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08.12.10

Microsoft Continues to Distort the Word ‘Open’ and Harm SVG Using Proprietary VML

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, Samba at 3:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SVG logoSummary: The latest propaganda from the ‘Microsoft press’, Microsoft’s distortion of formats using VML, and the continued threat of proprietary Samba substitutes masquerading as ‘open’

Microsoft’s Paoli, who played a role in distorting the nature of Microsoft Office formats (portraying them as “open”), has been busy recently ‘openwashing’ Microsoft’s Fog Computing effort. Paoli’s latest spin on ‘open’ is a subject we tackled here before [1, 2, 3], so we won’t be going into the rebuttals again.

Roughly two weeks later it’s time for the 'Microsoft press' to recite those very same talking points.

Microsoft believes that customers own their data in the cloud, Paoli said. To support data portability in Windows Azure, Microsoft advocates the Open Data Protocol (OData).

This whole spin around OData is also loved by Microsoft’s MVP Mr. de Icaza, who uses Mono to ‘openwash’ .NET. One of his colleagues is already creating patent traps using Mono (a project called Banshee) and there are equally scary derivatives. Novell is by all means part of this problem. Novell Inc. — and its VP de Icaza in particular — also promoted OOXML.

One reader has told us that Microsoft’s “VML is back” and it is using OOXML as a carrier, further demonstrating Microsoft’s SVG snub [1, 2] (expected all along).

The Strict compliance level disallows some of the really MS Word early versions-flavoured features. For example, the Strict compliance level specifies that all drawings in an OOXML document are specified as DrawingML shapes, not as VML (Vector Markup Language).

Microsoft never changed. Having corrupted standards bodies all across the world it continues to ensure that only Microsoft Office will be able to handle people’s personal files. Frank Ohlhorst has this new article advising people to buy proprietary software (disguised as “open” using the ‘open’ core trick) from former Microsoft employees [1, 2] (people should use Samba instead) to integrate networks the Microsoft way rather than the standard way. How long will it take for everyone to understand that “open” at Microsoft is a sham (usually Windows-only) and that falling into Microsoft protocols and formats is a technical nightmare?

“Microsoft’s case wasn’t helped when two books, Undocumented Windows and Undocumented DOS, written by Andrew Schulman, appeared on the shelves. The books charged Microsoft with building secret interfaces into its operating systems, giving its own applications developers an advantage over its competitors by making Microsoft’s own applications run better than anyone else’s.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

07.25.10

Microsoft Software Patents and Profit

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Samba at 3:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Centrify

Summary: A few remarks about Centrify and Likewise — the Microsoft-esque companies which pretend to serve open source

Centrify is an interesting case [1, 2, 3] of software patents and Microsoft promotion disguised as “free”. Centrify is a subject we covered here many times before (even days ago) and it makes some more headlines at the moment due to this press release that helped produce some articles [1, 2, 3]. They use the term “Express” — just like Microsoft does — in order to introduce a gateway to software patents and pricey proprietary software that strengthens Microsoft’s monopoly.

Centrify Express is a set of free software applications and tools, content resources and community forums designed to help organizations improve security and compliance of data center and desktop systems.

Another new article that’s related to it helps remind us of the bad side of Active Directory, which Microsoft controls and Centrify promotes. We have already explained the Centrify-Microsoft connection (including staff commonalities), which reminded us of Likewise (created by Microsoft folks and currently stepping on Samba with ‘open’ core and with Microsoft patents). “Likewise Software has Record First Half,” says this new press release. Apparently it pays off to pretend to be “open source” (Likewise is not open source) and to promote Microsoft in open source circles. Likewise — unlike Samba — helps put a software patents tax on SMB/Samba functionality. It’s just something to watch out for. Likewise is what Microsoft wants Samba to be.

07.23.10

Quote of the Day: Peer To Patent is a “Colossal Waste of Time When [It] Examines Software Patents”

Posted in Patents, Quote, Red Hat, Samba at 3:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Carlo Piana

Summary: Carlo Piana is also among the critics of Peer To Patent

Earlier today we explained yet again why Peer To Patent is not the best solution to the problem Free software is having. Carlo Piana, the Samba lawyer who says that “the *only* solution is abolition NOW” has also just said: “#peerpatent, however deserving high praise, is a colossal waste of time when examines #swpats, which shouldn’t exist”

Even Florian Müller echoed his remarks. “Sadly,” I explained to the messenger, “what Peer To Patent seems to be doing is in some ways making software patents stronger.” OIN is not an optimal solution, either; far from it, but that debate is different. If companies like Oracle, IBM and Google could align with the pushers to end software patents, this goal would be achievable.

07.05.10

Patent Aggression Against Linux: Microsoft, Apple, and Nobody Else

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Protocol, Samba, Servers at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Team of two

Summary: A look at some of the latest patent news and an explanation of why Microsoft and Apple (and Microsoft’s patent trolls) are by far the biggest problem

Well, we don’t write so much about the Bilski case anymore. It’s because we have done enough of that and the analyses are quite repetitive in the sense that few raise new points. To give just a small number of noteworthy posts that we missed, Brian Proffitt writes about the impact on software patentability in the US, Brad Feld is upset after spending time and money to abolish software patents in the US, IDG claims that SCOTUS leaves software patentability intact in the US, Datamation has a new cartoon about it, and Mike Masnick says that the IEEE misleads with its damned press release in the US. The headline from The Register reads: “Yes, software can be patented, US Supremes say” (false).

But they didn’t say that. They merely avoided addressing the subject.

A few days ago we wrote about the impact of biotech patents and the impact of SCOTUS on them. They are said to have received a “boost”. [via Slashdot]

Myriad Genetics Inc., Genomic Health Inc. and the rest of the burgeoning industry for personalized medicine stand to gain from yesterday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on patenting business methods.

[...]

The decision from the Supreme Court is unlikely to end the debate over diagnostic patents.

A couple of days ago Slashdot showed that Microsoft had patented things that should not be patented.

theodp writes “This week’s USPTO patent application disclosures included a trifecta of scary health-related ‘inventions’ from Microsoft. For starters, Microsoft envisions seeing Kids’ Personal Health Records Fed Into Video Games, where they can be used to ‘regulate and/or prescribe an individual’s behavior while playing electronic games.’ Next up is Centralized Healthcare Data Management, which describes how employees’ health habits can be ‘monitored, tracked or otherwise discovered’ so employers can ‘incentivize a user for an act or penalize for an omission to act.’ Finally, there’s Wearing Health on Your Sleeve, which describes a sort of high-tech Scarlet Letter designed to tip off ‘doctors, potential dates, etc.’ about your unhealthy behavior by converting information — ‘number of visits to the gym, workout activities, frequency of workouts, heart rate readings, blood pressure statistics, food consumption, vitamin intake, etc.’ — into a visual form so that others can see the data ‘on mechanisms such as a mood ring, watch, badge, on a website etc.’”

A few days ago we explained why Likewise is a form of patent taxman for Microsoft. Their new release got some more coverage and a Linux proponent pointed out: “This reminds me of all the alternatives to Exchange currently available on Linux, buy any of those for 10-50 users and you’ll discover quickly that buying the MS’ original is cheaper.”

Basically, clones of Microsoft protocols-reliant products that are sold by former Microsoft employees (e.g. Likewise [1, 2, 3, 4], Centrify [1, 2, 3]) are better off avoided and replaced by protocols that Microsoft does not control or by Samba, which the European Commission gave a special status after antitrust violations by Microsoft. The following new article states:

The Likewise Open core is licensed under Gnu Public License (GPL) version 2 and Lesser GPL version 2.

It’s “open core”, which is proprietary+marketing spin. It’s not GPLv3 and one should not be misled because they mix that with Microsoft’s software patents. One should just go with Samba.

When it comes to patents and GNU/Linux, Microsoft is still by far the worst aggressor. Microsoft boosters seem to be taking pride in these patents which Microsoft is stockpiling and using to attack Linux, sometimes via patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Latest raves from Microsoft bloggers:

Here is some more coverage (not from Microsoft boosters):

This patent won’t expire for quite some time.

Microsoft received the patent this week and TechFlash reports that this kind of patent is good for 14 years, so Microsoft has until 2024 to do something with this design.

Some dual-display tablets run Android or GNU/Linux.

Given that .NET is allegedly a patent violation, Microsoft would not be smart to go around suing people/companies, but that’s just what is does, most recently against Salesforce. Here again is the mentioning of .NET patent violation:

The world’s biggest maker of Web-based software, Salesforce.com, has not specified what damages it is seeking, but claims that Microsoft is infringing five Salesforce patents in programs, including in the Windows Server operating system and the widely used .Net platform.

Based on other reports as well as previous posts of ours [1, 2], Salesforce is equipped with David Boies, the “Microsoft Nemesis”.

Is Microsoft playing with fire? It sure alienates many people, except Monty and Müller on the face of it. The former is paid by Microsoft and the latter is just keeping his head deep in the sand (insisting that IBM is the bigger threat). Earlier today he also mentioned Apple, which is a patent violator (risking bans) that had the nerve to sue Android (including Linux). Here is a new summary of this case:

In this great hullabaloo of rivals accusing each other of infringement of patents, one is only left confused seeing the who’s who in the arena of smartphones making a claim of the same victimization. A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by the government to the inventor in exchange for a public disclosure of the invention. The big question is, will this war really see the light of a consensus and settlement?

Earlier this year in March, Apple filed a lawsuit against HTC for infringing 20 of its patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. The lawsuit was filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission(ITC) and concurrently in the US District Court in Delaware. Very truly it’s said that “competition is healthy, but the rivals should try and yearn to develop their own technology and not steal the existing”. This lawsuit; it’s said, is the next high profile litigation in the mobile phone business after Nokia and Apple attacking each other in past few months.

Apple’s hypePhone is having some trouble right now. Apple cannot quite compete without suing competitors, apparently. As one new essay puts it:

Ideas Are a Commodity, It’s Execution Intelligence That Matters

First of all, ideas are commodities. Look at any industry, any product or service offering, and what you really see is improvement on the existing standard versus uniqueness in the offering. These improvements can be continuous or disruptive, but in either category, to the customer they are nothing more than incremental improvement around the financial return, usability, quality, or experience of your competitor. This explains why management teams are so important; if new offerings are commodities it’s execution by the management team – what I like to call execution intelligence – that makes the difference in the market.

Apple also contributes towards MPEG-LA’s war on free/libre video. For background, see:

Here is a new article on the subject:

Video Prison: Why Patents Might Threaten Free Online Video

[...]

On June 20, 2009, nearly 150,000 people witnessed the death of 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan, but unlike the Iranians who passed her by in the street, they weren’t bystanders to the post-election turmoil in Tehran that claimed her life. They were merely the first of over 600,000 who have since viewed a now-symbolic YouTube video that helped propel the opposition political movement forward in the following days of protest. The democratizing power of the Web lies in video like this one–not just because of its content, but because anyone with an Internet connection can contribute to a global dialogue.

But imagine if the person who shot this video had been unable to post it anonymously or if YouTube viewers had to pay to watch it. If online videos were subject to patent licensing fees, users could be charged per-view to capture those fees. Beyond the ethical dilemma profiteering from a tragic death, video licensing could reduce the democratic nature of free and open Internet content to monetizable media. The funny cat videos would be gone forever (perhaps not the greatest loss), but so too would the movement-inspiring Nedas of the future remain unknown.

TechDirt says that Britannica has also gone sour:

It Appears That The Encyclopaedia Britannica Entry On Shaking Down GPS Providers With A Bogus Patent Needs Updating

The Encyclopaedia Britannica has not exactly been having a good decade. In the minds of much of the public (though, certainly not all), the usefulness of Britannica has long been surpassed by Wikipedia. A couple years ago, we gave Britannica’s president a chance to explain his views on where Britannica is going, but it still seems like an uphill battle. Among the more ridiculous things that Britannica has tried to do is to also turn itself into a bit of a patent troll. Back in 2007, it sued a bunch of GPS companies for patent infringement. Scratching your head over why Britannica holds patents on GPS technology? The answer is even more convoluted than you can imagine.

Here is another potential aggressor to watch out for. “Patent Calls Inc. buys Dallas competitor for $16M,” says this report. There is still a difference between a patent holder and a patent aggressor. Microsoft and Apple are both and they are specifically targeting Linux with their lawsuits. Not many companies do that. In fact, no real companies do that, except Microsoft and Apple (patent trolls like Acacia aside, although Acacia too has Microsoft connections).

05.25.10

Samba Lawyer About Software Patents: The Only Solution is Abolition

Posted in America, IBM, Patents, Samba at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Carlo Piana

Summary: Carlo Piana seems to have just explained why attempts to work around software patents or use patent pools are probably a waste of time and genuinely good effort

THE SCOTUS decision regarding Bilski is imminent [1, 2]. Red Hat’s Richard Fontana writes: “SCOTUS issues several opinions in argued cases today – but still no Bilski”

Over at Slashdot, IBM is still shown to be doing bad things with the patent system. IBM is a key player in the Bilski case for many reasons, but IBM is also a proponent of software patents. Even in Europe, IBM has been in favour of software patents. Some friend, eh? IBM believes that patent pools like OIN and patent promises will somehow defend Free software as a whole. The FFII disagrees and so do many others.

Over at The H, Glyn Moody writes about software patent thickets and adds: “time for free software to ignore [software patents] locally?” (software patents are not formally legitimate in Europe for example)

Most people in the hacking community are well aware that patents represent one of the most serious threats to free software. But the situation is actually even worse than it seems, thanks to the proliferation of what are called patent thickets. To understand why these are so bad, and why they represent a particular problem for software, it is necessary to go back to the beginning of patent law.

The patent thicket As their name implies, patents are about making something “patent”, or public, so that others can use and build on an invention – but only after a certain period, during which time the patent-holder has a monopoly right (what kind of right is discussed below). Indeed, the origin of British patent law – and of many anglophone countries that base their law on this tradition – is the 1623 Statute of Monopolies.

“Afraid that the *only* solution is abolition NOW,” argues Carlo Piana, the famous lawyer who represented Samba in Europe.

Piana adds: “We must solve the problem from the root, or we’ll be submerged by [software patents]. “Abolition” is the only way out!”

That’s what the FFII has been saying all along.

Last week we wrote quite a lot about the situation in Germany with regards to software patents [1, 2, 3]. The impact of the Siemens case as a “landmark ruling” is fortunately being disputed in a patent lawyers’ Web site (subscription required).

German Supreme Court software patent decision ‘not a landmark ruling’, says expert

Yesterday I reported on a blog posting from the well-known European anti-software patent campaigner Florian Mueller about a recent decision of the German Supreme Court which he said would open to the door to many more software patent grants (and litigation) in Germany. At the end of the piece I stated that if I were involved in the software industry I would be looking to get some clarificaiton on developments from a German patent attorney.

Perhaps it’s time to accumulate voices which jointly call for abolition of software patents not just in the United States. Software patents would harm computing a great deal, universally.

“The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”

Richard Stallman

05.06.10

Canonical, Ubuntu, and Software Patents

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Patents, Samba, Ubuntu at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How software patents tax comes into Ubuntu (at OEM level)

YESTERDAY we mentioned Canonical’s awkward situation when it comes to MPEG-LA. This whole subject has generally been explored recently in (chronologically ordered):

  1. Microsoft Brings MPEG-LA-LA Land to the Web and Threatens GNU/Linux With Software Patent Lawsuits
  2. Steve Jobs: “A Patent Pool is Being Assembled to Go After Theora and Other “Open Source” Codecs Now.”
  3. Apple’s and Microsoft’s New Motto: Do More Evil, Together
  4. “Behind the Open Codec FUD Attack, W3C Captured by Microsoft, Apple, Nokia and So On?”
  5. Behind the Microsoft Puppetmaster: SCO-Type Libel, Acacia-Type Patent Trolls, and Novell-Type Patent Deals to Make GNU/Linux Not Free (Gratis)
  6. Patents Roundup: Red Hat on Patent Trolls; Apple Antitrust; Microsoft Attacks Theora, Which is Needed to Save Our Video Culture
  7. Apple and Microsoft a Threat to Culture (Data), Not Just Software (Tools)
  8. “The fight has been around a long time, now the target of Microsoft is Theora”

Canonical is based in the UK, where software patents are mostly invalid (bar Nokia’s utter greed [1, 2], which makes no sense).

Gizmodo and Engadget have both just covered the legal minefield which is H.264 and more comments on the latter article can be found in LWN (a GNU/Linux perspective).

The president of the FFII interprets the above by quoting “In order to ship an H.264 decoder with Firefox, Mozilla would have to pay the MPEG-LA something around $5 million a year” and he also cites this item from The Register, which says: “What’s more, Canonical – Ubuntu’s commercial sponsor – is now the only Linux maker to license H.264/AVC, the closed and patented technology used to compress video.”

This is not entirely new to us and it can certainly explain price oddities. The H says that “Canonical clarifies its H.264 licence” and so does The Register.

When purchasing an OEM machine with Ubuntu pre-installed, there is currently no way to tell, without the manufacturer explicitly specifying them, which software and codecs are bundled with the machine. A device may be validated as Ubuntu Compatible, which means the OEM has tested the system and Canonical has verified the test, or as Ubuntu Certified, which means that Canonical have performed the testing. Kenyon points to the Ubuntu Certified list on the Canonical site, which lists systems from Lenovo, ASUSTek, HP, Toshiba, Samsung and Dell. Kenyon added “We have explored setting some minimum requirements for codecs, but this is not something that we presently do”.

So the rule of thumb is that an arbitrary Ubuntu system does not have a H.264 licence via Canonical, unless it’s an OEM system which specifically lists the H.264 licence in its documentation or marketing materials.

H.264 is not the only patent issue in Ubuntu. Last week we wrote about Likewise in Ubuntu and here is someone who is not concerned about it:

It’s funny, but when you talk to Jerry Carter, he doesn’t sound like someone who’s part of a conspiracy to bring down Linux/Windows interoperability and from there enable the downfall of Linux itself. He comes across as far less evil.

Yet last summer, Carter, who is Director of Engineering at Likewise Software, and his co-workers were practically accused of doing exactly that when Likewise CEO Barry Crist detailed the hows and whys of Likewise-CIFS pulling away from the Samba codebase.

In our previous posts about Likewise [1, 2, 3, 4] we explained their role in playing the software patents game. They are former Microsoft staff, hacking on Samba and selling it with patent ‘protection’. Ubuntu should stick with just Samba. As for codecs, people can fetch these themselves (if they are required at all).

04.30.10

Microsoft ‘Embraces’ Joomla! to Spread Proprietary Software (Windows and IIS)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Samba, Servers, Ubuntu, Windows at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

People series
Learning to say “No” is sometimes a quality/virtue, not a weakness

Summary: Microsoft’s assault on GNU/Linux takes new routes as additional deals get signed to undercut it or to make it more expensive

THE previous post spoke about Microsoft’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] against Android [1, 2]. This is an aggressive action, it is not an interaction, no matter how Microsoft employees try to paint that.

Microsoft has gotten all sorts of witty ways of imposing software patents upon GNU/Linux. One way to get around Samba’s deal (patent concessions) in Europe appears to be a group of former Microsoft staff (called Likewise [1, 2, 3, 4]) which is bringing such patent fees into the latest Ubuntu GNU/Linux (or Kubuntu, the latest version of which I am trying at the moment, alongside PCLinuxOS 2010). But this isn’t the main subject of this post.

Yesterday we found out from a Microsoft apologist (Thom Holwerda [1, 2]) that Microsoft is exploiting Joomla! too, essentially trying to help Windows at the expense of GNU/Linux through such a Free software project. Yes, it’s ironic. To quote Holwerda:

So, the deal with HTC isn’t the only partnership Microsoft entered into today. The Joomla! project has announced that Microsoft has signed the Joomla! Contributor Agreement, meaning the Redmond company is now a contributor to this GPL project. Microsoft code has already found its way into the upcoming Joomla! 1.6 release, and closer cooperation between Joomla! and Microsoft will follow.

The news was announced by Open Source Matters, Inc., the not-for-profit organisation behind Joomla!. The fruits of the closer cooperation between them are already finding their way into the code base; Joomla! will be better optimised for running on Microsoft’s IIS, while it will also be delivered through the Web Platform Installer.

This is not about Free software. It’s about connecting Joomla! to proprietary software, which would have a negative effect. Microsoft also hooks onto Moodle in the form of a plug-in [1, 2, 3] in order to advance its own proprietary software/services and it hooks onto Linux (with Novell’s help [1, 2, 3]) in order to promote Windows and Hyper-V, which are both proprietary. Suffice to say, there was a violation of the GPL in there, but this wasn’t the first such incident, either. Microsoft does not respect software licences [1, 2, 3, 4]. In any event, all that Microsoft ever contributes in terms of code are connectors to Microsoft databases, services, operating system, etc. It doesn’t actually add real function.

Anyway, there is something to be learned from XOOPS, whose governance crisis has just been covered by Zonker:

The XOOPS community was dealt a bad hand last week. The Dutch Court has rejected its suit against former project manager Herko Coomans and allowed Coomans to keep funds totally more than €15,000 held in a fund earmarked for the project.

This is hardly the first open source project to come into a bad way when early or original founders split due to disagreements. Gentoo had all manner of drama surrounding founder Daniel Robbins departure and attempted return. CentOS experienced issues with control of its funds and its domain last year. There’s the split from Mambo to Joomla, X.org from XFree86… most of which have their roots in poor governance issues.

Joomla! is a free/libre CMS software derived from Mambo and XOOPS is similar to that. Joomla! has a history of disagreements; It has been quite troublesome at the management level since the Mambo-server days. Already we are seeing some people who are very unhappy about Joomla!’s engagement with Microsoft. Regarding the news, Oiaohm wrote: “Think about it, Microsoft has to pay their staff to do the open source work. How are Microsoft going to get money back from it?”

By selling Windows and IIS, of course.

We have also just been sent a press release from Opsview, which is taking pride in Microsoft being involved using the headline “Global brands Ericsson, Microsoft, Allianz and Electronic Arts are turning to Opsview”. The press release itself hardly mentions Microsoft, but it does show that Microsoft is trying to ‘embrace’ its competition (open source included) in order to help itself. It’s an attack on Free software because proprietary software is promoted and it is especially an attack against GNU/Linux. Already, we are seeing coverage about Microsoft front groups like CompTIA speaking about “open source”. Well, there are many forms of “open source” and it’s not always free/libre.

04.23.10

Microsoft Software Patents in Codecs, Web Font DRM, and Likewise-HP

Posted in DRM, Microsoft, Patents, Protocol, Samba at 3:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Likewise as Microsoft

Summary: A look at some issues where Microsoft walks among patents and uses their enforcement to pursue its own goals

LAST month we showed that Microsoft helps MPEG LA (patents cartel/pool), notably at the expense of patents- and royalty-free formats. It is possible that the maze of patents makes video/audio compression as a whole unsafe from infringement (where software patents apply) and BetaNews argues that it is challenging because Microsoft tried in vain.

Google may face legal challenges if it open-sources VP8 codec

[...]

But there’s already historical precedent for a company attempting to offer a royalty-free license for a codec whose underlying technologies it didn’t completely own. In 2005, Microsoft offered its WMV9 technologies as the royalty-free standard VC-1. As Microsoft soon discovered, WMV9 was not “patent-free” outside of Microsoft, and its underlying technologies were not royalty-free either. Today, Microsoft’s service agreement on VC-1 includes a notice saying, among other things, that AVC — one of the bedrock encoding technologies claimed by other rights holders — may be used in the VC-1 codec, under a license granted to Microsoft by MPEG LA. That license covers Microsoft when it, in turn, licenses the use of VC-1′s three essential encoding technologies, for non-commercial purposes.

This almost gives the impression that Microsoft did the right thing, but as always, it requires modest understanding of Microsoft’s motives. Microsoft — unlike the W3C for example — is a profit-driven business. The same goes for Microsoft’s use of its new power in the W3C [1, 2]. Not so long ago Microsoft was trying to push DRM for webfonts into the W3C. Apparently it was not accepted because we have not heard about it since, but Microsoft boosters and others speak about Microsoft sponsoring a new Web font standard.

With a surprise boost from Microsoft, the promise of rich typography on the Web just got a big step closer to reality.

The software company’s involvement emerged Monday with sponsorship of a newer effort at the World Wide Web Consortium to standardize Web-based fonts with technology called the Web Open Font Format (WOFF).

Whose methods will be used? It is possible that Microsoft will try to advance its own way of doing things. We don’t know yet, but we saw that before. There’s HD and the JPEG thing, where Microsoft tried to impose its own implementation upon the standard. Similarly, Microsoft tried to make WMV9 ‘the standard’ (WM is Windows Media), so this whole codec anecdote was not an act of charity.

Speaking of Microsoft and software patents, Likewise, which is former Microsoft staff that stuffs Samba with Microsoft’s software patents and then sells it [1, 2, 3, 4], is hooking up with HP, which charges a premium on GNU/Linux (presumably for patents, although that’s speculative excepting Likewise’s relationship with Microsoft).

These HP StorageWork servers will use Likewise-CIFS, a high-performance, commercially supported, Windows-compatible file server, and Likewise Identity Service. Likewise-CIFS started as a commercially supported Samba but is now a CIFS (Common Internet File System) server in its own right. Likewise Identity Service is an Active Directory bridge technology providing authentication of non-Windows systems to Microsoft’s Active Directory.

Likewise is like an extension of Microsoft and it makes a dangerous precedence because of software patents (complying with Microsoft and overriding Samba, whose special and exclusive deal with the Commission has this loophole). It’s almost as though Microsoft had Likewise created by its people to promote software patents in/and Microsoft protocols.

There is another new announcement from another company created/headed by a former Microsoft employee. We are talking about OpenLogic [1, 2, 3, 4].

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