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

03.19.13

How Apple Attacked (and Marginalised) the Linux-powered WebOS

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Patents at 11:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Palm Pre with WebOS and Palm OS

Summary: Professor Michael Risch talks about WebOS, responds to our criticism

There is a fascinating story about WebOS, the operating system built on Linux and optimised to work well on the Web, using some portable framework that is Web-compatible (a growing trend in SDKs). Apple’s devices are poor at Web browsing, so WebOS (now open source as we hoped but unfortunately patents-encumbered) and some platforms like Android, which now has Chrome, have had a huge potential for growth, mostly at Apple’s and Nokia’s expense. Android is well ahead of Apple in technical terms and “Samsung [is] Innovating Faster Than Apple” claims a minister. So anyway, after Apple threatened Palm with lawsuits [1, 2] we find out in Risch’s rant about the already-controversial SHIELD act that WebOS was derailed by Apple:

Consider Palm, which developed WebOS, and made stuff. Consider HP, which has spent billions of dollars in research and development. HP bought Palm, and made WebOS tablets. For various reasons, maybe in part due to patent claims from other tablet makers like Apple, HP decides to stop selling WebOS tablets. HP then decides to enforce Palm’s patents. Mind you, HP didn’t just buy the patents, it bought the company. And then it made stuff, it researched, it developed, and it has even licensed WebOS out to LG try to resurrect it for televisions. Is HP a troll now? It falls under the text of this act. I think that just cannot be right, and yet there it is, in black and white.

Pamela Jones wrote: “Apple did that? I didn’t know that. If so, then I spit in their general direction. I love WebOS, and Apple needs to cut it out. It can’t be the only tablet maker in the universe. The more they sue and threaten, the more determined I am never to buy anything from them again.”

Wired had Risch (prominent in the debate over patent trolls) as a guest in a debate full of lawyers whose opinions omit the obvious solution (here is
another recent example) and after our criticism of his suggestions he wrote to me to say: “Thanks for reading, even if you don’t agree. I’m glad to hear that I’m even slightly controversial, as I usually see myself as plain vanilla.

“I outside us was a bit surprised by your characterization of the op-ed, though. For one thing, I quote Stallman’s editorial. For another, my very first suggestion was: ” More patents should be rejected, and especially weak software patents. Limiting these should continue regardless of who – troll or product company – owns those patents.” I realize that this doesn’t go far enough for those who would abolish software patents, but it’s hardly a defense. Indeed, at least one person shared this sentiment as the takeaway from the op-ed on twitter. I actually had a lot more written about software patents, but they limited me to 1100 words, so anything not core to the primary argument got slashed – so it goes.”

I replied by saying that “I do believe that we need to end software patents as a whole.”

“I hear you,” he said, “I know a lot a people feel that way. Even though I disagree, at least that would be owner neutral!”

That’s why it’s a debate. Every debate has some factions on each side. Anup Malani, writing this paper about patents, says: “Counter-intuitively, we propose raising the stakes of patent litigation by providing enhanced rewards to victorious patent holders and imposing enhanced penalties on owners of patents that are invalidated at trial.” This is not the obvious solution, either. It evades the obvious fix which is related to scope, not legal action.

Stephen Ornes, a writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, wrote this article in the New Scientist yesterday. He opposes software patents on the ground that they are akin to patenting mathematics. To quote:

AT SOME point in their career every mathematician comes up against the question, is mathematics invented or discovered? The query makes some cranky. The answer doesn’t directly affect their work, after all, and the discussion often leads nowhere useful. Spending time debating the ultimate nature of mathematics takes away from actually doing it.

Some scholars take issue with the terms themselves. In his 2008 essay Mathematical Platonism and Its Opposites, Harvard University mathematician Barry Mazur called discovery and invention “those two too-brittle words”. One might be tempted to defuse the question altogether with a merger: perhaps maths involves inventing new relationships between things we have discovered.

It’s a metaphysical query, a nerdy way to ask whether or not some pre-existing truths underlie our existence. Here we bump up against theology. If mathematical ideas are discovered – the Platonist position – then a proof is a real-world encounter with an immortal truth. But then where, exactly, is this ethereal pool of truths? Did prime numbers exist before the big bang?

If, on the other hand, mathematics is invented, then proofs spring from human intelligence a bit like art or law. But then why do mathematicians across time and space always agree on what’s right and wrong?

The question about invention versus discovery flares up every few years, often in a different guise. The latest incarnation concerns something very down to earth: money. In this case, the discovery versus invention question has profound consequences. In fact, there may be no mathematical question with higher stakes. That’s because mathematics powers the algorithms that drive computer software, and software is big business, worth over $300 billion a year to the global economy.

If we start with the hypothesis that algorithms are reducible to maths — which they are — then it becomes apparent that the patent system is inherently broken in the scope sense. Talking about damages in litigation is not the point. We must identify and address root causes, not symptoms.

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 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  2. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  3. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  4. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  5. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  6. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  7. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  8. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  9. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  10. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  11. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  12. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers



  13. PATENT Act No Longer in the News... and That's Just Fine

    Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents



  14. The Latest Lies From Microsoft's PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

    Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)



  15. Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft's Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software 'Trolls'

    Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him



  16. The Council of Europe Slams the EPO as Political Pressure Grows for EPO Management to Obey the Law

    Battistelli et al. come under yet more fire as politicians -- many of whom from Battistelli's home country -- become better informed of the EPO's management fiasco, abuses, and scandals



  17. Operating Systems Usage Based on Technical Site Statistics

    ome numbers to show what goes on in sites that do not share information about their visitors (unlike Windows-centric sites which target non-technical audiences)



  18. Links 27/6/2015: Wine 1.7.46, SparkyLinux 4.0

    Links for the day



  19. Proprietary Software on Top of Proprietary Software (AV on Windows) Only an Illusion of Security

    Remarks on the recent revelations about code and communication interceptions targeting insecurity firms and Microsoft's claim that 'transparency' alone would be enough to assure security



  20. The EPO's Circus of Nepotism, Corporatism and Gross Abuse is Promoting the Unitary Patent

    The shameful management of the EPO, which Benoît Battistelli constructed based on his nefarious self-serving agenda, keeps pushing forth in a direction that greatly harms European citizens while mistreating the EPO's technical staff (scientists and examiners)



  21. Links 26/6/2015: Ardour 4.1, GNOME 3.17.3 Released

    Links for the day



  22. An Estimated 1,000 EPO Staff in Munich Demonstrated Against EPO Management Yesterday Afternoon

    Earliest coverage of yesterday's protest against EPO corruption and abuses



  23. Microsoft Windows So Insecure That Even Fonts Are Remotely Exploitable

    Windows userbase is once again under serious threat and high risk because something as simple as fonts (rendering of text/pixels on the screen) isn't done securely in Windows



  24. Microsoft is 'Buying' the Media Ahead of Vista 10 Launch

    Signs serve to indicate that Microsoft is already tightening its grip on technology news sites, ensuring that they give Microsoft disproportionate levels of coverage



  25. DockerCon 2015 Infiltrated by Microsoft

    DockerCon gives room to Microsoft propagandists who want to divert the audience's attention from secure GNU/Linux focus to proprietary Windows with back doors and surveillance



  26. Links 25/6/2015: Docker Focus, NVIDIA Opening Slightly

    Links for the day



  27. The Lie or the Fiction of Microsoft Tolerating GNU/Linux

    The 'Microsoft loves Linux' nonsense cannot be put to rest, as that tired old lie keeps resurfacing in the media



  28. Microsoft is Again Demonstrating That It is Not Interested in Making Windows Secure

    Microsoft decides to leave Windows with flaws in it, claiming that fixing the flaws would not be worth Microsoft's resources



  29. Not Only is Vista 10 Not Free, It is Getting More Expensive, According to the Taiwanese Press

    More proof that Microsoft charges quite a lot for Vista 10 (at OEM level), despite the perpetual deception about costs



  30. EPO Protest in Munich and Growing Unpopularity of EPO Management, Media Manipulation by the Management

    Poll shows that the European Patent Office (EPO) comes under fire for its media strategy which involves wasting taxpayers' money on fake/organic media coverage that glorifies 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