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12.04.19

We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The new “campaign contributions”

Patrons of FSF

Summary: Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it’s impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they’re receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)

THE FSF is a fine organisation in a lot of ways; there are limits to it — sure! — and we’ve named some of them earlier this year. Those who are upset at the FSF because it says nothing about systemd may not have paid attention to the potential impact of money (or the risk of losing that money). It is not a new problem. A decade ago it was openly discussed.

In 2017 (latest tax year published by ProPublica) “contributions” amounted to 94.3% of total revenue at the FSF (“FREE SOFTWARE FOUNDATION INC”). Membership dues were at $658,988, and “other contributions, gifts, grants, and similar amounts not included above” were at $635,709, i.e. about half of the whole. So that’s a lot of financial impact for the latter; the total revenue was at $1,373,574 that year and expenses at $1,233,394, so that latter component is very much essential (to avert very considerable downsizing). Here’s a snapshot of the summary:

FSF finances

We’re not trying to bash the FSF; we’re just pointing out that financial dependence on anything other than FSF staff (or members without vested interests or disproportionate contributions) may inevitably lead to self-censorship. Many people still remember the millions of dollars Microsoft paid the Linux Foundation, but how many people can recall similar payments to the BSDs? If they don’t speak out against Microsoft abuses (much/anymore), think about potential causes/motivations. Also remember Red Hat's stance on Stallman.

11.28.19

Diversity Comes in Many Forms

Posted in Deception, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 1:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Which ones are the corporations deliberately ignoring and why?

IBM for diversity... of countries controlled by this man

Summary: Diversity is about much more than visible (to the eye) attributes

  • Diversity of nationality/race
  • Diversity of languages/tongues/cultures
  • Diversity of gender (or gender neutrality)
  • Diversity of opinions/political worldviews
  • Diversity of abilities (e.g. disabilities, accessibility aspects)
  • Diversity of age/maturity level
  • Diversity of technology (is your competition supported?)

Bad things can happen when the concept of “diversity” gets oversimplified and distorted for corporate gain/leverage:

Open letter to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors
Source: IBM (Red Hat) “Open letter to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors”


IBM during World War II
Source: Wikipedia


RMS bio


North Carolina aims to bring more women into computer science
4 days ago in IBM-run site: “North Carolina aims to bring more women into computer science”


IBM recently published a dataset for facial recognition AI made up of images...
The present


Just forget how IBM profited and still profits from war on diversity.

22 September 2019: “My father was IBM’s first black software engineer. The racism he fought persists in the high-tech world today”

11.20.19

Microsoft and IBM Are the Patent Trolls, They Won’t Protect Us From Trolls

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 1:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Times have changed; Red Hat and Microsoft are now close partners.

Microsoft has no taste

Summary: “Microsoft has no taste” and IBM has no taste, either; they’re lying to our collective face together with OIN and the ‘Linux’ Foundation

IBM has long cross-licensed with Microsoft. This means they won’t sue one another over patents. Good for them, eh? Shared monopoly. No wonder Red Hat nowadays promotes Microsoft things almost every day. Now that IBM owns Red Hat (and all of its patents) IBM won’t care about Microsoft’s ongoing — even in 2019 — blackmail of OEMs that ship GNU/Linux.

Now Microsoft and IBM, the biggest purveyors of software patent trolls, tell us they’ll protect from what they are, themselves [1-3]. Wow, the audacity! Joined by their front groups, OIN, a false representative to/of Free software, and Linux Foundation, a GitHub outsourcer which compares Microsoft to "a puppy". They use a lawsuit against GNOME (Foundation) to take us astray from abolishing software patents. Both IBM and Microsoft are feeding patent trolls, are blackmailing companies that implement things they themselves never did, and lobby aggressively for software patents in the US.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Open Invention Network teams up with IBM, Linux Foundation, and Microsoft to protect open-source software from patent trolls

    Open-source software — heck, all software — has been plagued by patent trolls for decades. The Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, is now expanding protection of open-source and Linux by partnering with IBM, the Linux Foundation, and Microsoft to further protect it from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), aka patent trolls. This new consortium is doing this by supporting Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone with a substantial annual subscription.

    Unified Patents is an international organization of over 200 businesses. Unified Patents takes an aggressive stance against trolls. The name of its game is deterring trolls from attacking its members by making it too expensive for the troll to win. The group does this by examining troll patents and their activities in various technology sectors (Zones). The Open Source Zone is the newest of these Zones.

    United Patents does this in a variety of ways. For example, it runs a public bounty program, where it seeks prior art for troll patents. According to Kevin Jakel, Unified Patents CEO, in a recent interview, “The prize money offered can be as much as $10,000 for anyone that is able to find prior patents on the one being questioned. For example, we recently announced a $10,000 bounty for any prior art relating to network monitoring and sequence integrity.”

    In practice, their method works. For instance, with Unified Patent’s aid, the ride-sharing company Lyft recently beat a patent troll. In the case, a troll claimed essentially he has created all ride-sharing software. US District Judge Jon S Tigar ruled against the troll, saying, “Given the lack of an algorithm for allocation, RideApp ‘has in effect claimed everything that [performs the task] under the sun.”

  2. SUSE welcomes cooperation of Open Invention Network, Linux Foundation, IBM and Microsoft in co-funding Unified Patent’s new Open Source Zone

    An eternal truth is that everything has its opposite for good and evil. Patents are no exception. In fact, even the simple word ‘Patent’ evokes much positive and negative emotion in today’s software world – particularly as news continues to circulate around baseless patent lawsuits by non-practicing entities (NPEs).
    But in news this week there is a bit of positive for a change. The positive news is the announcement of the efforts by Unified Patents to reduce NPE assertion of invalid patents in the open source software zone.

  3. Open Invention Network Joins Forces With IBM, Linux Foundation And Microsoft

    Open Invention Network (OIN) is teaming up with IBM, the Linux Foundation and Microsoft to further protect open source software (OSS) from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) leveraging low quality patents, also called patent trolls.

    The group will support Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone with a substantial annual subscription. This expands OIN’s and its partners’ patent non-aggression activities by deterring PAEs from targeting Linux and adjacent OSS technologies relied on by developers, distributors and users.

11.07.19

The GNOME Foundation’s Potentially Useless Defense Strategy is an OIN-Styled ‘Fix’ and Not a Software Patents Fix (Abolition)

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Red Hat at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.”

Richard Stallman

They get attacked by software patents. And they don't use Alice.

Summary: The anti-Stallman club known as ‘GNOME Foundation’ is not interested in tackling software patents as a whole. What does that tell us about the situation we’re in?

THE short series about the defamation of Richard Stallman (RMS) isn’t over yet. The media defamed him repeatedly for about a month (yet again earlier this week) and Stallman was in contact with us. Whether he wants to make further comment/s on the subject will depend on him.

“We’re not bashing McGovern, but we worry about his predecessors at this prestigious position; they’re are from SFC (also anti-RMS), Peters (now Microsoft), and de Icaza (also Microsoft).”One thing we continue to research is the controversial announcement or media statement from GNOME Foundation, signed by Neil McGovern, who has called himself “Politico and geek, GNOME Executive Director, Cambridge CAMRA press officer, Ex-Debian Project Leader. Views are own etc.” (His personal Web site is nowhere as active.)

We’re not bashing McGovern, but we worry about his predecessors at this prestigious position; they’re are from SFC (also anti-RMS), Peters (now Microsoft), and de Icaza (also Microsoft). Neil McGovern, known better for his anti-RMS rant, is a credible person, but the context he’s in requires him to adopt particular positions.

His media statement, which is two months old (and put a lot of pressure on RMS), has caused a bit of controversy within GNOME itself. Some GNOME people have distanced themselves from it, even in the open. There are blog posts to that effect. Even in GNOME’s own Web site!

As we recently noted (in relation to OIN and IBM), there's an element in this 'community' that does not want software patents to go away. Instead it wants pertinent patents to be challenged based on something like prior art. A reader has just pointed out to us Free software [sic] is under attack. How you can help. (w/ Neil McGovern) from @TheLinuxGamer on LBRY.tv” (a new video interview).

Our reader adds that it’s about “software patents versus Shotwell, though they are mistakenly referred to only as “patents” there; strategy might be a bit misguided since it is not going after software patents in general but instead choosing to play whac-a-mole against one single troll at a time; they also naively plan to recover costs from the troll, which is probably just a shell company anyway; perhaps you could correspond with them…”

I personally will not bother, but I invite readers to do so. I’ve criticised the ‘GNOME Foundation’ in the distant past, so its chief is not likely to talk to me. Well, seeing what he wrote and with predecessors like these, McGovern merely continues a decade-long pattern of trying to overthrow or at least discredit RMS. His employment history in the UK and his work for Debian isn’t something to be mocked or belittled. He’s not a bad person. But his employer and the people who now surround him may be bad influence. The Foundation isn’t so credible; we wrote many articles about this back in 2009. They’re even close to Microsoft (and they will never point out the troll’s connections to Microsoft [1, 2, 3]). The Foundation raises other concerns. It is also deeply connected to IBM through Red Hat (many GNOME developers are salaried by Red Hat), probably the foremost influence source — one which as we noted before wishes 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice to go away, and for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to issue IBM with tens of thousands of software patents, not to be overturned and invalidated in Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) with Federal Circuit affirmation of these invalidations. This is the biggest downside of IBM’s acquisition/takeover and it has been our main concern regarding Red Hat (the reasonable patent policy being cast aside).

This approach from the GNOME Foundation must be pleasing not just for IBM but also Microsoft, now an OIN member. Days ago Microsoft Tim belatedly expressed satisfaction about OIN getting involved. OIN is in the ‘business’ of teaching FOSS people to tolerate rather than eliminate software patents and days ago it added another high-profile Japanese member (in our Daily Links).

10.26.19

G1/19: Enlarged Board of Appeal Bombarded by Monopolies, Law Firms and EPO President in Favour of Software Patenting

Posted in Europe, IBM, Law, Patents, Red Hat at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s as if court outcomes too can be bought (caselaw up 'for sale' or setup)

EPO toons

Summary: The largest panel of judges at the European Patent Office (EPO) isn’t listening to actual scientists and technologists; instead it takes instructions from a nontechnical tyrant (who can punish them) along with law firms and legal departments of international monopolists that overwhelm submissions because they can afford it

THE absence of justice at the EPO is largely the fault of the dictatorship at the Office — a ruthless dictatorship that’s being defended by the Council too (the Organisation). How can there be a patent office where the very basic concept of justice does not prevail? Where judges are collectively punished by being sent to exile (Battistelli pretended this attack would ‘improve’ their independence) and when legally questioned over it the question itself gets squashed and buried? It’s like the lawlessness itself has become illegal to debate.

“How can there be a patent office where the very basic concept of justice does not prevail?”Simon Davies, Consultant and Patent Attorney at D Young & Co LLP, has just mentioned the upcoming case regarding — inter aliasoftware patents in Europe. He may be missing the point that this court or board or tribunal is pressured (already, as we’ve covered here before) by EPO President António Campinos to allow such abstract patents (which aren’t legal or constitutional; neither is his intervention!). In his employer’s site he wrote about it using the usual buzzwords and euphemisms, e.g. “CIIs”:

For the first time in the history of the EPO, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) has been asked for a decision relating to the patentability of computer-implemented inventions (CIIs) .

The present case, G1/19, stems from a referral by an EPO Board of Appeal in the case T489/14 and concerns the patentability of a computer-implemented simulation as described in EP 03793825.5, derived from WO2004023347: “MOVEMENT OF AN AUTONOMOUS ENTITY THROUGH AN ENVIRONMENT”. The web-site of the PCT applicant refers to the development of “a phenomenological model tuned to reproduce the movement of individuals in public venues hosting large crowds”. This topic has been the subject of academic study; for example, the application itself cites “Simulating dynamical features of escape panic“ by Dirk Helbing, Illis Farakas and Tamas Vicsek, Nature, volume 407, pages 487 to 490 (2000).

Benjamin Henrion has just reviewed the submissions, which can take a long time to prepare (lots of money in the event of using/hiring law firms to do this or even in-house legal departments with massive salaries), not just to read. “Watch all those large corporations pushing for software patents, where is the opposition? Time for a new directive,” he said. It has been a long time since 2005.

“It’s like the lawlessness itself has become illegal to debate.”“The “opposition” does not make billions of dollars per quarter,” I told him, “hence no dedicated legal department to lobby (write documents to) the corrupt EPO where judges are terrorised by EPO [P]resident, working for litigation zealots…”

Had the EFF given a damn about Europe and the EPO (it consciously ignores all this), there would be far more submissions from actual developers. That’s what happened after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had asked for feedback on 35 U.S.C. § 101 guidelines. Yesterday the EFF published two articles about the USPTO (see [1,2] below), but it never ever said anything about the EPO!

Henrion went on to providing some examples, which include “Amicus Curiae Brief for case G1/19 before the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal” by Dr. Reinier B. Bakels (September 2019).

Bakels is quoted [1, 2] as arguing: “The EPO attempted to resolve this paradox by 65 requiring a “further technical effect” for “computer-implemented inventions” [...] As Enlarged Board of Appeal, you are at a turning point. Building on existing case law is normally desirable, but then the current fundamental problems remain: [...] 3.the lack of democratic legitimacy of particular EPO interpretations…”

“Benjamin Henrion has just reviewed the submissions, which can take a long time to prepare (lots of money in the event of using/hiring law firms to do this or even in-house legal departments with massive salaries), not just to read.”I quickly opened the entire document [PDF]. It’s long. Not many people will read it. I once submitted one of my own.

It should be noted that as recently as Friday the EPO tweeted: “Want to know more about patenting computer-implemented #inventions? Check this out…”

They’re still using misleading terms that help hide the illegal practice; they give tips for getting illegal, bunk patents — patents that European courts would throw out. This isn’t “the EPO’s problem,” according to management composed of patent maximalists, to whom the only thing that matters is money.

Henrion then said: “EFPIA (Big Pharma) is now lobbying for software patents … Leave business to big business.”

This is the document [PDF]

“They’re still using misleading terms that help hide the illegal practice; they give tips for getting illegal, bunk patents — patents that European courts would throw out.”Here’s the one from Philips [PDF] — a submission from which Henrion quoted “a technical solution for a technical problem,” remarking that it “sounds like it loops back to itself” (technical effect, solution, problem… something “technical” — whatever that means!).

Wake up, Red Hat employees. Your employer is lobbying for software patents in Europe yet again! About a decade ago it said that Open Source innovation was only possible ‘thanks’ to software patents — patently a lie that enraged many of us. Henrion pulled this document from IBM [PDF], remarking that “IBM still lobbying for software patents in G1/19…”

“Wake up, Red Hat employees. Your employer is lobbying for software patents in Europe yet again!”Suffice to say, G1/19 is expected to be more of the same, i.e. a case to be decided as the President pleases. G1/19 will likely give the EPO more excuses to grant illegal software patents while ignoring caselaw of European courts, instructions from Parliament, the EPC and so on. Actual software developers and their interests obviously don’t matter here. They’re treated as passive observers.

D Young & Co LLP’s Stephanie Wroe (collague of the above) has meanwhile promoted her article about another case, G1/18. To quote:

In view of conflicting decisions concerning the refund of Appeal fees, the Enlarged Board of Appeal considered in G1/18 the distinction between (i) an appeal deemed not to have been filed (and thus the fee is refunded) and (ii) an inadmissible appeal (in which the fee cannot be refunded).

The Enlarged Board concluded that an appeal is deemed not to have been filed if the notice of appeal is filed after the two-month limit and/or the appeal fee is paid after the two-month limit. Thus, the appeal fee will be reimbursed.

In a welcome development, the Enlarged Board indicated that this also applies to similar situations such as opposition proceedings.

There’s another new article being pushed, this time by Iain Robertson (Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP) who comments on T 0235/13. He would have won bonus points had he mentioned the EPO Boards of Appeal lack independence and any decision issued in Haar is legally invalid as per the EPC — a subject that the EPO refuses to even entertain.

“Unless or until this issue is properly tackled — i.e. without the Office President meddling in the outcome — everything will be buried instead of tackled.”“Two recent decisions from the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office have highlighted the difficulties applicants and opponents can face when trying to reply on new experimental data to support their arguments,” Robertson wrote. “In T 0235/13, the appellant tried to rely on post-published evidence to support the inventiveness of their application.”

Here’s more:

In T 2469/17, an appellant-opponent tried to rely on experimental evidence to show that a patent lacked novelty over D1, D2 and D5.

The appellant-opponent re-produced a sample from an example in D1. The re-produced sample had a different bulk density and a different viscosity to those reported in D1. Although claim 1 in this case did not define the claimed product by its bulk density or viscosity, the differences in these properties were enough for the Board of Appeal to conclude that the sample re-produced by the appellant-opponent was not, in fact, the same as that disclosed by D1, and so the re-produced sample was irrelevant to the novelty of the claims in this case.

D2 did not disclose all the information necessary to exactly re-produce the examples disclosed by D2, and so the appellant-opponent had to make some assumptions when trying to re-produce the examples from D2. They argued that these assumptions were based on an evaluation of what the skilled person would have done. However, the Board of Appeal decided that there simply was not enough information in D2 to re-produce the examples of D2, and so the Board decided that the sample produced by the appellant-opponent was not directly and unambiguously disclosed by D2. Consequently, the sample did not affect the novelty of the claims in this case.

All these other cases serve as somewhat of a distraction from what we’ve long focused on. That’s patent scope. The reason the EPO is said to have increased so-called ‘production’ (monopoly protection) is the lowering of the bar and granting of illegal patents. Unless or until this issue is properly tackled — i.e. without the Office President meddling in the outcome — everything will be buried instead of tackled.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Weakening Our System of Patent Challenges Will Hurt Consumers, Unions, and Health Care Providers

    The Stronger Patents Act, S. 2082, won’t give us a stronger patent system—just the opposite, in fact. It is a deliberate attempt to dismantle one of the few effective forums for challenging wrongly-issued patents. The bill would put dramatic and unwarranted changes into effect that would make the U.S. Patent Office’s system of inter partes review, or IPR, much less effective. That means the Stronger Patents Act will weaken the quality of issued patents and the patent system as a whole.

  2. Patents Are About Sharing Information with the Public. Don’t Shroud Them in Secrecy.

    Patents give their owners the power to stop people (and companies) from doing whatever the patent claims as an “invention” for twenty years. But that power doesn’t come for free: it’s a trade. In exchange for the right to sue others to stop using the invention, patent applicants have to disclose enough information about their invention to allow others in the field to make and use it. Encouraging people to share information so that others can use it to make further advances is the whole point of the patent system.  

    The public can read the information in a patent from the moment it’s published. But for the twenty years of a patent’s term, the owner can sue anyone who uses their invention without their permission. To get permission, members of the public need to know who owns the patent and therefore has the power to control and demand payment for its use. Unfortunately, essential information about patent ownership is often out of the public’s reach. In particular, patent trolls—individuals or companies that make money by threatening to sue instead of developing or commercializing technology—often divide up patent rights between different entities in ways that make it practically impossible to identify the legal owner of a patent. A 2012 study found that notorious patent troll Intellectual Ventures divides its portfolio among over 1000 different shell companies. There are a number of reasons why patent owners might want to keep ownership information secret. For example, doing so might limit fee awards for bad litigation conduct to an entity with no assets, shielding its parent company from the full price of overly aggressive patent enforcement.

10.25.19

We Need to Talk About IBM’s and OIN’s Stance on Software Patents at Times When Microsoft-Armed Patent Trolls Attack GNU/Linux

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OIN (IBM roots) has already admitted that it has no solution to trolls (it's run by them) and it refuses to oppose software patents

OIN loves Microsoft

Summary: The people who claim to be tackling the patent woes of GNU/Linux are actually in bed with Microsoft and don’t oppose software patents; they try to wed the Free software community and such patents — even if that means a shotgun wedding

THERE IS a serious problem in the Free software world which few of us talk about (or want to talk about). It’s not convenient. Our so-called ‘flag bearers’ and sometimes sponsors work against our interests. They do this in a number of dimensions, but this post will focus on patents. We’ll try to keep this non-legal (as in no legalese) and non-technical — to the point or the degree possible. We won’t, for instance, explain 35 U.S.C. § 101 caselaw in the USPTO or the illegal granting of European software patents by the European Patent Office (EPO). It really doesn’t matter so much in this context. All that matters is that software patents are inherently bad, developers don’t want these (no matter if Free software developers or non-free software developers), and courts increasingly reject these patents.

“All that matters is that software patents are inherently bad, developers don’t want these (no matter if Free software developers or non-free software developers), and courts increasingly reject these patents.”So here we are in 2019, with IBM as the likely biggest “contributor” (in the coding sense) to GNU/Linux because of the Red Hat acquisition. One could choose other criteria such as number of instances/installations serviced/hosted. But that’s not the point. The point is, whether we like it or not, we’re sort of ‘stuck’ with IBM as a major ‘flag bearer’; yes, it dominates development of many components in a GNU/Linux system, including the kernel and systemd. Many are happy about IBM’s (or Red Hat’s) kernel contributions, more so than the latter. IBM does a lot of important — and sometimes good — things. It also does bad things. Pretty common when dealing with very large companies…

We now come to the ‘beef’ of this post if not this borderline rant. Earlier this week Benjamin Henrion (FFII President) complained about the “EPO sponsoring yet another software patent conference on Internet Of Things (IOT) http://www.iam-events.com/events/iot-ip-2019/agenda-6e588d27158140d98ee1f35b75c3e976.aspx …”

“IBM does a lot of important — and sometimes good — things. It also does bad things.”For those who don’t know, at the EPO “IOT” (or “IoT”) is nowadays one of several buzzwords that they use to disguise software patents. Henrion might be wrong here because the EPO is not listed among sponsors but OIN is. Yes, OIN. This wouldn’t be the first time OIN shows up in pro-software patents events of the EPO and IAM, which is a patent front of the EPO et al. IAM is funded in part by patent trolls. Sometimes it’s supported and funded by the EPO and its PR agencies. When they’re pushing for software patents it isn’t motivated by logic, just money, greed and self-interest. “Closing keynote address” in this event is Grant Philpott, a Microsoft-friendly proponent of software patents (we wrote about him many times in the past). This whole event is a farce and OIN’s role in these IAM events is to give the illusion that “Open Source” too is participating. That’s just a reminder that OIN is an enemy of Software Freedom and friend of software patents (like IBM is).

These EPO events or OIN-attended events aren’t a new problem; they’re part of a pattern we’ve been covering here for at least a year. They tend to push software patents without mentioning that term or that phrase. Here’s another new example from an EPO tweet that said: “EPOPIC 2019 starts in less than a week. We look forward to welcoming you for three days of thought-provoking exchanges with patent information specialists from all over the world.”

Notice who’s speaking there. Andrei Iancu with “Intellectual property and the next Industrial Revolution” (another weasel term for software patents, akin to “4IR”) and Alexander Klenner-Bajaja from the EPO with “Artificial intelligence and patent classification” (the usual “AI” hype).

“These EPO events or OIN-attended events aren’t a new problem; they’re part of a pattern we’ve been covering here for at least a year. They tend to push software patents without mentioning that term or that phrase.”The EPO’s social media team then retweeted this tweet that said: “The @Derwent experts are on hand next week at #EPOPIC Attend our workshop on the new enhanced Derwent Innovation and hear how the latest patent research tool is going to transform the way you search for data.”

This thing is being advertised by EPO staff. Why? Shouldn’t the EPO be impartial? But let’s leave the EPO aside for a moment; it’s no secret that it’s lobbying for illegal software patents.

Going back to OIN and Henrion (FFII), there’s a discussion about the high-profile lawsuit against GNU/Linux; we wrote 3 articles about it [1, 2, 3] and over at Tux Machines we carefully filed every article and blog post on this subject (we always try to exhaustively archive topics for reference, both present and future reference).

“Will you use Alice as defence?”

So asked Henrion, who continued: “Using prior art is not helpful to get rid of software patents, Alice is. You should clarify in your fundraising message if you gonna use it or not. If that’s the case, http://FFII.org and its thousands of supporters database can be called.”

“The GNOME Foundation still refuses to even acknowledge rather obvious Microsoft connections (their biggest troll armed this smaller troll)…”He continued separately: “Will the Gnome Foundation use Alice to kick software patents out in the US? as RMS said “fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitos will eliminate malaria” https://www.gnome.org/news/2019/10/gnome-files-defense-against-patent-troll/ … read https://lwn.net/Articles/802819/ …”

He made a similar point about a week ago.

The GNOME Foundation still refuses to even acknowledge rather obvious Microsoft connections (their biggest troll armed this smaller troll) and if they rely on IBM front groups such as OIN (proponents of software patents to whom patent trolls aren’t really a problem but a cost of IBM doing ‘business’… i.e. blackmailing companies with a trove of lousy old patents) you end up having a rather lousy defense strategy, potentially a costly one too.

“I have asked the Gnome foundation to clarify if they gonna use Alice as defense,” Henrion noted, citing this message of his:

Hi,

I wanted to ask the Gnome foundation a crucial question before calling
on FFII supporters to donate.

Will you use Alice as defence (patentable subject matter)?

Using prior art is not helpful to get rid of software
patents,patentable subject matter is way more important.

You should clarify in your fundraising message if you gonna use it or not.

If that's the case, FFII.org and its thousands of supporters database
will be called to donate.

You should also call on donators to contact their senators to oppose
the STRONGER patent act which aims to restore software patents in the US:

https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/strengthen-free-software-by-telling-congress-to-reject-the-stronger-patents-act

We keep seeing blog posts from GNOME people and Debian people (sometimes also tweets). Oddly enough, Red Hat employees and Fedora developers have hardly said a thing! Maybe with the exception of Richard Hughes (LVFS/fwupd developer).

These must be rather awkward times to be at Red Hat; on the one hand they’re developing and supporting GNOME and on the other hand, while at the same time working for IBM (remember that IBM lobbies for those software patents — the type of patents that IBM lobbies hardest for) they’re confronting these ruinous lawsuits. Can they speak out against patent trolls while IBM, their employer, keeps shaking down companies like a troll? Maybe they prefer not to say anything.

“These must be rather awkward times to be at Red Hat; on the one hand they’re developing and supporting GNOME and on the other hand, while at the same time working for IBM (remember that IBM lobbies for those software patents — the type of patents that IBM lobbies hardest for) they’re confronting these ruinous lawsuits.”Stefano Zacchiroli (“Free Software activist” by his own description, with past connections to OSI where he was a technical member) wrote: “Please donate to the #GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/gnome-foundation-inc/gnome-patent-troll-defense-fund … Software patents are a disgrace and we should defend FOSS from them. Learn more in the blog post below. https://twitter.com/gnome/status/1186412835083042817 …”

Zacchiroli is a very good person whose geek credentials and track record speak for themselves. But where are the Red Hat (IBM) employees? Why are they so quiet on matters pertaining to patents? The sad reality is that GNOME’s key sponsors/stewards, Red Hat included (now IBM), are big proponents of software patents (and IBM is naturally and perhaps factually the biggest). We need to talk about this…

“Red Hat was quick to comment on (celebrate with diplomatic restraint) the ousting of Richard Stallman, but as far as we can tell no comment has been made — at least not yet — about a troll armed by a Microsoft proxy suing GNU/Linux.”Henrion, commenting on the FOSDEM conference near him, has noticed that the sponsors’ page has just been updated.

“Remember that the 3 sponsors of FOSDEM routinely file software patents,” he wrote. “And sue using these patents,” I continued his thoughts, “especially IBM (so Red Hat basically).”

Red Hat was quick to comment on (celebrate with diplomatic restraint) the ousting of Richard Stallman, but as far as we can tell no comment has been made — at least not yet — about a troll armed by a Microsoft proxy suing GNU/Linux. Odd that…

10.19.19

‘Corporate Linux’ Will Not Protect Software Freedom

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Red Hat at 4:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A token of appreciation and PR/lip service is all we should expect

Red Hat - Microsoft
So-called ‘market sharing’ agreements (fake competition) are illegal and sometimes boil down to price-fixing cartels, or collusion

Summary: The corporate model is inherently not compatible with software that users themselves fully control (or Software Freedom in general), so we must rely on another model of sovereignty over code and compiled code (binaries)

A reader has sent us this very interesting forum thread. It seems apparent that nobody trusts or believes Microsoft. Heck, they barely even trust the “large” companies that develop “parts” of GNU/Linux and have “large” distros, notably Red Hat, SUSE and Canonical. Never mind monolithic “parts” such as systemd.

“If Software Freedom was a company, the likes of Microsoft (proprietary software companies) would have put in a bid for a takeover already. Even a hostile takeover.”Software Freedom is not the same as GNU/Linux or even GNU and Linux apart. Software Freedom is a concept or a condition. Linux is a project licensed under a Free software licence and GNU is a large collection of such projects or programs. systemd too is licensed under a Free software licence, but several of our readers would argue that it reduces Software Freedom or at least choice. It makes swapping components in a GNU/Linux system a lot harder, a lot more complicated if not impossible.

Software Freedom must never be associated with a company or even a set of companies. Publicly-traded companies have one single goal: maintain and perpetually increase profits, by all means possible (even if by liaising with Software Freedom foes such as Microsoft). These companies will only ‘support’ Software Freedom as long as it’s beneficial to their public image.

If Software Freedom was a company, the likes of Microsoft (proprietary software companies) would have put in a bid for a takeover already. Even a hostile takeover. Remember that Red Hat welcomed a bid from Microsoft (to buy Red Hat) and Red Hat is perfectly happy to be financially controlled by Microsoft regardless (shades of Novell between 2006 and 2010). Suspicion of Red Hat does not imply lack of support for GNU/Linux or Software Freedom.

09.30.19

Red Hat is Not the Company You Once Knew

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coming soon: Red Hat Forum, sponsored (the most) by Microsoft

Red Hat Microsoft event

Summary: Red Hat in 2019 is very different from the company it was two and a half decades ago or even one decade ago

EARLIER this year we stressed that Red Hat considered Microsoft as a buyer and is nowadays running events with Microsoft, mostly funded by Microsoft. Red Hat also hired quite a few managers from Microsoft and it habitually promotes Microsoft .NET, Azure, MSVS and so on. This is beyond baffling to those of us who were led to believe Red Hat was our ‘flag bearer’. To be fair to Red Hat, however, its partnership with Microsoft goes 10 years back; it started with virtualisation. It has been progressing since — sometimes to the point of outright absurdity. We’re still trying to wrap our collective heads around the IBM takeover and what it will mean for Red Hat. We last mentioned this yesterday at around noon. Then, posted at 1AM on Sunday afternoon (1PM) was this hint that Red Hat had become more like IBM (not the other way around) when it comes to patent policy, much as we predicted.

“…Red Hat had become more like IBM (not the other way around) when it comes to patent policy, much as we predicted.”“In an exclusive interview,” IAM wrote, “Red Hat’s IP [sic] head reveals that in the run-up to its acquisition by IBM the company went shopping for patents at a range of sellers including AT&T, Huawei and Panasonic.” (behind paywall)

Well, the IAM paywall helps prevent their critics from scrutinising the text like we used to. They tend to spread many falsehoods and use intentionally-misleading terminology. But that’s not the point here; the point is that Red Hat is hungry for patents, including software patents, just like IBM. It’s no secret that systemd develops have also applied for (and received) patents. It’s also no secret that IBM is a patent bully and its shakedown/lawsuits against companies were reported (also by IAM) as recently as weeks ago. Zillow is among the latest targets.

“We alluded to some of these patents in passing in the more distant past.”Red Hat as a company (or unit) has no say on directions such as these; it’s rather worrying as more “Red Hat technologies” (e.g. stuff in Linux that only Red Hat actively develops) are patented. That includes systemd patents, which we know exist (at the very least based on the applicants’ names and assignee, Red Hat), but any patent on something inside systemd would not mention the software by name. We alluded to some of these patents in passing in the more distant past.

Over the past few days both good [1] and bad [2] things were said about systemd. Some have dubbed it “Open Source Proprietary Software” (OSPS) — a catchy phrase — and Laurent Bigonville responded to me some minutes ago to say: “If you look at the copyright claims in #systemd project, it gives me 9 lines for Red Hat et 4 lines for IBM, so much for an attempt to make it “proprietary”…” (there’s a screenshot there). Bigonville is always very defensive and protective of systemd.

“A few within the BSD crowd seem so gleeful about taking RMS down, and finding creative ways to rationalize it, because then their hero Bill Gates stays out of the public eye despite his actual association with Epstein.”
      –Techrights associate
Suffice to say, systemd does have its merits (see below), mostly technical merits, arguably at freedom’s expense (not to mention choice). What upset me personally earlier this month was seeing some senior Red Hat staff cheering the removal of Richard Stallman (RMS). Cui bono?

“Even (or especially) those tools that smugly applaud the removal of RMS based on behavior should especially object to the means by which he has been removed,” an associate of ours wrote this morning. “Ends never justify the means. When it comes down to it they are supporting online lynching.

“A few within the BSD crowd seem so gleeful about taking RMS down, and finding creative ways to rationalize it, because then their hero Bill Gates stays out of the public eye despite his actual association with Epstein. It is rather disgusting that they spend so much effort attacking RMS to cover for Bill. Again, when it comes down to it, they are supporting online lynching and trying to legitimize it.”

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. systemd is really well designed

    One of the things I think has generally worked well about “Linux” and the ecosystem on top of it has been the variety of userspace. There’s obviously some pointless things, but also some genuine innovation. It works well when upstream projects are structured in a way that they can be mixed and matched.

    For Fedora CoreOS we are combining two technologies; Ignition and rpm-ostree. Previously they were used independently (Ignition with a ChomeOS style A/B updater) and rpm-ostree with the traditional Fedora-and-derivatives setup of Kickstart for bare metal, and cloud-init for clouds.

    Putting the two together has been working well so far, but I’ve recently been working on support for root filesystem reprovisioning which is where the two projects intersect strongly. This has meant a lot of time writing code in the initramfs.

  2. Write a Letter to Redhat About systemd

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) incorporated systemd as their default and only init system in 2014. Soon after, perhaps with some persuasion from Red Hat and its allies, Debian adopted systemd as its default init system, and many Debian Derived distros, including all the Ubuntus, followed suit. Starting in 2014, this caused extensive protest from many in the Linux community, for reasons such as: [...]

    I’ll be glad to serve as a central information point for this letter writing campaign. If you find other contacts, please feel free to write to them and please email me with those contacts and contact information.

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