatly reducing their size). Since then, though, the organization largely responsible for the development of Pardus went through some troubles. One result was the forking of Pardus into PISI Linux to further develop the original alpha release of Pardus 2013. The other result was the rebasing of Pardus on Debian, abandoning PISI in that regard. Now Pardus 2013 is a distribution based on Debian 7 “Wheezy” that uses either KDE 4.8 or GNOME 3 (whatever version is packaged in the latest version of Debian, though I’m not sure what that is).

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Return to Root: How to Get Started With Debian

        Ubuntu, Mint, and other glamorous Debian derivatives get all the attention. So why not go to the source and try Debian itself?

        Debian is currently the most influential Linux distribution. It has inspired the popular derivatives Ubuntu and Knoppix, and their derivatives including Mint, Kubuntu, Dream Studio, Bodhi, Mepis, Damn Small Linux, and Mythbuntu. (See the Linux family tree on Wikipedia.) Debian is volunteer-driven, includes more packages than any other distribution, supports more hardware architectures, supports multiple kernels (Linux, FreeBSD, and GNU Hurd) and is 100% Free. It is also free of cost, and the good Debian people came up with a simple, elegant way to meet the needs of users who want to install non-Free software on their Debian systems. They put non-Free packages in separate repositories, so controlling what goes on your system is super easy.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • MapR brings Hadoop support to Ubuntu

            MapR has announced a deal with Canonical to offer Hadoop on the Ubuntu Linux platform.

            Under the partnership agreement, the two firms will work in tandem to develop the MapR Hadoop tools for use with the latest versions of Ubuntu.

          • MapR Puts Hadoop on Ubuntu, Source Code on GitHub

            MapR and Canonical announced a partnership to put the MapR Hadoop distribution on Ubuntu. The company also put its source code on GitHub.

          • Ubuntu brings data science mainstream

            Earlier this week, Canonical and MapR teamed for an announcement that could signal a change in the way we see big data platforms.

            The pair said that the latest versions of Ubuntu would be bringing support for MapR’s Hadoop database management and development platform. Now, Ubuntu users will be able to access data from Hadoop deployments.

          • Smart Scopes Not Landing In 13.04, Will Land in 13.10

            As some of you may know the dash team has been working to get the new smart scopes functionality in the dash ready for 13.04; this functionality delivers a far more comprehensive dash experience, performing searches over 50 or more different data sources. This feature makes the dash dramatically more useful by searching a far wider range of data sources and returning more relevant results.

            The team has been working in a PPA to get the feature ready, and as we are past feature freeze, had filed a Feature Freeze Exception (FFe) to get this into 13.04. After an extensive amount of work to get the feature ready, unfortunately the dash team doesn’t consider it mature enough for 13.04 — it is nearly there, but doesn’t meet the quality needs for Ubuntu. As such the team has decided not to pursue landing in in 13.04 and to instead move it to the Ubuntu 13.10 cycle where it will be developed as soon as the archive opens. As I mentioned earlier, this feature has been developed in a PPA and has not landed in 13.04 yet, so there are no actual changes to the archive.

          • Transforming Ubuntu to Windows: Installing and Customizing Xfce
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Snort Founder Still Supports Open Source Security [VIDEO]

    In 1998 Martin Roesch launched the open source Snort Intrustion Prevention System (IPS). Three years later, he founded Sourcefire to lead the commercial efforts around Snort and enterprise security. Today Sourcefire continues to prosper, reporting $223.1 million in fiscal 2012 earnings.

    Where does that leave the open source Snort project after all these years?

  • Killer open source admin tools
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Unreal gaming from within the browser

        Having recently introduced asm.js as a way of running C/C++ applications using a highly optimisable subset of JavaScript, Mozilla has joined Epic Games to present the technology being applied to a well-known platform at the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco. A port of the Unreal Engine 3 game engine to JavaScript allows games to be played in the browser without a Flash plug-in. The port only uses HTML5, WebGL and JavaScript technologies, and asm.js ensures that the games are almost fast enough to meet the performance levels of native implementations.

  • Databases

    • ArchLinux Decided to Move to MariaDB

      For years, MySQL has been fundamental to many server applications, especially those using the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python) software stack. Those days may be ending. BothFedora (Red Hat’s community Linux) and openSUSE (SUSE’s community Linux) will be switching out MySQL to MariaDB for their default database management system (DBMS) in their next releases.And finally Archlinux is following the Opensource World. :

      Bellow is Archlinux MalingList:

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • Using Open Source Software? Put a License On It

      So it was with interest that we came across this article by Simon Phipps, well known for his activities in the open source arena and his experience with open source licenses. Basically his argument revolved around the fact that most code in GitHub does not have a specific license. Moreover, there is a movement that believes “software licenses are outdated” and encourages code forking without considering the original end-result licensing aspects. Although GitHub is singled out here, the behavior is not unique to GitHub. Sourceforge has a good number of project pages with no license listing or just a mention of an “approved OSI License” against the project. Although, in all fairness, and according to our own Global IP Signatures database, GitHub is probably the biggest source of unlicensed projects.

    • OSI Licensing – a year in review
  • Openness/Sharing

    • 3D Printing Slashes Optics Lab Costs
    • Open Access/Content

      • DOJ, MIT, JSTOR Seek Anonymity In Swartz Case
      • The Case for Open Access.

        A large proportion of academic research in the UK is taxpayer-funded. The money comes either via grants from the Research Councils, on which the government spends approximately £3 billion each year, or directly to universities from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which in 2011-12 distributed £1.6 billion.

        The transformative potential of world-class research is pretty clear. In the last few years alone, UK researchers have developed the wonder material graphene and discovered the body of Richard III, among other things. Yet, in a curious and inequitable twist of fate, the results of this research have for the most part never been made available to the taxpayers who funded it. Instead, research findings are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals run by private publishing companies. In the modern era, these largely take the form of PDFs behind pay-walls, tantalisingly close and yet inaccessible to those who aren’t willing to fork out $40 per view. Universities and libraries, meanwhile, can buy back-breakingly expensive subscriptions to this content. The net result of all this is that research findings are available only to the wealthy and to research institutions themselves, and even then only at great cost.


  • Science

    • Biological Computer: Stanford Researchers Discover Genetic Transistors That Turn Cells Into Computers

      Researchers at Stanford University announced this week that they’ve created genetic receptors that can act as a sort of “biological computer,” potentially revolutionizing how diseases are treated.

      In a paper published in the journal “Science” on Friday, the team described their system of genetic transistors, which can be inserted into living cells and turned on and off if certain conditions are met. The researchers hope these transistors could eventually be built into microscopic living computers. Said computers would be able to accomplish tasks like telling if a certain toxin is present inside a cell, seeing how many times a cancerous cell has divided or determining precisely how an administered drug interacts with each individual cell.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Marx’s Revenge: How Class Struggle Is Shaping the World

      Karl Marx was supposed to be dead and buried. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and China’s Great Leap Forward into capitalism, communism faded into the quaint backdrop of James Bond movies or the deviant mantra of Kim Jong Un. The class conflict that Marx believed determined the course of history seemed to melt away in a prosperous era of free trade and free enterprise. The far-reaching power of globalization, linking the most remote corners of the planet in lucrative bonds of finance, outsourcing and “borderless” manufacturing, offered everybody from Silicon Valley tech gurus to Chinese farm girls ample opportunities to get rich. Asia in the latter decades of the 20th century witnessed perhaps the most remarkable record of poverty alleviation in human history — all thanks to the very capitalist tools of trade, entrepreneurship and foreign investment. Capitalism appeared to be fulfilling its promise — to uplift everyone to new heights of wealth and welfare.

    • Death Of The Small Eurobusiness, In A Bank Screenshot

      With banks opening on Cyprus, many entrepreneurs realized they had been wrecked overnight by their government’s dishonesty. The so-called bank bailout was in reality a death sentence for many small businesses, who saw their operating capital confiscated to save the government’s face. This move will create an inevitable uncertainty throughout the Eurozone: who will dare put their operating capital in a bank in a troubled country, when politicians keep saying everything is fine – until one day, the money is just gone?

    • ‘Grillo’ top problem for EU, says Goldman Sachs president

      The biggest problem currently facing the European Union (EU) is not the struggling economy of Cyprus but the “Grillo factor” in Italy, Jim O’Neill, president of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, told Bloomberg TV on Friday. “I don’t understand how some of the these tough guys in the north are not thinking about that issue,” said O’Neill in reference to the political ascent of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) led by Genoa comic Beppe Grillo, which took over 25% of the popular vote in recent general elections.

    • Bitcoin Hits $1 Billion

      Bitcoin, the world’s first open source cryptographic currency, which has been on a tear since the beginning of this year, set a new record for itself yesterday afternoon as the price listed on the largest online exchange rose past US $92. With nearly 11 million Bitcoins in circulation*, this sets the total worth of the currency just over one billion dollars.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Gorgeous, Strange and Intense Propaganda Posters from China in the 1950s
    • How a cyberwar was spun by shoddy journalism

      A veteran Reuters reporter related a piece of advice given by his editor: “It’s not just what you print that makes you an authoritative and trusted source for news, but what you don’t print.”

      He wasn’t talking about censorship, he was talking about what separates journalism from stenography and propaganda: sceptical scrutiny. The professionalism of the craft isn’t simply learning to write or broadcast what other people tell you. Crucially it is the ability to delve, interrogate and challenge, and checking out stories you’ve discovered through your own curiosity, or robustly testing what other people tell you is true.

  • Censorship

    • Opinion: Libel Reform, And Why It Matters To Britain

      The risk of libel reform failing is not one that any Briton should find acceptable. The damage our libel laws have caused over the decades is immeasurable, and has only increased since the advent of the internet.

      Now the vastly overdue libel measures that would bring the UK out of the 19th Century, and into at least the 20th Century, are on hold and may falter, due to the intervention of Lord Puttnam, and his inclusion of statutory regulation of the press in the bill.

      Sure, there could now be a list of examples of Libel tourism, and how stupid it makes Britain look, internationally, but instead how about a real-life libel law situation, and how it restricted and hampered an attempt to participate in government?

  • Privacy

    • The NSA Four: Blowing the Whistle on Corruption Around Boondoggle for Private Intelligence Contractors

      Timothy Shorrock, author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence, wrote a major feature story for The Nation this week on the four whistleblowers from the National Security Agency—William Binney, Thomas Drake, William Binney, Edward Loomis and J. Kirk Wiebe—who Shorrock writes were “falsely accused of leaking in 2007″ and “have endured years of legal harassment for exposing the waste and fraud behind a multibillion-dollar contract for a system called Trailblazer, which was supposed to “revolutionize” the way the NSA produced signals intelligence (SIGINT) in the digital age.”

      The program was “canceled in 2006.” It is now “one of the worst failures in US intelligence history.”Not only that, the failure is now a significant coverup in recent government history, as the Justice Department prosecuted Drake for blowing the whistle on this corruption and the total amount of money spent on privatizing this intelligence collection is still secret.

      Moreover, there was this other cheaper program, ThinThread, that was not a privatization scheme. It had the ability to “analyze trillions of bits of foreign SIGINT flowing over the Internet at warp speed.” It was “small enough to be loaded onto a laptop, and included anonymization software that protected the privacy rights of US persons guaranteed in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).” But, ThinThread was not made generally operational so that Trailblazer wouldn’t have to be scrapped.

      The story goes into much more detail on the ”toxic mix of bid-rigging, cronyism and fraud” of which “senior NSA officials and several of the nation’s largest intelligence contractors” were involved. Interviews with the “NSA Four” offer a glimpse at how the ”Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), the government’s fourth-largest contractor, squandered billions of dollars on a vast data-mining scheme that never produced an iota of intelligence.” (Read the full story here.)

  • Civil Rights

    • Jailed for Facebook ‘like’: Palestinians endure Middle-East-wide ‘social media crackdown’

      In the last week, two Palestinians have been sentenced to prison terms for online libel and slander of politicians. Meanwhile, an arrest order has been issued for a popular Egyptian satirist, raising fears of a crackdown on freedom in the region.

    • Why Noam Chomsky Is the Subject of Relentless Attacks by Corporate Media and Establishment ‘Intellectuals’

      One very common tactic for enforcing political orthodoxies is to malign the character, “style” and even mental health of those who challenge them. The most extreme version of this was an old Soviet favorite: to declare political dissidents mentally ill and put them in hospitals. In the US, those who take even the tiniest steps outside of political convention are instantly decreed “crazy”, as happened to the 2002 anti-war version of Howard Dean and the current iteration of Ron Paul (in most cases, what is actually “crazy” are the political orthodoxiesthis tactic seeks to shield from challenge).


      We couldn’t help ourselves: The sight of the young, newly released detainee drove us into a paroxysm of laughter. But the laughter quickly morphed into sad embarrassment. The detainee was a boy of 8, in second grade. When we met him this week, on the streets of Hebron, he was on his way to his grandfather’s home. He wore a red sweatshirt emblazoned with an image of Mickey Mouse, and he had a shy smile. His mom had sent him to take something to Grandpa. Eight-year-old Ahmed Abu Rimaileh was not the youngest of the children, schoolbags on their backs, that Israel Defense Forces soldiers took into custody early on Wednesday, last week: His friend, Abdel Rahim, who was arrested with him, is only 7, and in first grade.

    • Ahmed Errachidi: ‘We shared one thing in Guantánamo Bay – pain’

      The chef turned author on the five years he spent in Guantánamo Bay – and why his nickname is the General

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

IRC Proceedings: March 24th, 2013-March 30th, 2013

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: March 24th, 2013



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: March 25th, 2013



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IRC Proceedings: March 26th, 2013



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IRC Proceedings: March 27th, 2013



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IRC Proceedings: March 28th, 2013



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IRC Proceedings: March 29th, 2013



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IRC Proceedings: March 30th, 2013



#techrights log

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Enter the IRC channels now

USPTO and Lundberg Deceive the Public on Patents

Posted in Patents at 4:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Lundberg

Summary: A look at the sneaky ways in which software patents and other abstract patents get advanced

The SHIELD act [1, 2], a face-saving act, is far from sufficient as a fix for the USPTO, where patent maximalism continues to be the mantra and motto. Interestingly enough we totally overlooked this fantastic TechDirt post about the USPTO engaging in crude deception to cover its back. To quote:

Undisclosed USPTO Employees Write Report Saying USPTO Does A Great Job Handling Software & Smartphone Patents


Notice that they are named as “advisors” to the USPTO, but their full-time roles are not mentioned. In response to the Wayfinder piece, the Journal explained that the roles had changed “at the last minute.” That is, right before publication, they apparently went from being full-time employees to mere advisors…

It is worth noting that other lawyers, patent lawyers like Lundberg et al., are still working hard to legitimise software patents. And not too long ago, Lundberg got a response from TechDirt. He is spreading disinformation, just like USPTO staff.

Apple Patents Not Worth the Paper They’re Written on

Posted in Apple at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs

A notepad

Summary: More dumb patents from the company that made ripoffs successful

As Apple continues its attack on Android, starting with the HTC lawsuit, people who buy Apple are increasingly upset about patents like rounded rectangles being used offensively. Apple secrecy [1, 2] is a way to assure customers are not made aware of the company’s very ugly side. Here is an attempt to fight this secrecy. Apple’s abuses against Linux-based platforms go years back, before the HTC lawsuit, Apple’s “Steve Jobs Used Patents Like A Mob Boss: Threatened To Sue Palm Over Patents If It Poached Any Apple Employees,” to quote TechDirt, where Glyn Moody and others have been slamming patents lately. Here is another take on Apple patents that are crazy:

Creating that “leak-proof pipe” has long been the dream not only of media companies, but also of computer companies like Apple that hope to collaborate with and ultimately supplant them. A recent patent application, found through the French title Numerama, seeks to make videos uncopiable during playback by locking down the last section of the pipe — the part that connects the computer to the screen.

Apple cannot even get basic security right, yet it wants patents on the above?

With Unitary Patent Scheme, EPO Pushes Hard for Software Patenting (More Leech Income)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO logo

Summary: The dark side of the European patent system as revealed and explained in some recent posts

While the “FFII Challenges Software Patents in Europe,” as we put it quite recently, not enough is being done to effectively stop the agenda of multinationals that want software patents everywhere. The FFII and its members have been quiet recently, so the lobbyists can advance with little or no interference.

For software patents in the EU to be rapidly phased in (e.g. through trans-Atlantic unification), the unitary patent is being advanced. The EPO President wrote the other day that the first committee meeting was imminent:

After the adoption of the EU regulations on the unitary patent in December 2012 and the recent signing of the international agreement on the Unified Patent Court, a further milestone was reached last week with the convening of the so-called Select Committee. Representatives of the 25 member states participating in the unitary patent met with the EPO in Munich for the first time, and the European Commission as observer, to launch the Committee’s work.

That this first meeting could take place so soon after the signing of the agreement on the Court is in my view a clear sign of the political will of the participating countries to implement the unitary patent as soon as possible. The results were very positive. The Committee elected two highly qualified and committed participants in the unitary patent process – Jerôme Debrulle, head of the Belgian delegation, and Lubos Knoth, head of the Slovak delegation – to serve as its chair and vice-chair. It also initiated the discussion of its rules of procedure and launched an ambitious plan for its further work in the coming months.

Glyn Moody, a Brit, hopes that Spain can stop this. Last week he asked, “Has Spain Just Slammed On The Brakes For Europe’s Unitary Patent Plans?”

One thing is for sure: if the brakes have indeed been slammed on for the Unitary Patent project, they are unlikely to come off for a good while unless something dramatic happens.

Spain was previously blackmailed for support. In the mean time, reveals TechDirt, EPO is pushing for patent maximalism with financial incentives. Big mistake!

European Patent Office Gives Staff Bonus For Issuing Bumper Crop Of Patents: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


This gives it an independence from the European Union that is problematic for patent law there. For example, back in 2005, the European Parliament voted definitively not to allow software patents in Europe. And yet as an excellent analysis published on the IPKat site explains, the EPO has continued to move steadily towards granting more and broader software patents in Europe.

Also from TechDirt, here is a recent rebuttal to the idea that by granting more parents you improve innovation. It is utter nonsense of course.

This is unfortunate. Despite plenty of research showing that patents do not, in fact, lead to increased innovation (but rather increased patenting), many still assume that there’s a direct linkage. Of course, it is true that many successful industries see high rates of patents, but there is evidence that patents tend to lag the actual innovation, rather than predate it. That is, once an area or industry is innovative and successful then everyone rushes in to get patents and try to extract their piece of the pie, often slowing down the pace of innovation.

More developers across Europe need to protest against the EPO for choosing to pretend that merely granting a patent somehow improves innovation and brings economic benefits to Europe.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

Some Recent Recommended Posts From TechDirt on Patents

Posted in Patents at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good perspective on the patent systems


Summary: Some notable links to good posts about software patents

THE site which has become popular for antagonising intellectual monopolies recently covered some stories that are relevant to us. One such post deals with the podcasting patent which we wrote about in February [1, 2]. Another is this this post about an Amazon patent. And as noted here before, these patents help illustrate just how deep in the mud the USPTO has sunk. Mr. Cuban [1, 2] said he would target the issue and some TechDirt coverage had this to say:

For years, we’ve talked about the idea of an independent inventor defense for those accused of patent infringement — which, contrary to the claims of some patent attorneys, is totally feasible — and that idea has received some traction. However, we’ve also argued that things should go even further, and that if there is evidence of multiple independent inventions of the same concepts that it is a sign of obviousness, and all such patents should be rejected — since patents are not allowed on inventions that are considered “obvious” to those who are “skilled in the art.” Unfortunately, we’ve seen less support for that specific idea — but perhaps that’s changing.

Here is something about a milestone that can help weaken software patents:

Last year, we wrote about the next important lawsuit concerning software patents, the CLS Bank v. Alice case, which the full Federal Circuit appeals court (CAFC) heard today. Our last post on the case provided the background, but the short version was that it involves some software concerning doing a “shadow transaction” to see if there are really enough funds to complete a transaction, before completing the actual transaction. The district court found that this was just a representation of an abstract idea, and thus not patentable. CAFC, using a typical three judge panel, reversed that decision, saying that it was patentable subject matter. However, CAFC agreed to rehear “en banc” with the entire 10 judges, because there was some concern about the original ruling (which was split 2 against 1).

The case involving Newegg [1, 2, 3, 4] was covered numerous times, noting the broader effect of the case.

Those who are interested in good myth-busting against intellectual monopolies are advised to subscribe to Masnick et al.

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