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01.30.14

Almost Nothing Changes With Passage of Hardware Businesses to Lenovo

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, IBM, Microsoft at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Shortly after Lenovo was confirmed to have taken IBM’s x86 server business it is also confirmed that Google’s hardware business is to be devoured by Lenovo

A LOT OF PEOPLE may not remember this, but Google explained that it bought part of Motorola because it could not afford to let Microsoft and Apple (which had reportedly put a bid in) get yet more Android-hostile patents after they got most of Novell’s and all of Nortel’s, among others’ (AOL’s and other smaller companies). Patent stacking is an abusive, obvious collusion against software freedom in this case.

Moreover, as we pointed out before (in our many posts about Motorola), Google automatically inherited a patent case that determines the future of Android. Microsoft later sued Google over patents, simply because Motorola was no longer independent (at least the mobility part).

For Google, using Motorola to produce actual phones was not necessarily a good idea; it would alienate OEMs/partners at OHA, notably Samsung (which started to explore other operating systems like Tizen as an insurance policy). By stopping to explore the hardware side of things, Google would appease some partners, and even some regulators (notably the Chinese regulators, who gave Google a hard time at the time). Rather than develop nothing using Motorola’s skills and facilities, Google should pass the development side to real producers. And Google did the right thing!

Google is now offloading much of Motorola and the substance goes to a giant hardware company [1,2,3]. As Muktware put it, “All’s not lost” because “Lenovo has risen from the ashes to become the biggest pc vendor for a few years running, and we hope that they continue the ingenious path that Motorola has embarked on while under Google’s care. In the mean time, we anxiously wait to see what other crazy ideas Dugan and her team will come up with.”

Lenovo also took another chunk of IBM earlier this month. This demonstrates the “China Rising” trend and there’s not much one can do to resist it (many phones these days are made in Taiwan, mainland China, Korea, and so on). In a way, the news about Motorola and Google means not much will change when it comes to patents and litigation. Google may need those patents to create a strong enough deterrence against the cartel which includes CPTN, Rockstar, Nokia (becoming part of Microsoft), etc.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Google Passes Motorola to Lenovo
  2. Google Keeps ‘Vast Majority’ Of Motorola Mobility Patents In Sale To Lenovo
  3. Google to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $3 billion: Confirmed

    In a strange twist, it has just been reported that Google is set to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for a sum of 3 billion dollars. Google purchased Motorola in 2012 for a sum of 12.5 billion. From the surface, it seems like it’s a loss of 9.5 billion if the deal does go through, but there’s more to it. Lenovo has purchased patents and parts of IBM in the past, and have been linked with a bid for Blackberry among others as recently as last year. This news in particular comes as a major shock to us because Motorola was just turning things around with the Moto X, G and their wide variety of customizations.

01.26.14

IBM Shows That Collaborations With the NSA Are a Company’s Death Knell

Posted in Asia, IBM, Servers at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: China refuses to buy from IBM because of its “special relationship” with the NSA and shortly thereafter China takes over IBM’s server business

IBM recently reported a sharp decline in sales, blaming this on a slump/collapse of contracts with China after the NSA leaks. Perhaps realising that trust is impossible to regain now, IBM, which does not exactly support software freedom on its servers [1], is selling its server business — just like the desktop business — to China [2-4]. It shows the ongoing decline of IBM, which added NSA-oriented extensions such as TPM to Linux-centric agenda. IBM claims to be “hardening the Linux server” these days [5], but historically its agenda inside Linux has been even more dubious than Red Hat's or Intel's because it pushed into Linux (the kernel) software patents agenda and artificial limitations, as we have demonstrated here for years. Linux is used extensively for server security [6], but when Linux itself becomes less secure, then we have a real issue in our hands. Air France now turns to HP [7] — not IBM — for its private server farm needs. Knowing that Boeing is the benefactor of industrial espionage (aided by US diplomats and the NSA), Air France would be wise to dodge IBM. HP has back doors too, but suffice to say, this is less obvious than IBM’s publicly-advertised NSA collusion.

“For many years now IBM has been outsourcing its workforce to India and China and now it’s actually selling parts of its business to the East.”Techrights has historically been friendly towards IBM but also highly critical of the company's patent agenda (lobbying for software patents), marketing tactics, and promotion of freedom- and privacy-infringing technology. The impact of the NSA on IBM is not at doubt [8], and it’s far from negligible [9,10]. For many years now IBM has been outsourcing its workforce to India and China and now it’s actually selling parts of its business to the East. Can clever people in the West (perhaps former IBM workers) outdo IBM by providing a freedom-respecting stack and consulting services around GNU/Linux and Free software? The term FUD comes from IBM, as IBM used these tactics to demonise a former employee who had gone independent with IBM expertise.

At this stage, despite deceiving marketing, IBM needs GNU/Linux and Free software more than GNU/Linux and FOSS need IBM. Recently, the President of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) called IBM a patent troll. IBM can carry on openwashing its business with OpenStack [11,12], Hadoop [13] and so on (even OpenOffice.org), but until it stops serving the NSA, the software patents agenda and various other conflicting interests (causes that harm software freedom and GNU/Linux) we are better off nurturing “true” (as in completely) Free software companies.

Going a few months back (as we mentioned at the time), we have reports such as:

IBM found black budget from the military/surveillance industrial complex too intoxicating to refuse. It sure it alluring to many companies and IBM is no exception; in the 1930 IBM famously did business with the Nazis, helping Hitler’s party profile people (before the data was used for imprisonment and genocide).

For those who did not know about the IBM/NSA relationship, here is a quick wakeup call. It’s not news. It was made known even in the NSA’s Web site. IBM boasted about it. To quote the page about TAPO:

What the Trusted Foundries have to offer:

Accreditation of Trusted Suppliers, with the list available at the DMEA website http://www.dmea.osd.mil/trustedic.html. Potential customers should engage directly with the listed suppliers (except IBM) for all services.
Through TAPO, a contractual relationship with IBM to produce leading-edge microelectronics parts in a trusted environment. IBM maintains world-class facilities in both Vermont and New York, providing a broad range of capabilities to the government in support of the Trusted Foundry contract.

Who can use TAPO services?
Any government-sponsored program can use TAPO to access the IBM Trusted Foundry:

DoD Sponsored Programs may qualify for subsidized pricing on specific MPW runs, provided funding is available.
Other government agencies will need to provide full funding for access.
Contractors working on IR&D projects may access the foundry provided they have a government sponsor.

What services are available?
Through industry partnership at IBM, TAPO offers:

Foundry Services including Multi Project Wafer runs, dedicated prototypes, and production in both high- and low-volume models.
Intellectual Property (IP) development, including standard prepurchased IP.
Packaging and test services.
Custom Logic Service: Cu-08, Cu-65HP, Cu-45HP, and Cu-32.

Foundry Services:
TAPO offers several production options in the foundry business area depending on the schedule and the quantity desired. Designs up to the secret level are accepted.

Multi Project Wafer (MPW) Prototyping – MPW prototype runs have multiple designs on a single reticle and are targeted to customers in need of low volume with no production quantities.
Dedicated Prototype is a dedicated single design prototype run that includes the mask build. IBM guarantees a minimum of two wafers will be delivered to the customer.
Production phase produces unlimited chip quantities, following a successful prototype phase.

Custom Logic Services:
TAPO now has a contract in place for IBM’s commercial Custom Logic flow on digital chips. The customer provides a netlist of RTL hand off and IBM will do the physical layout, package, design, and GDSII generation, and provides tested packaged parts. Design submissions are accepted in Cu-08 Cu-65HP, Cu-45HP, and Cu-32. IBM’s Custom Logic methodology is also available for classified designs.

Intellectual Property:
TAPO has bought pre-paid access to certain roadmap IP that it makes available to customers on an as-needed basis. A complete list of available IP can be obtained from TAPO. IP orders can also be placed for existing IBM IP, custom IP, and certain non-IBM IP.

No company should brag about working with above-the-law spies who engage in industrial espionage, lists for assassination, political coups, etc. IBM’s affairs with the NSA are not new; what’s news is public disapproval (even inside the US) of the NSA and its actions.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IBM Stays Committed to the Cloud, But What of OpenStack?

    While there have been questions about IBM’s true commitment to the OpenStack cloud computing platform, the company definitely remains focused on cloud computing. Today IBM announced plans to commit more than $1.2 billion to significantly expand its global cloud footprint. The investment includes a network of cloud centers that clients can apparently leverage, including allowing businesses to run their IT operations in the cloud.

  2. Lenovo Confirms Purchase Of IBM x86 Server Business For £1.4 billion
  3. Lenovo Agrees to Buy IBM Server Business for $2.3 Billion
  4. IBM Sells Server Business to Lenovo for $2.3 Billion
  5. Hardening the Linux server
  6. A10 Networks Debuts Thunder DDoS Hardware

    ACOS is a Linux-based networking operating system.

  7. Air France builds private cloud with HP for Linux server farm

    Air France says it has automated and increased the reliability of its 1,500 Linux servers by deploying a private cloud solution.

    The deployment is based on HP’s Cloud Service Automation (CSA) software to accelerate deployment times for physical and virtual infrastructures.

  8. IBM’s Full Year Revenues Hit by NSA Scandal
  9. IBM Earnings – Don’t Expect Big Blue to Get Out of Its Slump
  10. IBM: At Least 10% Downside To Fair Value
  11. IBM Explains Its Participation on the OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors

    Todd Moore, director, IBM Standards and Partnerships, discusses his participation as a member of the OpenStack board of directors.

  12. IBM Optimizes OpenStack Cloud Performance with Scheduler

    In a nod to the need for more efficient resource management for public and private cloud computing, IBM (IBM) has unveiled a new product for its OpenStack platforms. Called the Platform Resource Scheduler, the resource provides a virtualized programmable interface for automating the allocation of cloud resources.

  13. IBM’s Watson Fails To Compute In A World Of Open-Source Hadoop

    IBM has big plans for Watson, but its proprietary, developer-free approach is under-delivering.

01.10.14

Corporate Press is Burying LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org, States Exclude Them

Posted in IBM, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LibreOffice

Summary: Free/libre office suites LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org are mostly ignored by the corporations-funded media, despite having new major developments such as Web-based versions

OBJECTIVE reporting is the key to fairness and justice. Without it, we are left with incitations, half-truths (censorship by omission), and agenda/indocrination disguised as ‘information’. Interestingly enough, IDG (paid by Microsoft) decided to pretty much ‘vanish’ Free software. LibreOffice or OpenOffice.org get no mention in an article about Microsoft Office alternatives [1]. Is the author dumb, misinformed (e.g. never heard of Free software), or is he driving some kind of Fog Computing agenda? Whatever is the case, we have to counter such deficient ‘reporting’. The consequences of such poorly-executed ‘journalism’ include states where Microsoft is found guilty of evading tax simply excluding non-Microsoft users from doing their taxes, as this new article reveals. Titled “Microsoft and your tax returns”, this article says that “The Excel “macro” feature used in tax forms released by the Income Tax department means that free software — such as OpenOffice, LibreOffice, etc. that otherwise support Microsoft Excel files, not to mention cheaper alternatives from Microsoft itself, like MS Office Starter Edition — cannot be used on those forms.

“In short, any tax payer trying to file income tax online in India has a fairly expensive dependency on Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Windows.”

in Australia and elsewhere Windows may sometimes be required for tax purposes, but not Microsoft Office, which is a lot more expensive. So this is quite a scandal. Muktware, a news site run by quite a few writers from India, shows that there are many Free/libre alternatives to Microsoft Office [2].

There is a very disturbing trend where those who abandon Microsoft Office (which is a good thing in itself) move to other proprietary software with surveillance, for instance the City of Boston, which moves 76,000 city employees to Google Apps [3]. Why not choose or consider Free software, as the City of Largo apparently does [4]? Maybe bad reporting leads people to the wrong alternatives, or in other words to traps. It was the same with IBM’s proprietary traps (Lotus) half a decade or so ago.

Despite getting a cold shoulder from Novell/SUSE, LibreOffice is doing all right with a new board [5,6] and online version (comparable to the above) [7,8]. Apache OpenOffice is still very much alive, as IBM (main steward) claims [9] and there are new releases of LibreOffice coming [10]. Why is the corporate press mostly ignoring that? This may be a rhetorical question.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Moving to Office 365? Dig deep into your options first
  2. Best word processors for GNU/Linux

    Word processing is an important part of work – and not just office work; everyone needs word processors at some point. This is the first article in the series ‘Best Open Source Apps’ and here I will talk about the most popular open source word processors for GNU/Linux: AbiWord, Calligra Words and LibreOffice Writer. I didn’t take OpenOffice Writer because it is not all that different from LibreOffice Writer.

  3. Boston moves 76K city employees to Google Apps

    Every Boston city employee from police officers to public school teachers now have a Google Apps account.

  4. Dave At City of Largo Reports Looking At NX and LibreOffice 4.1

    While the trolls here constantly tell us how essential that other OS is people in the real world keep rolling along comfortably with GNU/Linux, LibreOffice and making unfettered (by M$’s EULA) use of the hardware they own.

  5. A New Board for a New Year
  6. The Document Foundation Elects New Directors
  7. Rollapp’s Online LibreOffice Nearly Ready for Prime Time – But Not Yet
  8. Now you can run LibreOffice in a browser
  9. Latest Stable LibreOffice 4.1.4 Released
  10. Apache OpenOffice 2013 Mailing List Review

    I did a quick study of the 2013 mailing list traffic for the Apache OpenOffice project. I looked at all project mailing lists, including native language lists. I omitted the purely transactional mailing lists, the ones that merely echo code check-ins and bug reports. Altogether 14 mailing lists were included in this study.

01.06.14

Microsoft and IBM Still Lobby for Software Patents in the US

Posted in IBM, Microsoft at 11:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[This article was written in February 2013 and was accidentally never published]

Bulbs

Summary: IBM — not just Microsoft — part of the problem known as software patenting

THIS morning we chastised IBM for its OIN strategy; but IBM plays a role in actively promoting software patents, and not just in the US (IBM promoted software patents in Europe and New Zealand for example). The other day we found this report:

Software patents, facing new scrutiny in the U.S., drive innovation and protect huge investments by developers, representatives of software companies said during a Capitol Hill briefing.

Here is a key part which says: “The U.S. patent system isn’t perfect, but lawmakers and judges shouldn’t solve current controversies by eliminating software patents altogether, executives with Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Covia Labs and Procter & Gamble said during a briefing Thursday before congressional staffers in Washington, D.C.”

The Hill has published “Microsoft, IBM executives defend software patents”, which means that they go against Obama's apparent will.

Executives for IBM and Microsoft defended the value of software patents on Thursday, saying they are key to protecting their companies’ competitive edge and innovation.

“We think software patents or patents that are implemented in software are important and valuable, and necessary to protect the investments that we make in research and development and to preserve our competitive advantage,” Neil Abrams, vice president and assistant general counsel at IBM, told The Hill following a Thursday briefing hosted by BSA |The Software Alliance and National Association of Manufacturers on Capitol Hill about patents. “We think it’s important for the American economy.”

IBM is not helping the FOSS community or even Linux by doing what it does here. IBM was also a funder of the BSA until a few years back. Meanwhile in Seattle (Microsoft’s back yard), Motorola/Google is needing to defend itself from Microsoft’s software patents. Groklaw has details on that:

Matt Rizzolo at The Essential Patent Blog reports that there’s a new order [PDF] from Judge James L. Robart in the Microsoft v. Motorola litigation in Seattle.

For Microsoft it’s predictable to assault FOSS with patents, but why does IBM continue to do this massive disservice to the FOSS community?

01.02.14

OpenStack Follows the Trajectory of GNU/Linux, Joined Into Linux Protection Programme

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, OIN, Patents at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: OpenStack grows mature enough to be bundled into the OIN’s ‘portfolio’ of protected (from patent litigation) projects

IT IS ALWAYS encouraging and very much rewarding to see the impact of Free software expanding to the higher layers/levels in the stack. OpenStack, an Apache-licensed project which may as well be called FreedomStack (but not “OpenCloud”), has just been added to OIN’s coverage, protecting it from the likes of SCO now that new trolls (Microsoft- and Apple-backed) arrive at the scene [1].

OIN has roots at IBM, which still promotes mainframes [2] and puts GNU/Linux in them [3], essentially to be managed by a proprietary hypervisor/platform (proprietary like UNIX/AIX [4]).

IBM is a big backer of OpenStack [5], but it’s not alone; almost all the large OEMs are embracing OpenStack (very recent examples in [6-15]), even Oracle [16-18]. Foes of OpenStack are Microsoft-funded groups like Gartner, who keep saying about OpenStack [19] what they used to say about GNU/Linux (Gartner was proven wrong, as usual).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Is Rockstar Android’s SCO?

    Am I the only one who’s been having a bit of SCO déjà vu when it comes to Rockstar’s suit against Google and a bevy of Android handset makers?

    You remember SCO, don’t you? They’re the company, once a major Linux player with the Caldera distro, that bought the rights to Unix then turned around and sued IBM for $1 billion, claiming that Big Blue had been copying Unix code into Linux. They’re also the company that sued two of their former clients, AutoZone and Daimler Chrysler, for moving to Linux. Trouble was, they had nothing, not even the copyrights to the code they claimed had been infringed.

  2. The Big Iron Crunch
  3. GM of CA Technologies: 3 mainframes replaced 100′s of Linux blades
  4. eWEEK 30: Unix Proves Staying Power as Enterprise Computing Platform

    eWEEK 30: Unix remains a major server platform in enterprises and on the Internet three decades after PC Week started covering the computer industry.

  5. IBM, Mirantis Launch OpenStack Benchmarking Tool
  6. What’s Next for OpenStack Open Source Cloud Computing
  7. OpenStack implementation issues could be a business opportunity
  8. Dreamhost Aims to Accelerate OpenStack Cloud Adoption
  9. Red Hat snuggles up to Dell with ‘enterprise grade’ OpenStack offer
  10. Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4.0 is here

    Red Hat claims that its “enterprise-ready solution combines the stability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with the innovation inherent in Red Hat OpenStack technologies to deliver a scalable and secure foundation for building an open private or public cloud.”

  11. Dreamhost Aims to Accelerate OpenStack Cloud Adoption

    Dreamhost has emerged in recent years to become one of the world’s most popular shared hosting providers. The company is now expanding its lineup with new cloud compute and storage services, leveraging the open-source OpenStack platform serving as the foundation. Helping to fuel Dreamhost’s expansion is a new $30 million round of financing.

  12. Internap Enters Beta with OpenStack-based Cloud Platform
  13. How OpenStack differs from Amazon and must rise to the occasion

    The difference between these two cloud giants is that everything OpenStack does, it does in the open. All of our successes and failures are in the open. So, we must beware to believe the OpenStack processes cannot support growth beyond the core IaaS feature set. If we do, we fail to grow OpenStack’s own portfolio of features, and we risk quickly becoming irrelevant as Amazon continues its proprietary quest for cloud market domination and saturation. In order to have a competitive open source offering for building clouds, both public and private—we need to add new services and features to the OpenStack portfolio to mature and stabilize the ‘core’ projects.

  14. OpenStack Cloud Aiming to Improve Coding Consistency

    VIDEO: HP Distinguished Engineer Monty Taylor explains how the open-source OpenStack cloud platform is moving forward.

    There are many hundreds of developers who contribute code to the open-source OpenStack cloud platform. For the recent OpenStack Havana release, the top developer as measured by the volume of code commits was Monty Taylor, distinguished engineer at Hewlett-Packard.

    In a video interview with eWEEK, Taylor explains what he actually does at HP and how his team is contributing to making OpenStack the best it can be.

  15. Internap Launches OpenStack Public Cloud Platform

    Internap Network Services unveiled the beta version of its new OpenStack-driven public cloud, AgileCLOUD. The company claims it’s the first cloud platform that “will fully expose both virtualized and bare-metal compute instances over a native OpenStack API and delivers significant performance, interoperability and flexibility benefits.”

  16. Oracle showers gold on OpenStack, dreams of open-source splashback

    Oracle has started sponsoring an open-source cloud tech that it already uses within its commercial offerings, as the company tentatively embraces a market it once reckoned inconsequential.

    The company announced on Tuesday that it had become a “Corporate Sponsor” of the OpenStack Foundation, following El Reg reporting in September that the company’s new public cloud was partly based on the software.

  17. Oracle finally embraces OpenStack, but questions linger

    Of course, Oracle has spilled a bit of open source bad blood in recent years so when it says it embraces an open source standard, it’s not as though the open source community jumps up and down with glee about it. It’s more likely that the OpenStack community is more than pleased to see Oracle join the party, but they may wonder if the hardware giant has some ulterior motives, rightly or not.

  18. Strange Bedfellows: Oracle Integrates OpenStack
  19. Not Everyone Believes That OpenStack Has Succeeded

    Debate continues to swirl over whether OpenStack has emerged as a successful cloud computing platform in terms of actual deployments, or whether it is overhyped and immature. Earlier this month, we reported on survey results from The OpenStack Foundation that showed that many enterprises are deploying or plan to deploy the platform.

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.

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