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06.03.19

Playing the Victim — Show the World That Too Much Freedom Hurts Development

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chapter 3 [PDF]

“Where are we on this Jihad?”

Bill Gates

Summary: What the Halloween documents teach us about Microsoft’s mindset and strategy

With billions of people relying on software every day, letting just anybody write code is like putting small children behind the wheel of a car. Quality software requires quality control, and this is best left to professionals.

Up to a point, if professional developers want to make use of the growing number of people interested in producing rough sketches of functioning software, we could exploit “crowd-sourced” codebases if we are willing to supervise and make certain that nobody hurts themselves with a keyboard. The important thing is that they’re working for us– and on our terms.

Moving towards the world mentioned in the previous chapter will help, where every free software distributor that’s large enough “confesses” inquisition-like, that the software they wrote is actually ours. We still need to demonstrate ownership by moving their codebases onto our own servers. With the acquisition of Github, Microsoft has demonstrated to the press, to developers and to the rest of the world just how much free software they own (or at least control.)

Microsoft Github will bring all software development that much closer to a world where not only is there a computer on every desk, as Bill Gates once put it– but where there is a Microsoft developer sitting at that desk. You didn’t work for them a year ago, but congratulations– you do now.

And it would be great if we could say that every developer is a Microsoft developer, for one because it would mean there is no competition at all. It would be great if when people stopped developing software for the largest and most powerful software company, they stopped developing altogether– because without the largest company with the best developers, how else can we weed out quality issues like the concerns Apple has with dangerous battery-charging software, or network security issues in the workplace?

Without control, there is chaos. Even when a competing developer makes a terrible mistake– it hurts people’s trust in the digital connectivity and surveillance we want to put in every home, car, phone, wristwatch, pacemaker, thermostat, doorbell, front lock, pedometer, camera, speaker, television, refrigerator, dishwasher, power meter, radio, and e-book reader, for starters.

If we want to sell the Internet of Things, we can’t have people thinking that a bunch of amateurs are creating their software– we want them to know that everything is under control.

Over the years, we have had great success getting people to accept subscriptions instead of purchases– the world remembers Steve Ballmer with derision, but if he accomplished one invaluable thing during his time at Microsoft it was the transition from software in boxes to the subscription model. Today with Windows 10, that model is now realized.

A lot of people think that a subscription model is just about charging people over and over again for something they already bought legally. This is definitely one of the nice things about the new way of doing business with software, but there is a more important angle– we basically “own” (at least control) every machine that uses this model. You can’t buy that level of control, you have to fool millions and then billions of customers into trusting you with it.

In some ways, Apple has had greater success with the subscription model than even Microsoft. Leading the way with songs that you had to buy again for every three devices you listened to them on (even if they caved into consumer demand about that later) they still control customers’ copies of films and books. And this is one more reason that we don’t want software to be free and controlled by the user: if the user controls their files and programs, they can also copy media that the film industry and e-book publishers want to control after purchase.

By allying with the media companies and major publishers, we have an additional source of revenue that not only gives us an industry we can first tap into and then gradually become its vendors, we have yet another contemporary reason to control users’ computers after they purchase them with our software.

“This is great,” you say, “but how do we get customers to think of proprietary software this way?”

The answer is that we do it with guilt trips, with lobbying and public-service-like advertising, and (though it’s a subject for a later chapter) by working with schools to indoctrinate students with our pro-monopoly point of view. We make certain that if someone says “Wouldn’t it be nice if all software were free?”– whether they’re in a classroom or an online chat or their own dinner table, that someone is ready to make them feel stupid for even suggesting it– try it with your own family, and see what they say. Chances are, it’s something we told them.

However, if your intention is to lead customers by the nose, then you don’t just want to come of as self-righteous. You want to actually make the people who differ from you look like worse people. And the way to do that is to play the victim.

You’re not “being greedy and only caring about profit”– you’re “struggling to survive as a company in unsure times.” You’re not trying to control the lives of your customers for your own selfish reasons– you’re trying to protect not only a wonderful business model that ensures high-quality software and tools and services for your customers; you’re doing it to protect the customers themselves.

When other people attack your company, you know, they’re really attacking everything good about software (including security.) By trying to stop you from delivering the highest quality software on the market, they are not just ensuring their own suffering; they are ensuring that everyone (the entire market) suffers.

If you are stopped from doing what you do, for whatever reason you think is best, the cost is to the economy, the well-being of millions of people, and the entire industry– not just your company. What they are doing by standing in your way, is being selfish and destructive and greedy. What you are doing by offering the best proprietary software that keeps tabs on your customers– is keeping the world turning. Who would want to interfere with that?

Once you’ve made it clear though, that whatever you need to do for the good of humanity itself is exactly what you’re going to do, and that anybody that disagrees is just trying to stand in your way and destroy your company (the best company there is– that’s the reason why it’s so giant!) Then you can play their little game and say you’re doing it just to show them how it’s supposed to be done–

Just like invading a backwards country and then bringing in construction companies to rebuild when the war is over, after we have declared war on free software and asserted our reasons for taking control back for ourselves– we can make “peace” and be “friends” who work together… if it’s on the terms that we set for them.

After all, what good are friendships if you can’t exploit them?

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“the intrinsic parallelism and free idea exchange in OSS has benefits that are not replicable with our current licensing model and therefore present a long term developer mindshare threat.”

“’De-commoditizing’ protocols means reducing choice, raising prices, and suppressing competition.”

“somebody might spend money on a non-MS – product”

“MS might lose its monopoly position”

“people might actually write software for a non-MS product.“

“Microsoft perceives a product to be a ‘threat’ if it presents itself as any of these”

“Because derivatives of Linux MUST be available through some free avenue, it lowers the long term economic gain for a minority party with a forked Linux tree.”

“What the author is driving at is nothing less than trying to subvert the entire ‘commodity network and server’ infrastructure (featuring TCP/IP, SMTP, HTTP, POP3, IMAP, NFS, and other open standards) into using protocols which, though they might have the same names, have actually been subverted into customer- and market-control devices for Microsoft…”

“The `folding extended functionality’ here is a euphemism for introducing nonstandard extensions (or entire alternative protocols) …even though they’re closed, undocumented or just specified enough to create an illusion of openness… while simultaneously making the writing of third-party symbiotes for Microsoft programs next to impossible.”

“We’ve seen Microsoft play this game before, and they’re very good at it. When it works, Microsoft wins a monopoly lock.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

“One ‘blue sky’ avenue that should be investigated is if there is any way to turn
Linux into an opportunity for Microsoft.”

“A more generalized assessment of how to beat the Open Source Software process which begat Linux is contained in the ‘Open Source Software’ document.”

“Systematically attacking UNIX in general helps attack Linux in particular.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween2.html

“no intellectual property protection means that the deep investments needed by the industry in infrastructure will gravitate to other business models.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“For Microsoft (or at least its present business model) to survive, open source must die. It’s a lot like the Cold War was; peaceful coexistence could be a stable solution for us, but it can never be for them, because they can’t tolerate the corrosive effect on their customer relationships of comparisons with a more open system.”

“Expect Microsoft to ally even more closely with the RIAA and MPAA in making yet another try at hardware-based DRM restrictions — and legislation making them mandatory. The rationale will be to stop piracy and spam, but the real goal will be customer control and a lockout of all unauthorized software.”

“I also expect a serious effort, backed by several billion dollars in bribe money (oops, excuse me, campaign contributions), to get open-source software outlawed on some kind of theory that it aids terrorists.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween11.html

Microsoft’s Handbook: Work With the System, Use OEMs and Your Legal Team

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. [...] they should do a delicate dance”

Joachim Kempin, Microsoft OEM Chief

Summary: Microsoft’s tactics against GNU/Linux have not changed much in two decades, they’re just framed differently

A LOT of people have been led to believe the “new Microsoft” mythology. A public relations success story? How about “Microsoft loves Linux”? How much money has Microsoft spent spreading this particular lie? Microsoft knows that this lie offends and aggravates geeks, but the target audience isn’t geeks but managers who might choose Azure for hosting GNU/Linux (for supposed "legal peace of mind"), managers who might also think that Vista 10 is now “also Linux” because of WeaSeL (WSL). Who wants to wrestle with UEFI ‘secure boot’ anyway? With those words, here comes Chapter 2.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


Chapter 2

Work with the system
Use OEMs and your legal team

The Free Software Movement wants to change all the rules. Don’t forget, it’s companies like yours that made the rules!

By working with hardware manufacturers and lawyers, you can help reinforce and update the rules that keep the world operating in a way that works for you– not a bunch of neck-bearded basement dwellers.

Hardware and firmware keep gaining features. In 2019 we actually need to run firmware updates to keep our CPU chips from being insecure. While monopolies have added unwanted features for their platforms in the past, hardware and firmware make it possible to add unwanted features that the vast majority of free software users won’t be able to simply uninstall and replace.

Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical refers to proprietary firmware such as ACPI as a “Trojan horse” and security risk. The only security risk is to the user– while your company can be the Trojan army.

For more than a decade, Microsoft has enjoyed an extra intimidating step or two– the user having to disable an important-sounding feature called “Secure
Boot” just to install many versions of the free software operating system “Linux.” People are afraid to turn off features that sound as if they add security– won’t that make them less secure? Aha, Gotcha! A gift from the OEMs to the monopolies.

Hardware OEMs are rarely on the side of these software communists. They exist to make money, and assisting the free software crowd with the full specifications needed to write high-quality drivers for every on-board feature would reveal too much about the designs to competing manufacturers. So without “free hardware” (and we know that won’t ever happen) the free software people are stuck reverse-engineering hardware and guessing how to write drivers based on trial-and-error. What the drivers gain in stability and maintenance, they often lose in features and performance.

So for one, you want to always stress that to get the most of your hardware, you need industry software– not cottage or basement software. The free software people have no retort for this, because they know they often can’t get the full specs. Meanwhile, the OEMs just keep making new designs– which often means that free software can’t even support the latest hardware.

When you have a monopoly, you don’t just have to wait and hope that other vendors do your bidding. Not only are you in a position to ask for features that
favor your company and very few others, but you can actually demand them (or work out deals to get your way.)

Most people expect their computer to come with software already installed. One thing Microsoft was able to do for years, was drop their prices for pre-installed copies of their operating system on new desktops and laptops– but only if the manufacturer agreed not to offer any machines with their competitors’ software–such as “Linux.”

In one fell swoop, Microsoft made use of their monopoly power to stop most people from getting a computer with “Linux” pre-installed.

That’s how you stay on top– work with people you know you can rely on to give you an advantage.

It’s worth noting that not all of these manufacturers actually wanted to do business exclusively with Microsoft. Microsoft pushed them to be exclusive, by
forcing them to choose between a higher price and a variety of software options. Because OEMs care about the bottom line (and what good business doesn’t?) They made the smart decision– and simply went along with Microsoft’s wishes.

Together with Intel, Toshiba, HP, Phoenix and even recent black sheep Huawei, Microsoft participated in the establishment of the ACPI power management system. We just explained that with enough features that aren’t fully or properly documented, free software struggles to keep up with hardware specs. By participating in and extending hardware specifications, Microsoft and other vendors have an opportunity to maintain their influence over not only software
development, but also the machines that people will try to put free software on later.

Of course, this won’t stop the free software authors from trying. Like the Whos in Whoville, if you co-opt all their whatsits, the free software crowd will just keep coding. But new standards that take 10 years to properly implement (or even poorly and inconsistently, but gradually implement) will often take years for the free software community to support. This is not good business between the manufacturers and the free software community– but they know which side butters their bread, and not to forget it.

So long as you have relationships with OEMs you can exploit, you have the upper hand any time the free software devs want to run their software on popular consumer hardware. That translates to their reduced marketshare, wasted time for free software developers, and ultimately– a well-guarded software monopoly. The point isn’t to keep them out entirely. It’s to be sure it takes them so long to get in, that by the time they’ve supported the hardware it is already obsolete.

Free software may demand a ride in your car these days, but remember that you’re in the driver’s seat!

OEMs aren’t your sole ally in the fight against free software; you also have lawyers. Lawyers should always come to mind when you’re figuring out how to get away with murder, whether they’re your defensive strategy or your offensive line.

The best-trained lawyers will help you navigate the thin margins between a strategic lawsuit that will come back to bite you, and one that accomplishes your goal: making it too much trouble for a smaller company or developer to continue their efforts to compete with your monopoly.

Unless you are a service-oriented company like Red Hat, leasing the use of your company’s intellectual property is the core of your software business– you need to protect that property to maintain control of your customer base. If some upstart comes along and offers a Solitaire game that works like your own, it doesn’t necessarily matter that the game isn’t part of your core portfolio– the best thing to do (as long as it’s in your legal budget) is blow the competition out of the water.

In the past, companies like Microsoft and Apple have had mixed results using patents to achieve this goal. While pro-piracy efforts such as PTAB (the Patent Trial and Appeal Board) in the United States have closed off this avenue for the most part, and software patents are gradually becoming a losing option for pursing directly (via the courts) in Europe, there are two options still worth exploring and exploiting:

First, we have the patent agreements. Legal action from a large corporation isn’t about legal justice or fairness– it’s about maintaining ground and instilling fear in smaller companies. If you are a smaller company, you can still have the upper hand in these actions if you place yourself under the “protection” of a very large company.

Earlier in the chapter it was mentioned that OEMs don’t always want to do business exclusively with a software company– but they can be pushed into deals they don’t always want to be part of. The intellectual property landscape adds an entire playing field for such deals, because no matter what the arena looks like today, nobody knows for certain what tomorrow holds.

Fear of the future is your best ally in this landscape, because you have (or your enterprise partners have) the best lawyers, and they could sue the competition for just about anything.

So don’t worry too much if the patent landscape is evolving– if one door closes, another will soon open. Since nobody can be sure what the future holds, there is success to be had in patent agreements. Here is how that works:

First, a large group of people create a work that violates your software patents. It doesn’t always matter if your patents would be thrown out as bogus in court, the purpose of them is to get people to settle so they don’t have to fight.

Originally, the way to do that was to threaten to sue over an enormous patent portfolio. But in the first chapter, we said to act like a friend first. By all means sue when appropriate– but when possible, be a friend!

Patent agreements are an olive branch we extend to companies, who simply agree that what they are using is our intellectual property. We don’t threaten to
sue when that’s unlikely to bear fruit– instead we say “Hi, we don’t want to sue you– we just want credit for your use of our property. If you will simply admit that what you’re using is ours, we agree not to fight it.”

What’s great about this is that there’s no fight– these companies (who often didn’t even write the software– it was often written by others, such as the Linux kernel) simply roll over and hand us the verdict we couldn’t get in a courtroom.

They admit that what they wrote is really our property!

And while we can’t achieve this in court or with a C&D, we can achieve this as friends. We can’t stop them from using our IP– because the patent offices that would let us do that are too weak. So what they can’t accomplish, we have to do ourselves, with strategy and diplomacy.

They get to continue development, but something important has changed in the landscape– instead of fighting to prove that something is ours, we have it in
writing– so when we stop bothering with their licenses and terms and co-opt the software in whatever way we choose, how are they going to stop us? We have an agreement! Even the largest Linux-based companies said this is ours! Who’s going to argue then– the little student coders that work for them?

Second, every big software company is getting into hardware. While software patents are dwindling, hardware gives us a new opportunity to exploit the patent landscape as a means of seeking royalties.

In the meantime, we can enjoy the royalties coming in from every USB stick and Android device.

And patents aren’t the only IP we can throw at them, either. A move towards our own Open Source licenses could let us use license terms to go after companies we want to force into other agreements.

No matter what though, the purpose of your legal team isn’t to ensure that other companies are doing the right thing– the purpose of your legal team is to ensure that other companies are doing what you want them to do. They who have the best lawyers, win!

And if somehow the lawyers have nothing else to do– you can always lobby to make new laws, for your legal team to exploit. The future is nothing to fear– but your legal team certainly is.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“The effect of patents and copyright in combatting Linux remains to be investigated.”

“This memorandum also suggests that Linux could be attacked through patent lawsuits.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween2.html

“It plants the idea that any MIS manager so foolish as to use Linux will find his operating system yanked out from under him by a future patent lawsuit — perhaps one initiated by (whisper it) Microsoft itself.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“The risk that Microsoft will go on a patent-lawsuit rampage, designed more to scare potential open-source users than to actually shut down developers, is substantial.”

“Seventy-four percent (74%) of Americans and 82% of Swedes stated that the risk of being sued over Linux patent violations made them feel less favorable towards Linux.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween7.html

“SCO holds no Unix patents; the state and disposition of the Unix copyrights is unclear and presently disputed between SCO and Novell”

“Novell retained the Unix patents, and gave the Unix trademark to somebody else.”

“These sorts of factors complicate the release of every piece of Open Source software I’ve consulted on at HP so far, no matter what division it comes from.”

“if OpenMail is released as Open Source, we will have to first sanitise it: remove software that is connected with non-disclosure agreements that we entered, patents that we licensed, proprietary code that we bought but can’t relicense, and so on… We don’t know how big this sanitisation project is yet, if it’s bad, it could cost Millions.”

“Even relatively small proprietary projects, like the open-source release of Borland’s Inprise database require the codebase to be extensively scrutinized to remove licensed third party intellectual property.”

“We don’t know if there are any patent infringements [in this code] with somebody we don’t know. We don’t want to take the risk of being sued for a patent infringement.”

“Patent infringement is much more difficult to detect than other kinds of intellectual property infringement, because it’s possible to infringe a patent you’ve never heard of: you can never be sure there isn’t some patent somewhere that you’re infringing among the millions of patents granted annually.”

“large software corporations patent everything they can and then cross-license their entire patent portfolio with other companies.”

“SCO has no patents, they don’t own the trademark, copyright won’t serve them and the only contract they have with the Linux community is the General Public License, which SCO is the one violating. So they fall back on trade secrets, which aren’t secret anymore”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween9.html

Microsoft’s Handbook: Know Your Enemies, Act Like a Friend

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s Platform Group Vice President

Summary: Microsoft’s tactics against Free/Libre/Open Source software and other competitors explained, based on its own documents and track record

A reader calling himself Ted MacReilly (we suspect this is a pseudonym) has sent us a preview of his “Handbook” titled, A Handbook for Destroying the Free Software Movement.

Citing modern events and the Halloween documents as inspiration, this quick guide explains how you as a proprietary developer or corporation can systematically reduce the growing Free Software movement to a shadow of its former self.

Techrights will publish this work in serial form, under what appears to be an MIT-like licence.

Previous: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


Chapter 1

Know your enemies
Act like a friend

Great marketing is the difference between a billion-dollar company and a million-dollar company. Even if you have a great product, if people don’t know they want to buy it they might take their money elsewhere.

Like so many things, with marketing you get what you pay for. From hiring the best minds in advertising to saturating the media, a bigger budget means a bigger market for your software.

Marketing isn’t just about highlighting the good points of what you sell– it’s about inventing reasons that people want and need your product, and then convincing people of those reasons.

Of course if those reasons refer to things that are true– such as new features that actually exist, or testimonials from a few satisfied customers– those truths make it that much easier to get people to swallow whatever you made up or “exaggerated” (let’s say “dressed up”) about the product.

It’s just as important to go on the offensive about your competitors, and we will talk about that in other chapters. But a company’s image is an important part of its brand, and you want an overall positive image no matter what. No matter how much you talk about piracy, inferior products from competitors, or how unfair the antitrust laws are, you still want to appear as a confident, competent– strong vendor with a plainly superior product.

Before you go on the offensive and defend your product, you have to really sell it and make it look like a good thing.

And no matter how much you violate customer privacy, forge partnerships to shut out other competitors (especially upstarts) in the market, or do things solely for the benefit of your company at the expense of users– it is absolutely necessary to look like you care about their wants and needs.

Your brand won’t survive if you keep telling people “we spy on you, we remove features you rely on to force you to update the software you’ve grown accustomed to, we work hard and do dirty things to keep the playing field from ever becoming even or allowing a competitor the opportunity to sell you a better product.” You must look like you care. And nobody knows more about fooling people into thinking you care, than your marketing team.

As important as marketing is to keep your customers like a flock of sheep, good public relations are vital to dealing with competitors and the press.

When you fleece them, you want to always have a smile on your face– so they know you are well-intentioned and friendly.

For example, suppose you want to add a feature that tracks users across every computer they use with your software– even if they haven’t created a user account.

This feature will provide you with more data about every customer than ever before. You can then hand that data to your marketing team or even sell it to third parties, who then sell it to advertisers for companies you aren’t competing with. It also provides insight into what features of your products are most valuable to your brand.

Those are three good-business-sense reasons to include this feature (which thanks to good marketing, actually exists in a growing amount of proprietary software) but it does have its downsides– it might violate European privacy laws, or be used by oppressive governments to find and torture dissidents.

People will say these things sooner or later, but the important thing is that your brand and marketing outweigh anything said by critics.

Later we will talk about how to dismiss critics and win the press to your side. But for this chapter, the key lesson is:

Accentuate the Positive!

“Our software has new features which ensure a better experience and help us understand the changing needs of users.”

Even if several people are sharing a laptop, third parties want accurate data on each individual user. This can be spun into the usual lines about how the invasive technology is “new, innovative, unique, helpful, useful”– any good adjective you can think of– find a way to focus on how the probably-unwanted or unneeded features are something the user gains rather than loses by choosing (or remaining stuck with) your product.

Focus on your fans and sycophants in the press first– you can deal with critics later.

Demonstrating this attitude is just as important with other vendors and corporate partners, as well as customers and the press. Always put your best face forward, so this is your brand and image when it’s time to show your “good offense.”

Dealing with everyone this way first leads to trust, and trust leads to opportunities. People like to know they have a good thing, and many of them will stick with you through the hard times, once you’ve lead them through a superficially positive experience.

This is even more likely, if they have made a profit along the way. Many vendors like you, care only about the bottom line. Of course it’s a billion-dollar industry to make it look like something more than that– but that’s the point of this chapter:

If you want to have a billion-dollar company, you have to bullshit like a billion-dollar company.

We are all friends here.

And people who feel like they’re your friends will share more with you than people you treat like a competitor. It is a natural human response to let the guard down and trust people eventually. So come on, everybody– can’t we be friends?

Always remember, when you start to take advantage of your friendships and corporate partners– to do it with a smile, a friendly word, and a focus on the positive. Your smile is contagious, it’s your best asset– your sheep’s clothing. Wear it well.

You look great!

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“Sleazy behavior, covered by utterly brilliant marketing, has been a pattern in Microsoft’s business practices since they were a garage outfit running on subsidies from Bill Gates’s wealthy parents.”

“Bill Gates pretends to defend “innovation”, and if he did I’d love him for it. But there’s very little evidence that Microsoft even knows what the word means.”

“he’s conditioned computer users to expect and even love derivative, shoddily-implemented crap. Millions of people think that it’s right, it’s normal to have an operating system so fragile that it hangs crashes three or four times a week and has to be rebooted every time you change anything deeper than the wallpaper.”

From http://www.catb.org/~esr/not-the-osi/halloween-rant.html

“for Microsoft to win, the customer must lose.

“The great fear at Microsoft is that somebody will come behind them and make products that not only are more reliable, faster, and more secure, but are also easy to use, fun, and make people more productive.”

“Programs built this way look user-friendly at first sight, but turn out to be huge time and energy sinks in the longer term. They can only be sustained by carpet-bomb marketing, the main purpose of which is to delude users into believing that (a) bugs are features, or that (b) all bugs are really the stupid user’s fault, or that (c) all bugs will be abolished if the user bends over for the next upgrade.”

“Perhaps we’re fortunate that `organizational credibility’ looms so large in the Microsoft world-view.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

“Rule One of public relations: when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“when Microsoft brings you flowers, they’re likely to end up decorating your
grave one way or another.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween6.html

“Microsoft should avoid criticizing OSS and Linux directly, continue to develop and aim to eventually win the TCO argument, and focus on delivering positive Shared Source messages…”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween7.html

“Microsoft marketing is thorough and ruthlessly opportunistic. You can bet money that the reason they’re not making these arguments is because they tried them on smaller focus groups, or individually with key customers, and they didn’t fly.”

“Do I even need to point out that most of the factual claims are blatant lies brought to you by the same people who got caught faking video evidence in their Federal antitrust trial?”

“Semantic warfare — struggles over the meanings of words as proxies for political or market positions — is just like other kinds of warfare; you want to fight it on the other guy’s turf, not yours.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween11.html

An Office of Patent Extremists

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Maximum volume of patents so that signal gets lost in the noise

Maximum volume

Summary: With maximal quantity of patents the litigation ‘industry’ hopes to start as many legal battles (or ‘assertions’) as possible, in effect taxing Europe rather than spurring innovation in it

LAST year every weekend was spent writing a great deal about 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice (court cases in particular) and USPTO affairs. This year, seeing that EPO President António Campinos promotes software patents in Europe, we must turn almost all our attention to Europe. Patent maximalism is ruining the continent. Not only patents on mathematics are a symptom; there are also patents on life and nature. It’s just insane. Last night Hanns-Juergen Grosse, partner with D Young & Co, had this post republished by a site of patent maximalists from the US, citing the EPC in relation to double patenting. To quote the gist of it (we covered this subject before):

The approach of the European Patent Office (EPO) to prohibition of double patenting is well established and may, at a first glance, also seem well founded.

Broadly speaking, the prohibition of double patenting is meant to mean that two patents cannot be granted to the same applicant for one invention (in the same jurisdiction). At a closer look, there is a plurality of facets, layers and aspects, producing an exhilarating spectrum of double patenting.

[...]

After the Examining Division decided to refuse European patent application EP 10 718 590.2 in accordance with the applicable Guidelines for Examination at the EPO (Guidelines), G IV, 5.4 under Art. 97(2) EPC in conjunction with Art. 125 EPC, allowing subordinate application of principles of procedural law generally recognised in the contracting states of the EPC, the applicant appealed the decision and auxiliary requested, as occasionally done, that the responsible Board of Appeal (BoA) refers a pivotal question to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA).

The BoA did not, as usually done, discard the idea of referring the question to the EBoA, but also helped to develop the applicant’s question into a two-tier question, and decided at the end of oral proceedings held on 07 February 2019 in appeal case T 318/14 to refer a detailed set of questions to the EBoA.

[...]

For answers to the questions raised in T 318 /14, the EBoA may have to probe the real intentions of the legislators by going back to the archives and interpreting the Traveaux Préparatoires, the draft documents and minutes produced when the EPC was conceived back in the early 1970s.

Well, the EPC is already violated routinely, including against the Boards themselves.

We worry that the EPO nowadays measures everything in terms such as quantity of patents, never quality. It’s distracting from it all by conflating quantity with quality — a contradictory thing to be doing as one cancels the other (assuming a steady set of resources). We also know, based on leaks, that the EPO prioritises large businesses. It’s all about size and quantity. Of course IAM has done a puff piece for the EUIPO and the EPO, based on their joint 'study' (which they sponsored to glorify themselves and portray themselves as small businesses’ friends).

“The bottom line is, today’s EPO and the likes who lobby the Office don’t care about science, they just want lots of litigation, which necessitates and lot of patents, including low-quality (and invalid) ones.”Again on Sunday this was brought up by IAM, summarised with: “A report by the EUIPO and EPO shows that SMEs which file for patents, trademarks and other IP rights are more likely to enjoy high growth and increasing incomes.”

The EPO mentions “SMEs” several times a week; it’s hoping to distract from its betrayal of SMEs. There’s systematic discrimination against them. It’s a serious credibility issue in a continent with so many SMEs. Does the EPO work for Huawei or for European SMEs? Does it protect monopolists or innovation?

Either way, it certainly seems like the EPO became a lost cause when the litigation ‘industry’ took it as hostage, putting in charge nontechnical people who rarely speak to or meet with scientists. It’s like another Watchtroll, a site of patent extremists that lobbies the US and to a lesser extent Europe as well (and today’s EPO gleefully associates with it!). During the weekend (June 1st) Watchtroll published something titled “A Proposal for Reforming the Current UK Patent Law System Post-Brexit” by Oskar Luong, who “is a law student at Heidelberg University, Germany” (his own description). He claims to know that programmers absolutely need patents and lobbies for software patents in another country. Never mind if he never wrote any software. That doesn’t seem to matter to him. He just lobbies for software patents here in the UK (and no, he’s not a programmer!) and speaks of “Post-Brexit” (as if Brexit is a certainty; it isn’t). Typical Watchtroll, amplifier of parasites vandalising industries for legal fees. “The UK legislator should reconsider its current position” he wrote, “especially vis-à-vis computer programs, which are of paramount importance in today’s business world.”

This logic is illogical. Many businesses use software, hence we need patents?

Many people also breathe air, so let’s start patenting air and lawyers will tell us all how much we ‘owe’ them. Right?

The rest speaks of a “technical contribution” or a “technical effect” — the usual nonsense that the EPO uses to bypass if not grossly violate the EPC. The EPO has been trying to do the same thing (to spread software patents everywhere in the world) while British courts keep telling it off.

The bottom line is, today’s EPO and the likes who lobby the Office don’t care about science, they just want lots of litigation, which necessitates and lot of patents, including low-quality (and invalid) ones.

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