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04.13.13

Apple Now a Leading Opponent of Linux, Due to Patents in Particular

Posted in Apple, Patents at 3:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Discussion about how Android suffers from Apple, which is unique in its litigation with patents (not against Google but against Android distributors)

DR. Stallman keeps reminding me that Apple is a greater threat than Microsoft. Days ago I showed how Apple uses text selection patents against Android, which contains Linux and is Free software. Patents are the number one enemy of FOSS. Many would agree with that, but what’s less unanimous a vote is, who’s the principal culprit in this context?

“Patents are the number one enemy of FOSS.”Some alternative economists believe that patents can kill Bitcoin while Miguel de Icaza throws FUD at it (link omitted). Coming from one who threw away his freedom to embrace Apple, should we be surprised? Anyway, patents are already a major issue for Android and the Android leader is attacked by Apple the most. Apple has the most to lose when Android dominates.

Today I went to another large store that sells tablets. In Maplin, all 10 tablets on display use Android; none uses Windows or iOS. At PC World, Android is vastly ahead of the rest (about an order of magnitude ahead) Apple hardly gets shelf space and I took a video to prove it, one in each store. As long as patents are kept out of it, nothing can stop Android.

The Notion of “Software Patent Trolls”

Posted in Patents at 3:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Greek lexicon

Summary: Suggested terminology to help distinguish the symptom from the cause of the defunct patent system which facilitates monopolies on algorithms

As most patent trolls use patents on algorithms, it is time to emphasise this correlation by changing the lexicon a bit. A lot of energy these days is directed at trolls, but it is missing the point or the root of the problems. We are not the only ones to point this out. Other notable patent reformists are disturbed by the lack of attention given to software patents because of trolls as a phenomenon.

Over at IDG, Snyder warns about patent trolls rather than software patents, which is a distraction:

The patent trolls are back, and this time they’re after you

Lodsys, Personal Audio, and Project Paperless continue to hit developers and businesses with frivolous lawsuits — and are reaping the rewards

Also at IDG, OSI president Simon Phipps speaks about another type of action — one which defends not from trolls but from patent cartels (OIN is effective at the latter, impotent against the former):

The big companies have armed themselves for the patent wars. Now ordinary businesses have their own defense with the Open Invention Network

Rackspace, having recently defeated software patents and trolls at the same time, targets what’s referred to here as “software patent trolls”:

Why Rackspace Stood Up To Software Patent Trolls

‘Patent monetisation’ firms, better known under the nickname ‘patent troll’, have been plaguing the IT industry for years. A few of these organisations really help innovators to benefit from their work. The rest use legal loopholes and flaws in the US patent legislation to literally extort money from businesses both big and small.

Finally, Rackspace decided it had enough. Last week, Alan Schoenbaum, senior VP, general counsel and the leader of the global legal team at Rackspace, declared an all-out war on these organisations, starting with IP Nav, which he called “the most notorious patent troll in America”.

TechWeekEurope asked Schoenbaum to explain just how much damage patent trolls are doing, and what the industry can do to stop them.

Rackspace deserves credit for this. They don’t pay Microsoft for GNU/Linux, unlike Microsoft, and my experience with them is positive.

Microsoft and BSA Among Participants in USPTO-Organised Biased ‘Debate’ About Software Patents

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Public debate, private interests

Bubble

Summary: Why so-called ‘legal’ debates (which exclude scientists) are missing the boat and reinforcing the status quo

Several weeks ago we covered those so-called “roundtables” [1, 2, 3] where everyone seems to sit at the same side of the table, the one accepting software patents rather than challenging them. Everything other than that is too 'radical'/'extreme'. Pamela Jones was frustrated by what she saw. The USPTO, despite good advice from Jones (et al.), did not have her anywhere on the panel (she probably would not have gone anyway) and instead it had a load of people who generally accept software patenting. It’s an echo chamber, by design. Something is missing, right? Jones says: “I don’t agree that software should be patentable at all, and so I don’t agree with the rest, but this is progress. We have not been laboring in this vineyard without results.”

“More needs to be done to protest against this, or else we will live in a world where software patents are no longer controversial.”She also spots familiar lobbyists in this debate: “Microsoft *and* BSA? They didn’t think that was putting somebody’s finger on the scale just a teensy, tiny bit?” The Business Software Alliance, a Microsoft proxy, essentially buys Microsoft another seat at the table.

Further down she speaks about another ‘debate’. To quote: “In New York city, here’s the roundtable video, Part I; Part II; and Part III. The speakers were Chin, Andrew, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [PPT]; Magarshak, Gregory, Qbix [PPT]; Mauro, Charles L. [PPT]; Weiner, Steven, SRI International [PDF].

“I don’t use Microsoft products, so I won’t watch the video. Here’s why. I can’t agree to the EULA terms Microsoft sets, or its privacy policy.”

And further down she says: “When I see Microsoft comparing itself favorably with Google on privacy issues in its loathsome Scroogled campaign, my lip curls. Anyway, that’s why I won’t be watching the round tables.

“Note that the issue isn’t that I don’t know how to watch it. I could download Flip4Mac and watch with Quicktime. I know that. But I am not willing to say yes to such degrading terms, and I’m not crazy about Flip4Mac’s terms either. I could use my GNU/Linux computer, but with mplayer or the equivalent, you have to accept proprietary plugins with Microsoft code, and God only knows what that code does in the dark. I’m not allowed to look, so I’m simply not interested. Anyway, my goal is not to use Microsoft software at all. I don’t admire the company’s business practices, and it lost my trust. Why would I use software from someone I don’t trust?”

The patent lawyers and outspoken software patents proponents continue to storm this debate while developers stay quiet. More needs to be done to protest against this, or else we will live in a world where software patents are no longer controversial. Consider the new press release titled “Absolute Software Issued Patent for a “Persistent Servicing Agent”” (they brag about software patents without shame).

The USPTO has shown that it is unwilling to listen to the public. It sure likes to listen to those of the same mindset as itself, patent lawyers and lobbyists for large corporations.

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