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08.05.15

IBM is Still Hoarding Patents, Even Software Patents

Posted in IBM, Patents at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PC heatsink

Summary: Once a hardware giant, IBM moves on to becoming a patents giant, and even software is on the menu

SOME time less than a decade ago the buzzword “cloud” started to creep in. What it meant back then was not what it means right now because the term is so vague that it became almost meaningless. Depending on who one asks, now it means just about anything to do with a server, even if it’s a local server storing something on your desk. In a sense, everything is “cloud” now. Everything (well, almost everything) can be framed as such.

“Cloud Patents” became a new and misleading term in the media some days ago [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s because of IBM, a longtime promoter of software patents (although IBM usually hides this tendency or resorts to openwashing with some pledges, OIN, et cetera).

“IBM is moving into cloud patents, but that’s not necessarily going to upset established providers.”
      –Charles Babcock
Days have passed since IBM’s charm offensive and Charles Babcock now says that “IBM Locks Up Cloud Processes With Patents”. “IBM has received 1,200 patents on cloud computing over the last 18 months,” he wrote. “Here’s a sample of what Big Blue is patenting and why it’s a concern.” Charles Babcock later published “IBM Wields Cloud Patents For Defense, Profit”. He said that “IBM is moving into cloud patents, but that’s not necessarily going to upset established providers. In a pinch, they could end up as partners.”

Another new report (the latest we could find) says that “Just like Goldfinger attempted to corner the supply of Gold, it seems that Big Blue is attempting the same thing with cloud patents.”

Whatever IBM is doing here (or trying to achieve hereafter), it’s a huge disservice to the fight against software patents. Yes, many of these (probably most) are software patents and this exercise in futility does nothing but saturate the algorithmic space with yet more monopolies, complicating everyone’s work on software. IBM makes it possible to virtually sue (or countersue) almost every software company on this planet. Should anyone celebrate this?

Microsoft’s Patent Attacks on Free Software Intensify as Microsoft’s Mobile Ambitions Officially Dead and Vista 10 Failing

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents, Vista 10, Windows at 11:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Looking for royalties — no matter how minuscule — on every Linux device sold

Love of money

Summary: Microsoft is very desperate to extract money out of Linux (which has won major battles and billions of users), using software patents and royalty stacking with help from patent trolls

ONE MUST be deluded or seriously misinformed to actually believe that Microsoft is doing well, having just laid off many employees, admitted billions in losses, permanently ended many of its products, and then revealed a widely-loathed version of Windows which many people are simply unwilling to adopt. They won’t ‘upgrade’ to it, not even for ‘free’ (a false promise even for those who 'upgrade'). Our confidential sources inside Microsoft say that even Microsoft staff doesn’t like Vista 10.

At the same time that Vista 10 was released Bill Gates, who is officially back to Microsoft’s management team, dumped his Microsoft shares by the millions (see “Warning Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) optimists! William Gates just Unloaded 4,000,000 shares.”)

Useds [sic] of Vista 10 don’t like it, so they use other software and defect away from what Microsoft is offering. Based on silence from Microsoft, not many people even install Vista 10. In the first day, despite it being a ‘free’ upgrade, less than 1% of useds actually moved to it and Microsoft has been tight-lipped since then. Every other number has been unofficial, speculative, and patently false, for reasons that we explained here before.

We now see more hogwash from the trend-setting media. Referring to Microsoft’s losses, the author says this “was only the third loss in its history as a public company.”

Not really, as there is a long history of financial fraud (false reporting of revenue and income). The New York Times trusts Microsoft’s claims far too irresponsibly. It’s just gullible. It also promotes the illusion of Microsoft layoffs not being Microsoft’s fault. Remember that Nokia did much better before Microsoft hijacked the company, initially with a mole. Microsoft layoffs are not just a Nokia thing. See this video from a guy whom Microsoft laid off “after 15 years of service” (to use his own words).

IBTimes, another misleading publication (usually misleads in favour of big businesses), pretends that Microsoft was “third among global smartphones”.

“That’s a low bar,” explained iophk to us. “But the ibtimes lumps several categories together to boost appearances of Microsoft market share.” Yes, they make it seem like Microsoft had nearly 4% of the market. In reality it’s far lower than that. Microsoft will soon head down towards 1% or 0%, considering its abandonment — indefinitely — of Windows Phone/Mobile.

A few days ago many news sites (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]) covered Nokia’s sale of HERE Maps for just over 3 billion dollars. Recall old articles such as “Nokia to Pay $8.1 Billion for Navteq”. “Contrast with sale price from a few days ago,” iophk wrote to us. It’s now down to less than half, so Microsoft’s damage to Nokia goes far beyond just the mobile business. German companies are eating Nokia’s remaining business, so Nokia will soon appear (and function) as nothing but a pile of patents, i.e. a patent troll.

Florian Müller, a German lobbyist who has worked for Microsoft, calls the sale of HERE Maps the “next stage of transformation into patent troll”. Remember that Microsoft already instructed Nokia to pass its patents to trolls such as MOSAID, i.e. trolls with a Linux-hostile track record. MOSAID has renamed itself since, but it’s the same evil entity with the same patents at hand. Microsoft armed MOSAID using Nokia’s patents. Sites like Groklaw didn’t miss that because of the huge number of patents involved. MOSAID is now known as “Conversant”, not to be confused with the Conservancy (pro-GPL).

“Remember that Microsoft already instructed Nokia to pass its patents to trolls such as MOSAID, i.e. trolls with a Linux-hostile track record.”Müller, incidentally, also wrote about Corel suing Microsoft using patents, perpetuating an unverified myth that “Microsoft has numerous patent cross-license agreements in place (including with dozens of smartphone, tablet and netbook manufacturers who pay Microsoft considerable amounts of royalties on devices powered by Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems)” (we do not know if Microsoft gets anything from these, except FUD and leverage). Remember that Microsoft’s goal is not to make Android its own cash cow but to make it uneconomic (not competitive in terms of price) because of many small royalties, aggregated/combined from many non-producing directions/vectors, to ultimately become huge numbers (patent stacking with help from Microsoft-leaning trolls, of which there can be thousands). Consider Intellectual Ventures, which was pretty much the creation of Microsoft and Bill Gates. It already has thousands of proxies (to litigate from) and 2 days ago this bizarre piece was grooming it (“Built By Industry Leading Companies” even though it is undeniably Microsoft connected). This revisionism and grooming of the world’s largest patent troll ought to worry everyone because in recent months Intellectual Ventures repeatedly used software patents to attack Android (we covered this at the time).

Putting aside the unverified claims from Müller (he has pro-Microsoft history and paychecks from Microsoft too), it is interesting to see Corel, which Microsoft destroyed like it later destroyed Novell and Nokia, taking Microsoft to court after all this time.

Another legal battle that made the news last week was to do with Motorola, a steward of Android (under Google) which Microsoft was extorting using patents. Google bought part of Motorola after Microsoft and other Android foes created CPTN and Rockstar, using patents from large companies that they bought. Those same Android foes wanted to buy Motorola’s patents (based on credible reports), so Google had to act fast and prevent that by bidding defensively, even overpaying by a huge margin. If Android foes tried to buy Motorola’s patents to weaponise them as well, having already used patents from companies like Novell and Nortel offensively, who can blame Google for buying Motorola’s patents? And watch what Microsoft is already doing with Nokia’s patents.

“Don’t think that a dying company like Microsoft will just drop dead without a last fight.”The Microsoft-Motorola situation quickly become a Microsoft-Google feud and some days ago Google lost this battle. To quote corporate media (Fortune): “The patent-fueled litigation frenzy among tech companies has finally subsided but, even as firms make nice with each other, there’s a lot of mopping up to do from the earlier fights that peaked around 2012. Take, for example, that time when Google GOOG bought Motorola and its patents in order to fight rivals, including Microsoft MSFT and Apple AAPL , who had ganged up to attack its Android devices.”

There is a lot more coverage in legal sites, legal chronicles, and legal blogs, not to mention Microsoft-friendly sites, pro-Microsoft sites (by design) [1, 2], and much of the corporate media [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], even some smaller news sites [1, 2, 3], some of which focus on law [1, 2]. These all serve to remind us that Microsoft is still attacking Android (and by extension Linux) using software patents. Don’t think that a dying company like Microsoft will just drop dead without a last fight. Secrecy has been Microsoft’s strongest weapon here; it’s a shame that many Linux-leaning sites have been ignoring or overlooking this.

EPO Measures Productivity Using the Wrong Yardstick in Order to Sell Its Racket to the Public

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The coup d’état continues while patents are going way beyond what’s physical

A motor

Summary: Board of Appeal members (typically limiting the EPO’s power) are being further marginalised by the EPO which is artificially and irresponsibly increasing the number of patents as if patent maximisation is in the interest of the European public

THE EPO‘s rogue management has been crushing workers’ rights to the point where many of these highly-qualified workers (if not most of them) routinely walk out to protest, demonstrating in front of their employer. EPO staff is not happy; to make matters worse, it is increasingly afraid and there are many suicides. It’s a toxic working environment. Last year we wrote about the EPO’s attacks on EBoA/BoA, which is supposed to enjoy relative independence. AMBA, which represents many of these workers and was mentioned here a month ago, diplomatically strikes back as EPO tries to weaken EBoA/BoA in Europe, just as it did with other potential sources of challenge/scrutiny/opposition (the EPO is seemingly above the law now, at least that’s what the management thinks). Seeing what the EPO has been doing to SUEPO and even a judge, AMBA must be tiptoeing here.

“Weaker EBoA/BoA would mean that Benoît Battistelli, Željko Topić and other corrupt officials can just do as they please.”AMBA’s request for public input (especially from informed practitioners in the field) is finally receiving coverage from the lawyers at IP Kat. “The new AMBA proposal,” explains the author, “reiterates the earlier concerns, but then takes the further step of proposing alternative possible reforms to the structure and governance of the Boards of Appeal in order to increase their autonomy. It is a detailed and considered document. The main feature of the proposal is to have, in place of the proposed BOAC of CA/16/15, a different body, called (for the sake of nominative differentiation) the “Senate of the Boards of Appeal”, that would have external members (in the same way as the proposed BOAC), but, importantly, would include a majority of Board of Appeal members. This would integrate better with the already existing “Presidium of the Boards of Appeal”, whose residual function under the CA/16/15 proposal was unclear and seemed rather limited. AMBA’s proposals are analysed with reference to accepted standards for the governance of the judiciary, embodied in the Burgh House Principles on the Independence of the International Judiciary, and the Council of Europe recommendations on the judiciary CM/Rec(2010)12, “Judges: independence, efficiency and responsibilities”.”

Historically, as articles of ours from over 5 years ago serve to show, Board of Appeal members helped ensure that the EPO cannot just so vainly expand patent scope to all sorts of domains like software. Weaker EBoA/BoA would mean that Benoît Battistelli, Željko Topić and other corrupt officials can just do as they please. The ‘suspension’ of a judge was a loud warning shot from these gangsters and EBoA/BoA staff must be terrified now. These people no longer feel independent because Battistelli just nonchalantly breaks the rules (he even breaks the law which he arrogantly claims to be exempted from) and assaults anyone who merely dare question the integrity of the gangsters (Topić in this case).

“The later costs are vast and those who pay the price are not the gangsters of EPO management (with huge salaries) but citizens of Europe who subsidise the EPO to pay these huge salaries.”IP Kat has this new article which repeats claims of “Productivity Increase at the EPO” — the same inane claims that echo claims of “Productivity Increase” (or ‘enemy’ death toll) by NATO forces in Iraq. As we have been showing here a number for years, the EPO broadened the scope of patents so as to increase profits at the expense of people who are bound to get hurt (e.g. extorted or driven to bankruptcy) by patents that never should have been granted in the first place.

As Merpel put it, “it is not surprising that examination products are up. It is however still unclear what is the need for this. Merpel has attempted with limited success to discern the financial position of the EPO and has called for more financial transparency. She still cannot see why the senior management of the EPO seems obsessed with increasing the flow of patent grants in the short term, whatever the later cost.”

The later costs are vast and those who pay the price are not the gangsters of EPO management (with huge salaries) but citizens of Europe who subsidise the EPO to pay these huge salaries. What a racket!

Vista 10 is Worse Than Spyware, It Adds People’s Computers to a Botnet

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest version of Windows is on the verge of criminal activity (but with a newly-written EULA permitting this), as more prominent writers finally care to mention

JUDGING by some recent news, Vista 10 is not doing so well (not to our surprise). Microsoft is hardly even sharing any figures. The British media warns about privacy violations that pretty much render the user a “product” and the new customer of Microsoft advertisers. “Here’s a quick FYI,” wrote The Register, “if you installed Windows 10, and in a rush to try out Microsoft’s new operating system, you clicked through the default settings without looking, you may want to look again.

“If you value your privacy, or have a distrust of Microsoft, you probably want to make sure some or all of the settings are flipped to off. These include things like sending “typing and inking” data to Microsoft’s servers, and letting apps identify you by your unique advertising ID number.

“Your physical whereabouts and your web browser history, plus your contacts and calendar records, are also phoned home to Redmond. Your PC will even let other computers download updates from it, and potentially share your Wi-Fi network with strangers.”

People who think that altering privacy settings in Vista 10 will truly help are fooling themselves. Windows has a long history of not obeying user preferences/configurations. In Windows XP, for example, there was a setting for disabling automatic updates. But Microsoft deliberately ignored it. This setting was decorative at best.

Vista 10 is a monstrous surveillance machine worse by far than Facebook because it has access to webcams, microphones, and every single file. Vista 10 is not an operating systems but a monstrous surveillance and data-sucking machine which happens to have a kernel and GUI. People who worry about installing Vista 10 because it’s a data hoover must also avoid Skype (all platforms) because it sucks up (to Microsoft’s servers) a lot of data. Every time you install Skype or some other Microsoft malware on any device (even Android-powered) you let Microsoft (and NSA, via PRISM) suck a lot of private data upwards, to the so-called ‘cloud’. Every time you install an app on Android be sure to view permissions first, then assume all the data (or devices like a microphone) can and will suck in data, eventually uploading it all. This data has value as it can be sold. If you use Skype or Windows, then you are the product. The client is, among others, the NSA.

An article by Glyn Moody strives to remind people that Vista 10 is not free. To quote the conclusion: “Any one of these would be enough to raise serious privacy concerns, even if some can be turned off; put together, they look as if an executive order has gone out to harvest the maximum amount of personal information, and to disregard privacy issues completely. Back in 1999, when Sun’s CEO Scott McNealy famously declared “You have zero privacy anyway, get over it,” he could be forgiven for living in an innocent era when the harm that might flow from that situation seemed circumscribed. Today, in the post-Snowden world, putting “zero privacy” at the heart of your latest product in the way that Microsoft seems to have done with Windows 10, is not just foolish and anachronistic, but downright contemptuous of users and their safety.”

Moody says that Vista 10 is ‘free’ like a “free puppy” — an analogy recently (mis)used by a Microsoft propagandist (Branscombe) against Free software.

Vista 10, to make matters worse than just these privacy violations, turns your hardware into part of a botnet commandeered by Microsoft. It basically lets Microsoft take over your machine and then use it. “If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10,” explained one writer, “then Microsoft could be using your PC – and your internet connection – to silently send Windows updates to others.”

“Richard Stallman was right to call Windows “malware”. It it wasn’t malware before, it sure is now.”Vista 10 is not the only software which Microsoft turned in to part of a botnet. Skype has been doing it for years (after Microsoft had taken over).

Ryan Farmer, in our IRC channels, says that “Windows went from bordering on malware to actual malware. It hijacks your internet connection that you are paying for and makes you foot Microsoft’s bandwidth bills.” Ryan warned about this a week ago, but it’s only now that the media has caught up.

Meanwhile, as revealed by this horrible story, Vista 10 is a privacy violation not only across the network but also within one’s home. To quote the gist of it: “Following the successful release of Windows 10 last week, one man who decided to partake in the free upgrade got a little bit more than he bargained for.

“Posting on Reddit, a man detailed how he began the Windows 10 installation process at night before going to bed. Come the next morning, his wife woke him up asking why their computer’s screensaver was cycling through the man’s ostensibly private porn photo collection which, he later explained, included quite a few celebrity nudes.”

Vista 10 has taken surveillance to a whole new level and to make matter worse, it gives Microsoft full control over people’s computers, which are basically rendered zombies now. Richard Stallman was right to call Windows “malware”. It it wasn’t malware before, it sure is now.

Links 5/8/2015: Tanglu 3, Linux Foundation Courses Expand

Posted in News Roundup at 7:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Open Source Software Growth Is Rising

    GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath discusses open source software and GitHub’s plan to expand internationally. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang on “Bloomberg West.”

  • Hayao Miyazaki CG Tribute Made with Open Source Tools

    Dono produced photorealistic worlds for the memorable stars of Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and many more of Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpieces using a suite of open source tools, including Blender for 3D, Gimp for image editing, and Natron for compositing. The only non-open source software was the rendering engine, Octane.

  • To Expedite Innovation, Give Away Your Code

    Open-source software has been a growing phenomenon for more than two decades, but in recent years it has risen in importance in a whole new way: as a key to rapid innovation for startups and corporate giants alike.

    One example of open-source software being used to increase the velocity of technical innovation can be seen with Airbnb. In early June, Airbnb did something that might sound crazy. It decided to give away a sophisticated software tool it developed called Aerosolve.

    Aerosolve uses machine learning to understand what consumers will pay for a certain kind of room in a certain place — and helps people figure out how to price their Airbnb rentals.

  • Adobe opens legal style guide and encourages clear writing

    Adobe has made its Legal Department Style Guide available to everyone under a Creative Commons license. This shows that open source principles are illuminating even the foggy world of legal writing. I’ve taken a pass through the guide, and can affirm that it’s generally sound and useful. It could help reduce obscurity in legal documents and foster more effective communication.

  • Ada Initiative Closes Up Shop
  • Ada Initiative organization to end, but its work will continue
  • The Ada Initiative Shuts Down, but Its Programs Will Be Open Source

    After four years of working tirelessly to improve diversity in tech, the Ada Initiative is shutting down. As a nonprofit organization, they led unconferences that brought women in tech together to help them find their feminist identities, they led impostor syndrome workshops, and they even had workshops for allies who want to help women in tech. Their programs and camps were one-of-a-kind, and the industry will be sorely missing their presence.

  • Guest View: How open source can help you break free of the storage Matrix

    The world inside the data center has been changing too, and it is changing fast. The large, status quo storage companies are just as nervous. This group of large legacy system companies has ruled the data center for the past 40 years. They’re the ones selling all that pricey systems hardware—especially in storage found in every organization. They are pushing their brand of reality, and when those companies came knocking, you paid, even as you felt something was not right.

  • University of Toronto Runs on Nexenta Open Source-Driven Software-Defined Storage Platform Supporting Key Cloud Services
  • Events

    • A Preview: Oracle Connects the Dots at LinuxCon/CloudOpen/ContainerCon

      I’m really pleased with the lineup of keynote speakers and sessions we have planned for LinuxCon, CloudOpen and ContainerCon taking place in Seattle in just two short weeks. Content is our first priority for these events, and I think developers, SysAdmins and executives will be happy with what they find in the keynote hall, session rooms and workshops.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Teaching students the value of open source

      Open source is not just about making something publicly accessible. It is a set of values—a way of working that practices open collaboration between a community to build or maintain something. On the basis of these values, today we can observe a vibrant and thriving open source community responsible for many of the great successes in many industries.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • developing v8 with guix

      This machine runs Debian. It used to run the testing distribution, but somehow in the past I needed something that wasn’t in testing so it runs unstable. I’ve been using Debian for some 16 years now, though not continuously, so although running unstable can be risky, usually it isn’t, and I’ve unborked it enough times that I felt pretty comfortable.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Slavery “Necessary” Says Education Department Of Extremadura

      When some bureaucrat tells the world that there are no other options than non-free/slavery software for vocational schools, I know they’re lying. It’s just not true. If businesses want school graduates to use non-free software they should do their own training. It’s not up to government to do what they could do for themselves. It’s not government’s job to preserve the Wintel monopoly. That’s not good for the economy and it’s just wrong to indoctrinate citizens into slavery. Extremadura is cranking out graduates who know GNU/Linux and Free Software. Businesses should accept that and use Free Software too. There’s just no reason that businesses or government should throw money to the wind that could be better spent buying machinery or buildings or hiring people locally.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Design electronic circuits with MeowCAD

        MeowCAD is an online free and open source electronic design application tool. Its focus is on schematic and PCB design for electronic circuits. Since MeowCAD is a completely FOSS SaaS, it circumvents the problems with vendor dependence. For example, one can download and run local copies of MeowCAD, thus giving the designer complete control over their own tools.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Bernie Sanders is best for America

      Being a single mom has created a desire in me to find more resources for parents, especially those who are under served or low income.

    • Bernie Sanders, Open Borders and a Serious Route to Global Equality

      Some progressives expressed dismay last week to discover that Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Senator and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, doesn’t favor a policy of open immigration. While such a policy would undoubtedly allow billions of people in the developing world to improve their lives, there are not many people in the United States who relish the idea of the country’s population tripling or quadrupling over the next three or four decades.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Security, Privacy and Standards Loom Large for Internet of Things

      As the Internet of Things (IoT) ramps up, there are more and more calls for proper legislation surrounding it, and proper standards for its advancements. As we recently reported, trade groups are urging the U.S. Congress to be wary of too much government intervetnion in IoT development. There are also some concerns about IoT security and the standards surrounding it.

    • EFF creates ‘stronger’ standard for Do Not Track

      Privacy advocates have long been working toward a coherent Do Not Track standard, and this week a new option is being put on the table. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, along with companies including Medium and DuckDuckGo, have introduced a new Do Not Track standard that they claim to be “stronger” than those currently going around. The standard sticks to Do Not Track’s existing tenets: it should be opt-in, and enabling it should tell websites and advertisers not to store and share information on the person visiting them. Supporting the standard is also voluntary, which is less of a choice and more of an acknowledgement that there’s no legal backing that requires websites not to track anyone.

  • Civil Rights

    • Controlling When the Cameras Record

      Around the U.S., the agents that control the public have been observed to beat up, shoot, kill, and arrest members of the public, with a special focus on protesters, members of minority groups, and people making recordings of the actions of those agents. This is often followed by fabricated accusations against the victim, meant to create false justification for the attack itself.

    • To LA Times, Meth in Skid Row Victim’s Blood More Important Than Gun in His Flesh

      Captured on cellphone video, the incident received attention because we are living in a moment when many people have decided that the state-sanctioned killing of black people by law enforcement is worth our attention—and that’s very uncomfortable for those who want to believe that every police killing must be in some way justified, if we could only see how. So Keunang’s autopsy—five months later—was likely to make some kind of news, but what kind?

    • Reverse this

      Being a cis white man who’s a native English speaker from a fairly well-off background, I’m pretty familiar with privilege. Spending my teenage years as an atheist of Irish Catholic upbringing in a Protestant school in a region of Northern Ireland that made parts of the bible belt look socially progressive, I’m also pretty familiar with the idea that that said privilege doesn’t shield me from everything bad in life. Having privilege isn’t a guarantee that my life will be better, in the same way that avoiding smoking doesn’t mean I won’t die of lung cancer. But there’s an association in both cases, one that’s strong enough to alter the statistical likelihood in meaningful ways.

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