06.09.19

Corporate Front Groups Like OIN and the Linux Foundation Need to Combat Software Patents If They Really Care About Linux

Posted in EFF, GNU/Linux, Kernel, OIN, Patents at 8:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EFF does more for Linux than groups that drape themselves in Tux logos and even put “Linux” in their name

Alex Moss, EFF

Summary: The absurdity of having groups that claim to defend Linux but in practice defend software patents, if not actively then passively (by refusing to comment on this matter)

A NEW week is about to commence. No more bogus ‘hearings’, which are stacked and stuffed with lobbyists and think tanks like IBM’s David Kappos (his handlers now include Microsoft as well because it’s funding his front group). We don’t expect the law to change, but they had their little show for a few days. The audience of patent extremists loved it! They had even paid for it [1, 2].

Where are the supposed “Linux” groups? They never even submit a single brief! Never! Even ACLU got involved in this patent debate (well outside the ACLU’s scope of operations), not to mention CCIA.

Any comments from the “Linux” groups? No, nothing. Absolutely nada.

OIN is probably in favour of software patents (same side as Microsoft and IBM), so it prefers to just keep its mouth shut. Its leadership now includes patent trolls. It’s just farcical considering their Linux- and Tux-themed initiatives, which in the past they claimed would help Linux (looking for ways to induce Linux coexistence with software patents).

“Any comments from the “Linux” groups? No, nothing.”People need to seriously ask themselves why the Linux Foundation and OIN never do even as much as issue a statement on this subject (takes a lot less effort than preparing briefs or preparing for hearings in Senate). Their silence merely enables if not empowers those who pose the greatest threat to Linux, GNU and Free software in general.

Suffice to say, last week’s hearings were all just a farce; our latest response to it mentioned Benjamin Henrion's (FFII) remarks as well as the EFF's (which posted the above photo in Twitter). Henrion is rightly upset. “EFF and others are just decoration,” he argued, “senators @ChrisCoons and @senthomtillis have no intention to seek for the right barriers to protect software developers from patents. Those hearings are just a joke! No software developer was even invited!”

They just try to give an appearance (or perception) of balance; or to shallowly lend legitimacy to these hearings. We saw similar hearings in past years and these had just about nobody (zero people) with ‘dissenting’ views; obviously nobody did anything technical, it was a consistent, monotonic parade of lawyers/attorneys.

“We saw similar hearings in past years and these had just about nobody (zero people) with ‘dissenting’ views; obviously nobody did anything technical, it was a consistent, monotonic parade of lawyers/attorneys.”As I told Henrion this morning: “Where was the Linux Foundation in these hearings? Did IBM (Manny) keep Zemlin in his little pocket? Software patents are a threat to Linux too.”

“I think that 99% people did not look past the organization’s name and got a rude shock last fall when LT [Linus Torvalds] was temporarily kicked out and then brought back in under reduced authority,” one reader told us about the “Linux” Foundation (another reader of ours calls it “the Linux-destroying Foundation” for about 5 years now).

Henrion is still the President of the FFII, but it’s underfunded and barely active. This means that operations like the “Linux” Foundation, which has an annual income of about $100,000,000, basically suck up all the capital (and voices) to do just about nothing for Linux (in this domain). Even the EFF doesn’t have anywhere near this kind of budget and yet it does something on the matter. Why?

“Why is the OSI quiet? What about OIN and the Linux Foundation? They’re worthless. Bloody worthless as we say here… and worse — they’ve morphed into organisations that arguable undermine people’s freedom.”The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sent some nontechnical people to speak (obviously only in support of the bill), but the supposed ‘defenders’ of Linux, groups like OIN and the Linux Foundation, could not bother in any way whatsoever? Not even a short statement? Check out the Boards and the management, not to mention key members; they don’t actually oppose software patents, not even when momentum to squash these for good is already there. At the moment, software patents face unprecedented legal uncertainty in the United States’ courts, owing to 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice (SCOTUS); by asserting such patents against a suspected (merely accused) party not only are you at risk of losing these patents; in some cases you’re forced to then pay all the legal expenses of the accused. So litigation is rarely a good option with these. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) made it easier to squash litigation and the Federal Circuit very rarely accepts software patents as valid (there were rare exceptions in recent years).

Why is the OSI quiet? What about OIN and the Linux Foundation? They’re worthless. Bloody worthless as we say here… and worse — they’ve morphed into organisations that arguable undermine people’s freedom.

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