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04.16.19

GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OSDL, OSI at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Asset stripping GNU/LinuxAsset stripping the GNU

Summary: A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a ‘soft coup’ whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in ‘the cloud’ (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren’t remotely controlled (and limit what’s run on them, using something like UEFI ‘secure boot’)

THE WEB is a noisy place. Many people have something to say and several people say that Microsoft “bought” the Linux Foundation (LF) 3 years ago. We keep seeing that claim. In many ways, today’s LF and Microsoft are “on the same page,” so to speak (“Microsoft Loves Linux”, WSL and so on).

“Jim Zemlin, who said his job was to pay Torvalds, pays himself and some colleagues more than he pays Torvalds, as the LF’s IRS filings reveal.”Weeks ago we saw Microsoft staff writing for the Open Source Initiative (OSI) after Microsoft had paid the Open Source Initiative a big bunch of money. Things change rapidly; neither the LF nor the OSI said anything at all about reports that Microsoft is still using patents against vendors that ship Linux. The President of the OSI has spoken on the subject (even as recently as two years ago), but that changed after Microsoft joined the OSI. We mentioned this a year and a half ago.

Going back to the LF, what exactly is it doing? Jim Zemlin, who said his job was to pay Torvalds, pays himself and some colleagues more than he pays Torvalds, as the LF’s IRS filings reveal. They might (by now) be paying themselves up to a million dollars each, tax-exempted, per year, in this ‘non-profit’. We think that the LF needs to improve, not be ended/disbanded. It started similarly to OSDL, but money and power appear to have corrupted it. The LF nowadays engages in a lot of political activities; it even brought in top officials from US politics. Its nature is largely political and it favours large corporations. About a year ago — seeing that LF was no ordinary foundation and was hardly about Linux anymore — a sentiment shared among journalists whom I spoke to — I decided to refer to it as “Zemlin PAC”, just like “Vista 10″ or similar wordplays.

“Months ago Torvalds ‘escorted’ himself out, came back weeks later (from that ‘penalty box’) and has said nothing particularly critical/negative since.”I think that at this moment in time the LF can do a lot better to restore trust. There are various timeline-related issues that led to people souring and distrusting LF, including removal of community members from the Board and adding Microsoft to it (because Microsoft paid). Then there’s the CoC controversy. It is formally called Code of Conduct and it applies to events, mailing lists etc. The LF’s site describes rules by which LF can remove (escort) people out of premises. Months ago Torvalds ‘escorted’ himself out, came back weeks later (from that ‘penalty box’) and has said nothing particularly critical/negative since. I was recently told that in FSF/LibrePlanet too someone was threatened with removal. I thus worry that this influence can continue to expand, reprimanding those who resist it using social means or social engineering.

Similarly, those who claimed to be protectors of Linux from patents turn out to be rather useless or even worse than useless since Microsoft joined them. The LOT Network, for instance, is just a patent pool, which claims to be defensive. If you check who’s behind it (foundations and management at present), you soon realise they are pro-software patents. Additionally, as Bruce Perens put it, OIN exists to protect software patents from us, not us from software patents. LOT is similar. Where does the LF stand on the subject? It never talks about it anymore. In the same message Perens called the LF a GPL infringers’ club (Microsoft is a serial GPL violator). Perens remains a key person in the OSI (he’s also OSD author), but nowadays he’s there among Microsoft staff.

“In the same message Perens called the LF a GPL infringers’ club (Microsoft is a serial GPL violator).”Our concerns are generally shared with many of our readers, one of whom wrote to say (all lowercase, formatting adapted a little but message contents preserved), “hey, red hat did get purchased shortly after github (though not by microsoft, they were purchased by ibm.) what is this, the 80s? “linux” is a lie lasting nearly 30 years. the lie is that linus torvalds created it, and there are multiple generations of people who make that mistake. he was given far too much credit — and people even attribute their “freedom” to his work. we will get back to that freedom in a minute. [...] simon phipps used to say that it’s simply a petty insignificant argument, like life of brian’s “peoples front of judea” vs. “judean peoples front.” the insignificant argument is that free software means anything apart from “open source.” that is an extremely disingenuous claim, given what open source has done for 22 years. no, it’s more like deliberately minimising the work and sacrifice from most of the world in world war ii, and giving all the credit to the americans for coming in later and winning it. the icing on the cake is that phipps conveniently ignores the fact that it is actually open source that started that petty argument themselves. (thanks eddie izzard) [...] “linus! where the fuck have you been?” [...] “having breakfast!” [...] “we are like free software, except better.” is a meme that has co-opted free software for more than 20 years. and it isn’t just co-opting, and rewriting history to paint themselves as more important — they take money for it as well! [..]. hating microsoft is “a disease”, according to torvalds. [...] in light of his recent comments that facebook is also “a disease”, (no argument there) one must ask about this blatant double standard– at what point exactly does a technology company go from being a company which the hatred of is ‘a disease’, to a company that is ‘a disease’ itself? how can torvalds tell the difference? because if he were consistent, he would say that “hating facebook is a disease”– but of course, it isn’t. [...] this is from you mentioning it on pirate.party: every time open source makes something free, something less free comes along for the ride. ubuntu tries to make universal packages — which require you to register for their apple-like app store, and which is now heavily promoting microsoft visual studio code, an ide which brings microsoft telemetry onto your “free” operating system. [..]. at worst, they can go back to the courts and present it as evidence that “yes, these developers (all free software developers) are stealing our property, and we wish to force them to stop.”– to end development of gnu and linux. at best, they can weasel out of any requirements to follow the license, which becomes void when issued by people who don’t “own” gnu and linux. and that seems like the most likely future — microsoft eventually not only rebranding linux (as azure) but relicensing it on their own terms, as “we clearly own it.” [...] important exception: and for the organisations that have met us halfway, and called it “gnu/linux” along with us? it would be unfair (or even dishonest) to pull the rug out from under them, and simply call it “gnu” in that context. insomuch as people only call the operating system “linux,” it is reasonable to call it gnu. recommended reading: benkler-complexity-and-humanity | zero-dollar-laptop | eff-statement-on-assange.”

04.14.19

‘Poor’ (Multi-Millionaire) Novell CEO, Who Colluded With Steve Ballmer Against GNU/Linux, is Trying to Censor Techrights

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Ron Hovsepian, Site News, Steve Ballmer at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Attorneys/lawyers for millionaires, muzzling the ‘little people’

Seinberg Law

Summary: Novell’s last CEO, a former IBMer who just like IBM decided to leverage software patents against the competition (threatening loads of companies using "platoons of patent lawyers"), has decided that siccing lawyers at us would be a good idea

A FEW DAYS ago, almost on the very same day an award-winning online friend and journalist was arrested for committing the act of journalism in the UK, this letter[PDF]came out of the blue from unexpected persons. It hasn’t even been a year since I last received ludicrous SLAPP letters and here they go again, hoping to suppress the record and twist history by means of omission. Censors. They think money can buy them anything they want.

“It hasn’t even been a year since I last received ludicrous SLAPP letters and here they go again, hoping to suppress the record and twist history by means of omission.”We have lots to say to refute this letter, but why bother replying to it directly? Just look at this utterly ridiculous and legally-invalid letter. The picture in question, of Mr. Hovsepian, was posted in tandem (next to the original) to ensure people knew it was satirical, but more importantly age does not in any way invalidate the claims made, supported by a lot of media references. He is wrong. What I wrote at the time was correct. Workers were fired. They told me. So he’s basically lying about what he did. This man probably has tens of millions of dollars (salaries and bonuses), yet here he is hiring a law firm to keep pestering publishers (maybe not only me). Here’s the full text from one of his two E-mails (he kept sending it to several accounts):

Fwd: Removal Request re: Ronald Hovsepian

Dear Dr. Schestowitz:

I sent you the following correspondence earlier today at a different email address, and received an automated reply that advised sending it here for quicker response. The earlier message now follows:

I have been trying to reach you since March 7 regarding an article that you wrote about my client, Ronald Hovsepian. The article is now fairly advanced in age, but it does continue to cause difficulties for Mr. Hovsepian. With this being the case, we are requesting its removal at this time.

Please see the original letter (copied in below) that I initially tried to route to your attention via an email address that may not have been ideal for such purpose.

I look forward to your response. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and best wishes for now,

Steven Seinberg


———- Forwarded message ———
From: Steve Seinberg <steve@seinberglaw.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 4:20 PM
Subject: Removal Request re: Ronald Hovsepian

March 7, 2019

VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL

Techrights

Re: Request to Remove Damaging Content

Dear Techrights Editorial Staff:

My firm has been retained to represent Mr. Ronald Hovsepian to address his concerns regarding the confusion and damage to his reputation that have been caused due to the following article remaining available on your website:

http://techrights.org/2010/03/03/ron-hovsepian-and-novl-bid/

As of this writing, nine years have passed since this article was originally published. Mr. Hovsepian left Novell less than a year later. Unfortunately for him, his reputation continues to suffer due to the negative portrayal of who you perceived him to be nearly a decade ago.

The image that grafts the lower half of Steve Ballmer’s face onto Mr. Hovsepian’s head is not especially helpful, but in a more significant objection, my client also maintains that contrary to what your piece reports, no SUSE employees had been terminated at the time the article was posted online.

While Mr. Hovsepian has of course secured subsequent gainful employment, such as his tenure as President and CEO of Intralinks, your article continues to cause him difficulties in the professional arena.

Due to the possibility that potential future business associates, partners, investors, and clients will also see and become influenced by this article, we respectfully request that you remove it from your website.

Please feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss this matter. We look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

/s/ Steven A. Seinberg
Steven A. Seinberg, Esq.
Attorney at Law

The image in question is shown next to the original too (Steve Ballmer next to the Ballmer/Hovsepian crossover). There would no doubt in anyone’s mind that it was doctored for satirical purpose and there’s absolutely no legal basis upon which to request this removal.

“In the above example, from Steven A. Seinberg, what we have is lawyers from another continent trying to gag a site based in Europe. And on what legal basis? Nothing. Nothing at all.”Remember that it was also the French who came up with the utterly ridiculous concept of RtbF (Right to be Forgotten), which is basically saying criminals or even child abusers have a “right” to hide their past, even by forcibly censoring search engines. Will the likes of Battistelli try to leverage similar legal stunts, having already sicced several law firms at me (all based in London)? At the moment CEIPI helps him hide. People like him who leave office and lose immunity, which he once upon a time enjoyed at the European Patent Office (EPO), prefer keeping a lower profile to avert/avoid prosecution.

Let’s also remember that almost a year after António Campinos joined the EPO as President Techrights is still blocked. The EPO has blocked my site for almost five years (it’s still blocked right now). Not for being wrong. Not for being vulgar. But for being correct, for being credible and effective. Censorship in Europe is alive and well and it helps protect crooks from their critics and exposers. In the above example, from Steven A. Seinberg, what we have is lawyers from another continent trying to gag a site based in Europe. And on what legal basis? Nothing. Nothing at all.

03.04.19

With IBM’s Absorption of Red Hat Now Confirmed, at Least by Stockholders, IBM Has Shown No Intent/Plan to Stop Lobbying for Software Patents and Blackmailing With These

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Freedom will be deemphasised unless assurances are given

Red Hat puke

Summary: Perhaps it is a taboo subject, but IBM’s corporate attitude generally threatens the status quo and just because the acquisition isn’t as scary as it could be (Red Hat considered selling to Microsoft) doesn’t mean it is benign

SOMETIMES it feels like GNU/Linux is being assimilated rather than winning the battle. It’s being turned into a proprietary software driver/carrier, e.g. at the "Linux Foundation", and as we’ve just noted, the Open Invention Network (OIN) makes a shotgun wedding of patents and patent trolls with Linux. In a sense, GNU/Linux gradually becomes what its opponents and competitors want it to become. Containers, Snaps, Flatpaks etc. are ramps for proprietary software and systemd greatly limits freedom and compartmentalisation. It gives Red Hat and soon (by extension) IBM a lot of power. Not POWER® but actual power.

“In a sense, GNU/Linux gradually becomes what its opponents and competitors want it to become.”Red Hat has long been the leader in GNU/Linux development and thus policy. Will IBM inherit that position? That might be dangerous and counterproductive. The main issue, to us at least, is IBM’s stance on software patents, putting aside IBM’s love of proprietary software.

There have been many headlines about Blackberry suing Twitter like it did Facebook (even in Europe!), never mind if IBM did the same to Twitter using utterly ridiculous software patents that are valid neither at American nor European courts (no matter what the USPTO and EPO claim because patent maximalists run them both).

“Red Hat’s legal team must pursue legally-binding assurances from IBM that it will quit doing that; otherwise, our flag-bearer might actually be in several ways antithetical to the goals and philosophy we strive for.”We didn’t write about these Blackberry lawsuits last week (or any time lately) because we reduced focus on the US patent system, which is what this Canadian company-turned-troll typically exploits. It recently fed some more trolls.

These lawsuits and trolling bring us back to IBM.

Even after the takeover (now confirmed) IBM had the audacity to promote software patents in Europe. Red Hat’s legal team must pursue legally-binding assurances from IBM that it will quit doing that; otherwise, our flag-bearer might actually be in several ways antithetical to the goals and philosophy we strive for. Do we want GNU and Linux to become just another UNIX?

02.01.19

Stupid Acquisition of the Month (or Year): Red Hat Selling Itself to the World’s Biggest Lobbying Power for Software Patents

Posted in EFF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Patents, Red Hat, Servers at 3:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Latest Talk From IBM’s Manny Schecter Shows That IBM Hasn’t Changed and After the Red Hat Takeover It’ll Continue to Promote Software Patents

Manny Schecter
Photo credit: Esteban Minero

Summary: “Stupid Patent of the Month” is an abstract patent of IBM, a company that is about to take all of Red Hat’s patents while it’s actively bullying lots of companies using software patents and also selling software patents to notorious patent trolls

WHEN the announcement/proclamation of the prospective acquisition of Red Hat was first announced we were cautiously optimistic (it soon turned out that Red Hat had considered selling itself to Microsoft). We were hopeful that IBM would change course, but seeing the latest Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) and patent lawsuits in district courts and the Federal Circuit it seems clear that IBM continues gaming the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), lobbying politicians for software patents and so on. They even recruited the former Director of the Office as a lobbyist (David Kappos). We’re going to have to become more vocal given IBM’s continued lobbying for software patents and ongoing bullying with patents on algorithms, even against small entities like online shops/retailers (as the latest IPRs reveal). They’re extorting legitimate businesses using likely illegitmate patents, knowing the cost of invalidating these patents may be too great for these businesses (they might choose to settle, instead). What is going on at the top (management) of IBM? It’s like they don’t give a damn whether Red Hat is becoming a part of them. What is Red Hat’s reaction? So far silence. I asked a few prominent employees, who prefer not to comment (maybe fear of losing their job). I know some people from Red Hat who follow me online; not even one tried to comment/explain/excuse IBM’s behaviour when it comes to this. It’s all silence.

“IBM’s patent policy is extremely incompatible with Red Hat’s.”IBM has been lobbying for abstract patents even in Europe, where software patents aren’t generally allowed (European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos does not care what the law says, however, as he’s just another Battistelli with extra secrecy).

At the turn of the new year, seeing that the founder of Watchtroll (Gene Quinn) stepped down as chief editor after 2 decades, we said we would not link to Watchtroll anymore (sending it traffic), not even to rebut its torrent of nonsense. Looking at the latest articles, however, we continue to see more nonsense. “Winning Strategies for Getting Past the Five Types of Patent Examiner” is the title of a new post from Watchtroll. They view examiners as enemies who need to be undermined or fooled/manipulated. How revealing. How anti-scientific of them. Another new post from Watchtroll says “Canada Patent Law Changes Are Bad News for Patent Owners”; by that it means Canada does the right thing and more parasitic lawyers would be out of a job and would likely need a career change.

“Unless the Board of IBM flushed them and replaces them with more Red Hat-like mentality, Red Hat will generally be part of the problem, part of the threat to software development and perhaps to GNU/Linux at large.”Gene Quinn of Watchtroll has just made it abundantly clear, once again, that IBM has not changed because in “IBM Calls for an End to the ‘Legal Fiction’ of Current 101 Law” we’re seeing not even a mild difference/deviation from the old agenda. The outline says: “This marks the final installment in my four-part interview with IBM’s Vice President and Assistant General Counsel Mark Ringes and Chief Patent Counsel Manny Schecter. I found our conversation fascinating and want to thank them both again for their time and insight. Below, we conclude with an in-depth discussion on how the U.S. patent system is affecting startups and the state of enforceability following Director Iancu’s Section 101 Guidance.”

So these are the people at the top of IBM. Unless the Board of IBM flushes them down and replaces them with more Red Hat-like mentality, Red Hat will generally be part of the problem, part of the threat to software development and perhaps to GNU/Linux at large.

“Stupid Patent of the Month” has just been published by Joe Mullin, who joined the EFF about a year ago after he had covered patent trolls a great deal in the media (and he did a good job, unlike the loads of stenography from law firms that dominate patent coverage). Some hours ago he published this post:

In the smartphone era, “distracted driving” is a serious, and well-known, problem. Official warnings about poor driving habits are as old as the automobile itself. The New York Times published a Pulitzer-winning series on distracted driving back in 2009.

Increasingly, technological assists are available for those seeking to manage their smartphone’s distractions while in the car. Apple integrated a “do not disturb while driving” mode into iOS 11, and Google has long had similar functionality in its Android Auto app. Multitudes of third-party smartphone apps exists to address the issue. Finally, more than 50 companies are working on what may be the ultimate solution to distracted driving: autonomous vehicles.

Unfortunately, the U.S. patent system creates warped incentives for emerging software fields like road-safety features. Rather than competing in a challenging space, some players are seeking broadly-worded patents, then hope to sit back and extract profits later.

That may be the strategy of the International Business Machine Corp., which has acquired more U.S. patents than any other company for decades now. This week, IBM was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,191,462, describing a “Vehicle electronic receptionist.”

This is far from the first time IBM is shown to have pursued (and received) bogus patents on software. None of this seems to be changing following the takeover of Red Hat. This, in turn, makes us rather concerned about Red Hat’s future direction. IBM’s patent policy is extremely incompatible with Red Hat’s.

01.29.19

The EPO Continues to Grant Software Patents Even Though Many European Patents Are Being Invalidated Already

Posted in Europe, IBM, Patents, Red Hat at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The legal certainty associated with European Patents is rapidly ending

USS EPO

Summary: “Strong patents aligned with a company’s products help secure exclusivity in core markets,” the EPO wrote yesterday. The EPO, however, is no longer a place for strong patents (certainly not anymore) because its patents are of low value, low legal certainty, and work is poorly researched (examiners not given sufficient time to do the work properly); the EPO just lowers the bar and violates the EPC in the process, hoping to replace the courts so as to mask this gross violation

LAST WEEK we gave almost a handful of new examples wherein European Patents, granted by the European Patent Office (EPO), were thrown out by courts, including the highest British court. The new President doesn’t seem to care. To the credit of the EPO’s examiners, some of them also threw out patents after oppositions; but they, like the appeals’ processors (not the same thing), do not enjoy independence from this President and they’re grossly understaffed for these respective tasks because the number of oppositions has soared and the number of appeals reportedly reached about 10,000 (the backlog for a few dozen people to handle while the pile grows quickly).

GenomeWeb has another new reminder that patent quality suffers. Even the EPO itself can admit this:

The European Patent Office has revoked a patent held by Pacific Biosciences, the company’s rival Oxford Nanopore Technologies said today.

Oxford Nanopore had challenged the validity of the patent, EP3045542, titled “Methods for nucleic acid sequencing,” which was granted in 2016.

2016 means under Battistelli at the height of all the scandals.

“To the credit of the EPO’s examiners, some of them also threw out patents after oppositions; but they, like the appeals’ processors (not the same thing), do not enjoy independence from this President and they’re grossly understaffed for these respective tasks because the number of oppositions has soared and the number of appeals reportedly reached about 10,000 (the backlog for a few dozen people to handle while the pile grows quickly).”At the turn of the new year I was personally alarmed to learn just how bad things had become at the EPO. And almost nobody talks about, certainly not the corporate media. I decided to throw aside coverage of American affairs in favour of EPO stories (this is the fourth one so far today). The newly-confirmed buyer of Red Hat, IBM, is pushing for "AI" patents in Europe — the very opposite of what Red Hat did around 2005 when the relevant directive was debated in Parliament. Less than a day ago Patent Docs advertised for the patent extremists at the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), notably backed by IBM (with a dedicated “task force” for software patents), who prop up the Berkheimer lie. Among the bulletpoints there: “Finjan, Inc. v. Juniper Network, Inc. (N.D. Cal.), where the court ordered the section 101 invalidity defense be decided at trial, but the ultimate jury instructions and verdict form did not address Section 101″ (this horrendous patent troll has USPTO-granted patents passed to it by IBM).

“The newly-confirmed buyer of Red Hat, IBM, is pushing for “AI” patents in Europe — the very opposite of what Red Hat did around 2005 when the relevant directive was debated in Parliament.”Also less than a day ago Watchtroll published an interview with “Mark Ringes, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for IBM, and Manny Schecter, Chief Patent Counsel for IBM” — an interview in which they’re denying that patent trolls are a problem (“just noise” is what they say) because IBM itself acts like a patent troll. They now bring that very same agenda to Europe. The same patent maximalists’ site that recently revealed IBM proudly promotes this “AI” agenda in Europe (algorithms as “AI”) has caught the eye of FFII. “It is a computer program,” FFII’s Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, alluding to this text: “Which is a problem for AI patentability because the technology is seen by some as pure mathematical methods and nothing else.”

Henrion had also taken note of some new event [1, 2, 3] about “AI” patents. “Here’s what you need to deliver as inputs for your patent attorney to protect an AI-related invention,” one tweet said, along with Bastian Best “discussing levels of abstraction for patenting AI-related inventions #AMLD2019. He even prepared a 20-page document describing how to write the perfect invention disclosure report.”

“So highly successful European/French software projects — this one with over 3 billion downloads — are at risk due to software patents.”Best is still promoting software patents (in Europe) as he has done for like a decade (even picking a Twitter username to that effect, “swpat”). Another person was “discussing EPO practice wrt AI-related inventions…”

These are all just patents on algorithms — clearly in defiance of the EPC. Courts would not accept these.

“VLC is constantly receiving patent threat letters,” Henrion wrote, “ignoring them for now, and the UPC will change the whole EU situation, French courts won’t have to power to reject EPO software patents anymore…”

So highly successful European/French software projects — this one with over 3 billion downloads — are at risk due to software patents. They’re being threatened in Europe and patent attorneys (like the ones above, boosters of “AI” patents) typically also lobby for the UPC, in an effort to bypass national courts.

As of yesterday, the EPO carries on with the usual, promoting illegal software patents using hype waves like "blockchain" (just software basically). It wrote this: “What does the future of #blockchain and its impact look like?”

“The more software patents the EPO grants, the worse its reputation will get.”Crowell & Moring LLP’s Kristof Roox, Geert Bogaert, Steven Verbeke and Linh Truong have just written about another (albeit similar) trick for legitimising software on computer vision (software and mathematics, geometry), citing the “European Patent Office’s Study on Patent Applications for Self-Driving Vehicles Technologies in Europe”. They all push for patents on algorithms by calling these something else, typically ‘hot’ and ‘trendy’ acronyms that circulate in the media (perpetuating the concept of them being ‘innovative’).

Yet another conference pushing software patents in Europe was advertised at the start of this week, with the press release saying “Patent Protection for Software-Related Inventions in Europe and the USA”, then elaborating with “Examples and approaches for protecting software and computer-related innovations, taking into account the unique requirements in the US and Europe…”

Then came another with the same title. The more software patents the EPO grants, the worse its reputation will get.

01.27.19

Always Remember That Red Hat Also Considered Microsoft as a Buyer

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat pukeBig proprietary software vendors ruin and take over what’s left of Free/libre software (anything that respects freedom, not just surveillance and digital coercion)

Summary: Red Hat’s decision to sell itself to IBM really stinks; the only upside is, the buyer could be worse because Red Hat had hired many managers from Microsoft, its sites are sometimes composed by Microsoft staff and Red Hat routinely promotes .NET (the hallmarks of Microsoft entryism)

THE largest GNU/Linux vendor is about to be sold and passed over to the largest booster of software patents. Red Hat being Red Hat (a key contributor), it it getting a blank cheque on this just because it wasn’t Oracle or Amazon or Microsoft that bought Red Hat (and Red Hat reportedly reached out to Microsoft for a bidding opportunity before closing the deal with IBM). Red Hat cannot ignore IBM’s terrible record on patent policy and bullying. Is Microsoft interested in Canonical? Microsoft already announced losses several times in the recent past due to largely failed (unprofitable) acquisitions. We don’t mean to bash Red Hat over things like systemd because quite frankly many people do so already, but how can Red Hat carry on pretending that IBM isn’t an inherently incompatible suitor from a legal perspective? As recently as days ago a patent maximalist at Law 360 revealed that IBM is still shaking down small online retailers using software patents and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) refuses to get involved after an inter partes review (IPR). Some readers of ours go further* and allege that IBM sabotaged Red Hat just to buy it ‘on the cheap’.

“We are planning to watch Red Hat (or the Red Hat ‘division’ of IBM) a lot more closely in months and years to come.”Earlier this month we showed that IBM was pushing for software patents in the European Patent Office (EPO), not just at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) where it has lobbied hard against 35 U.S.C. § 101, in effect working to undermine SCOTUS (Alice). We wrote about a dozen articles about this one issue alone (IBM’s lobbying that actively harms Free software).

We are planning to watch Red Hat (or the Red Hat ‘division’ of IBM) a lot more closely in months and years to come.
____
* We have been getting messages to that effect, e.g. the one below.

I came across your articles on website techrights.org recently and wanted to add some details to IBM’s activity in the industry.

The New Yorker broke Red Hat’s Linux founder Linus Torvald’s privacy in September 2018, and was the first publication to publish excerpts from his personal business emails: https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/after-years-of-abusive-e-mails-the-creator-of-linux-steps-aside This led to Torvald’s public apology and withdrawal from Linux’s leadership, sending the RHT stock price on a chaotic path. https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/rht

The New Yorker is owned by Conde Nast Publications (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_Publications).

Conde Nast has partnered with IBM and their Watson technology since 2016 https://www.adweek.com/digital/cond-nast-has-started-using-ibms-watson-find-influencers-brands-173243/ ; https://landt.co/2016/09/conde-nast-ibm-watson-unearths-brand-influencers/

The New Yorker could have been acting on behalf of their partner, IBM, to send RHT into crisis PR mode. The New Yorker’s expose could have been deliberate: to drive down stock price in favor of a cheaper IBM takeover.

I thought this may be of interest to you and the staff at techrights.

To which my reply was:

The main issue I have with this assertion is that it was the Torvalds/CoC debacle that caused Red Hat’s decline, which I tracked closely (every day I posted financial news picks about them).

The followup:

Right, The New Yorker was the first to publish Torvalds’ private business emails, and attacked Torvalds in September 2018 causing Red Hat’s decline (https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/after-years-of-abusive-e-mails-the-creator-of-linux-steps-aside). The New Yorker has been in a partnership with IBM over its Watson software since 2016. It seems to me The New Yorker was financially motivated (by its relationship with IBM) to cause Torvalds’ downfall.

And finally:

With respect:

1. Torvalds isn’t close to Red Hat
2. Red Hat’s financial issues predate the above

I’ve asked around fellow techrights folks and they too think it’s improbable IBM played the major role; Microsoft or Intel would be more incentivised to throw a fit.

From Attacking to Stealing

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 2:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO a decade ago (when he said that)

Summary: With GNU running under Windows (WSL) and other EEE-esque tactics we must remain vigilant and well aware of the grand scheme of things; Microsoft is still all about licensing its proprietary software and using it to spy

WITH various factors like the demise of software patents (e.g. 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the USPTO and US courts) and the OIN situation, not to mention IBM’s takeover of Red Hat (IBM strongly opposes § 101 — a position it reaffirmed 3 days ago at Watchtroll), we must consider the growing threat that is proprietary software companies simply devouring Free software. Under the guise of ‘cloud’ they lock down the code and with purchases like that of GitHub they look to assert more control over it and spy on private code (repositories that will be accessible to the NSA over PRISM). In yesterday’s daily links we included over half a dozen articles about Microsoft’s purchase of Citus (it’s still in the news [1, 2]). A decade or so ago we realigned to focus not only on Novell but also Microsoft entryism at large. Things have changed since then because several more large companies (e.g. Amazon) emerged as threats to the freedom of Free software, so we’d rather not return to a focus on Microsoft. In case it’s not obvious, Microsoft is currently just trying to control (or ‘become’) the competition; this assimilation strategy isn’t new and we resisted it even more than a decade ago when the likes of Sam Ramji were assigned the responsibilities. A reader of ours has been researching the prospect/likelihood Microsoft might take over — or at least try to take over — Canonical. We might revisit that in the future. At the moment it looks as though Microsoft, boosted by the GitHub takeover, infiltrated Python (its board/foundation). They basically bought staff in key positions.

01.15.19

IBM, Which Will Soon be Buying Red Hat, is Promoting Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, IBM, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 1:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat puke

Summary: Even days apart/within confirmation of IBM’s takeover of Red Hat IBM makes it clear that it’s very strongly in favour of software patents, not only in the US but also in Europe

IT HAS been bad enough that US courts got targeted by IBM, which actively lobbies to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the impact of Alice (SCOTUS). We wrote many articles about it. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) uses the word “customer” to refer to companies like IBM — the same thing the Battistelli-appointed António Campinos does.

They totally distort what patent offices are and what they exist for.

“IBM is using OIN to stonewall opponents of software patents and pretend that Free software developers can and should coexist with them.”As we last noted earlier this week, at the European Patent Office (EPO) patent quality is nowadays just “speed of granting”. It’s just a patent-granting machine. Examination is being narrowed. Calling the speed of granting “quality” is like judging the quality of fine dining in some restaurants by how quickly the food gets served (by that yardstick, junk food or deep-fried “fast food” is of the best “quality”).

Ever since Campinos came to the EPO they’ve been calling algorithms “AI” every day; it’s how they promote software patents in Europe.

We have meanwhile noticed that UPC and software patents boosters speak to IBM. They’re constructing their typical kind of propaganda — lobbying with puff pieces that neglect opposition (not even hiding the agenda and it’s clear who’s sponsoring it). Once again, under the guise of ‘harmonisation’ (the word UPC fanatics like to throw around) and using words like “clarity” (the same thing they say in relation to the US), Patrick Wingrove of Managing Intellectual Property pushes this piece. Watch how IBM promotes abstract patents under the guise of “AI”; Even in Europe, in violation of the EPC…

Lawyers from IBM and other artificial intelligence-focused businesses have welcomed the EPO’s new guidelines, but say kinks in the examination approach to the technology in Europe and elsewhere need to be ironed out and then harmonised

[...]

Shaw at IBM says her company would welcome clarification of AI patenting laws to eliminate ambiguity, such as those associated with patentable subject matter and inventorship.

“It’s always helpful in any guidance issued by patent offices to include a range of pointers and examples, such as the useful output from the EPO and JPO,” she says. “That is especially true in some areas where case law within AI has not yet built up.

IBM needs to quit doing this. Red Hat is being sold to an enemy of Free software if it carries on pushing in this direction. Someone wrote yesterday (linking to our coverage about Finjan): “In the security space, it did them [IBM] well in the sense of selling patents to outright troll Finjan, which in turn used them to lift $12M out of FireEye’s pockets.”

IBM is using OIN to stonewall opponents of software patents and pretend that Free software developers can and should coexist with them. We suppose that this is the future of Red Hat as well.

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