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02.17.19

Amazon’s Patent Policy Should be Enough of a Reason to Boycott Amazon and AWS

Posted in Patents, Servers at 8:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bezos and MbS

Summary: There are many things to criticise Amazon and its founder for; but rarely does the mainstream media bring up the company’s appalling patent policy

THIS post isn’t about infidelity (shown above) or greed; or Bezos betraying his dead worker by meeting the murderer (shown above). It isn’t about him attacking media and its sources (like our EPO sources) or about him being an exhibitionist. It’s not about him raking in billions of dollars from the CIA (AWS contracts) or about him urging all companies to work for the Pentagon. It’s not about him looking to grab taxpayers’ money in New York (corporate welfare) or famously mistreating his employees (we covered some examples based on insiders’ accounts after they had approached us).

Amazon is a really bad company. Nevertheless, a lot of companies still feel comfortable hosting most things if not all things at AWS, i.e. in datacentres that Amazon keeps a secret (unless or until it leaks). It even uses proxy locations to hide where the servers are, just like some clandestine agency. It’s about surveillance and there’s a lot of censorship, too. It’s imperialistic.

“Amazon is a really bad company. Nevertheless, a lot of companies still feel comfortable hosting most things if not all things at AWS…”Amazon’s record with patents — a subject we last covered some months ago — is overlooked by almost everybody. At the European Patent Office, for instance, Amazon pursued the same dubious patents it had received from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), such as this patent we wrote about some months ago. Amazon isn’t just imperialistic; it’s also monopolistic. It uses software patents to shield its monopoly.

Don’t Use Cloudflare Because You Impose This on People Who Least Want It

Posted in Servers at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It may also put these people at risk

Cloudflare

Summary: Reasons to stop making the World Wide Web so heavily dependent on some dubious companies like Cloudflare, which already has a worrisome track record

OVER the years, at work and at home (e.g. in social control media), I have expressed strong (but polite) criticism of Cloudflare (or CloudFlare or CF) and its dangers — to the point where its oversensitive staff decided to block my Twitter account (not due to abuse or because I spoke to them, they just didn’t want to see anything I had said). I’ve rarely come across so thin-skinned a company and recently I have seen people making the very same points. So here’s the gist of it all: Cloudflare is a MitM (man in the middle) and this enables Cloudflare to engage in censorship, surveillance and even worse things. Cloudflare has done both things in the past and was at times caught misusing its power. Cloudflare is no ordinary CDN but a private, for-profit company that’s upselling. At times they also have technical issues and I’ve seen not just companies but public institutions forced offline (or into semi-working order) due to Cloudflare.

Each time we come under heavy DDOS attack (we have not had such issues for a number of months) someone out there asks us why we don’t use Cloudflare. Explaining all the associated issues is time-consuming as the explanation can be lengthy.

“In some cases, for particular countries, having all traffic visible to the US (through an American company with legal obligations to its government) can be a matter of life and death.”I’ve been dealing with Cloudflare since it was a young company, however reluctantly, at work. I’ve seen public institutions coming to rely on this foreign company and relaying all traffic through it. That raises all sorts of legal questions.

The bottom line is, never ever use Cloudflare. When accessing sites that route traffic through Cloudflare one might in fact be denied access (e.g. Tor users or people who rightly reject JavaScript). In that case, it’s wise to leave (not enter the site), instead leaving a note to the Webmaster, urging him/her to drop Cloudflare.

Sites that respect their visitors do not resort to Cloudflare. Building one’s own CDN may be expensive, but what is the worth of your visitors’ rights? In some cases, for particular countries, having all traffic visible to the US (through an American company with legal obligations to its government) can be a matter of life and death.

02.01.19

Stupid Acquisition of the Month (or Year): Red Hat Selling Itself to the World’s Biggest Lobbying Power for Software Patents

Posted in EFF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Patents, Red Hat, Servers at 3:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Latest Talk From IBM’s Manny Schecter Shows That IBM Hasn’t Changed and After the Red Hat Takeover It’ll Continue to Promote Software Patents

Manny Schecter
Photo credit: Esteban Minero

Summary: “Stupid Patent of the Month” is an abstract patent of IBM, a company that is about to take all of Red Hat’s patents while it’s actively bullying lots of companies using software patents and also selling software patents to notorious patent trolls

WHEN the announcement/proclamation of the prospective acquisition of Red Hat was first announced we were cautiously optimistic (it soon turned out that Red Hat had considered selling itself to Microsoft). We were hopeful that IBM would change course, but seeing the latest Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) and patent lawsuits in district courts and the Federal Circuit it seems clear that IBM continues gaming the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), lobbying politicians for software patents and so on. They even recruited the former Director of the Office as a lobbyist (David Kappos). We’re going to have to become more vocal given IBM’s continued lobbying for software patents and ongoing bullying with patents on algorithms, even against small entities like online shops/retailers (as the latest IPRs reveal). They’re extorting legitimate businesses using likely illegitmate patents, knowing the cost of invalidating these patents may be too great for these businesses (they might choose to settle, instead). What is going on at the top (management) of IBM? It’s like they don’t give a damn whether Red Hat is becoming a part of them. What is Red Hat’s reaction? So far silence. I asked a few prominent employees, who prefer not to comment (maybe fear of losing their job). I know some people from Red Hat who follow me online; not even one tried to comment/explain/excuse IBM’s behaviour when it comes to this. It’s all silence.

“IBM’s patent policy is extremely incompatible with Red Hat’s.”IBM has been lobbying for abstract patents even in Europe, where software patents aren’t generally allowed (European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos does not care what the law says, however, as he’s just another Battistelli with extra secrecy).

At the turn of the new year, seeing that the founder of Watchtroll (Gene Quinn) stepped down as chief editor after 2 decades, we said we would not link to Watchtroll anymore (sending it traffic), not even to rebut its torrent of nonsense. Looking at the latest articles, however, we continue to see more nonsense. “Winning Strategies for Getting Past the Five Types of Patent Examiner” is the title of a new post from Watchtroll. They view examiners as enemies who need to be undermined or fooled/manipulated. How revealing. How anti-scientific of them. Another new post from Watchtroll says “Canada Patent Law Changes Are Bad News for Patent Owners”; by that it means Canada does the right thing and more parasitic lawyers would be out of a job and would likely need a career change.

“Unless the Board of IBM flushed them and replaces them with more Red Hat-like mentality, Red Hat will generally be part of the problem, part of the threat to software development and perhaps to GNU/Linux at large.”Gene Quinn of Watchtroll has just made it abundantly clear, once again, that IBM has not changed because in “IBM Calls for an End to the ‘Legal Fiction’ of Current 101 Law” we’re seeing not even a mild difference/deviation from the old agenda. The outline says: “This marks the final installment in my four-part interview with IBM’s Vice President and Assistant General Counsel Mark Ringes and Chief Patent Counsel Manny Schecter. I found our conversation fascinating and want to thank them both again for their time and insight. Below, we conclude with an in-depth discussion on how the U.S. patent system is affecting startups and the state of enforceability following Director Iancu’s Section 101 Guidance.”

So these are the people at the top of IBM. Unless the Board of IBM flushes them down and replaces them with more Red Hat-like mentality, Red Hat will generally be part of the problem, part of the threat to software development and perhaps to GNU/Linux at large.

“Stupid Patent of the Month” has just been published by Joe Mullin, who joined the EFF about a year ago after he had covered patent trolls a great deal in the media (and he did a good job, unlike the loads of stenography from law firms that dominate patent coverage). Some hours ago he published this post:

In the smartphone era, “distracted driving” is a serious, and well-known, problem. Official warnings about poor driving habits are as old as the automobile itself. The New York Times published a Pulitzer-winning series on distracted driving back in 2009.

Increasingly, technological assists are available for those seeking to manage their smartphone’s distractions while in the car. Apple integrated a “do not disturb while driving” mode into iOS 11, and Google has long had similar functionality in its Android Auto app. Multitudes of third-party smartphone apps exists to address the issue. Finally, more than 50 companies are working on what may be the ultimate solution to distracted driving: autonomous vehicles.

Unfortunately, the U.S. patent system creates warped incentives for emerging software fields like road-safety features. Rather than competing in a challenging space, some players are seeking broadly-worded patents, then hope to sit back and extract profits later.

That may be the strategy of the International Business Machine Corp., which has acquired more U.S. patents than any other company for decades now. This week, IBM was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,191,462, describing a “Vehicle electronic receptionist.”

This is far from the first time IBM is shown to have pursued (and received) bogus patents on software. None of this seems to be changing following the takeover of Red Hat. This, in turn, makes us rather concerned about Red Hat’s future direction. IBM’s patent policy is extremely incompatible with Red Hat’s.

07.15.17

Amazon is Stockpiling Terrible Patents and Using These for Competitive Advantage

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Servers at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An Amazonian floodgate of bad patents

Amazon

Summary: Demonstrating the real purpose of patent hoards, Amazon too ‘pulls a Microsoft’ and shields its dominance by an atmosphere of sheer fear

MANY older articles of ours spoke about Microsoft’s Azure threat to AWS, namely a patent threat [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. We last alluded to it in our previous article. Microsoft can barely compete with the likes of AWS, so it tries gaining leverage by threats (usually patent threats and innuendo, maybe even threats over licensing of Windows/Office). Such is the nature of a company full of liars, crooks, and managers who bribe. They still operate like a cult.

Amazon too, however, is somewhat of a patent parasite, albeit less aggressive than Microsoft (for example, it rarely initiates lawsuits). It habitually promotes software patents not just in the US — something for which it’s hard to forgive Amazon.

In the month of June Amazon received a lot of negative press over patents. Caleb Chen wrote succinctly the following:

Jeff Bezos’s Amazon has been granted a patent for a tool called “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” which helps brick and mortar locations control users’ online shopping experience when they are at the store and on the store’s WiFi network. If a customer searches for a product or competitor, Amazon would be able to “control” that online experience by redirecting, blocking, or otherwise tampering with your internet traffic.

It’s all about this US patent, which some readers told us about. It certainly looks as though the US patent office granted a software patent that would certainly be invalidated by either PTAB or courts (if tested). A widely-cited report about it said that “Amazon’s long been a go-to for people to online price compare while shopping at brick-and-mortars. Now, a new patent granted to the company could prevent people from doing just that inside Amazon’s own stores.” [via]

This made quite a lot of headlines at the time, e.g. [1, 2], but we didn’t consider it urgent enough to cover until yesterday’s report alleging that Amazon exploits its almost fully dominant position/near-monopoly in the domain of AWS in order to protect itself from patent lawsuits. See this article from Amazon-friendly media:

Amazon Web Services drops controversial patent clause from standard user agreement

Amazon Web Services has quietly dropped a controversial provision from its user agreement that essentially forced customers to agree that they could never file a patent infringement lawsuit against the public cloud vendor.

We are guessing that Amazon did not like this coverage, whereupon it was changed.

This article was later retitled “Amazon Web Services adds IP protection while dropping controversial patent clause from user agreement” (with the URL changing also).

The new title suggests that they made a defensive move, perhaps in response to what Microsoft had done earlier this year. It still leaves customers of small hosting companies (without a big pile of patents) rather vulnerable. That’s not a desirable status quo, is it?

02.09.17

OpenSUSE’s (or SUSE’s) Refusal to Publicly Acknowledge It Got Cracked Shows Face-Saving Arrogance Just Like Novell’s

Posted in Deception, Novell, OpenSUSE, Security, Servers, SLES/SLED at 6:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUSE (or MicroFocus) won’t even tell customers when its systems are in fact compromised

Novell cuffs

Summary: The same old and very notorious behaviour we found in Novell persists at SUSE under MicroFocus leadership; security neglected and keeping up appearances more important than honesty

TECHRIGHTS wrote many thousands of articles about Novell. We know Novell extremely well and we have documented its terrible behaviour for over half a decade, well before we began focusing on the EPO for example. As we shall show later, in a separate post, Microsoft’s and Novell’s “IP Peace of Mind” is making a comeback (as of last night), but right now we wish to focus on the crack I first wrote about on Monday (it has since then generated some press coverage, e.g. [1-3] below).

“Remember that no evidence has been presented by SUSE and moreover the gross negligence here is a bad sign in general.”A lot of people still miss the key point. IDG even went ahead with a rather misleading headline, as did Softpedia; rather than state the actual news (that OpenSUSE got cracked) the title says or overstates the ‘damage control’ from SUSE, diverting attention to what was not affected rather than what was affected (a politician’s trick). We used to see lots of that kind of spin back in the Novell days and the 2 articles below, having sought comment from SUSE, give SUSE the benefit of the doubt here. Remember that no evidence has been presented by SUSE and moreover the gross negligence here is a bad sign in general. That’s just “faith-based” security. My article about it was so short that it was mostly a screenshot, yet we understand that further coverage is on its way. So let’s elaborate a little. “They were using an outdated version of WordPress and got zapped,” one person wrote to me after I had published my findings. “It was just the front-end, no code was touched.” But says who? SUSE? Can we believe them?

“Nobody has yet covered that issue as properly as we hoped (poor security practices at SUSE) and the fact that they COMPLETELY FAILED or refused to publicly acknowledge what had happened is a serious aspect of it.”Whatever caused the defacement, it shows that they lost control of their platform. They did get cracked. Softpedia reported that “openSUSE devs immediately restored the news.opensuse.org website from a recent backup” (so the back end too appears to have been compromised).

Nobody has yet covered that issue as properly as we hoped (poor security practices at SUSE) and the fact that they COMPLETELY FAILED or refused to publicly acknowledge what had happened is a serious aspect of it. We waited patiently to see if an announcement would be made by then, even a reassurance that users should not worry. But nothing came out! To this date (half a week later). They attempted to cover it up, which is BAD BAD BAD. For a so-called “Enterprise-Grade” thing which SUSE tries to market itself as (selling SLE*) this is a serious breach of trust. Who would trust SUSE now?

“If someone injected a back door inside SLED and SLES, SUSE would probably say not a thing, only belatedly removing it and then lying about the whole thing, just like Microsoft does.”3 news sites and my own site wrote about it, but not a single word has been uttered by SUSE. They know they got cracked and they are not telling anyone, except when journalists ask them for comment (and press them with evidence).

OpenSUSE has a history of security issues in its sites (see “openSUSE Forum Hacked; 79500 Users Data Compromised” from 2014). Where are the reporters who are willing to ask SUSE some tough questions? Don’t let this slide. If someone injected a back door inside SLED and SLES, SUSE would probably say not a thing, only belatedly removing it and then lying about the whole thing, just like Microsoft does.

In the news:

  1. Kurdish Hacker Posts Anti-ISIS Message on openSUSE’s Website, Data Remains Safe

    Softpedia was informed by Dr. Roy Schestowitz that the openSUSE News (news.opensuse.org) website got defaced by Kurdish hacker MuhmadEmad on the day of February 6, 2017.

    It would appear that the server where the news.opensuse.org website is hosted is isolated from the rest of openSUSE’s infrastructure, which means that the hacker did not have access to any contributor data, such as email and passwords, nor to the ISO images of the openSUSE Linux operating system.

    We already talked with openSUSE Chairman Richard Brown, who confirms for Softpedia that the offered openSUSE downloads remain safe and consistent, and users should not worry about anything. The vigilant openSUSE devs immediately restored the news.opensuse.org website from a recent backup, so everything is operating normally at this time.

  2. OpenSUSE site hacked; quickly restored

    The openSUSE team acted quickly to restore the site. When I talked to Richard Brown, openSUSE chairman, he said that “the server that hosts ‘news.opensuse.org’ is isolated from the majority of openSUSE infrastructure by design, so there was no breach of any other part of openSUSEs infrastructure, especially our build, test and download systems. Our offered downloads remain safe and consistent and there was no breach of any openSUSE contributor data.”

    The team is still investigating the reason for the breach so I don’t have much information. The site ran a WordPress install and it seems that WordPress was compromised.

    This site is not managed by the SUSE or openSUSE team. It is handled by the IT team of MicroFocus. However, Brown said that SUSE management certainly doesn’t want any such incident to happen again and they are considering moving the site to the infrastructure managed by SUSE and openSUSE team.

  3. Best Distros, openSUSE Whoops, Debian 9 One Step Closer

    In the latest Linux news, the news.opensuse.org got hacked and displayed “KurDish HaCk3rS WaS Here” for a while Monday and while the site has been restored, no comment on the hack has been issued. Elsewhere, Debian 9.0 has entered its final freeze in the last steps in preparations for release. FOSS Force has named their winner for top distro of 2016 and Swapnil Bhartiya shared his picks for the best for 2017. Blogger DarkDuck said MX-16 Xfce is “very close to the ideal” and Alwan Rosyidi found Solus OS is giving Elementary OS a run for its money. Phoronix.com’s Michael Larabel explained why he uses Fedora and Jeremy Garcia announced the winners of the 2016 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards.

    [...]

    openSUSE’s news portal was compromised Monday by a hacker or group of hackers called MuhmadEmad, via the message left in its place. A Kurdish flag with the message “HaCkeD by MuhmadEmad – KurDish HaCk3rS WaS Here” was displayed for hours before it was taken down and the site’s content restored. Roy Schestowitz has a screen capture and said that openSUSE has not yet publicly acknowledged the hack. Swapnil Bhartiya spoke to Richard Brown, openSUSE chairman, who said that site was isolated from most SUSE infrastructure, especially the distribution code. There was no breach of any contributor data either. The site in question is run by MicroFocus, but all are investigating to make sure it’s an isolated incident.

03.26.16

Finishing Icahn’s and Ballmer’s Job: Microsoft Wants to Kill Yahoo! and Exterminate GNU/Linux in Datacentres

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search, Servers at 11:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft uses its money to interfere with and/or take over the competition

“Linux infestations are being uncovered in many of our large accounts as part of the escalation engagements.”

Microsoft Confidential

“I’m going to f—ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f—ing kill Google.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Summary: Microsoft’s war on GNU/Linux and against Google is still alive and well, and Microsoft uses its money (what’s left of it) in an effort to get its way and basically undermine (or E.E.E.) the competition

According to this second-hand report from Sam Dean about Microsoft's DCOS buddies, “Microsoft has been rumored to have had its eyes on owning the company” (company behind DCOS, which is proprietary). 8 months ago we wrote about the real reason Microsoft veterans were investing in Mesosphere.

“8 months ago we wrote about the real reason Microsoft veterans were investing in Mesosphere.”What we basically deal with here is another Xamarin, again funded by people from Microsoft, only to be the subject of Microsoft acquisition (or attempted acquisition) later on. Microsoft actually did try to take over DCOS and make it its anti-GNU/Linux proxy. It’s half way there now because there are financial strings now. Dean cites a Microsoft booster (Matt Weinberger) as saying that “Microsoft is investing millions in a $1 billion startup that rejected its acquisition offer” (the headline).

To quote Weinberger: “Last year, reports emerged that Microsoft tried to buy Mesosphere, a hot cloud computing startup, for $150 million, only to get shut down.”

“What we basically deal with here is another Xamarin, again funded by people from Microsoft, only to be the subject of Microsoft acquisition (or attempted acquisition) later on.”So that’s a fact. At Mesosphere they ‘just’ took Microsoft money and hence strings, so it’s clear whose agenda will be served. EEE against GNU/Linux must be noted here. To quote further: “Mesosphere is announcing a new $73.5 million “strategic” investment, led by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and with Microsoft listed as a “significant participant.””

It’s time to treat Mesosphere as a Microsoft proxy; little less, only more.

In related news, Microsoft is killing Yahoo again. Yahoo is not totally dead yet; it’s now run by a lady from Google, so the company apparently needs to die or be hijacked again by Microsoft. Microsoft Peter (Peter Bright) and Swisher make it abundantly clear that Microsoft is still a predator, not a real company. Based on Microsoft Peter’s article: “After Microsoft’s failed bid to buy Yahoo, the two companies signed agreements that would see Microsoft providing both search technology and advertising to Yahoo. While the terms of this deal have changed, with Redmond losing its exclusive arrangement last year, Yahoo nonetheless remains an important partner. Bing’s market share continues to grow each quarter, and Yahoo’s use of Bing search results is a key part of this success. [note: that’s a Microsoft lie/revisionism from Peter Bright]

“It’s time to treat Mesosphere as a Microsoft proxy; little less, only more.”“Redmond is keen to protect this important deal. Offering a private equity firm a billion or two in cheap financing would enable the company to preserve this partnership, while being substantially cheaper than buying the company itself. In spite of its previous interest, sources within Microsoft tell Swisher that it has no interest in buying Yahoo this time around. Companies that are interested are believed to include AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, along with a number of private equity firms.”

The New York Times, having come up with an eye-catching headline (unlike the spin from Microsoft Peter), says the “Entire Yahoo Board Would Be Ousted”. This sounds like the same thing which Microsoft did with Icahn almost 8 years ago.

“This sounds like the same thing which Microsoft did with Icahn almost 8 years ago.”The spin from Microsoft Peter says “Microsoft said to be wanting to help out Yahoo buyers with its own cash”; iophk responded with “if you twist the word ‘help’ enough.”

Another reader of ours laughed and wrote in IRC “mafia “help”” (hey, maybe they can send in Icahn again!).

Raiders, proxies, corporate coups — a Microsoft specialty. Maybe they’ll actually become a technology and software company one day. We covered in great detail what Microsoft had done to Yahoo! in the past in order to convert it from a third (or second) contender in search engines into just another ‘department’ of Microsoft. Microsoft did the same thing to Cyanogen (now a Trojan horse against Android/Google), Nokia, and it also ‘helped’ Novell (only to see the company dying within a few years, as expected, leaving the patents to Microsoft).

“…Microsoft is unmistakably still going after Yahoo after killing the vast majority of it.”Looking at another report about this, titled “Microsoft Tells Possible Yahoo Buyers It Would Consider Backing Bids With Big Bucks”, Microsoft is unmistakably still going after Yahoo after killing the vast majority of it.

It “looks like Yahoo is selling out,” said Mark in our IRC channels earlier today, adding that “they are looking to sell their core business; I’d say they are on the way out in any case; they lost what… 4 billion dollars last year?”

“Microsoft is the touch of death to almost everything…”
      –Mark, #techrights
This is like classic Microsoft revisionism, however, e.g. for one to claim Yahoo was all along down and still going down (or that Microsoft tried to save them and help them). They were doing reasonably well before 2008 (like Nokia or Novell) and they do extremely poorly now; Microsoft’s intention has a lot to do with it. That’s like saying Novell failed in spite of Microsoft or that Microsoft tried to rescue Novell.

XRevan86 notes that “moving to Bing for Yahoo! was a total disaster.” It was indeed; it was a one-way relationship that destroyed the very core of Yahoo! and turned it into a vassal of Microsoft. There was no way back after that. The company was in a freefall.

“Microsoft is the touch of death to almost everything,” Mark concluded.

03.25.16

As Expected, Microsoft Uses Proprietary DCOS as a Weapon Against Free Software (GNU/Linux)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 5:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft, now sponsor of Mesosphere/DCOS

Summary: As foreseen by Techrights, DCOS and Microsoft climb into the same bed and help dominate GNU/Linux using proprietary software

The predictions we made are becoming a reality, based on what’s reported in the media right now. An IDG article says: “Designed to help enterprises build microservices-based applications, run big-data systems and operate massive production container environments, Mesosphere’s Datacenter Operating System (DCOS) is “the most exciting new enterprise operating system since Linux,” said Lak Ananth, managing director at Hewlett Packard Ventures, in a statement.”

“The predictions we made are becoming a reality, based on what’s reported in the media right now.”As we noted a few months back, DCOS is about control by a central authority (see “Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre”). It is connected to (and funded by) notorious thugs from Microsoft’s antitrust days, just like Xamarin before Microsoft took over [1, 2].

DCOS is proprietary, not FOSS. “In addition to forming the basis for Microsoft’s Azure Container Service,” says IDG, “DCOS will also soon run on Windows Server as well as Linux thanks to the collaboration between the two firms, Trifiro said. That technology is expected to enter beta later this quarter.”

“It doesn’t take a domain expert to foresee that. EEE in motion.”Seems like a convenient mechanism by which to make GNU/Linux subservient to (or dominated by) Windows, just like in the case of Hyper-V. It doesn’t take a domain expert to foresee that. EEE in motion.

“What the [user] is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable, and when he has bugs, suspect that the problem is DR-DOS and then go out to buy MS-DOS”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft

“b) put a kind gentle message in setup. like an incompatible tsr message, but not everytime the user starts windows. [...] the most sensible thing from a development standpoint is to continue to build dependencies on msdos into windows.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft

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

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