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02.18.14

Patents ‘Reform’ Debate Still Controlled by Corporations, Price of GNU/Linux Servers at Stake

Posted in Patents at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Revisiting the largely-warped patent debate, which focuses on desires of corporations and continues to leave Free software vulnerable

WHEN big corporations say they are against the NSA they don’t mean what we, mere mortals, assume they are saying. To corporations the issues are seen very differently; they’re not bothered about privacy at all, they are only concerned with how much money they make and how customers perceive their privacy policies. Well, the same goes for patents.

When Susan Decker is writing for the corporate press (Bloomberg) she is serving the same media that regularly misuses the propaganda term “Intellectual Property” and elevates monopoly. It’s fake concern. Decker is of course just focusing on patent trolls (the small ones), not big trolls like Microsoft or even the problem with patent scope (e.g. software patents). This whole debate about patents got warped by corporations, especially last year ,and we lost interest in covering it anymore. To speak about trolls and focus/obsess over them it to merely serve the corporate propaganda. Activism and grassroots movements got co-opted by plutocrats; no wonder FFII is no longer active.

“This won’t do anything against real trolls,” iophk explained. “Those are just paper companies with no assets to confiscate.” Notice how Microsoft Nokia-fed patent troll MOSAID brags about growth, saying it “Doubles In Size”.

To speak about trolls without talking about those who give them patents (like Microsoft gave patents to Vringo, which then attacked Google) totally misses the point. “Nor does it address the root problem of software patents themselves.”

Rackspace, which is one of the few US companies (of considerable size) that fought back against software patents, has just had its CEO ‘retiring’ [1], which doesn’t bode well for proper resistance. IBM, the architect of OIN, is rapidly shrinking [2,3] (not just outsourcing), which also can affect its GNU/Linux servers endeavours [4]. Servers are an area where GNU/Linux is dominant [5] and companies like Rackspace do exceptionally well (we recently covered the policy of releasing code as Free software at Rackspace). IBM recently sold its x86 server business to the Chinese (x86 servers still matter [6]) and at HP servers are now made which are GNU/Linux-only [7] (no Windows support). Google, the world’s biggest GNU/Linux user (Google is bigger than Amazon, Salesforce and others), has been coming under the most legal cases over patents involving Linux, Chrome OS, Android etc. Some GNU/Linux servers, such as the ones at Amazon, are already being taxed by Microsoft — a trend we must counter as a matter of priority. Tackling patent policy would be the simplest solution. This is probably the most important issue facing Free software today.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Rackspace Doubles Down on OpenStack as CEO Retires
  2. IBM layoffs strike first in India; workers describe cuts as ‘slaughter’ and ‘massive’
  3. “Slaughter House”: First Person Accounts Of How IBM Just Fired Thousands Of Workers Across India

    A week ago, the Dell dude warned that it’s going to be a layoff “bloodbath” as the recently LBO-ed firm began firing 15,000. Now it’s IBM’s turn.

    According to WRAL Tech Wire, the company which has underperformed Wall Street’s expectations for many quarters, has begun “cost-rationalizing” terminations in India – the country that hosts some 100,000 of IBM’s employees and where IBM reportedly employs the greatest number of workers. The unit targeted is the Systems Technology Group which is the troubled hardware group selling its low-end x86 server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion and where Big Blue’s executives have launched “Resource Action”, also known as “rebalancing” but best known as mass, across the board terminations where by some estimates up to 13,000 of IBM’s 434,000 workers are set to be let go.

  4. IBM Power Development Platform Emphasizes Linux ISVs

    Access to Power Systems servers for business partners, primarily independent software providers (ISVs), has been revamped with improved tooling for Linux-oriented ISVs bringing that development arena up to par with what has existed for IBM i and AIX developers for some time. This particular partner program, which is now called the IBM Power Development Platform (PDP), was formerly known as the Virtual Loaner Program. It was established in 2003 to encourage ISV development projects and provide a cloud-based test environment for companies developing and enhancing applications.

  5. Has Linux Conquered the Cloud?

    The only challenge left for Linux to fully conquer the cloud is in the private and hybrid sectors. Private cloud technology like OpenStack is pushing Linux kernel-based virtual machines, or KVMs, on the compute side and challenging VMware’s position, asserted Turk.

  6. Futuremark Develops Servermark Benchmarking Tool For Linux-Based x86 Servers

    Today, Futuremark is expanding into the enterprise space with Servermark, which the company says is “a new benchmark that will enable IT professionals in businesses large and small to accurately measure and compare the performance of servers.”

  7. FIRST LOOK: HP takes giant leap in server design

    Another interesting wrinkle: Only Linux distributions are supported: Red Hat, CentOS, Fedora, and Ubuntu. No Windows.

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