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12.22.13

USPTO to be Partly Headed by Google Executive

Posted in Google, IBM, Patents at 1:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michelle Lee
Photo from Asian Pacific Fund

Summary: The USPTO gets leadership from a company that’s less known for advocacy of software patents and more to do with opposing them

THE USPTO is typically run by people from companies which it serves. Google is not exactly known as a big fan of software patents (not compared to IBM and Microsoft), so this new appointment gives some hope. As FOSS Force put it, “Reuters reported last week that former Google executive Michelle Lee will take over as deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on January 13.”

Google, which probably sells the most Linux devices (or devices that have an operating system from Google), is currently facing patent aggression from Microsoft and Apple, which exploits pro-software patents policies at the USPTO to get patent monopolies on Android implementations. If Michelle Lee is loyal to her previous employer, then she will consider tackling software patents as a whole. David Kappos, who came from IBM (big promoter of software patents) sure defended — even publicly — software patents.

12.10.13

IBM and Microsoft Crushed Patent Reform in the United States, Last Resort is SCOTUS Again

Posted in IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Though the people in black costumes have a poor record on software patents

Supreme Court US, 2009

Summary: Legislation in the US continues to be steered by large companies (or their lobbyists) with heaps of software patents; SCOTUS receives another opportunity to cross out software patents

HAVING destroyed Linux backers like Nokia (Jolla/Neo ⇆ Nokia ⇆ MeeGo/OpenMoko/Sailfish survive in other forms, thankfully enough), Microsoft is now destroying US law, as well.

Based on this new poll, Microsoft is still the most widely loathed company in the eyes of FOSS people. This is not because Microsoft is some scapegoat; Microsoft has done a lot to deserve this, including crimes.

Currently in the US there is some useless reform which mostly serves large corporations. it’s not about people’s interests and the only reason Congress passed it is that large corporations supported it (like they support Congress, financially). As one site put it: “As Congress gets ready to pass a greatly watered down patent reform act – watered down largely due to the lobbying of the two biggest patent trolls, IBM and Microsoft – and the Supreme Court begins to contemplate abolishing software patents, there are a few other news items.”

We already explained the role of IBM and Microsoft.

One FOSS site said: “This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted with a huge majority of 325 to 91, to pass the Innovation Act, which would put significant constraints on patent system abusers.”

No, only a particular subset of them. The U.S. House of Representatives would not have passed this (with considerable majority) if it did not satisfy the desire of large corporations which control Congress through lobbying and bribes.

We should really stop referring to this ‘reform’ as a real sign of progress. The real test is still ahead of us. The software patents-friendly Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is still expected to decide whether APIs can be copyrighted (even worse than patents) and SCOTUS, which almost always rules in favour of large corporations, is now the last resort when it comes to software patents. Despite some optimism, all it shows are decisions going into the wrong courts with all the biased (towards lawyers) judges, no jury in sight. As one pundit put it, “the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal on the Alice vs. CLS Bank case which is yet another case that looks at the patentability of software. The ruling in the Federal Circuit appeals court (CAFC) was one of the biggest judicial messes you’ll ever see. The ruling was 135 pages of different judges all disagreeing with each other. In all of that there is only one single paragraph that the court agreed on — one which rejected the patent as not being patentable subject matter. But as for why they did that? No one could agree. Chief judge Randall Rader has called that decision “the greater failure of my judicial career.””

Rader has repeatedly shown his bias in favour of software patents, inside and outside CAFC. He even gives himself away to patent lawyers’ sites which lobby for software patents.

At the end of the day we are left sort of defending countries outside the US (including Europe) from the invasion of USPTO practices and SCOTUS rulings that permit software patenting. Nokia, which has become Microsoft's biggest troll, mostly uses hardware patents for now, but it shows the threat of big trolls, irrespective of the scope of patents. “EU warns Nokia not to become a “patent troll”,” says this article, but it is “too late” according to iophk, who is Finnish. When Nokia is left to become part of a US company (like Skype being passed to Microsoft) it will become an instrument of abuse inside Europe, embargoing and eavesdropping, respectively.

TechDirt, a US-based site which is highly critical of US policy on copyrights, patents, privacy and other matters, suggests this fix and yet another fix which tackles public funding. To quote: “For many years we’ve been incredibly critical of the famous Bayh-Dole Act, which was passed in 1980 with the idea that it would encourage greater innovation by pushing universities to patent the research they were doing. The theory — based on a rather ignorant view of innovation and research — was that patents would create a market, which, in turn, would enable easier knowledge transfer from academia to industry, leading to a research boom. The actual results have been a near total disaster. What’s actually happened are two very bad things. First, it’s seriously harmed university research, by guaranteeing much less information sharing between researchers. And, it turns out, that information sharing is a big part of how innovation and big scientific breakthroughs occur. Not surprisingly (if you understand basic economics), when you try to lock up each idea with a patent, researchers (and, more importantly, their administrator bosses), suddenly don’t want to share any more. The end result? Lots of important research stifled. What a shame.”

In other words, taxpayers’ money in the US (or growing national debt) goes towards feeding the problems which further increase national debt. How can politicians not see it and why is nothing substantial being done to stop this trend? It is almost a rhetorical question.

Change will come from people, not Congress, and as long as Congress is funded by corporations no change will be permitted, not when it comes to surveillance or even intellectual monopolies, as TTP shows. The latest TTP leak [1,2] shows people power [3] at work, almost stopping business takeover [4] and shameless attack on democracy [5].

To stop the patent maximalists we need some actions like leaks, perhaps even bold protests and lots of angry phonecalls to politicians. Anything else would be defeated by lobbyists and bribes. Politics is business and no level of logic will beat a large-figure cheque.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Wikileaks exposes secret, controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations
  2. Second release of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement documents

    On 13 November 2013 WikiLeaks released the draft text of the crucial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Intellectual Property chapter during the lead-up to a TPP chief negotiators’ meeting in Salt Lake City on 19-24 November 2013. Today, 9 December 2013, WikiLeaks has released two more secret TPP documents that show the state of negotiations as the twelve TPP countries began supposedly final negotiations at a trade ministers’ meeting in Singapore this week.

  3. Members of Congress: Fast Tracking the TPP is a Non-Starter
  4. Anti-poverty groups condemn WTO pact as big business boost
  5. The Secret Trade Agreement About to Complete the Corporate Takeover of Democracy

    The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) enshrine the rights of Corporations under International Law, restricting future governments from overturning the changes through fear of costly legal action. They are the largest trade agreements in history, and yet are not open for review, debate or amendment by national parliaments or the public.

11.25.13

President of the OSI Calls IBM, Microsoft and Other Companies Patent Trolls, Explains the Role of OIN

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 4:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Simon Phipps

Summary: Useful analysis from Simon Phipps, who has turned more vocal in his opposition to software patents and those who promote them

Simon Phipps is a terrific leader. He is not self-censoring and over the years he has thrown some punches at companies which are hostile towards FOSS. He also built (or rebuilt) a relationship with the FSF, which helps reduce if not eliminate wasteful efforts such infighting and competitive advocacy; the OSI and FSF are now jointly submitting formal complaints against patent trolls. Phipps also spoke out repeatedly against patent trolls and patent aggressors — something which many in the FOSS groups don’t bother with. Here in Techrights, due to lack of time and resources, we have not focused so much on patents recently; so, here is something to make up for it.

Newegg is currently in the headlines because it gets sued a lot by trolls and it fights back. 30 infringement claims were made against Newegg in the past 8 years alone, based on Newegg’s claims. To quote: “Newegg was founded “in the ashes of the Internet trough” in 2001, said Cheng. The first 10 employees worked in a warehouse about 20 miles outside Los Angeles. Newegg still owns the facility, called Warehouse 1, though the company’s headquarters now resides in another warehouse in City of Industry.””

Newegg is not a massive giant like IBM, Apple, or Microsoft. It does not hoard patents and it is really suffering from patents, which are originally the game invented and played by the rich and the powerful. Also from Phipps (OSI President) there is this coverage of OIN, which was created by massive multi-nationals, including IBM. Phipps explains: “While many open source advocates remain rightly concerned about the chilling effect of software patents on both innovation and collaboration, open source software has additional defenses against patent aggression that aren’t available to proprietary software. The Open Invention Network (OIN), a novel patent pool fighting for rather than against open source, plays an important role in these defenses.”

But OIN is still not fighting to eliminate software patents. It’s more of an interest group. As Phipps put it, “make sure the software you use is under one of these modern licenses; older licenses like BSD and MIT don’t mention patents. Second, comply with the terms of the license — easy enough for almost all open source licenses, especially compared with the labyrinthine complexity of commercial licenses and EULAs. As long as you comply with the terms of the license, you benefit from the protection it offers. Third, work in the open rather than making last-minute contributions. This is good practice anyway, but it adds protection too.”

So in other words, OSI may be benign to Free/Open Source software players; for everyone else it’s not of much use. Newegg gets nothing out of it.

In another new post from Phipps it is claims that Microsoft and IBM are just “big trolls” — something he has said even back when he worked for Sun. “Rogue software patent trolls are the scourge of the tech industry. But the larger, better-dressed trolls don’t get a pass either.” Phipps writes.

To quote Phipps further: “The dirty secret IBM, Microsoft, and other self-proclaimed advocates of patent reform don’t want you to know is that they are trolls, too. They have large and highly profitable business units using exactly the same tactics as the patent trolls they hate. The reason they hate the trolls is not because of what they do — after all, IBM and Microsoft were the pioneers of treating patent portfolios as profit centers rather than cost centers. No, the reason they hate the trolls is because the trolls attack them with the weapons they themselves perfected.”

We already explained how IBM and Microsoft helped abolish patent reform attempts. This ought to make people who think of IBM as a friend of FOSS reassess their position; it is definitely not the first time IBM does this. IBM’s and Microsoft’s friends at SUSE have this new release (funded in part by Microsoft and IBM), but we should remember to regard it as nothing but an attempt to tax GNU/Linux with patents. We hardly cover anything SUSE-related anymore (we ignore rather than fight), but the fact remains that people should boycott SUSE. It’s about patents.

11.21.13

IBM and Microsoft: The AstroTurfing for Software Patents Continues

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lou Gerstner

Summary: Microsoft is AstroTurfing and IBM has learned no lessons from mistakes like going along with Microsoft

THE OTHER day we showed that a longtime Microsoft AstroTurfing group, ACT, had morphed again and lobbied for software patents under the pretence that it represented small businesses and developers (to whom software patents are really horrific).

Well, two of the biggest software patentors, IBM and Microsoft, are still at it. As TechDirt put it, “Microsoft’s Intense Lobbying Works: Goodlatte To Drop Plan To Allow For Faster Review Of Bad Software Patents” (software patents).

To quote: “Last week, we wrote about Microsoft’s intense, and somewhat dishonest, lobbying to try to remove one aspect of proposed patent reform: the covered business methods program, which would have allowed approved technology patents to get reviewed by the Patent Office much more quickly. It was based on Senator Chuck Schumer’s plan, which enabled the same feature for patents related to financial services. Many have seen that Schumer’s effort was somewhat successful in stopping bad financial services patents, and so it makes sense to do the same thing for software as well. In fact, it makes more sense, since so many patent lawsuits and patent troll shakedowns involve software-related patents.”

AstroTurfing gets called PR now: “Oh, and to the PR guy from Microsoft who sent me a laughable email trying to argue that Microsoft is supportive of patent reform and that my post was unfair because I didn’t mention that: next time stay on topic. Yes, Microsoft supports some forms of patent reform. Just the kind that stops trolls from hitting it directly. What it doesn’t support is the kind of patent reform that would stop Microsoft’s all too common practice of shaking down all sorts of innovators and entrepreneurs with crazy patent licensing demands from its bundle of patents. No, Microsoft isn’t a patent troll, but it is a patent bully with a lot of bad patents, which apparently it’s scared that real innovators might invalidate a lot of those patents under a covered business method review.”

Here is more on what happened [via] and a reminder that they are “pretending that the problem is “bad” patents rather than software patents in and of themselves,” as iophk put it.

“On Wednesday,” says the article, “the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider legislation aimed at reining in abusive patent litigation. But one of the bill’s most important provisions, designed to make it easier to nix low-quality software patents, will be left on the cutting room floor. That provision was the victim of an aggressive lobbying campaign by patent-rich software companies such as IBM and Microsoft.”

It’s just like what happened in NZ. Those two proprietary software giants and software patents hoarders just can’t help harming society. They do this quietly or by proxy to reduce public backlash.

10.24.13

The World According to Forrester’s Clients: Bashing Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenOffice at 9:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest FUD from Forrester and who’s behind it; more on IBM’s Power PR and why it should not be taken at face value

AS we showed in previous years, the marketing company (masquerading as “analyst”) called Forrester is Microsoft’s go-to entity for Free software bashing and GNU/Linux FUD. Microsoft literally pays Forrester to produce reports that belittle GNU/Linux. It’s just a real damn shame that Forrester gets caught doing this and Microsoft’s red-handed actions have them red-faced in the international press.

As one who spent many years working with statistics (common tool in computer vision) I am quite familiar with ways of cheating and Forrester [via [1]] seems to be cheating again [2], in pretty much the same way that IDC cheapted for Microsoft several years ago. If one looks carefully enough at who Forrester has surveyed, it is “a survey of 155 Forrester clients with responsibility for those investments.” Who are those clients and what are their relative roles? It doesn’t say. Forrester is gleefully generalising based on this biased sample (geographically, economically, etc.); classic tactic. ‘Disclosure’ without even names.

ZDNet, the vile tabloid which gave Forrester a blog (conflict of interest), already covers this paid-for propaganda as though it is factual and also “news” [3], claiming (in the headline even) that “Microsoft Office fends off open source OpenOffice and LibreOffice” (no attribution to Forrester even).

“Forrester is gleefully generalising based on this biased sample (geographically, economically, etc.); classic tactic.”Really? Says who? Says Forrester. So is Forrester registering billions of users’ computers and then doing a census? Of course not, see the methodologies. It’s bogus, but Forrester tries to pass it off as “professional”. Well, professional FUD it sure is because it is penetrating the press and is proving effective (FUD well worth the money). Microsoft-friendly press puts that forth as some kind of universal fact, not even scrutinising the methods, the messengers, the funder, the polled population, etc. That’s not real journalism, it’s simply PR relayed via Forrester.

Taking into account what Rob Weir (of IBM) says this week [4], “[t]he OpenOffice brand is strong and growing. Over 30% of consumers surveyed had heard of it. Of those who had heard of it, 67% had given it a try.” He also says that “[o]f those who tried OpenOffice almost 78% continued to use OpenOffice.”

Sounds pretty decent, but the IBM-dominated Apache OpenOffice is not to be trusted either. IBM in general is not worth trusting, definitely not with it comes to “trusted computing”. Regarding IBM Power investments, which have had a Linux-themed PR campaign, some say that it’s partly about the NSA: [via Gary Edwards]

The Other Reason Why IBM Throws A Billion At Linux (With NSA- Designed Backdoor)

[...]

Then another boon for IBM. Experts at the German Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BIS) determined that Windows 8 is dangerous for data security. It allows Microsoft to control the computer remotely through a “special surveillance chip,” the wonderfully named Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and a backdoor in the software – with keys likely accessible to the NSA and possibly other third parties, such as the Chinese. Risks: “Loss of control over the operating system and the hardware” [read…. LEAKED: German Government Warns Key Entities Not To Use Windows 8 – Links The NSA.

Governments and companies overseas paid rapt attention. They’re big customers of our American tech heroes – and they’re having second thoughts, and some are cancelling orders. Tech companies are feeling the heat. A debacle IBM apparently decided not to let go to waste.

This is a story worth exploring in isolation.

What are the true numbers behind OpenOffice and LibreOffice adoption? It’s hard to tell without a census. Free software is being spread vertically and unless it’s improperly designed it also discourages spying that’s needed to count the number of active installations. If Forrester claims to know how OpenOffice and LibreOffice are doing, then it is lying; but on whose behalf? My wife uses OpenOffice at this very moment while I’m typing this. She uses a Live CD, so how can the likes of Forrester count it? They can’t. They can only pretend to be able to.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Office Productivity Software Is No Closer To Becoming A Commodity | Forrester Blogs
  2. Office Productivity Software Is No Closer To Becoming A Commodity
  3. Microsoft Office fends off open source OpenOffice and LibreOffice but cloud tools gain ground

    Nine out of 10 firms simply give staff the installed version of Office, with only six percent offering some or all employees a non-Microsoft alternative, according to a Forrester survey.

  4. The Power of Brand and the Power of Product, Part 3

    The OpenOffice brand is strong and growing. Over 30% of consumers surveyed had heard of it. Of those who had heard of it, 67% had given it a try. That number is changed little. This is an opportunity for Apache OpenOffice marketing volunteers to improve both of these numbers. Of those who tried OpenOffice almost 78% continued to use OpenOffice. This is a modest increase, but there is certainly room to improve here. Put it altogether, and the estimated user share, the percentage of US internet users who use OpenOffice “sometimes” or “regularly” is 16.1%, nearly a 50% improvement year-over-year.

10.18.13

IBM Does Not Deserve That Much Credit for Power Systems Agenda

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, IBM at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A turbine

Via Siemens

Summary: Recalling the real goal of IBM’s Linux-themed marketing and the side effects of this strategy

IBM only embraced the “Linux” brand in order to help sell its own hardware (so expensive that IBM does not publicly advertise the price — one has to call or request a quote online). It is merely an investment [1], an attempt to shift to Power Systems [2] all sorts of GNU/Linux or UNIX customers (many still move away from UNIX, e.g. [3]). When it comes to distributions [4], IBM’s Power limits those choices somewhat. IBM is increasing hardware choices in some sense, but this happens to concurrently reduce some distribution choices. Then again, some are not fans of the meme that “Linux is about choice” [5], so to them, IBM’s selfish agenda is irrelevant here.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Can IBM expect the same ROI from next round of investment in Linux?

    At the most recent LinxuCon, IBM announced it will invest $1B in Linux and related open source technologies over the next five years.

  2. Little Linux Pricing On Big Power Systems Iron

    In case you haven’t noticed, IBM thinks that getting customers to put their Linux workloads onto Power Systems is going to reverse the sales decline for the platform. That decline has more to do with all flavors of Unix falling out of favor compared to Windows and Linux in the data centers of the world with the exception of very large workloads, usually databases, and the relatively high prices that Unix system vendors charge for their iron.

  3. Senwes Unix to Linux migration

    When Senwes, one of the largest grain handling companies in the southern hemisphere, decided to upgrade its main data centre and disaster recovery site, it was looking for flexibility.

  4. Choosing A Linux Flavor For Your Datacenter

    There are hundreds of flavors of Linux, each with their own focus and opinion on how the soup of open source tools should be assembled and maintained into a workable operating system. Choosing one for your desktop can be fun, as you get to try different distributions out without a whole lot of investment. However, when choosing a flavor for the datacenter or cloud hosted environment, you may find yourself stuck with your decision for a long time.

  5. Doing more with less – The Free Software Column

    In a famous posting to fedora-devel-list back in 2008, adam Jackson wrote: “If I could only have one thing this year, it would be to eliminate [the meme that ‘linux is about choice’] from the collective consciousness.”

09.24.13

Degree of Freedom — Not Wealth — Should be Measure of GNU/Linux Success

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman

Summary: Why the platform which Richard Stallman created should be evaluated in terms of its adherence to core values, not market value

IBM received a lot of attention a week ago, owing to a promise it had made before. This is significant because Microsoft is bound to suffer the most [1]. Investment is what they call it [2,3] and it’s hardly news [4]. “Innovation” is another word that gets thrown around [5], but not the F word. Yes, Freedom. To IBM, this word is scary; either it means “cheap” or that ‘radical’ thing Richard Stallman talks about. To companies like IBM, it’s still all about money. GNU/Linux pundit SJVN alludes to Red Hat as such [6] now that there are some financial results which, despite early optimism [7,8,9] and beating of expectations [10], Wall Street is not even so excited about [11-14]. But the problem is this: rather than focus on the genesis of GNU/Linux, which was about freedom and users’ control, here we are talking about billions of dollars — sometimes made by selling proprietary software from IBM, installed on very proprietary hardware. If this is progress for GNU/Linux, it’s merely fiscal progress. Our rights online are still perpetually eroding (e.g. the Internet has become a military-grade surveillance platform), perhaps because companies which bear our flag put profit before principles.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Kill Shots: How IBM/Linux Deals the Latest Blow to Redmond Empire

    Not long ago, Microsoft ruled the computing empire with near-monopolies in PC operating systems, web browsers and productivity applications. The company’s reign, however, was dominated by discord. Competitors complained about Microsoft’s predatory business practices. Users bemoaned the company’s software as a necessary evil.

    Fast forward to 2013. Once revered and feared, Microsoft is a shell of its former self. Far from the software and technology leader it used to be, the company now makes repeated missteps in emerging markets such as cloud computing, mobile, search and social.

  2. IBM to invest $1 billion in Linux

    IBM is investing $1 billion in new Linux and open source technologies for IBM’s Power Systems servers.

  3. IBM’s Linux Investment: A Look at Years of Commitment
  4. IBM Again Pledges $1 Billion to a Linux Effort

    The computer giant on Tuesday plans to pledge that it will spend $1 billion over four or five years on Linux and related open-source technologies for use on its Power line of server systems, which is based on the internally developed chip technology of the same name.

  5. IBM to Showcase its Open Innovation at LinuxCon 2013

    As many of you know, IBM has a long standing commitment to open source innovation and Linux in particular. We have been part of the Linux Foundation and all its exciting events from day one. Of course, IBM will be part of LinuxCon 2013 – again as a Platinum sponsor. A large team of IBMers is heading to New Orleans next week, where we look forward to connecting with both creators and consumers of the open technology that we come together to celebrate. We have a variety of interesting sessions and fun activities planned for you. Here are some of the highlights:

  6. Red Hat: Big bucks, big Linux

    Red Hat’s second quarter was another roaring success no matter by any standard.

  7. Earnings Increase Expected for Red Hat (RHT)

    Wall Street is optimistic about Red Hat , which is slated to report its second quarter results on Monday, September 23, 2013. Analysts project a profit of 22 cents a share, a rise from 20 cents per share a year ago.

  8. Will Red Hat Earnings Keep the Stock Climbing?

    Red Hat has a popular following among both customers and investors, as it has in many ways helped to disrupt the dominant business model in the industry. Early in its history, many were skeptical that the company could actually profit from open-source software, citing the many companies that locked customers into their proprietary platforms in the hopes of compelling repeat business. Yet years later, Red Hat continues to thrive as demand for flexible solutions is greater than ever. Let’s take an early look at what’s been happening with Red Hat over the past quarter and what we’re likely to see in its report.

  9. Red Hat Inc (RHT) Q2 Earnings Preview: Rising Costs A Red Flag
  10. Red Hat’s quarterly results beat Wall Street forecasts

    Shares of Linux software company Red Hat fell as much as 9 percent in after-hours trading Monday even though the company reported quarterly revenue and net income that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations.

  11. RHT Drops 7%: FYQ2 Beats, Billings Light; Year Rev View Light
  12. Linux distributor Red Hat’s billings growth disappoints
  13. Red Hat profit rises on subscriptions; shares slip
  14. Red Hat Declines After Second-Quarter Billings Trail Estimates

09.20.13

IBM: Using GNU/Linux to Sell Hardware, Still Defending and Promoting Software Patents

Posted in IBM at 7:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big Blue marketing binge

Blue abstract

Summary: IBM’s boosting of patents (and infamous policy — plus aggressive lobbying — for software patents) conflicts with its pledge to GNU/Linux

IN a Linux-centric event this month a lot of companies try to portray themselves as the BFF of Linux. Links [1-3] below are the IBM flavour of marketing, throwing bogus numbers around for marketing purposes (like the “R&D” type marketing). They know why they’re doing this. They’re trying to appeal to geeks.

To put things in perspective, IBM has a complex relationship with GNU/Linux because it is also a bit of a Microsoft partner (on the patents and software side). The Open Invention Network, as this new article about “bad software patents” shows, continues to blur the gap between real patent reform (abolishing software patents) and corporate reform which gets painted as “pro-Linux”. Jon Brodkin is saying in the summary of his article that OIN, which gets called “Linux defenders” and is prominently backed by IBM (its founder is from IBM), will:

…attack bad software patents before they’re approved

How about just attacking all software patents, banning their approval? No, IBM would not want that. Along with Microsoft IBM has been lobbying around the world for software patents. So be careful not to confuse IBM with a Linux BFF. IBM is a confusing, giant squid and its commitment to GNU/Linux is only possible when we compartmentalise this company. As a side note, and as pointed out on numerous occasions in July and August, IBM is back to its notorious practices which resemble how it was helping the Nazis “barcode” people for detention and extermination; IBM has been fighting very hard (publicly even) for a giant CIA contract. Yes, that’s the CIA whose heads tell us they want to grab copies of all data and hang on to it forever (joined to the NSA by the hip). There are many other reasons to be cautious and sceptical of IBM; some of these reasons were covered here before.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IBM proffers $1bn for Linux development on Power

    Rising open source tide carries all boats, IBM hopes

  2. IBM and Linux: The next billion dollars
  3. IBM Bets Big Again on Linux: $1B for Linux on Power Systems

    Linux is a thoroughbred in the world of computing and as sure a thing as you can get. With a community of tens of thousands of developers from more than 200 companies supporting the Linux operating system, it is constantly being updated with changes that are shared across a wide variety of industries and with users in diverse environments.

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