Read between the lines then…
Summary: Blockstream says that it comes in peace when it comes to software patents, which triggers speculations about coming Blockchain patent wars
THE PAST few years were baffling as companies equated promises not to sue with “Open Source” or “open-source” (with a dash, to help dodge the trademark perhaps). Examples we covered here included, notably, Tesla and Panasonic.
A couple of days ago we saw that Blockstream had claimed the following: “Today we are excited to announce some important steps we are taking on the patent front, why these defensive steps are necessary, and our hope that others will see merit in our approach and follow our lead.
“The system as it stands is inherently hostile towards GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software, which is what Blockchain is all about.”“Core to the Bitcoin ethos is permissionless innovation. Without it and the level of contribution to which it gave rise Blockstream would not be on the exciting path we find ourselves today. It should not come as a surprise then that permissionless innovation is also core to Blockstream’s ethos. We firmly believe that in order for Bitcoin and related technologies’ potential to be fully realized they must be underpinned by a global platform that is free for any innovator to use without hesitation.”
As Benjamin Henrion rightly asked, “where do you have patents? which numbers?” Another person, a patent attorney who specialises in patent data/statistics, noted that “Blockstream Does Not Have Any Patents Assigned to It.” This is not entirely shocking. Having written about Blockstream in the past (we have very broad scope in our daily links), not once did we mention it in relation to patents. Patently German hypothesised: “Preparation for future #blockchain #patent wars? Blockstream announces defensive patent pledge and patent agreement…” (IBM, a patent bully with software patents, is also heavily involved in the same Linux-centric space)
IP Watch, a decent watchdog of patent matters, wrote the headline “Trust Us, We Won’t Sue You” (it sounds rather humourous or sarcastic). It said that “Blockstream, which developed the blockchain technology and bitcoin, has announced a defensive patent strategy. The crux of it: assurance that users of its technology won’t be sued.”
“It seems like shameless self-promotion or a publicity stunt with a “patents” angle.”The EFF wrote about this as follows: “We’ve written many times about the need for comprehensive patent reform to stop innovation-killing trolls. While we continue to push for reform in Congress, there are a number of steps that companies and inventors can take to keep from contributing to the patent troll problem. These steps include pledges and defensive patent licenses. In recent years, companies like Twitter and Tesla have promised not to use their patents offensively. This week, blockchain startup Blockstream joins them with a robust set of commitments over how it uses software patents.”
Bob Summerwill told me [1, 2]: “I see this as hugely positive. Looks directly analogous to what the GPL does for copyrights. Use system against itself.”
Right, but unless Blockstream actually has some patents (there is no evidence of it so far), what can they really use against the system? The system as it stands is inherently hostile towards GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software, which is what Blockchain is all about.
Blockstream’s message is suggestive of unknown context (like something they know but are not telling us). It seems like shameless self-promotion or a publicity stunt with a “patents” angle. We have become accustomed to it. One company that should definitely do the same thing (but has not) is Red Hat. OIN membership does not guarantee this and if Red Hat got sold to some relatively hostile entity (like Sun to Oracle), there is no guarantee that Red Hat’s patents would not be used to wreak havoc (like a $10 billion lawsuit over a programming language alone, i.e. an order of magnitude worse than SCO versus IBM). █
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The role of Ericsson and the EPO’s PR agency is mentioned as well
Summary: Weaponisation of European companies for the sake of artificial elevation of prices (patent taxes) a growing issue for Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and those behind it are circulating money among themselves not for betterment of products but for the crippling of FOSS contenders
THE long if not endless war waged by Microsoft against GNU/Linux is far from over. This past week, e.g. in our daily links, we gave several examples of the latest assaults by Microsoft (Android antitrust, Linux booting restrictions, lobbying against freedom-respecting policies and more), aside from the patent angle. Microsoft sure knows what it’s doing and if Microsoft succeeds, Linux-powered products will lose their broad appeal due to removed (thanks to legal threats) features and artificially-elevated prices. In this post we shall focus on the patent aspects alone, as we so typically do in order to keep things simpler.
“Microsoft sure knows what it’s doing and if Microsoft succeeds, Linux-powered products will lose their broad appeal due to removed (thanks to legal threats) features and artificially-elevated prices.”Let’s start with the Microsoft-friendly advocacy site, IAM ‘magazine’. IAM’s innuendo-filled focus on China’s patent activity as of late [1, 2] finally culminates in China’s “misuse of competition law for protectionist policies,” as if the West never ever does this (it’s certainly the norm at the USPTO and ITC). IAM wants to make China’s system (patents, courts etc.) look unfair and unjust, as it did the other day too. China is apparently very mean because there’s bias there that’s hardly unique to China. Huawei is the one major Android OEM that Microsoft never managed to blackmail using patents (it reportedly did try over the years) and IAM now says that “Huawei attracts flak from Nokia, while adversary Samsung signs major deal with the Finnish company” (good cop, bad cop). It is obviously a loaded headline and IAM does not tell readers that Nokia’s patent troll, MOSAID (now Conversant), is paying IAM. What a farce of a ‘news’ site. MOSAID (fed with Nokia patents at Microsoft’s instruction) can be viewed as somewhat of an extension of these entities and after Microsoft effectively hijacked Nokia it’s taxing Google/Android (hence Linux) in a royalty stacking fashion. This happens right now not only in the Western world but also in Asia, albeit Huawei has been one of the very few exceptions (the Chinese government, which is connected to it, seems to have protected it). “Here’s Why Nokia Is About To Get More Money Out Of Its Patents” is a new article from Fortune (writing a lot about patents so far this month) which reminds us that Microsoft essentially turned Nokia into a patent aggressor. Put another way, Microsoft made Nokia yet another one of its (many) patent trolls that are openly against Android and Linux. “I booked http://nokiaplanp.com,” wrote Benjamin Henrion, but that was “years ago, I was right.” The P stands for Patents and it happened around the time people were making jokes about Nokia’s plans under Microsoft’s mole, Elop (there were nearly a dozen such plans with a different alphabetic letter for each).
People are kindly asked to remember what Microsoft did to Nokia as revisionism about it is quite routine nowadays. Not only Nokia engages in such behaviour; Ericsson does this too and it goes as far as south Asia, e.g. India. European patent trolls come to India even if there are no software patents in India and virtually no patent trolls either, as we mentioned here before. Well, Micromax was last mentioned here a couple of months ago in relation to patent trolls, primarily Ericsson’s (the equivalent of MOSAID/Conversant to Nokia) and here is a new blog post about it:
Ericsson has been going all out to enforce its Standard Essentials Patents (SEP) against several mobile phone companies, such as Micromax, Intex and Lava, among others, who are primarily selling mobile phones in India. The outcome of these law suits will no doubt play a significant role in defining the future of licensing and enforcement of SEP in India.
The latest in these law suits is an interim judgement by The High Court of Delhi in the matter between TELEFONKTIEBOLAGET LM ERICSSON (Ericsson) and LAVA INTERNATIONAL LTD (Lava). The interim judgement is in favour of Ericsson. More importantly, the judgement deals with various aspects of licensing and enforcement of SEP.
Ericsson keeps 'hiding' behind proxies that are patent trolls in order to shake down practicing companies. It’s hardly even covert like Microsoft’s scheme. Everyone knows that Ericsson is doing this. Standard-essential patents (SEPs) are used here (Nokia has many of these too) and speaking of which, the Kat who is the most pro-software patents (based on years of posting history) wrote about the EPO's PR firm the other day, noting its take on SEP holders. “The final speaker was Mark Bezant from FTI consulting,” she wrote. “He mentioned that he is amongst the FRAND experts in the pending UK case of Unwired Planet v Samsung and Huawei [last reported by IPKat here]. He noted the two key issues in FRAND disputes: (a) the obligations placed on the SEP holders, and (b) the appropriate level of royalty rates. After reminding the audience of some of the methods discussed by Garreth Wong, he mentioned particular issues that arise in practice, such as having to rely on outdated licences or inherently complicated agreements. With respect to the incremental method of calculating royalties, he noted the difficulty in understanding the exact value a single patent has added to a standard. The most common approach, he explained, is looking at established comparable rates and matching them to the situation at hand. Mr Bezant concluded that one must establish a number of factors before assessing whether a licence is FRAND, such as the validity of the patents, the number of declared essential patents, the number of essential patents confirmed by a court, and the qualitative assessment performed by experts on the patents.”
“Remember that there are practically no workarounds for SEPs (by definition) and FRAND is not compatible with FOSS.”It’s rather curious to see Battistelli’s PR firm (at the expense of the EPO) promoting a software patents loophole and patent aggression. Then again, they also promote the UPC and pay IAM, which incidentally gets paid by patent trolls also. It is a hostile world out there and it makes life hard for FOSS proponents. Remember that there are practically no workarounds for SEPs (by definition) and FRAND is not compatible with FOSS. █
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Or: why I hardly cover GNU/Linux news (with original articles) anymore
Summary: In an effort to trip each other up and in order to become the ‘industry standard’, Canonical and Red Hat hurt each other and alienate the media (what’s left of it)
TECHRIGHTS, with the exception of the daily links, does not cover GNU/Linux matters all that often. Not anymore. There’s a reason for this and it’s not just the growing role of software patents in the destruction/elimination of software freedom.
I wouldn’t be the first person to state that the GNU/Linux world can be harsh and brutal. People have free speech, which is absolutely fine (I’m a big opposer of censorship and self-censorship). But what happens when people cross the line of common sense and begin to personally attack writers and pundits? What happens when they do this on behalf of big and wealthy corporations? A lot of the abuse I received from the Mono crowd over the years (unimaginable abuse, comparing me even to a criminal) is ever more fascinating now that those very same people are Microsoft employees.
“A lot of the abuse I received from the Mono crowd over the years (unimaginable abuse, comparing me even to a criminal) is ever more fascinating now that those very same people are Microsoft employees.”I recently encountered or was the eyewitness of truly shameful attacks on Phoronix, both from developers and from sites like Reddit, which effectively blacklisted Phoronix, calling it “blogspam”. Reddit is full of censorship for those who don’t know it yet (our daily links have many articles about its political censorship too), but it’s rather unbelievable if not cynical when they block the whole of Phoronix (recently the subject of renewed debate over there and maybe a reversal/overturning of the ban, for the first time in a very long time).
The point I am trying to get across here is that it’s not easy to cover GNU/Linux news because there’s always someone, somewhere who isn’t happy. Thick skin is required. I hardly cover GNU/Linux matters (compared to past years), though it’s not because I’m offended or put off by personal attacks; it’s because I don’t always feel appreciated for the investigative work which I do. I generally snub any PR person or company spokesperson. I don’t trust them. I try to come up with an independent point of view; so do some journalists like Sam Varghese, who have earned nothing for that other than scorn and abuse.
I am not alone in this. Not many people are willing to speak out about it, perhaps fearing backlash. Consider Canonical with their disgusting blacklists of journalists who are not sucking up to Canonical and swallowing every ounce of Kool-Aid from Canonical, as pointed out not just by yours truly but also other bloggers/journalists (both privately and publicly, with those who do so privately fearing that these blacklists would treat them even more maliciously if they dared to rant).
“I try to come up with an independent point of view; so do some journalists like Sam Varghese, who have earned nothing for that other than scorn and abuse.”Red Hat is not much better by the way. The giant Linux firm is alienating people who often/always write out of passion, not for profit (financial gain) or for glory. Red Hat has a massive PR operation now (publicly and behind the scenes) and it’s not something which is pleasant to see because it reminds me of how Microsoft games the media, often bordering the unethical. When companies hire patent lawyers they tend to bring a lot of their (the latter’s) self-serving anti-etiquette and the same thing happens when companies hire PR people. Mass-mailing people is just one of their professional ‘skills’ and — at risk of saying something politically-incorrect — these tend to be women, preferably attractive women (this gives more impact to their work, along various different aspects beyond the scope of this post).
The other day I noticed a certain flamewar brewing between Red Hat and Canonical. They try to keep it on ‘low fire’, but it’s impossible to ignore the bigger picture.
openSUSE’s Twitter account, for example, wrote: “Of course kudos also go to http://flatpak.org . But canonical at least trying to behave and collaborate deserves respect” (that’s a polite way of saying that Fedora/Red Hat does not collaborate or does not deserve respect). Prior to that openSUSE mentioned Swapnil Bhartiya and said: “Kudos to @Canonical for working with other distributions on a new method of packaging applications #linux #respect https://twitter.com/swapnilbhartiya/status/743555291535519744″
“I soon learned of Fedora employees bashing the media wherever they could because some sites wrote about Canonical’s Snap initiative being an actual competitor to their Flatpak universal binary package.”OpenSUSE is trying not to take sides. They first retweeted Swapnil’s tweet saying “Kudos to Canonical for working with other distributions.” And then they say “Also kudos to http://flatpak.org” (as if someone from Fedora got in touch). In another tweet or a bunch of them we see what indicates that there is strong rivalry between Canonical and Red Hat. It makes us bloggers/journalists feel like collateral damage (or ‘tools’), and unlike these people who push us around, we don’t receive huge salaries for our work. For me, reporting is a purely voluntary activity with no financial gain. I decided to ask around and find out what the heck was going on, having seen how Red Hat strong-armed some distributions into embracing the “Red Hat way” — to the point where Canonical had to abandon some of their own projects.
I soon learned of Fedora employees bashing the media wherever they could because some sites wrote about Canonical’s Snap initiative being an actual competitor to their Flatpak universal binary package.
As a reminder for those who are not paying close enough attention, Flatpak is loosely connected to Systemd, probably Red Hat’s most controversial ‘lock-in’ at the moment. On the other hand, Canonical is trying to push its own ‘standards’, which it can probably do given its dominant position on the desktop (and almost on the server as well).
“Red Hat was apparently so pissed off by the whole thing that one Fedora employee (
i.e. Red Hat) started chastising reporters.”One interesting fact I have learned is that several days ago Canonical basically spoon-fed some sites a so-called ‘scoop’, in order to ‘generate’ some coverage for Snaps. Not so atypical or unexpected from Canonical, but there we go…
Red Hat was apparently so pissed off by the whole thing that one Fedora employee (
i.e. Red Hat) started chastising reporters. That employee was James Hogarth. He baselessly started accusing Softpedia on the
fedora-devel mailing list, claiming that Softpedia said, to quote, “Canonical state that they have been working with Fedora developers…” (this was not said at all). There’s this reply from Michael Catanzaro of the GNOME Project. At that time, he took James Hogarth’s words for granted, assuming that Softpedia claimed something it didn’t. Here is a later response from him:
Just for the record… the Softpedia article doesn’t actually say “Canonical state that they have been working with Fedora developers to make this the universal packaging format.” It does say they’ve been “working for some time with developers from various major GNU/Linux distributions” and that “the Snap package format is working natively on popular GNU/Linux operating systems like [...] Fedora [...],” so it’s clear why there was confusion, but it doesn’t say that they’ve been working with Fedora specifically.
Later on Hogarth cited his colleague, Adam Williamson, with a rather offensive piece (“Canonical propaganda department”), adding “AdamW responds to the Canonical Snappy PR piece.”
“But either way, accusing publications of saying something they did not say is unfair, and it reflects badly on the community as a whole.”Michael Hall from Canonical said on Reddit that they talked with some Fedora people at some point (Michael Hall’s statement here is equally informative). But either way, accusing publications of saying something they did not say is unfair, and it reflects badly on the community as a whole.
I have a personal grudge with Canonical over how they treat media, having witnessed online friends becoming victims of theirs, but I didn’t think Red Hat would stoop down to this level as well. What we are basically witnessing here is a bunch of Red Hat (‘Fedora’) employees attacking the media over Snap/Flatpak war. They want the media to take sides and get upset that the media isn’t telling the story the way they want it to.
This isn’t some kind of epic rant from me, just an observation of something that I noticed in the past. If Softpedia folks and Phoronix (Michael Larabel) can be treated like enemies because they attempt to amicably — without controversy — cover GNU/Linux news, then what hope is there for more outspoken bloggers like myself? It’s sad as it’s not just one case; the above is symptomatic of something that has been going on for years and that’s why I don’t cover Linux issues such as Systemd. It’s almost suicidal. It’s nothing but trouble. Self-censorship ensues.
“They’ll need to learn to respect the media or earn no respect in return.”Why do journalists need to be abused for attempting to cover the news, even when they cover it correctly? There’s also this on LWN (Jimbob0i0 is James Hogarth) where, again, it’s said that Softpedia claimed something it didn’t.
Red Hat needs to respect people’s views, even when these views are not correct (in this particular case these views are correct). They’ll need to learn to respect the media or earn no respect in return. They need to work better with the media or have no media at all, except that which they pay for, e.g. their opensource.com propaganda rag (it spends much of its time just peddling a book that helps pretend Red Hat is “open”, based on the CEO’s words).
The above scenario is corrosive and harmful to the relationship between Free software developers and media. Why are they all still wondering why the GNU/Linux ecosystem is not united? Why the fragmentation? Why some many hundreds of distros? That’s why. █
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Samsung has the power to put an end to a controversial type of patents that are similar to software patents
Slide to unlock: novel or medieval?
Summary: A couple of new developments in Apple’s dispute about the ‘design’ of Samsung’s Android phones, which emulate extremely old concepts in digital form
WE are definitely not friends of Samsung (never have been), but some of its patent cases in recent years (especially against Microsoft and Apple) have had profound implications/impact.
“How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place?”Here is Professor Mark Lemley sharing his “brief for 50 IP professors on design patent damages in the Samsung v. Apple Supreme Court case” (local copy to ensure it endures the test of time). This is one of several such cases that involve Apple and Samsung. Florian Müller wrote that this is about as absurd as Microsoft’s patent bullying “over tiny arrow”. To quote the relevant part: “This is one of the patents Microsoft is presently asserting against Corel. Last summer I reported on Corel drawing first blood by suing Microsoft over a bunch of preview-related patents. A few months later, Microsoft retaliated with the assertion of six utility patents and four design patents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation named one of Microsoft’s design patents-in-suit the “stupid patent of the month” of December 2015 because it merely covered the design of a slider. But that patent isn’t nearly as bad as U.S. Design Patent No. D550,237, which practically just covers a tiny arrow positioned in the lower right corner of a rectangle. If you look at the drawings, particularly this one, note that the dotted lines mark the parts that aren’t claimed. What’s really claimed is just a rectangle with another rectangle inside and that tiny graphical arrow in the bottom right corner.”
“This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist.”How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place? It’s not surprising that USPTO patent quality has declined so badly and so quickly and there are new patent quality studies regarding the USPTO. Will any similar studies look closely at EPO patent quality as well?
According to an Apple advocacy site, patents on design might not reach SCOTUS after all. This is bad news to all who hoped that SCOTUS would put en end to design patents once and for all.”Samsung Electronics welcomes support for overturning U.S. court ruling in Apple case,” said this new article, which along with others said “Justice Department Urges High Court Overturn Award to Apple Over Samsung Smartphones”. This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist. As Müller put it: “Reading all amicus briefs in Samsung v. Apple (design patent damages). Momentum behind call for reasonableness is very impressive.” It looks very likely that if the SCOTUS rules on this, it will help demolish many design patents by extension, in the same way that Alice at SCOTUS put an end to many software patents in the United States. “A federal appeals court awarded about $500 million in damages to Apple for design patent infringement,” recalled one article, demonstrating just how much money can be at stake due to one single patent. “Design patent owners shouldn’t get 100% of the profits when only 1% of the product infringes, EFF tells court,” according to the EFF’s Twitter account and accompanying blog post that says: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the U.S. Supreme Court today to reverse a ruling that required Samsung to pay Apple all the profits it earned from smartphones that infringed three basic design patents owned by the iPhone maker.
“Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits.”“The $399-million damage award against Samsung, upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the Apple v. Samsung patent lawsuit, should be thrown out, EFF told the court in an amicus brief filed today with Public Knowledge and The R Street Institute. Forcing defendants to give up 100% of their profits for infringing designs that may only marginally contribute to a product’s overall look and functionality will encourage frivolous lawsuits and lead to excessive damage awards that will raise prices for consumers and deter innovation.”
Don’t fall for the corporate media’s narrative of Apple as the victim even when software patents are to blame. Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits. We hope that Samsung will take this all the way up to the Supreme Court (more expensive to Samsung but collectively beneficial to all) and eventually win. The net effect might be the end of many design patents in the US. Those patents so often threaten GNU/Linux or Android products, as we have repeatedly shown here over the years. Will Samsung do a public service here? █
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Reputation laundering with sound bites like the ‘new Microsoft’
Summary: A look at the reality behind today’s Microsoft and what proponents of Microsoft (often connected to the company) want us to believe
THE aggressive company which is widely hated/loathed (and deserves this hatred, which is well earned based on its actions) just can’t help doing evil. Those who try hard to convince themselves that Microsoft has changed must not have noticed that the management is virtually the same and the company continues to operate like a death squad, attempting to prematurely destroy anything which resembles potent competition, based on suspicion alone.
“Those who try hard to convince themselves that Microsoft has changed must not have noticed that the management is virtually the same and the company continues to operate like a death squad, attempting to prematurely destroy anything which resembles potent competition, based on suspicion alone.”Several years ago we explained what Microsoft was hoping to achieve when it took over Skype (soon thereafter to enter NSA’s PRISM, right after Microsoft which was the first in the whole programme and had already provided back doors to the NSA for over a decade). Recently we saw Skype support for GNU/Linux (which was handed over to Microsoft) gradually being withdrawn and this new thread in Reddit says that “Microsoft is lobbying the Indian government to link peoples’ National IDs with their Skype calling” (no source to verify this with).
Microsoft has turned Windows into something as privacy-hostile as Skype itself, if not a lot worse. With Skype, for example, Microsoft spies on people’s private conversations and even follows links; in Vista 10 Microsoft has a keylogger, which spies on everything (even password typing) in real time. Vista 10 should be made illegal, as it is clearly malicious software and should be treated as such. Ironically enough, Microsoft is almost trying to make it impossible not to use Vista 10 and despite that, as Vista 10 infection rates are increasing, very few people actually use this ‘free’ (so-called ‘bargain’) piece of malware. As one report put it, “Windows 10: less than 15 per cent of those who can upgrade have bothered” and “The big question is whether Microsoft will hit the 20 per cent mark by the time the free offer is over.”
“Microsoft has turned Windows into something as privacy-hostile as Skype itself, if not a lot worse.”This is a disastrous result given the way Microsoft fooled and bamboozled people into installing it, even using malware tactics. According to some reports, Microsoft has just made it virtually impossible not to use this malware (one must supply an ‘upgrade’ date) and anyone who still thinks there’s a ‘new Microsoft’ must be either very gullible or bribed.
This new article, “Microsoft Meets Open Source,” is based on a Big Lie. It is not hard to see that Microsoft is attacking FOSS (Open Source), but this site is doing too many sponsored ‘articles’ (advertisements) these days, such as this one (see disclosure). We expect a lot of the usual Microsoft apologists to pretend Microsoft is fine and dandy and indeed, looking at the company’s boosters, we see exactly what’s expected. Microsoft Peter, for instance, continues to attack FOSS using Oracle’s lies. As iophk put it, “now Microsoft has spoken” (alluding to Peter, who very often relays the company’s positions) and given Microsoft’s propaganda sites’ effort to ‘Linuxwash’ SQL Server (also openwashing it, referring to Microsoft’s own employees/mouthpieces), we identify the old strategy which is to associate SQL Server (among other such pieces of proprietary software) with FOSS.
“We expect a lot of the usual Microsoft apologists to pretend Microsoft is fine and dandy and indeed, looking at the company’s boosters, we see exactly what’s expected.”Don’t fall for it. Some people do, but others have been falling for it for a number of years. Sam Dean, who works for a media company that has been receiving Microsoft money to embed propaganda within the articles (and got caught), is still promoting Microsoft proprietary software and repeats the Big Lie, starting with: “According to more and more people, Microsoft may have finally, truly warmed up to Linux and open source. CEO Satya Nadella (shown) has been much in the news for his comments on how he “loves Linux” and he has noted that much of the Azure cloud platform is Linux-based.”
That’s nonsense. It’s a media strategy which we explained before. What is the ‘real Microsoft’, which one might call the ‘new Microsoft’? It’s hardly any better than a patent troll. As Richi Jennings put it the other day in his IDG headline, “Xiaomi feeds Microsoft patent troll — pays patent toll” (Jennings quotes various comments about it).
“What is the ‘real Microsoft’, which one might call the ‘new Microsoft’? It’s hardly any better than a patent troll.”This article quotes Mary Jo Foley (a longtime Microsoft mouthpiece) as saying: “Microsoft is both continuing to collect patent royalties from Android [and defending] antitrust charges in China. … Some outlets are saying Xiaomi “bought” these patents [not] licensed them.”
We wrote about this the other day, noting that this came from Microsoft -- not Xiaomi -- and Xiaomi paid Microsoft for patents. Here is what the patent propagandists have said over at IAM: “Whichever way you look at it, the deal between Microsoft and Xiaomi which was announced earlier this week has to go down as one of the most significant of the year so far. There are the terms of the deal itself – Xiaomi gets 1,500 patents from the software giant’s global portfolio, Microsoft gets Office and Skype pre-installed on Xiaomi’s Android phones and tablets and the two sides put in place a cross-licence (which it’s probably safe to say is more valuable to the Chinese company).”
“What kind of drug does one have to take to believe Microsoft is a friend?”IAM, which is funded by patent trolls, has always been so Microsoft-friendly that it makes one wonder. Even its Web site, unusually enough, is Windows-powered (in 2016!) and another new article about Xiaomi says that “Xiaomi absorbs patent fund operator Zhigu as it re-shuffles IP team”. This too mentions the Microsoft extortion: “Yesterday, this blog covered a major deal between Xiaomi and Microsoft that saw the Chinese company acquire 1,500 patents along with a cross-licence. While the financial details are unknown, the fact that Xiaomi is now likely among the top 200 or so holders of US patents has to be seen as a coup for the smartphone startup. It also comes just three months after some big changes to its relatively young IP function.”
The bottom line is, Microsoft spreads malware, it spreads it forcibly, it lies about its proprietary software being “open” and it goes after the “open” rivals (such as Android) using software patents. What kind of drug does one have to take to believe Microsoft is a friend? █
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Publicado en GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 11:17 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Las patentes de software atacan de nuevo
“La creencia no es sustitúto de la aritmética.”
Sumario: Batállas legales que largamente envuelven a Android (y por extensión Linux) son notados en los medios esta semana porque hay una solicitud para su prohibición (interdicto)
Hay una creciénte tendencia en economías que están yendo para abajo porque crecimiénto infinito es imposible y los monopolistas luchan para compensar sus pérdidas y sobreponérse a nuevas fronteras. A las compañías que alguna vez produciéron productos asombrósos no les queda nada pero patentes, así que recurren a chantáje de patentes y tratan de escurrir a otras compañías de sus ganancias. Observen como, en medio de grandes despidos, IBM esta atacándo compañías legítimas usando patentes de software en estos días, ganándose títulos como “el Más Grande Troll de Patentes del Mundo”. IBM se considera una victicma y dijo: “IBM, una reliquia de las firmas tecnológicas del siglo 20, ha recurrido a usurpar la propiedad intelectual de las compañías nacidas este milenio.” ¿Puede alguién confíar IBM con la OIN más? IBM no es un aliado creíble, es un animal encorralado asustado de no emplear un medio millón de personas como solía. ‘Pobrecito’ IBM…
No sólo compañíás que pretendes ser todo por Linux hacen esto. Una de estas compañíás es Creative, de la que hablamos el otro dia. Como un nuevo artículo lo puso, “Creative se levanta de los muertos para tratar de destruir a Android” y para citar:
¿Recuerdas Creative? En la década de 2000, la empresa tuvo su gran periodo, ya que sus reproductores de MP3 Zen fueron los anti-sistema alternativo al iPod. En estos días, la empresa con sede en Singapur en su mayoría hace auriculares para juegos y altavoces de la computadora – nada que ver con los teléfonos inteligentes, en otras palabras. Pero gracias a una denuncia presentada en contra de todos los fabricantes de teléfonos Android grande, Creative ha declarado la guerra a Android en silencio.
La queja presentada contra un quién es quién de los teléfonos inteligentes Android: Samsung, LG, HTC, Blackberry, Sony, ZTE, Lenovo y Motorola. El tema en cuestión es reproductores de música: todos los teléfonos tienen ellos, y Creative tiene una patente que piensa está siendo violada. En concreto, todos los teléfonos son capaces de “reproducción de archivos multimedia almacenados seleccionados por un usuario desde una visualización jerárquica.”
Android Police escribió que “Creative Quiere Prohibir a la Mayoría de Telefonos Android Phones de los EE.UU por una Supuesta Infracción de Patentes” y para citar unos párrafos:
Creative no es un nombre que se oye tan a menudo en la electrónica de consumo en estos días. La firma con sede en Singapur es conocida por la fabricación de productos de audio, incluyendo la línea de Zen de reproductores multimedia. Creative ha presentado una queja ante la Comisión Internacional de Comercio (ITC), alegando que, básicamente, todos los fabricantes de teléfonos Android está infringiendo sus patentes de Zen al mostrar su música. Se quiere que todos sean prohibidos, pero lo que realmente quiere es el dinero.
La queja se dirige a ZTE, Sony, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Motorola, HTC y BlackBerry. La cuestión es cómo todo el mundo ve a las canciones y álbumes en un sistema de menú jerárquico muestra, que dice que es un invento suyo. Se fue detrás de Apple por lo mismo hace una década y, finalmente, consiguió un acuerdo de $ 100 millones. Si el CCI está de acuerdo con Creative, que podría conducir a la prohibición de dispositivos infractores, lo que sería una gran cantidad de teléfonos.
Ahora recuérden a Microsoft, un ¿ socio de Creative? No hay un cese al fuego a su chantaje de patentes como reporto hace poco. La parte de Google en Motorola teléfonos móviles viene a la mente, vean este nuevo reportaje que demuestra que Microsoft todavía esta atacándo a Linux/Android con patentes de software (mientras al mismo tiempo afirma “amar a Linux). Para citar a Reuters (reporte corto): “La patente de Microsoft Corp en camino para mostra que un web brows todavíá esta subiéndo contenido no es inválida, una corte de apelaciónes de los EE.UU dijo este Martes en vista del desafío de Motorola Mobility y Google Inc.
“Un panel de tres jueces de la Corte de Apelaciones de EE.UU. para el Circuito Federal falló a favor de Microsoft y sus abogados Klarquist Sparkman, la afirmación de un fallo de la Patente de EE.UU. Oficina de Marcas y que se negó a cancelar una parte clave de la patente. El panel no se dio por razones de su decisión, que se produjo dos días después de los argumentos orales en el caso.”
Por lo que Microsoft está todavía acosándo a Motorola y Google (es decir, Android) y al mismo tiempo dice que “ama a Linux”. Tiene sentido, ¿verdad? Mandatos no sólo buscados por Creative (recurrir a la ITC como lo hizo Microsoft hace cerca de una década con el fin de bloquear un rival al este de Asia); Es probable que sólo estrategia de crecimiento en Estados Unidos, a juzgar por estos nuevos artículos escritos por bufetes de abogados de Canadá y Brasil [1, 2] para ser incluído en IAM principios de esta semana.
“ITC investigará a Samsung y Sony por reclamos de patentes” dice otro nuevo titular. ¿Quién se beneficia de esto? Para citar:
La Comisión de Comercio Internacional (ITC ) ha dicho que va a iniciar una investigación sobre fabricantes de teléfonos inteligentes como Sony, Samsung, ZTE y LG por la presunta violación de patentes.
En un comunicado en su página web, la ITC dijo que su investigación se centraría en “dispositivos electrónicos portátiles con la capacidad de reproducir archivos multimedia almacenados”.
Lenovo, Motorola, HTC y BlackBerry pueden destinarse también en la investigación.
La investigación de la sección 337 se basa en una denuncia presentada por Creative Technology con sede en Singapur y Creative Labs, con sede en Milpitas, California, en Marzo.
Creative solía ser amable en la década de 1990, pero ahora es notoria por su acoso a Linux (hay conexiones con Microsoft e Intel). Además de esta controvertida medida de Creative nos hemos enterado que el propio troll de patentes de Ericsson que todavía está activo en el Reino Unido y al parecer permanecera en la Corte de Patentes del Reino Unido en lugar de la Corte de Apelación Competitiva , basado en el informe de ayer, que dice: “Para cualquier persona se mantenga al tanto, la disputa de patentes de mamut en Unwired Planet v Huawei y Samsung continúa a lo largo de un trueno a paso. La última decisión del Tribunal de Patentes de la saga abordó la cuestión de si los problemas de competencia – posiblemente la parte más jugosa del caso – podrían ser transferidos a la Competencia Appeal Tribunal (CAT)? A finales de abril, el Sr. Justicia Birss respondió a esta cuestión, la decisión de que las cuestiones deben permanecer en la División de la Cancillería  EWHC 958 (Pat).”
Permanecemos completamente comprometidos con el rastreo meticulóso de estas amenazas al Free software, incluyendo Android, ya que las patentes de software no son compatibles con el Free software como Linux. Cuando estas patentes comienza a sobrepasar las fronteras Europeas nos damos cuenta que la enfermedad se esta esparciéndo en vez de ser contenida (e.g. debido a Alice en los EE.UU). Hay mucho en riesto.
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Summary: An exclusive article about the future of the Linux Desktop (LD) — an article from Jaoquin Grosmann
In the seamless neverending LD discussion we don’t get the facts. Largely because of the faulty statistics presented to us by the different research companies, obviously with their hands tied to that other company so often convicted for criminal acts in every continent.
“But even democracies and the people themselves see the importance of being free of extortion, privacy and freedom of information.”Well, it’s already happening but just not under our nose. It’s happening in the East, in countries like China with astonishing statistics on Ubuntu Kylin, and in Russia, India, Philippines, Indonesia but also in Brazil and many other countries. And the pace will increase since Snowden showed there is no alternative to security. Both for state and business but also for civilian user data that could be used in the future for extortion when this person acquires an important position. So obviously the (forced) transformation can be seen first with the (semi) dictatorship countries, where the state can dictate. But even democracies and the people themselves see the importance of being free of extortion, privacy and freedom of information. In contradiction with those ‘statistics’ the acceleration of the LD market share can be seen almost everywhere.
In their panic to keep market share, that other company is pushing their 10 version for free, and pushing it against our will, even when we try to block that. Although many resist, resistance is futile against that new ‘free’ spyware. They too understand they are in their last moments with that other kernel and have started to incorporate the Linux kernel within it, so there will be an hybrid period where everything works well; our software and theirs. They already ported their cash cow to work with both to provide a smooth transition. A transition period they’ll try to extend until most of their acolytes are over to their data harvesting advertisement platform. After that, there is no use of maintaining that other kernel. That’s when the final transformation to the Linux kernel will take place. The most interesting thing will be that the average user will not even notice they’ll use Linux with a Microsoft Desktop flavor on top of it.
“In their panic to keep market share, that other company is pushing their 10 version for free, and pushing it against our will, even when we try to block that.”However, as the superior marketing machine – not software company – they always were they’ll reign the beginning of the Linux DT period too, even asking money for it because the average PC buyer will pay for that fake guarantee stamp. And don’t be mistaken: they’ll be there kind of like Oracle is. Not really necessary but out of laziness and convenience. Until a couple of recessions further, nobody is willing to pay the Microsoft taxes after which they’ll either be successfully transformed into a real software company or cease to exist and be taken over like a Nokia.
Meanwhile we will see in the very close future two other LD’s take over, or maybe one.
“Fortunately, the freedom within the platform will provide us with so many faces we’ll not recognize the similarity.”ChromeOS with the modified Linux kernel is nearing total market takeover in education in the US, and other parts of the world are following, due to the superior ease of use, security, Apps and most of all, unrivaled maintenance. Next week we’ll hear the merge with Android and that will give an even harder growth push, while on the other hand already lone Android All-in-Ones are arriving. Why should we keep a very close eye on this matter? Because the true reason of the decline of desktop computers and the rise of tablets is not only because of the handy format. As important, it is because of the lack of knowledge needed to use them. No more update, upgrade, registry, anti-virus anti-whatever, firewall, knowledge needed anymore. Just click the symbol and use the App. And that’s the reason the average user chooses tablets instead of that frustrating object on the desk where booting almost always results in question for maintenance not understood by the average user. And now that is not necessary anymore.
In the next couple of years we will see an unprecedented rise and dominance of Linux that will eat almost every other platform away. With a global budget of dozens of billions of Euros yearly, with the Linux tentacles without exception in every platform and every market there is, with a price and freedom unmatched, it is even sad to say there will be nothing else to survive.
Fortunately, the freedom within the platform will provide us with so many faces we’ll not recognize the similarity.
In time, newer, superior, safer kernels will, and already have, arrived. But, that again will take decades to take the world. █
~ Jaoquin Grosmann ~
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Software patents strike again
“Belief is no substitute for arithmetic.”
Summary: Legal battles which primarily involve Android (and by extension Linux) are noted by the media this week because there is a request for bans (injunction)
THERE is a growing trend in downturn economies because infinite growth is impossible and monopolists strive to make up for losses by overstepping new boundaries. Companies that once produced awesome products have nothing left but patents, so they resort to patent shakedowns and try to claw in other companies’ revenue. Watch how, amid massive layoffs, IBM is attacking legitimate companies using software patents these days, earning itself labels like "the World's Biggest Patent Troll". IBM’s victim said: “IBM, a relic of once-great 20th century technology firms, has now resorted to usurping the intellectual property of companies born this millennium.” Can anyone trust IBM with OIN anymore? IBM is not a credible ally, it’s a cornered animal afraid of not employing like half a million people anymore. ‘Poor’ IBM…
Not only companies which pretend to be all about Linux do this. One such company is Creative, which we wrote about the other day. As one new article put it, “Creative rises from the dead to try and destroy Android” and to quote:
Do you remember Creative? In the early 2000s, the company had a brief period of being cool, as its Zen MP3 players were the anti-establishment alternative to the iPod. These days, the Singapore-based company mostly makes gaming headsets and computer speakers — nothing to do with smartphones, in other words. But thanks to a complaint filed against every big Android phone manufacturer, Creative has quietly declared war on Android.
The complaint is filed against a who’s-who of Android smartphones: Samsung, LG, HTC, BlackBerry, Sony, ZTE, Lenovo and Motorola. The issue at hand is music players: all the phones have ’em, and Creative has a patent it thinks is being infringed on. Specifically, all the phones are capable of “playing stored media files selected by a user from a hierarchical display.”
Android Police wrote that “Creative Wants To Ban Most Android Phones From US Over Alleged Patent Infringement” and to quote some paragraphs:
Creative is not a name you hear as often in consumer electronics these days. The Singapore-based firm is known for making audio products, including the Zen line of media players. Creative has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that basically every maker of Android phones is infringing its Zen patents by displaying your music. It wants them all banned, but what it really wants is money.
The complaint targets ZTE, Sony, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Motorola, HTC, and BlackBerry. At issue is how everyone shows you songs and albums in a hierarchical menu system, which Creative says it invented. It went after Apple for the same thing a decade ago and eventually got a $100 million settlement. If the ITC agrees with Creative, it could lead to a ban on infringing devices, which would be a lot of phones.
Now, remember Microsoft, a partner of Creative? There is definitely no patent ceasefire as publicly claimed some months ago. Google’s stake in Motorola’s mobile business in mind, see this new report which shows that Microsoft is still attacking Linux/Android with software patents (while claiming to “love Linux). To quote Reuters (short report): “Microsoft Corp’s patent on a way to show that a web browser is still loading content is not invalid, a U.S. appeals court said on Tuesday in the face of a challenge by Motorola Mobility and Google Inc.
“A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found in favor of Microsoft and its Klarquist Sparkman attorneys, affirming a ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that refused to cancel a key part of the patent. The panel did not give reasons for its decision, which came just two days after oral arguments in the case.”
So Microsoft is still going after Motorola Mobility and Google (i.e. Android) and it says it “loves Linux”. Makes sense, right? Injunctions were sought not only by Creative (resorting to the ITC as Microsoft did nearby a decade ago in order to block an east Asian rival); it’s probably just growing strategy in America, judging by these new articles authored by law firms from Canada and Brazil [1, 2] to be pinned at IAM earlier this week.
“ITC to investigate Samsung and Sony over patent claims” says another new headline. Who benefits from this? To quote:
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has said it will launch an investigation into smartphone makers including Sony, Samsung, ZTE and LG over alleged patent infringement.
In a statement on its website, the ITC said its investigation would centre on “portable electronic devices with the capability of playing stored media files”.
Lenovo, Motorola, HTC and BlackBerry will also be targeted in the investigation.
The section 337 investigation is based on a complaint filed by Singapore-based Creative Technology and Creative Labs, based in Milpitas, California, in March.
Creative used to be OK in the 1990s, but it’s now notorious for its poor treatment of Linux (there are Microsoft and Intel connections). In addition to this controversial move from Creative we have also just learned about Ericsson's own patent troll that is still active in the UK and will apparently stay in the UK Patents Court rather than the Competition Appeal Tribunal, based on yesterday’s report which says: “For anyone keeping tabs, the mammoth patent dispute in Unwired Planet v Huawei & Samsung continues to thunder along at pace. The latest decision from the Patents Court in the saga addressed the question as to whether the antitrust issues – arguably the juiciest part of the case – could be transferred to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT)? At the end of April, Mr Justice Birss answered that question, deciding that the issues should remain in the Chancery Division  EWHC 958 (Pat).”
We remain committed to meticulous tracking of these threats to Free software, including Android, as software patents are inherently not compatible with Free software such as Linux. When such patents start to overstep the European border we just know that this disease keeps spreading rather than contained (e.g. owing to Alice in the US). There is so much at stake. █
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