The Spanish inquisition may be worth crediting for inspiration
Bernard Picard: Inquisition torture chamber (public domain)
Summary: A quick look at the known track record of the head of the EPO’s interrogation chamber
IN the previous four parts of this series [1, 2, 3, 4] we have already covered the roots of the EPO‘s Investigative Unit, its founder, and its current PDIAO or PD 0.6 — the Brit who succeeded the founder and subjected EPO staff to military-grade surveillance. The reason we deem this series necessary is that the EPO brags about “transparency”, exempting the Investigative Unit (as well as much of the higher management) from this transparency. The only transparency we find is in the 'poaching' of staff from transparency groups — groups that were supposed to actually investigate the EPO’s higher management.
Today we take a look at the Head of the Investigative Unit, Claudio Zanghi. Little is known about him apart from the fact that he is Italian. Mr. Zanghi is the Head of the Investigative Unit, so he must be working quite closely with PD 0.6. Someone once told us that he was the one who asked Mr Battistelli to sign the contract of the EPO with Control Risks, but it’s not clear to what degree — if any — PD 0.6 was responsible for this. Either way, it was a decision made by the high management. In this older letter he was seen corresponding with (by CC) Control Risks staff, in a rather threatening letter sent to EPO staff. This redacted letter was later uploaded to the Web by Florian Müller.
“The reason we deem this series necessary is that the EPO brags about “transparency”, exempting the Investigative Unit (as well as much of the higher management) from this transparency.”“By a curious coincidence,” told us a source, “Zanghi shares his name with a prominent Italian Professor of Law who specialises in human rights issues. This distinguished academic namesake, Prof. Cluadio Zanghi, is a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Italian Society for International Organizations and a founder of the International Center of Sociological, Penal and Penitentiary Research and Studies in Messina.”
Our source has been unable to find out whether there is any family connection between these two Zanghis, but “it would be another bizarre coincidence worthy of the EPO if that turned out to be the case,” the source told us.
Who are the investigators working below the management? Stay tune for future parts of this series. █
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China has already made publicly known which patents Microsoft uses against Linux/Android
Context: 1972 Nixon visit to China [1, 2]
Summary: Criticism of Red Hat’s approach to dealing with Microsoft spreads to more sites, especially those that understand the impact of patents in this area
WE REALLY wanted to avoid further commentary on the Microsoft-Red Hat deal, but another shallow article has just come out, this time from Linux Insider (not necessarily a Linux-friendly site). The authur says nothing about patents, which is often what’s missing from all the puff pieces about this subject.
“Well, Richard Nixon was at least opening up to trade. In the case of Red Hat, it opens up other companies to potential patent lawsuits from Microsoft.”Over at FOSS Force, a pro-FOSS site, Larry Cafiero wrote: “Red Hat and Microsoft on Wednesday announced a partnership that will allow businesses to deploy Red Hat’s open source software on the Microsoft Azure cloud. From news reports, the deal makes Red Hat the “preferred choice” on Microsoft Azure, Redmond’s infrastructure-as-a-service platform. Make what you will of this. Me? If you know my distaste for what’s nebulously called “the cloud,” I’m just walking away from it, though the one comment I read in one story comparing this to Nixon going to China is probably the best comparison.”
Well, Richard Nixon was at least opening up to trade. In the case of Red Hat, it opens up other companies to potential patent lawsuits from Microsoft. We have already explained this in 5 articles, namely:
Florian Müller, who had worked as a patents spinner for Microsoft (for a while), was very hard on Red Hat. He wrote that “Red Hat hopes to leverage patents to cement its Linux market leadership [with the] Microsoft deal” and makes a claim similar to claims we have been making here for over half a decade. “I’ve been saying for years,” he wrote, “that Red Hat is utterly hypocritical when it comes to patents. It has a history of feeding patent trolls and fooling the open source community. There is, to put it mildly, no assurance that all of its related dealings actually comply with the GPL.”
This is exactly our concern and unless there is transparency from the “Open Organisation”, we don’t know for sure. The patent “standstill” does not extend to companies other than Red Hat, so where does that leave even CentOS users (Techrights uses CentOS)? “Red Hat now wants to tell Linux users,” Müller explains, “that the way to be protected with respect to patents is to use Red Hat Linux. “Reduce your exposure, buy from us.” That is a way of seeking to benefit from software patents.”
That’s similar to what Novell did, but secrecy makes it harder to know what really goes on here.
“If you know my distaste for what’s nebulously called “the cloud,” I’m just walking away from it, though the one comment I read in one story comparing this to Nixon going to China is probably the best comparison.”
–Larry Cafiero“I want to give Simon Phipps credit,” Müller wrote, “for distinguishing between the positive and not so positive ramifications of this partnership from an open source point of view. The Open Source Initiative is an organization on whose board Simon Phipps serves with, among others, a Red Hat lawyer.
“Without the Red Hat connection, Simon Phipps would presumably have criticized Red Hat clearly as opposed to just making it sound like Microsoft should do more. He says Microsoft should relinquish its patent rights because that’s how he defines “love” for Linux. However, he doesn’t talk about what Red Hat could have done. Red Hat could have challenged any Microsoft patents that allegedly infringe Linux: in court (declaratory judgment actions) and through reexamination requests. That course of action would have done free and open source software a greater service than a deal.”
In Twitter, Müller goes on and chastises the FSF, SFLC etc. for not criticising Red Hat (because of financial ties). This very much reminds us of the reluctance to criticise systemd, which is mostly Red Hat’s own creation. Red Hat’s clout in the community almost makes it immune to criticism.
“Google-Moto defended Linux against MSFT’s patent infringement allegations in court and won,” Müller wrote in Twitter, whereas “Red Hat decided to benefit from them.”
He said that “GPL enforcers like Harald Welte should sue Red Hat for alleged breach of the GPLv2 patent clause, arguing a covenant not to sue is a license” (we don’t know if there is such a covenant because the “Open Organisation” is still quite secretive about it).
“Android,” he says, “not Red Hat, is the #1 Linux distribution. Google, not Red Hat, is the #1 defender of Linux against Microsoft’s patents.”
As we said at the very start (hours after the Microsoft-Red Hat deal had been announced), Red Hat’s actions are defeatist and dangerous. They come at a time when, at least in the US, software patents rapidly lose their teeth anyway.
“”It’s one thing to be a Linux parasite. It’s another to be a Trojan horse. And the worst option is to be both at the same time.”
–Florian MüllerAccording to Patent Buddy, citing the Bilski Blog, “Sue L Robinson, the Patent Killer Judge, Has Not Held a Single Patent Valid under 101/Alice” and even at the capital of patent trolls, “E. Dist. Of TX has Alice / 101 Invalidity Rate of 34.8%” (that’s pretty high for such a corrupt district).
To quote the Bilski Blog: “There have been 34 district court decisions in the past two months, but the percentage of invalidity decision is holding constant at 70.5%. The number of patent claims invalidated is now over 11,000, but also holding steady at around 71%.
“There have been no new Federal Circuit Section 101 decisions, but we’re going to see a flurry of activity in the next couple of months, as the court has recently heard oral argument in a number of patent eligibility cases, and more are on calendar for November.
“Motions on the pleadings have soared, with 23 in the past two months alone, and the success rate is up a tick from 70.1% to 71.4%.
“PTAB is a bit mixed: the CBM institution rate is down from 86.2% 83.7%, but the final decision rate is still 100%, with 6 decisions in the past two months invalidating the patents in suit.”
Red Hat could make use of what Bilski Blog called
#AliceStorm (referring to the avalanche of software patents) to basically invalidate a lot of Microsoft’s software patents. Instead, Red Hat reached a patent agreement with Microsoft.
Müller’s analysis ends with strong words that we don’t agree with but are worth quoting nonetheless: “It’s one thing to be a Linux parasite. It’s another to be a Trojan horse. And the worst option is to be both at the same time.” █
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Summary: The dominance of Windows wanes even on desktops and laptops as large OEMs are evidently fed up with the latest version of Windows (while Chromebooks outsell Windows laptops)
In 1995 people queued up to BUY Windows 95. 20 years later, with Vista 10, people reject Windows even when it’s a gratis ‘upgrade’ (no buying necessary for existing Windows users), so Microsoft FORCE-FEEDS it, as we have shown here in numerous past articles, e.g. [1, 2, 3].
“Phone-support reps from Dell and HP told us they discourage users from upgrading to Windows 10.”
–Laptop MagAccording to this new (and apparently exclusive) report, “Microsoft may be gung-ho about upgrading your PC to Windows 10, but some of the company’s partners aren’t quite as enthusiastic about the new OS, at least if you ask their tech-support reps. While going undercover for our annual Tech Support Showdown — in which we test each laptop vendor’s phone, social and Web support — we spoke with several agents who either actively discouraged us from upgrading to Windows 10 or failed to understand core features of the new OS.
“Phone-support reps from Dell and HP told us they discourage users from upgrading to Windows 10. An HP rep even tried to help us roll back to Windows 8.1 during one of our support calls. A Lenovo rep had nothing negative to say about Windows 10, but was confused about how Cortana works.”
The word is already spreading and one news site says that “Laptop Mag has reported that tech-support reps are telling their clients to avoid Windows 10, or uninstall the operating system.”
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, at times a Microsoft apologist, is upset about privacy violations in Vista 10. “Microsoft is collecting telemetry from PCs running Windows,” he explained, “but what I’m not OK with is the fact that there’s no off switch. In fact, I can’t understand why Microsoft wants to get into a privacy brawl with Windows 10 users at such a critical time.”
Well, Microsoft is trying to turn users of Windows into products, to be sold in bulk perhaps (their data). ‘Free’ Windows will basically be like a ‘free’ Facebook account. Now is a great time to say goodbye to Microsoft and Windows (before the force-feeding becomes way over the top). █
“Gates had never been involved in any of the architectural design of Windows, nor had he ever been personally involved in writing such large amounts of code. Now, very late in the game, he was throwing out knee-jerk requests based on the competition. And he seemed totally oblivious to the fact that every such feature change radically screwed up Windows’s stability, testing, and ship date.”
–Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul
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