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02.01.16

UEFI is Bricking PCs, Yet Again

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Kernel at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A few remarks about a new defect which is starting to attract media attention this morning, serving to highlight the lesser-discussed dangers of UEFI/EFI

TECHRIGHTS has been a rather prominent longtime critic of UEFI. We even got invited to speak to the top executives behind UEFI, involving several people on a conference call. They were hoping to silence/suppress my criticism by speaking to me for about an hour, but they didn’t have anything substantial to say in order for me to change my mind. In fact, they only revealed other issues (throughout the conversation) which I later wrote about. The Wiki has plenty of details about that and it also covers examples or remote bricking of PCs (via UEFI). Truly nasty if not malicious, too.

“Stuff like UEFI also gives governments stricter controls over people (like dissidents).”There is a newly-discovered issue involving systemd and EFI/UEFI. This has shown up in several prominent online forums and also in bug reports for almost a week (or longer). I had mentioned it online for a while, but only earlier today did I decide I have enough of a confirmation regarding this severe problem. It is now mentioned in news sites, too [1,2,3], so I wanted to very quickly remark on it (due to lack of time), noting that here again we have an example of remote bricking by means of UEFI — a subject that the NSA previously warned about (accusing China, warning that it had attempted to do something similar).

Don’t accept UEFI. Like DRM, TPM and many other malicious ‘features’, it is intended to give corporations control over the users, rather than enable the users to control their computers better. Stuff like UEFI also gives governments stricter controls over people (like dissidents).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. In A UEFI World, “rm -rf /” Can Brick Your System

    Running rm -rf / on any UEFI Linux distribution can potentially perma-brick your system.

    As a public service announcement, recursively removing all of your files from / is no longer recommended. On UEFI distributions by default where EFI variables are accessible via /sys, this can now mean trashing your UEFI implementation.

  2. Running a single delete command in Linux can permanently brick some laptops

    It’s fairly stupid to run such a command, but usually not destructive to anything but the Linux installation. However, as it turns out, on MSI laptops it’s possible to completely wipe the EFI boot partition from inside Linux.

  3. Running “rm -rf /” Is Now Bricking UEFI Based Linux Systems

    Running rm -rf / on any UEFI Linux distro can potentially perma-brick your system, Windows PCs also vulnerable

01.23.16

La Fundación Linux se ha Convertido en Un Títere Favoreciendo Corporaciones, Gran Influencia ($$) de Microsoft

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 8:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Publicado en Debian, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 7:54 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation funding

Sumario: Palabras de advertencia acerca de la dirección tomada por la Fundación Linux, donde el impacto de Micro$oft ha crecido considerablemente y el rol de la comunidad ha dismínuido o completamente decimado.

Hoy es un día especial. Es día del Pinguino, pero poniendo aparte Linux y su mascota, no hay mucho que celebrar por que la Fundación Linux se esta pudriendo. La Fundación de Software Libre FSF es para la Fundación Linux lo que astronomía (ciencia) es para la astrología (negocio basado en seudo ciencia) y habiendo tratado de BORRAR GNU FROM LA HISTORIA* (fenomeno común), la Fundacion Linux ahora borra e ignora el rol que individuos han asumido en el desarollo del sistema. Intentamos o por lo menos guíamos a pensar que la kernel, Linux, está silenciosamente ´conquistada´ por un consorcio de corporaciones, muchos de los cuales tienen LEALTADES MIXTAS (no sólo a Linux).

“Intentamos o por lo menos guíamos a pensar que la kernel, Linux, está silenciosamente ´conquistada´ por un consorcio de corporaciones, muchos de los cuales tienen LEALTADES MIXTAS (no sólo a Linux).”Cubrimiento de la OEP nos ha impedido de cubrir acerca la Fundación de Linux como solíamos hacer, incluyendo PAGOS DE MICROSOFT, SERVICIOS PARA MICROSOFT, y abandono de las obligaciones del GPL por que éstos fueron trás los ejecutivos de Microsoft que manejan VMWare.

Matthwe Garred sugirió un punto importante y preguntó: ¨¿La Fundación Linux abandonó cualquier semblanza de comunidad representativa porque tiene MIEDO DE LAS OBLIGACIONES DEL GPL (Licencia Pública General)?¨

Ya hay cubrimiento proveniente de la denuncia originaria [1], que ha sido mencionada en muchos lugares hasta ahora, e.g [2, 3]. Hemos recibido la evidencia de arriba que sirve a reforzare esas denuncias que la Fundación Linux sigue navegando a cualquier lugar donde este el dinero (compañías que tratan de controlar o dominar Linux). La Fundación Linux NO representa Linux users (OSDL difícilmente pretendió hacerlo) pero muchas compañías de hardware que quieren influenciar el/los proceso[s] desarrollador. La Fundación Linux abandonó las obligaciones de la GPL por el caso de VMware. Esto es un buen ejemplo de E.E.E. El último disfraz de open de Microsoft, por instancia, le ayudó a obtener control/dominio a costo de V8, en el mismo modo que un pie dentro de la Fundación Linux (con la ayuda de Novell) dejo a Microsoft injectar código violatorio a la GPL dentro de la kernel (Linux), promoviendo el PROPRIETARIO Hyper-V a costa de FOSS hypervisors.

“Hemos recibido la evidencia de arriba que sirve a reforzare esas denuncias que la Fundación Linux sigue navegando a cualquier lugar donde es te el dinero (compañías que tratan de controlar o dominar Linux).”NO HAY ¨Nuevo¨ Microsoft. ¨Microsoft no añadió apoyo al OpenDocumente Format para iOS y Mac OS X,¨ por instancia. Microsoft sólo quiere PROMOVER SU CANDADO PROPIETARIO. Eso es lo que Microsoft hace dentro de Android, dentro de Linux, incluso dentro de Debian estos días. Hay por lo menos un empleado de Microsoft infiltrado dentro de Debian,¨ iphk nos advirtió, citándo esta página de Microsoft. ¨José Miguel Parrella,¨ dice es un ¨desarrollador de Debian y miembro del equipo de estrategía (recuerden E.E.E) ´abierta´de Microsoft.¨ -¿Cómo puedes combinarse lo LIBRE con lo PROPIETARIO, ESCLAVIZADOR´?- Recuerden que la Fundación Linux está llena de ¨antiguos¨ empleados de Microsoft), incluso en posiciones de gerencia. Debian en luz de algún acuerdo con Microsfot (no tuvimos tiempo de cubrir) debe estar al cuidado ya que esta sucediendo un E.E.E. La Fundación Linux también esta en riesgo de convertirse obsoleta (a nuestros usuarios boycoteemos sus certficaciones), (perdida de apoyo público) porque públicamente ¨APOYA LAS CORPORACIONES NO A LA COMUNIDAD,¨ para citar el títular de hoy de Susan Linton, fundadora de Tux Machines. Para convertir a la Fundación Linux un fuerte jugador a favor de copyleft (e.g. GPL obligaciones) ayuden a elegir a la FSF- y SFLC Karn Sandler. Ella está postulando a la Fundación Linux Board de Directores.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Foundation quietly drops community representation

    The Linux Foundation is an industry organisation dedicated to “promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software”[1]. The majority of its board is chosen by the member companies – 10 by platinum members (platinum membership costs $500,000 a year), 3 by gold members (gold membership costs $100,000 a year) and 1 by silver members (silver membership costs between $5,000 and $20,000 a year, depending on company size). Up until recently individual members ($99 a year) could also elect two board members, allowing for community perspectives to be represented at the board level.

  2. Garrett: Linux Foundation Says Let Them Eat Cake

    Matthew Garrett, kernel contributor and social activist, today posted of his discovery of a little change at the Linux Foundation. The foundation left regular users and individual developers behind for large corporate sponsors years ago, but today Garrett said they made it official. One little clause was removed from the by-laws, but it removes so much more from the foundation.

  3. Linux Foundation shows it backs corporates, not community

    The Linux Foundation has given its clearest indication yet that it caters to corporates rather than the community, by making it impossible for community representatives to be elected to its board.

____
* In a very recent Linux Foundation video, GNU is only mentioned as a joke (“they make me say it”).

01.21.16

The Linux Foundation Has Become Like a Corporate Think Tank, Microsoft Influence Included

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation funding

Summary: Words of warning about the direction taken by the Linux Foundation, where Microsoft impact has grown and community role has been diminished or completely decimated

TODAY is a special day. It’s Penguin Awareness Day, but putting aside the Linux and the Tux mascot, there’s not much to celebrate because the Linux Foundation reveals signs of rot. The FSF is to the Linux Foundation what astronomy (science) is to astrology (big business around pseudo-science) and having already attempted to delete GNU from history* (a common phenomenon), the Linux Foundation now deletes the role that individuals played in the development of the system. We’re meant or at least led to thinking that the kernel, Linux, was quietly ‘taken over’ by a consortium of corporations, many of which have mixed loyalties (not just to Linux).

“We’re meant or at least led to thinking that the kernel, Linux, was quietly ‘taken over’ by a consortium of corporations, many of which have mixed loyalties (not just to Linux).”EPO coverage has prevented us from covering as much about the Linux Foundation as we used to, including payments from Microsoft, services to Microsoft, and abandonment of GPL enforcement efforts because GPL enforcers went after a Microsoft executives-run VMware.

Matthew Garrett raised an important point and asked: “Did the Linux Foundation just drop all semblance of community representation because it’s afraid of GPL enforcement?”

There is already coverage stemming from the original rant [1], which has been mentioned by several news sites so far, e.g. [2,3]. We have received the above evidence which serves to reinforce these claims that the Linux Foundation keeps drifting away to wherever the big money is (usually companies that try to control or dominate Linux). The Linux Foundation does not represent Linux users (OSDL hardly ever pretended to do so) but mostly hardware companies that want to influence the development process/es. The Linux Foundation dumped support for GPL enforcement because of VMware. This is a good example of E.E.E. The latest Microsoft openwashing, for instance, reportedly helps it grab control/foothold at V8′s expense in the same way that a foot inside the Linux Foundation (with Novell’s helping hand) let Microsoft inject GPL-violating code into the kernel, promoting the proprietary Hyper-V at the expense of FOSS hypervisors.

“We have received the above evidence which serves to reinforce these claims that the Linux Foundation keeps drifting away to wherever the big money is (usually companies that try to control or dominate Linux).”There is no ‘new’ Microsoft. “Microsoft have not added support for OpenDocument Format to iOS and Mac OS X,” for instance. Microsoft only wants to promote proprietary Microsoft lock-in. That’s what Microsoft does inside Android, inside Linux, and even inside Debian these days. “There’s at least one Microsoft staff inside Debian,” iophk warned us, citing this page from Microsoft. “Jose Miguel Parrella,” it says, is “a Debian Developer and member of Microsoft’s Open Source Strategy team.” Remember that also the Linux Foundation is full of ‘former’ Microsoft staff, even at relatively high positions (like management). Debian, in light of some recent agreement with Microsoft (we didn’t find time to cover it), should definitely watch out as there’s E.E.E. going on. The Linux Foundation too is now at risk of becoming obsolete (loss of support from the public) because it publicly shows that it metaphorically “Says Let Them Eat Cake,” to quote today’s headline from Susan Linton, founder of Tux Machines. Sam Varghese says the Linux Foundation “backs corporates, not community,” to quote his own headline (below). To make the Linux Foundation a strong player for copyleft (e.g. GPL enforcement) help elect the FSF- and SFLC-connected Karen Sandler. She’s running for the Linux Foundation Board of Directors.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Foundation quietly drops community representation

    The Linux Foundation is an industry organisation dedicated to “promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software”[1]. The majority of its board is chosen by the member companies – 10 by platinum members (platinum membership costs $500,000 a year), 3 by gold members (gold membership costs $100,000 a year) and 1 by silver members (silver membership costs between $5,000 and $20,000 a year, depending on company size). Up until recently individual members ($99 a year) could also elect two board members, allowing for community perspectives to be represented at the board level.

  2. Garrett: Linux Foundation Says Let Them Eat Cake

    Matthew Garrett, kernel contributor and social activist, today posted of his discovery of a little change at the Linux Foundation. The foundation left regular users and individual developers behind for large corporate sponsors years ago, but today Garrett said they made it official. One little clause was removed from the by-laws, but it removes so much more from the foundation.

  3. Linux Foundation shows it backs corporates, not community

    The Linux Foundation has given its clearest indication yet that it caters to corporates rather than the community, by making it impossible for community representatives to be elected to its board.

____
* In a very recent Linux Foundation video, GNU is only mentioned as a joke (“they make me say it”).

10.07.15

Hypocrite Forks the Linux Kernel Because of Cultural Characteristics That He Himself is Guilty of

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 1:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Forking of Linux is misleadingly reported in the media because of a couple of very loud people, who are not even quitting their jobs

THIS post is not a personal attack, so we shall refrain from naming names (no direct reference to individuals). This post isn’t about news either, just some rants that infiltrated so-called ‘news’ sites because drama ‘sells’.

It all started with the original rant [1] from one among many thousands of Linux developers (she didn’t even leave her employer, just changed projects to focus on). This was picked up by few sites the following day and became a topic of discussion in LWN [2], which is close to LKML (people/subscribers overlap). Linux media then picked it up [3-7], followed by the corporate media [8-12]. Some Microsoft boosters were all over it as this was a rare opportunity to characterise Linux as rude and condescending (as if this never happens in proprietary software, they just hide it better in their culture of infamous secrecy, no public mailing lists either).

This in itself was bad enough in the publicity sense and then a longtime vocal supporter of feminism added more fuel to the fire [13], causing some stir in Linux media [14], having done this against Intel before. Intel is the former person’s employer by the way; the company whom he decided to effectively boycott over chauvinism — a problem that the former person seems to not even want to address at all because that’s where her large salary comes from. Double standard much?

This outburst against Linux has nothing to do with women’s rights or manners. There is no threat of violence (as once alleged) and there is no language directly offensive to women (no more than it can be offensive to men). Some people have too thin a skin, especially where free speech is highly valued.

The latter person is a Microsoft apologist (based on his own words) and the fact that he technically supports UEFI (i.e. attacking computing freedom) is why Torvalds famously lashed out and used sexual connotations.

The latter person is provocative, confrontational (even against former employers like Canonical), and foul-mouthed (look how he behaves on sites like Twitter), so who is he to use ‘brutal’ culture as a pretext for forking Linux? Yes, large news sites now frame this as Linux being forked [15,16], as if this will ever truly fly. It’s just a cycle of provocation, resulting in little more than harmful publicity, e.g. stereotyping and reinforced stigma for Linux.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Closing a door
  2. Sharp: Closing a door
  3. Sarah Sharp: “I’m not a Linux kernel developer any more”
  4. Sarah Sharp Quits as a Linux Kernel Developer, Blames the Toxic Behavior of the Community
  5. Sarah Sharp Steps Down As Linux Kernel Developer
  6. Kernel Anniversary Marked by “Without Linux” and Resignation

    Today marks 24 years since Linux Torvalds released version 0.01 of the Linux kernel to the benefit of humanity. The day was marred by the resignation of Sarah Sharp saying, “I am no longer a part of the Linux kernel community” due to “blunt, rude, or brutal” communication. The Linux Foundation today announced a new video series titled World Without Linux that will highlight the vast ecosystem spawned from that original 10,239 lines of code.

  7. Linux kernel developer Sarah Sharp quits over bad culture in LKML
  8. Linux kernel dev Sarah Sharp quits, citing ‘brutal’ communications style
  9. Linux kernel dev who asked Linus Torvalds to stop verbal abuse quits over verbal abuse
  10. ​Linux developer who took on Linus Torvalds over abuse quits ‘toxic’ kernel community
  11. Linux: Is Sarah Sharp a Social Justice Warrior?
  12. Key Linux geekette walks over community abuse
  13. Going my own way
  14. Another Longtime Linux Developer Looks To Distance Himself From The Kernel Community

    A day after Sarah Sharp formally announced she’s stepping away from Linux kernel development due to the arguably toxic community, well known kernel developer Matthew Garrett announced he too is planning to cease his personal contributions to the upstream Linux kernel.

  15. Matthew Garrett Forks the Linux Kernel

    Just like Sarah Sharp, Linux developer Matthew Garrett has gotten fed up with the unprofessional development culture surrounding the kernel. “I remember having to deal with interminable arguments over the naming of an interface because Linus has an undying hatred of BSD securelevel, or having my name forever associated with the deepthroating of Microsoft because Linus couldn’t be bothered asking questions about the reasoning behind a design before trashing it,” Garrett writes. He has chosen to go his own way, and has forked the Linux kernel and added patches that implement a BSD-style securelevel interface. Over time it is expected to pick up some of the power management code that Garrett is working on, and we shall see where it goes from there.

  16. Matthew Garrett Leaves Linux Kernel and Forks It

    Now, another Linux kernel developer has decided to move away from the project. Matthew Garrett has been in the news a lot this past year, but surprisingly, not for the Linux kernel. He’s been a constant critic of Canonical IP policy, and he has criticized the company more than once. In fact, he’s a rather well-known kernel developer, and he had his fair share of disputes with Linus Torvalds. Unlike Sarah, he made his reasons a lot more clear.

02.14.15

More People With Microsoft Roots Enter the Linux Foundation, Occupying Top Positions

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 5:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Entryism (also referred to as entrism, occasionally as enterism) is a political strategy in which an organisation or state encourages its members or supporters to join another, usually larger organisation in an attempt to expand influence and expand their ideas and program. In situations where the organization being “entered” is hostile to entrism, the entrists may engage in a degree of subterfuge to hide the fact that they are an organisation in their own right.” ~Wikipedia

Summary: The most infamous Microsoft mole inside Free/Open Source software (FOSS) lands right inside the Linux Foundation

Microsoft is actively attacking Linux (example from the past hour), but some in the Linux Foundation are willfully blind to it. They also ignore, at their own peril, Microsoft’s track record of entryism.

We were extremely disappointed to learn that the Linux Foundation-linked Cloud Foundry Foundation had put a Microsoft mole in charge, repeating a similar mistake from last year. This one is actually a lot worse because Nicolas (Neela) Jacques did not work as a mole/infiltrator for Microsoft but as actual staff.

“This enables Microsoft to exercise influence in the Linux Foundation and also makes it hard for the Foundation to openly criticise Microsoft.”Several press release copies were thrown at the wires for propaganda’s sake to announce this mole’s appointment and Microsoft fan sites, in addition to Microsoft boosters like Gavin Clarke, took advantage of it to openwash Microsoft and portray Microsoft as a friend of Linux. How sick is that?

Other coverage we have come across was rather shallow as it did nothing to highlight criticism, which was widespread when the mole (Ramji) worked for Microsoft. We wrote several dozens of articles about it.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has disappointedly enough been grooming this Microsoft mole and didn’t know him well enough to spell his name correctly (misspelled in 4 places). If he cannot even spell a 5-letter surname, then we doubt he knows to what extent the mole has been damaging FOSS. Vaughan-Nichols, moreover, still gives too much credit to Microsoft for pretending to be Open Source while it’s actually attacking FOSS. From his article:

The Cloud Foundry Foundation was created a year ago to form an open-source industry consortium to back Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) project written in Ruby and Go. It was then reorganized in December as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project. It operates under a system of open governance by open-source experts from founding Platinum Members EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Pivotal, SAP, and VMware.

If the Linux Foundation can trust people from a criminal company (Microsoft) and a weapons company (BEA Systems), then we truly worry about its judgment. This enables Microsoft to exercise influence in the Linux Foundation and also makes it hard for the Foundation to openly criticise Microsoft. Zemlin blesses this choice of Ramji, which makes him not just an observer of this worrisome move.

01.06.15

Boycott Tuxera File Systems

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 8:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don’t pay even a penny to Tuxera

Coins

Summary: Tuxera heralds Microsoft’s tax era in Android and Linux; thus it should be left to rot

AFTER Microsoft’s crude patent attack on users of FAT such as TomTom (some surrendered and paid Microsoft, but TomTom took it public and into the courtroom) an incognito company called “Tuxera” made a pact with Microsoft to help spread the patent trap. There is now this press release from Tuxera, once again targeting Linux and Android with proprietary file systems:

Tuxera Inc., the market leader in file systems, streaming and network storage technologies, today released Tuxera Flash File System for Linux and Android, which is optimized to run on flash storages such as eMMC and SD. Tuxera Flash File System is based on Tuxera’s widely deployed and robust file system technologies with special flash optimization and extended features.

We strongly urge everyone — including technology companies — to avoid Tuxera. The company now acts mostly as a Microsoft proxy, helping Microsoft to derive revenue from GNU/Linux and Android (Microsoft tries doing that in some other ways too right now). Microsoft does not own Linux and has contributed nothing to it, except perhaps litigation, muckraking, and extortion. Paying even a dime to Tuxera basically helps Microsoft crush its opposition.

Privately, going a year back, Techrights and its community of readers silently fought a battle (over E-mail) with Tuxera over GPL violations. The Conservancy got involved too. We never wrote an article about it, but our suspicion of Tuxera certainly grew at the time. Tuxera is not a Free software player but a parasite.

09.03.14

Linus Torvalds DebConf Talk

Posted in Kernel, Videos at 2:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Torvalds’ latest talk which got media attention earlier this month


07.07.14

Despite SCOTUS Ruling, Microsoft Still Extorts Companies and Product Buyers Using FAT Software Patents, Latest Victim is Canon

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 4:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The FAT police is at it again

Steve Ballmer FAT

Summary: Canon and Microsoft sign a patent deal which relates to patents on FAT file systems and impacts some of Canon’s products, potentially Linux products as well (Canon makes drivers for Linux but does not develop products with Android or GNU/Linux just yet)

While we are unaware of any Android- or Linux-based products from Canon, the company does deliver drivers for FOSS platforms, especially since under a decade ago (we covered this quite often at the time of a turnaround). Therefore it is regretful to learn about FAT patents, which were disgraced by entities and people including Torvalds (there is prior art and TomTom never pushed the case to the end), are used to tax Canon products or legitimise FAT patents.

Linux-centric sites hardly paid attention to it last week, but someone in IRC told us about it. Looking it up very quickly we found Microsoft’s booster Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet saying: “Today’s patent agreement isn’t the first forged by the two companies. Canon previously licensed Microsoft exFAT file system technology for an undisclosed amount.”

Sometimes companies pay for it via Microsoft partners such as Tuxera, but sometimes there are deals like this one. The OIN’s CEO told us over the telephone that Microsoft has been using FAT patents while calling them “Linux-related” or something along those line in the case of LG and maybe Samsung also (Samsung’s deal seems to have been broader than that the second time around).

Nikon's deal with Microsoft was quite different and the booster correctly pointed out: “Today’s agreement also is not part of Microsoft’s ongoing campaign to convince companies using Linux, Android and ChromeOS to license its patents. Nikon announced an Android-related patent licensing deal with Microsoft in February 2013.”

This is not entirely true because the deal practically serves to legitimise exFAT, which is a common attack vector on embedded Linux. The post from the booster (hogwash of sorts) attracts comments from Microsoft sceptics, who know a lot better what Microsoft has been up to. There are comments such as: “Do we need a repeat of FAT? If I see a product’s filesystem using exFAT I will return it.”

Another person says: “The fact the the US Supreme Court recently re-addressed software patents is a move in the positive direction, even though it was not a large move. While much damage has already been done since these huge giants like Microsoft and IBM already have an enormous software patent portfolio, at least there is hope in future software patent releases. Eventually, technology will advance forward and the current software patent portfolios will probably start to become stale, at which point I can see the general public begin to feel the advantages if we make the right decisions today moving forward. But, we must end the monopolies that this huge companies get with their enormous patent portfolios. The trend in software patents granted within the past 30 years or so is staggering, just do some searches on this subject as it is well worth the reads. My hope is that we don’t continue to make the same mistakes moving forward.”

Canon has many patents on physical and mechanical or optical things like lenses. Microsoft has mostly software patents, which may be utterly worthless in the eyes of SCOTUS, as opposed to the USPTO that granted them without scrutiny. The USPTO has just become even more zealous about patents and it approves almost every patent application, even though SCOTUS deems many of those patents too abstract to be patentable (patent lawyers don't quite agree).

Carl Erickson, the “co-founder and president of Atomic Object, a software design and development company founded in 2001,” (based on his introduction) says that “Investors in software startups need to understand that such companies are unlikely to have strong IP protection through patents. Instead, investors should look for evidence of engaged, delighted users, significant market share or the potential for rapid growth, exclusive relationships or special market channels. For a software startup and their investors, these will beat patent pending, any day.”

His whole analysis, however, sometimes (in the text) claims that patents too are needed, with phrases such as:

As I wrote in my last post, protecting your intellectual property isn’t just about patents. It’s important for companies to ensure they own the copyright on their software.

Copyright protects a particular expression, patents protect an idea. The nature of software is such that an idea can be implemented in many different ways, in many different languages, and therefore patent protection on an idea is potentially legitimate and important. So when should you worry about a software patent?

If you’re confused by software patents, you’re not alone. While our legal and business structures will eventually adapt, technology, as usual, is moving faster, and the results aren’t always good or predictable. A recent Supreme Court decision didn’t radically alter the status quo, but reinforced a trend away from some of the sillier past decisions.

Software patents should be dragged to courts and defeated there. There is a valuable precedent now. All these FAT patent deals (Microsoft has been signing them for years) may be as valuable as estate on the Mars.

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