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11.17.15

Still No Disclosure From Red Hat Regarding Patent Agreement With Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Still in pursuit of answers from the “Open Organization” [sic]

Mirrors at airport

Summary: Quick progress report about the effort to convince Red Hat to explain its patent standstill — whatever that practically means — with Microsoft

IN THE political spheres or most political media it is widely recognised that in order to discourage certain policies and certain types of behaviour one might need to shame those who propose or exercise any such policy or action, respectively. This, for example, is why we criticise proponents of software patents and even Red Hat’s patent agreement with Microsoft. The example they give to others is dangerous and without public challenge it can carry on and even expand.

“The example they give to others is dangerous and without public challenge it can carry on and even expand.”Red Hat should be based in Raleigh, not Red Mond [sic], where Red Hat now sends its engineers to work under Microsoft leadership while receiving salaries from Red Hat. We had a long chat about this with someone from Red Hat last night. We still hope that Red Hat will decide to do the right thing. Like Novell’s Cambridge lab, which it used along with Microsoft to promote Microsoft’s agenda, now we have Red Hat staff sharing space with Microsoft staff. Microsoft is a proponent of software patents and still insists that Linux players should pay Microsoft for patents. So how can one reconcile or compromise? In our Open Letter to Red Hat’s new CEO (Jim Whitehurst) 8 years ago we told him that it is “hard to name companies that have benefited from a Microsoft pact” (this is still true).

We will continue to wait and give Red Hat an opportunity to explain what was done with Microsoft regarding patents. We encourage others to ask Red Hat those questions as well. If public pressure is sufficient to influence Red Hat’s PR/marketing experts, Red Hat will decide to open up. For a company steered by shareholders it all boils down to money and reputation.

“What we [Novell and Microsoft] agreed, which is true, is we’ll continue to try to grow Windows share at the expense of Linux. That’s kind of our job. But to the degree that people are going to deploy Linux, we want Suse Linux to have the highest percent share of that, because only a customer who has Suse Linux actually has paid properly for the use of intellectual property from Microsoft. And we took a quota, you could say, to help them sell so much Suse Linux. That’s part of the deal. We are willing to do the same deal with Red Hat and other Linux distributors, it’s not an exclusive thing. But after a few years of working on this problem, Novell actually saw the business opportunity, because there’s so many customers who say, ‘Hey look, we don’t want problems. We don’t want any intellectual property problem or anything else. There’s just a variety of workloads where we, today, feel like we want to run Linux. Please help us Microsoft and please work with the distributors to solve this
problem, don’t come try to license this individually.’ So customer push drove us to where we got.”

Steve Ballmer

11.16.15

Red Hat-Microsoft Deal Increasingly Resembles Novell-Microsoft Deal (Including Patent Aspects)

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 5:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Systemd to be used for technical and support leverage in the same way Mono was?

Embrace and Extend
Credit: unknown (Twitter)

Summary: Red Hat’s current management, which technically liaises (more deeply over time) with Microsoft, agrees on patents, works with the NSA, and increasingly deviates from the UNIX way (while becoming more secretive, except the openwashing), inevitably reminds us of Novell

Microsoft and the board- or shareholders-driven Red Hat now seem more and more like Microsoft and Novell, based on some of the latest reports and even press releases like this one [PDF].

“The Microsoft/Red Hat partnership calls for a Red Hat engineering team to actually move to Redmond,” to quote a new report. [1]

“And don’t forget the patent agreement that they still refuse to tell us more about.”Mirroring the Microsoft-Novell ‘special relationship’, there is a lot of technical integration too. The men in suit “said that in the coming months Red Hat Enterprise Linux images will be enabled for on-demand billing directly in its marketplace.” Billing by who? Microsoft? Red Hat? It’s complicated. And don’t forget the patent agreement that they still refuse to tell us more about [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

Jono Bacon, from GitHub and Red Hat’s “Open Organization” [sic] marketing campaign, defends the companies’ new relationship (as he would defend his former employer, Canonical, as well). Citing a sort of Microsoft proxy and a new Red Hat partner (Black Duck), he frames this relationship as necessary and recalls that “Microsoft went a step further with then-CEO Steve Ballmer describing the poster-child of the open source revolution, Linux, as “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

“Red Hat is living in a dream if it genuinely believes that a deal with Microsoft will leave them better off than Linspire or Novell.”Well, based on Nadella’s actions against Samsung, Kyocera, and Dell (there are more examples), he too views Linux as “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.” Nadella insists on still using patents against Linux, and against Android in particular (using patents pertaining to the kernel, Linux).

Under Nadella’s management, Microsoft is even trying to delete Android from phones (we first took note of this at the beginning of this year and later on) or even absorb its software into Windows — a strategy which Microsoft reportedly did in fact consider [2]. It’s like a derivative of the famous “embrace, extend, extinguish” strategy. Under Nadella there was also further lockdown of UEFI, impeding or making impossible installation of GNU/Linux on PCs that come with Microsoft’s unpopular spyware.

Red Hat is living in a dream if it genuinely believes that a deal with Microsoft will leave them better off than Linspire or Novell. Or maybe it can leave Red Hat just better off than everyone else in the GNU/Linux world. Red Hat’s patent agreement with Microsoft, concurrent with Microsoft attacking Android (with software patents), is truly problematic and we will escalate if Red Hat does not respond to us or becomes transparent by the end of this month. A lot of people want answers. The “Open Organization” [sic] ignores these people. It’s inherently antithetical to players in a community of developers.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. For Red Hat and Microsoft Together, the Cloud Beckons

    The Microsoft/Red Hat partnership calls for a Red Hat engineering team to actually move to Redmond to provide joint technical support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux workloads running in the Microsoft Azure public cloud and on its hybrid cloud offerings. That ensures that the companies will have closely tied cloud computing goals.

  2. Microsoft shelves ‘suicidal’ Android-on-Windows plan

    Microsoft has sidelined its plan to allow Windows 10 devices to run Android apps before it could do any serious damage, according to a report.

    Daniel Rubino at the Windows Central blog gathered some convincing evidence that Microsoft’s Project Astoria has been wound down, while the runtime allowing the Android-on-Win10 magic to work has disappeared.

11.14.15

Red Hat and BlackBerry: Companies That Use Linux But Also Hoard Software Patents and Use These Against Rivals in the Linux Space

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Servers at 12:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On carving out parts of the market using patent monopolies…

“Inventive people [at Novell] write more software patents per capita than anywhere else.”

Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s CTO before these patents got passed to CPTN (Linux foes)

Summary: The use of a patent portfolio in the Free software world for divisive and discriminatory purposes, as demonstrated by Red Hat in servers and BlackBerry in phones

IN OUR previous articles which mentioned Microsoft’s patent agreement with Red Hat [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] we noted that:

  1. The patent “standstill” (implies temporary and falsely insinuates there was a two-way war) applies only to Red Hat and its customers, unless Red Hat can prove otherwise;
  2. The deal does not shield Red Hat and and its customers from satellites of Microsoft.

“We both know we have very different positions on software patents. We weren’t expecting each other to compromise.”
      –Paul Cormier, Red Hat
Well, we are still waiting for Red Hat’s lawyers to speak out (Tiller and Piana were involved in this) or for Red Hat’s management to get back to us (if it decides to). They need to go “open” (like an “Open Organization” [sic]), or at least clarify in some other way what exactly Red Hat did with Microsoft regarding patents. The FAQ is far too vague and it raises more questions than it answers. If we don’t hear some time later this month, we shall assume that Red Hat is hiding something and we’ll rally Free software people (urging them to comment on this subject), set up a public petition, etc. Transparency is extremely important here. This new article quotes Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president for products and technologies, as saying: “We both know we have very different positions on software patents. We weren’t expecting each other to compromise.”

Well, both are applying for software patents, so it’s not clear what he meant by that. Also, they compromised only among themselves; what about other entities that use the same software as Red Hat does? Are they too enjoying a patent “standstill”? Probably not. Only says ago Microsoft extorted — using patents — yet another company that was using Linux (Android was mentioned in the announcement).

“Nothing prevents Intellectual Ventures from going after Red Hat just like Acacia repeatedly did, so it’s a fool’s settlement.”What has Red Hat really achieved here? It was a selfish deal and the inclusion of patents in it was totally spurious; it does a lot more harm than good. Ian Bruce, Novell’s PR Director, once said that the Novell/Microsoft package “provides IP peace of mind for organizations operating in mixed source environments.”

Meanwhile, the Microsoft-friendly media gives a platform to the world’s biggest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, without even calling it “patent troll”. This troll recently sued a lot of companies that distributed Linux. Nothing prevents Intellectual Ventures from going after Red Hat just like Acacia repeatedly did, so it’s a fool’s settlement.

“Remember that BlackBerry habitually speaks about using patents for revenue and for market advantage.”Speaking of potential patent dangers to Linux, recall that BlackBerry pays Microsoft for patents (including FAT, which relates to TomTom/Linux) and recall our articles about BlackBerry potentially becoming a troll [1, 2, 3, 4]. Some people’s loyalty to this Canadian brand and its newfound support for Android can blind them to the risk which BlackBerry remains, especially because of its patents stockpile.

This new article [1, 2] serves to remind us that BlackBerry still has “Software And Patent Monetization” in mind (we covered this some weeks ago, quoting the CEO). This means that, failing the strategy with Priv and Venice (BlackBerry’s Android devices and Linux-centric strategy), it could end up like Sony-Ericsson, suing Android players whilst also selling their own (unsuccessful) Android handsets.

“BlackBerry is proprietary to the core.”Remember that BlackBerry habitually speaks about using patents for revenue and for market advantage. Also remember that BlackBerry is not — at least not yet — an Android company. BlackBerry is proprietary to the core. “The QNX division could also face higher competition from open source software such as Linux,” wrote a financial site, “which many customers find more flexible and economical, limiting its potential in the burgeoning IoT and connected device market. For instance, Tesla reportedly uses Linux for its Model S sedan.”

Don’t be too shocked if BlackBerry eventually sells its patents to hostile actors, asserts them against competitors that use Android, or uses aggressive lawyers to compel various OEMs to remove features from their Android devices (both hardware and software features).

Law education

“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”…”

Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008

11.12.15

After Patent Deal With Microsoft Canon Gets Sued (Using Software Patents) by a Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lessons for Red Hat

Canon camera

Summary: Red Hat’s mysterious and seemingly very selfish patent deal with Microsoft continues to float (or reverberate) because of the fate of companies in a similar position

IT has been nearly a week since Red Hat’s poor clarification (FAQ) regarding its patent agreement with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Only a few days later Microsoft extorted yet another company for using Linux and since our detailed media survey there have been yet more articles about it. There are examples from earlier today [1-3], yesterday [4], two days ago [5], and prior days (more articles are still surfacing from that time, e.g. [6-9)). As we pointed out earlier today, we are still waiting to hear back from Red Hat (this afternoon we were told it had been escalated to management). We hope that this kind of patent approach won’t spread to entities like Mozilla because Red Hat has pretty much become part of the problem. It is now filing patent applications for software (any claims of opposition to software patents would be hypocritical) and it is signing what seems like exclusionary patent deals with Microsoft (it’s still kept secret, so it’s hard if not impossible for Red Hat to prove otherwise).

“It’s not the same as it was back in the days of the FireStar settlement.”After the patent deal with Microsoft Red Hat is still exposed to patent trolls like the Microsoft-connected Acacia. Red Hat has already been sued by it several times before (Novell too was sued by Acacia after it had signed the Microsoft patent deal). Red Hat also made secret deals (it agreed to pay Acacia), whereupon we lost hope and trust in Red Hat's misguided patent strategy. It’s not the same as it was back in the days of the FireStar settlement [1, 2, 3]. Red Hat is growing up and just like Google (with Android) it is increasingly being run by lawyers, who probably advise it to hoard patents of its own and sign patent deals where it’s financially beneficial to Red Hat’s shareholders (regardless of the impact on the Free software community).

“If Red Hat genuinely believes that Red Hat and its customers now have patent “standstill”, then it obviously didn’t do its homework regarding Microsoft’s satellites.”Now, recall Canon’s recent patent deal with Microsoft. Also remember that both companies pressured the EPO to treat large corporations differently when it comes to patent examination. Did Canon really think that it would have patent peace after signing a deal with Microsoft? Based on this latest docket report, Intellectual Ventures attacked Canon and its “Image Scanning Patent [is] Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101″ (Alice). To quote the docket report, Intellectual Ventures I LLC et al v. Canon Inc. et al, 1-13-cv-00473 (DED November 9, 2015, Order) (Robinson, J.): “The court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment that plaintiffs’ image scanning patent was invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found that the claims were not directed toward a patent-ineligible concept.”

If Red Hat genuinely believes that Red Hat and its customers now have patent “standstill”, then it obviously didn’t do its homework regarding Microsoft’s satellites. It didn’t even bother thinking about satellites like Acacia, which sued not only Red Hat but also Novell, only months after Novell had boasted patent “peace of mind” with Microsoft.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Red Hat launches Cloud Access on Microsoft Azure
  2. Microsoft, Red Hat join forces for hybrid cloud
  3. Wikibon calls Microsoft-Red Hat partnership a win for both parties
  4. Microsoft and Red Hat to deliver new standard for enterprise cloud experiences
  5. Microsoft and Red Hat partnership: Flexibility for enterprise hybrid cloud solutions
  6. Enterprise Tech Vendors Explore Strategies To Fight Disruption
  7. Microsoft, Red Hat announce partnership on enterprise cloud
  8. Microsoft and Red Hat Partner on Massive Hybrid Cloud Deal
  9. Microsoft and Red Hat announce a Partnership

11.10.15

Only Days After Red Hat Legitimised Microsoft’s Patents Against Linux Another Linux-Using Company Falls Victim to Microsoft’s Patent Extortion

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Red Hat at 11:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Red Hat deal surely serves to legitimise such moves, just as Novell’s deal did

Red Hat at store

Summary: Microsoft is now going after Star Micronics, using threats (with patents) to give Star Micronics paid ‘permission’ to use Linux-based operating systems in its products

It should be obvious by now that the “new Microsoft” — whatever that means — is a Microsoft that uses patents to pressure, to blackmail and to manipulate companies that use Linux, Android, Chrome OS and so on. Recall this year’s examples alone. These include Samsung, Kyocera, ASUS, and Dell. Microsoft used patents to compel them to do to Android and/or Chrome OS what Microsoft had insisted on. It’s basically a tool of extortion. It is not impossible that Microsoft also threatened to sue Red Hat using patents (even innuendo) to pressure Red Hat into a bad deal that harms Free software as a whole. Since Red Hat is so secretive about it, who knows? We contacted the lawyers who were involved in making the agreement on patents (Carlo Piana and Rob Tiller), but still no response. It has been days now.

“Red Hat helped Microsoft openwashing, reputation laundering, and at the same time it bolstered Microsoft’s patents, which it uses all the time to compel companies (especially those that use Linux) to beg Microsoft for mercy and sometimes pay up for something Microsoft only attacks and in no way created.”Red Hat staff should pay attention to today’s (just announced by Microsoft) patent blackmail deal. When Red Hat staff (salaried engineers for the most part) claim that the deal with Microsoft is a “win” they delude themselves in the same way SUSE staff did at the time of the Novell-Microsoft deal. According to this article: “As for the Red Hat partnership that Microsoft has struck, it looks far reaching. The partnership calls for a Red Hat engineering team to move to Redmond to provide joint technical support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux workloads running in the Microsoft Azure public cloud and on its hybrid cloud offerings.”

If there’s a deja vu here, it’s because of Novell. Microsoft must be enjoying the boost Red Hat gave to its patents, by essentially agreeing on a patent “standstill” (for Red Hat only for all we know and based on today’s news). The Microsoft media really loves this deal and it’s easy to see why. Red Hat helped Microsoft openwashing, reputation laundering, and at the same time it bolstered Microsoft’s patents, which it uses all the time to compel companies (especially those that use Linux) to beg Microsoft for mercy and sometimes pay up for something Microsoft only attacks and in no way created. This is an injustice of the highest order.

We already wrote 5 articles about the Red Hat deal, namely:

  1. Media Coverage of the Red Hat-Microsoft Deal Includes Microsoft Talking Points and Moles, No Discussion About Patent Aspects
  2. Red Hat’s Deal With Microsoft Resurrects Fears of Software Patents Against GNU/Linux and Introduces ‘Triple-Dipping’ of Fees
  3. More Information Emerges About the Microsoft-Red Hat Patent Agreement
  4. Red Hat Sells Out With a Microsoft Patent Deal
  5. Summary of the Red Hat-Microsoft Patent Agreement of 2015

Red Hat wants us to believe that there is a “gentle” Microsoft led by Nadella, but if that’s really the case, then why is Microsoft blackmailing yet another company using patents? It’s specifically to do with Linux/Android, based on the announcements. To quote one of them: “Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC today announced their patent licensing agreement with Star Micronics that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Star Micronics’ Android-based commercial printers and computing devices.”

Yes, Android. And it’s not a small company, it employs about 2,500 people.

In the mean time, as reported by Sam Varghese [1], Microsoft is unwilling to comment on extension of the SUSE deal. It runs out in less than 2 months. Is this divide and rule in the making? Did Red Hat step into a trap? We shall know more soon…

I had a very long conversation with Red Hat staff and I hope that their CEO will eventually decide to be transparent about the patent agreement with Microsoft. Even Novell was more transparent than that (at the time).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft unwilling to comment on extension of SUSE deal

    Microsoft has refused to say openly whether it will be extending the patent-licensing deal that it signed with Novell back in 2006. At that time, SUSE Linux was a part of Novell.

    Novell has since been acquired by the Attachmate Group which, in turn, was bought by the British mainframe company Micro Focus.

    In July 2011, Microsoft announced that the agreement with SUSE would be extended until January 1, 2016.

    iTWire asked Microsoft about the SUSE agreement after Red Hat and Microsoft announced a deal a few days back on cloud installations, wherein Microsoft said it would be making Red Hat the preferred enterprise Linux distribution for installing on its Azure cloud offering.

11.07.15

Red Hat is Chastised For Playing Along With Microsoft’s Patent Scheme Rather Than Challenge the Patents Like Google and the Alice Case Did

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

China has already made publicly known which patents Microsoft uses against Linux/Android

Nixon visit to China
Context: 1972 Nixon visit to China [1, 2]

Summary: Criticism of Red Hat’s approach to dealing with Microsoft spreads to more sites, especially those that understand the impact of patents in this area

WE REALLY wanted to avoid further commentary on the Microsoft-Red Hat deal, but another shallow article has just come out, this time from Linux Insider (not necessarily a Linux-friendly site). The authur says nothing about patents, which is often what’s missing from all the puff pieces about this subject.

“Well, Richard Nixon was at least opening up to trade. In the case of Red Hat, it opens up other companies to potential patent lawsuits from Microsoft.”Over at FOSS Force, a pro-FOSS site, Larry Cafiero wrote: “Red Hat and Microsoft on Wednesday announced a partnership that will allow businesses to deploy Red Hat’s open source software on the Microsoft Azure cloud. From news reports, the deal makes Red Hat the “preferred choice” on Microsoft Azure, Redmond’s infrastructure-as-a-service platform. Make what you will of this. Me? If you know my distaste for what’s nebulously called “the cloud,” I’m just walking away from it, though the one comment I read in one story comparing this to Nixon going to China is probably the best comparison.”

Well, Richard Nixon was at least opening up to trade. In the case of Red Hat, it opens up other companies to potential patent lawsuits from Microsoft. We have already explained this in 5 articles, namely:

Florian Müller, who had worked as a patents spinner for Microsoft (for a while), was very hard on Red Hat. He wrote that “Red Hat hopes to leverage patents to cement its Linux market leadership [with the] Microsoft deal” and makes a claim similar to claims we have been making here for over half a decade. “I’ve been saying for years,” he wrote, “that Red Hat is utterly hypocritical when it comes to patents. It has a history of feeding patent trolls and fooling the open source community. There is, to put it mildly, no assurance that all of its related dealings actually comply with the GPL.”

This is exactly our concern and unless there is transparency from the “Open Organisation”, we don’t know for sure. The patent “standstill” does not extend to companies other than Red Hat, so where does that leave even CentOS users (Techrights uses CentOS)? “Red Hat now wants to tell Linux users,” Müller explains, “that the way to be protected with respect to patents is to use Red Hat Linux. “Reduce your exposure, buy from us.” That is a way of seeking to benefit from software patents.”

That’s similar to what Novell did, but secrecy makes it harder to know what really goes on here.

“If you know my distaste for what’s nebulously called “the cloud,” I’m just walking away from it, though the one comment I read in one story comparing this to Nixon going to China is probably the best comparison.”
      –Larry Cafiero
“I want to give Simon Phipps credit,” Müller wrote, “for distinguishing between the positive and not so positive ramifications of this partnership from an open source point of view. The Open Source Initiative is an organization on whose board Simon Phipps serves with, among others, a Red Hat lawyer.

“Without the Red Hat connection, Simon Phipps would presumably have criticized Red Hat clearly as opposed to just making it sound like Microsoft should do more. He says Microsoft should relinquish its patent rights because that’s how he defines “love” for Linux. However, he doesn’t talk about what Red Hat could have done. Red Hat could have challenged any Microsoft patents that allegedly infringe Linux: in court (declaratory judgment actions) and through reexamination requests. That course of action would have done free and open source software a greater service than a deal.”

In Twitter, Müller goes on and chastises the FSF, SFLC etc. for not criticising Red Hat (because of financial ties). This very much reminds us of the reluctance to criticise systemd, which is mostly Red Hat’s own creation. Red Hat’s clout in the community almost makes it immune to criticism.

“Google-Moto defended Linux against MSFT’s patent infringement allegations in court and won,” Müller wrote in Twitter, whereas “Red Hat decided to benefit from them.”

He said that “GPL enforcers like Harald Welte should sue Red Hat for alleged breach of the GPLv2 patent clause, arguing a covenant not to sue is a license” (we don’t know if there is such a covenant because the “Open Organisation” is still quite secretive about it).

“Android,” he says, “not Red Hat, is the #1 Linux distribution. Google, not Red Hat, is the #1 defender of Linux against Microsoft’s patents.”

As we said at the very start (hours after the Microsoft-Red Hat deal had been announced), Red Hat’s actions are defeatist and dangerous. They come at a time when, at least in the US, software patents rapidly lose their teeth anyway.

“”It’s one thing to be a Linux parasite. It’s another to be a Trojan horse. And the worst option is to be both at the same time.”
      –Florian Müller
According to Patent Buddy, citing the Bilski Blog, “Sue L Robinson, the Patent Killer Judge, Has Not Held a Single Patent Valid under 101/Alice” and even at the capital of patent trolls, “E. Dist. Of TX has Alice / 101 Invalidity Rate of 34.8%” (that’s pretty high for such a corrupt district).

To quote the Bilski Blog: “There have been 34 district court decisions in the past two months, but the percentage of invalidity decision is holding constant at 70.5%. The number of patent claims invalidated is now over 11,000, but also holding steady at around 71%.

“There have been no new Federal Circuit Section 101 decisions, but we’re going to see a flurry of activity in the next couple of months, as the court has recently heard oral argument in a number of patent eligibility cases, and more are on calendar for November.

“Motions on the pleadings have soared, with 23 in the past two months alone, and the success rate is up a tick from 70.1% to 71.4%.

“PTAB is a bit mixed: the CBM institution rate is down from 86.2% 83.7%, but the final decision rate is still 100%, with 6 decisions in the past two months invalidating the patents in suit.”

Red Hat could make use of what Bilski Blog called #AliceStorm (referring to the avalanche of software patents) to basically invalidate a lot of Microsoft’s software patents. Instead, Red Hat reached a patent agreement with Microsoft.

Müller’s analysis ends with strong words that we don’t agree with but are worth quoting nonetheless: “It’s one thing to be a Linux parasite. It’s another to be a Trojan horse. And the worst option is to be both at the same time.”

11.06.15

Summary of the Red Hat-Microsoft Patent Agreement of 2015

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Analysis does require a closer look (because Red Hat doesn’t tell the full story)

Red Hat with glasses

Summary: A detailed record of what Red Hat has just done with Microsoft, as explained by Techrights and as (poorly) explained by unsuspecting corporate media

TECHRIGHTS has, over the past couple of days, prepared a comprehensive media survey (60+ article) about the Microsoft-Red Hat deal and their successful spin/cover-up (regarding patents). This was previously covered here in the following posts:

  1. Media Coverage of the Red Hat-Microsoft Deal Includes Microsoft Talking Points and Moles, No Discussion About Patent Aspects
  2. Red Hat’s Deal With Microsoft Resurrects Fears of Software Patents Against GNU/Linux and Introduces ‘Triple-Dipping’ of Fees
  3. More Information Emerges About the Microsoft-Red Hat Patent Agreement
  4. Red Hat Sells Out With a Microsoft Patent Deal

There are many links in there, along with some more links in the comments.

Red Hat’s latest deal with Microsoft definitely included a patent agreement, so this goes further than the 2009 virtualisation deal which was covered here in the following articles:

  1. Summary of the Red Hat-Microsoft Story
  2. Novell the Biggest Loser in New Red Hat-Microsoft Virtual Agreement
  3. Red Hat-Microsoft Agreement Not Malicious, But Was It Smart?
  4. Red Hat-Microsoft: Take III

Below is a complete list of what we were able to find in the media [2-64] yet haven’t cited (not until now anyway). None of it mentioned the patent aspects (unless it’s just hidden away in some distant sentence or paragraph), not because such aspects don’t exist but because Red Hat did a fine job hiding it (way to go, “Open Organisation”), or at least downplaying it. The criticism from Sam Varghese and yours truly got mentioned in [1] earlier today.

“The media framed this the same way it was told by Red Hat and Microsoft.”Journalism is supposed to involve independent analysis or an audit of events, not repetition of official narratives from companies that have so much to gain financially (that’s what the deal was all about, even at the expense of patent security in the Free software world). The media framed this the same way it was told by Red Hat and Microsoft. Almost nobody went further or delved any deeper. Red Hat’s culture of secrecy can also be seen when it comes to the company's patent settlements and special relationship with the NSA (they cooperate on code and the NSA is a huge client of Red Hat). We about this back in 2013 [1, 2, 3, 4], then saw the story resurfacing this year (because it turned out that illegal and unconstitutional mass surveillance is done using RHEL).

It is going to be interesting to see what happens to SUSE at the end of this year because its coupons/patent deal expires on January 1st (the press release said that “both vendors are also resolving intellectual property concerns”).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Underneath the Red Hat Microsoft Deal, Bodhi is Five

    However, Dr. Roy Schestowitz isn’t celebrating. In fact, he said the deal could very well put many distributions out of business (so to speak) and Red Hat users at risk. He said the deal involves patent agreements and data collection. It’s all about money according to Schestowitz who said, “At Red Hat money now matters more than freedom and ethics.” For Microsoft it’s about double and triple taxing users in addition to collecting and selling their data. Red Hat isn’t interested in defending GNU/Linux against patent trolls and instead pays out to settle cases and now signs a patent deal according to Schestowitz and his quoted and linked sources. Microsoft has and is continuing to pursue lawsuits against Open Source entities. Nasdaq.com said on the subject Microsoft is known for “aggressively seeking royalties from its software patents” then quoted Red Hat’s Paul Cormier saying, “We both know we have very different positions on software patents. We weren’t expecting each other to compromise.”We weren’t expecting each other to compromise.” So, at least one other site covered the patent situation, even if not in depth. Red Hat stock closed at $82.75 after the announcement Wednesday and finshed up today, Thursday, at 81.57.

    Sam Varghese today asked, “With two companies — Microsoft and Red Hat — from opposite ends of the software spectrum linking arms in a deal overnight, the big question that remains is: what happens to the SUSE-Microsoft deal?” He suggests SUSE might not get the same level of assistance it once did now. But then again, he also speculated that the deal is “unlikely to earn any criticism from the open source community” as it SUSE did. I guess he hasn’t read Schestowitz lately.

  2. Microsoft and Red Hat Reach Linux Deal
  3. Microsoft, Red Hat Finally Make It Official
  4. Microsoft brings Red Hat Enterprise Linux to Azure
  5. Red Hat and Microsoft become partners in the cloud
  6. Red Hat Enterprise Linux lands on Microsoft Azure cloud – no, we’re not pulling your leg
  7. Microsoft partners with Red Hat for hybrid cloud solutions
  8. Microsoft (MSFT), Red Hat (RHT) Enter Azure-Related Partnership
  9. Red Hat OS on Microsoft Azure: Now It’s Easy
  10. Microsoft Joins Hands With Red Hat To Bring Enterprise Linux To Azure Cloud Platform
  11. Microsoft, Red Hat Partner For Linux On Azure
  12. Microsoft and Red Hat announce cloud partnership, show .NET a few love
  13. Shocker: Microsoft and Red Hat Team-up
  14. Red Hat-Microsoft partnership means a ‘co-location’ of engineers
  15. Nadella delivers another shocker as Microsoft embraces Red Hat in cloud alliance
  16. Microsoft and Red Hat join forces to help ease enterprises into hybrid cloud
  17. Red Hat Enterprise Linux to become officially supported on Azure (at last)
  18. Microsoft improves enterprise cloud by making Azure available on Red Hat Linux
  19. Major Red Hat & Microsoft Partnership Around Cloud and .NET on Linux
  20. Major Red Hat & Microsoft Partnership Around Cloud and .NET on Linux
  21. Microsoft partners with Red Hat on hybrid cloud computing
  22. Microsoft and Red Hat announce partnership
  23. Microsoft, Red Hat Strike Broad Cloud Alliance
  24. Microsoft signs cloud deal with Red Hat
  25. Microsoft Plays Nice With Open Source Rival Red Hat
  26. Microsoft and Red Hat Make Cloud Pact
  27. Microsoft, Red Hat in deal to boost hybrid cloud computing
  28. Microsoft, Red Hat Collaborate To Put Linux on Azure
  29. Microsoft Corporation, Red Hat Bury The Hatchet, Offer New Enterprise Cloud Standard
  30. Red Hat, Microsoft Partner on Open Source Solutions for Azure Cloud
  31. Microsoft and Red Hat form cloud partnership
  32. Microsoft joins with Red Hat to make hybrid cloud adoption easier
  33. Microsoft to offer Red Hat Linux on Azure cloud
  34. Finally, Red Hat and Microsoft join hands to bring Linux on Azure
  35. Microsoft teams up with Red Hat for enterprise cloud solutions
  36. What’s behind the odd couple Microsoft-Red Hat partnership
  37. Red Hat Enterprise Linux to be Available on Microsoft Azure Cloud Service
  38. Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) Struck Up A Major New Alliance For Cloud Computing- CDW Corporation (NASDAQ:CDW), MaxLinear, Inc. (NYSE:MXL)
  39. Microsoft and Red Hat join hands for Linux on Azure
  40. Analyst: Red Hat, Microsoft deal could lead to Amazon partnership
  41. Microsoft Corporation Partners With Red Hat Inc For Its Cloud Service
  42. Microsoft Partners with Red Hat; MariaDB Released on Azure
  43. Why Did Microsoft Corporation Paint Its Cloud Red?
  44. Red Hat Teams With Microsoft To Create Improved Cloud Experience
  45. Microsoft and Red Hat Take Over Cloud Market
  46. Red Hat and Microsoft strike historic Linux-Azure union
  47. Microsoft and Red Hat partner up for enterprise hybrid cloud
  48. Microsoft and Red Hat announce enterprise cloud partnership
  49. Microsoft And Red Hat To Bring .NET To Linux
  50. Red Hat, Microsoft Deal Keeps Customers, Stock Aloft
  51. Microsoft announces partnership with Red Hat
  52. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Joined Forces with Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) To Improve Cloud Computing Service- Cognizant Technology Solutions (NASDAQ:CTSH), Qlik Technologies (NASDAQ:QLIK)
  53. Armistice Signed: Red Hat, Microsoft Change the Landscape
  54. Microsoft and Red Hat Partner on Massive Hybrid Cloud Deal
  55. Microsoft and Red Hat to deliver new standard for enterprise cloud experiences
  56. Microsoft just buried the hatchet with another huge and bitter rival, Red Hat
  57. Red Hat Linux Enterprise is Reference Platform for .NET Core on Linux
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  61. Microsoft, Red Hat ink Azure/Linux cloud deal (updated)
  62. Microsoft to make Red Hat Linux available on Azure
  63. At Last! Microsoft and Red Hat Sign Cloud Pact
  64. Bromance Between Microsoft And Linux Will Take Place In The Cloud

11.05.15

Media Coverage of the Red Hat-Microsoft Deal Includes Microsoft Talking Points and Moles, No Discussion About Patent Aspects

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 8:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A review or a survey of media coverage about the Microsoft-Red Hat deal, which was generally appalling and very much misleading, not just deficient in the sense that it added nothing new

WE are very frustrated to have found very poor coverage about the Microsoft-Red Hat deal. It’s disappointing to go one article after another and find almost nothing new. It’s just echoing (or parroting) what the companies are saying. There is no real effort to do journalism, reporting, in-depth investigation. Media coverage about the EPO tends to be the same in the English-speaking media.

Katherine Noyes, who used to work for the Linux Foundation, wrote that “Microsoft finally ties the knot with Red Hat for Linux on Azure” (maybe this headline is the editor’s, not hers).

Microsoft finally ties the knot with Red Hat? Come on, what is this, a wedding? It’s hardly even a shotgun wedding. In an effort to go lyrical they’re turning this into a sham and a mockery. The article itself does not really add anything new. It says nothing about the patents [1, 2, 3] because it’s a soft piece, not investigative journalism. This article is complete with quotes from Microsoft mouthpieces like the Gartner Group and IDC (part of the employer of the writer, IDG).

“Red Hat, despite asserting they don’t believe Microsoft has any patents that read on their products, included a standstill agreement in the deal. Sources tell me it is carefully phrased to comply with the GPL. If Red Hat felt they had to do that with their new partner, there’s no doubt everyone else remains at risk.”
      –Simon Phipps
We have been having a bit of a deja vu today (and yesterday) because a lot of what’s said about the Microsoft-Red Hat deal deal is pure marketing. Shallow and inaccurate, with very few exceptions (usually not in the mainstream media).

Simon Phipps wrote some hours ago that he had “updated [his blog post] to include the patent standstill” (a crucial addition). To quote the amended text: “Red Hat, despite asserting they don’t believe Microsoft has any patents that read on their products, included a standstill agreement in the deal. Sources tell me it is carefully phrased to comply with the GPL. If Red Hat felt they had to do that with their new partner, there’s no doubt everyone else remains at risk.”

Yes, exactly. Red Hat has just sold us all out, just because it can help Red Hat attract some customers. This is selfish and even — if one dare say it — malicious.

Florian Müller, who used to work for Microsoft (for a while) after he had campaigned against software patents, wrote: “One could argue that challenging all those patents allegedly infringed by Linux in court would have done FOSS a greater service than a deal.”

He also wrote: “One *can* be more demanding than @webmink: Red Hat could have brought declaratory judgment actions against MSFT patents on that Chinese list [...] Simon Phipps applies a high standard to “MSFT loves Linux”: love should include giving up all related patent rights” (source).

Müller is actually right in this case and this agrees with what we wrote about Red Hat about half a decade ago. For those who forgot, here are some reminders:

The corporate media is full of complete nonsense (no depth at all) about this deal. Watch the coverage in the financial press, calling it “”Co-Location” Partnership” or a “Microsoft Tie-Up”. It’s more like a sellout.

A lot of such propaganda we have been seeing today while making a partial record of it. Why are the people who cover these issues not familiar with Free software and patents for instance? They’re clueless because their critical skills require some knowledge of the topics covered. They’re just so easy for marketers to bamboozle. These people should be told by their editor: If you don’t grasp it, don’t write about it. Just repeating what PR spokespeople and press releases (from notorious liars like Microsoft) say isn’t journalism. Sadly, a lot of people who do just that call themselves reporters.

Klint Finley, writing for a large publication, uses words like “Frenemy” and says this: “As recently as 2007, Microsoft was threatening to sue Linux users for patent infringement, though it soon backed down.”

With all due respect, this is nonsense. It’s revisionism and it’s a lie. Microsoft didn’t back down, it sued TomTom for instance and it still uses patents for extortion, even under the current leadership. Examples include Samsung, Kyocera, ASUS, and Dell.

Adrian Bridgwater, sometimes a Microsoft apologist (with the openwashing and all), chooses to go with “Microsoft Loves Linux” in his headline (also with an image at the top along those lines, just like Katherine Noyes). This isn’t journalism, it’s more like Microsoft marketing; why are these people helping Microsoft lie to the public? Do they think it’s just fun or funny? It’s very irresponsible ‘journalism’. Just like Noyes, Bridgwater quotes IDC, but to make matters worse, he quotes “IDC software analyst Al Hilwa”. Does he even know who Hilwa is? Did he check? Hilwa used to work for Microsoft, but there is no disclosure of this obvious conflict of interests and he habitually comments on Microsoft as an "analyst" without explaining that he actually came from Microsoft. Bridgwater’s article is shallow and nothing about patents gets mentioned. What is the reader supposed to conclude from it? The headline says “Microsoft Loves Linux”, the image at the top says “Microsoft Loves Linux”, and the article quotes as an ‘expert’ a person from Microsoft who pretends to be independent. What a coup!

One of the better articles we have found on this subject came from Sam Varghese and was titled “With Microsoft and Red Hat in bed, what happens to SUSE?”

To quote Varghese: “The Microsoft-Novell deal — SUSE was then a part of Novell — was initially signed in 2006 and, after its initial five-year term, was renewed in July 2011 for a further five years until the end of 2015. It has hardly two months left to run.

“There has been no word from either SUSE or Microsoft on what happens next. SUSE’s leaders are currently in Amsterdam attending the company’s annual national conference.”

It is a good article and it makes some valid points. It is rather reassuring to know that some real journalists still exist out there. They may not be loved by all (far from it), but therein lies a yardstick for success. Journalists who never piss anyone off are probably just cowards who don’t do the job they’re supposed to do, which is unearthing new information, not repeating talking points packaged and delivered in bite sizes for so-called ambitious ‘journalists’ to paste into a Microsoft Word document, then dispatch to a self-censoring editor (censorship based on the publisher’s sponsors’ expected reaction). Real journalism can hurt people’s feelings; ‘safe’ ‘journalism’ (puff pieces to appease or invite advertisers) does not.

Finally, as well as the important/enlightening quote below, we wish to remind readers that patent ‘peace’ with a company like Microsoft does not protect any entity from satellites of this company, e.g. patent trolls. Remember that shortly after Novell had signed its patent deal with Microsoft both itself and Red Hat got sued by the Microsoft-connected Acacia for patent infringement. It wasn’t the last time, not even from this one single satellite (there were settlements down the line even as recently as 2 years ago).

“In a world where there are $500 million dollar patent infringement lawsuits imposed on OS companies (although this is not completely settled yet), how would somebody like Red Hat compete when 6 months ago they only had $80-$90 million in cash? At that point they could not even afford to settle a fraction of a single judgment without devastating their shareholders. I suspect Microsoft may have 50 or more of these lawsuits in the queue. All of them are not asking for hundreds of millions, but most would be large enough to ruin anything but the largest companies. Red Hat did recently raise several hundred million which certainly gives them more staying power. Ultimately, I do not think any company except a few of the largest companies can offer any reasonable insulation to their customers from these types of judgments. You would need a market cap of more than a couple billion to just survive in the OS space.”

SCO’s Strategic Consultant Mike Anderer

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