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The Linux Foundation is Deeply Committed to Diversity and Inclusiveness (as Long as You Have Perfect Vision and Use ‘Big Browsers’ That Spy)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Standard at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation access issues

Summary: The Linux Foundation’s message of inclusiveness refers only to a particular kind of inclusiveness

“The Linux Foundation is Deeply Committed to Diversity and Inclusiveness,” say several pages, including this one in the title.

“It is only getting worse over time; months ago I was no longer able to access the site at all using my GNU/Linux (KDE) browser.”We’ve already mentioned that this site has spyware in all the Web pages and other usability (“UX”) type issues, not to mention severe accessibility issues (see above).

It is only getting worse over time; months ago I was no longer able to access the site at all using my GNU/Linux (KDE) browser. I cannot press the X, as it has no effect.

Linux Foundation diversity

I cannot move anywhere. Same here:

Linux Foundation diversity programs

I cannot click on anything or highlight anything. Scrolling up and down is all I can do. Even with JavaScript fully enabled!

“Scrolling up and down is all I can do. Even with JavaScript fully enabled!”It’s clear that whoever develops the site only bothers checking if it works in GAFAM+Firefox browsers, nothing else. They’re all proprietary with DRM.

It’s pretty damning that every single page is like this. So to access the site of something called Linux Foundation I cannot use my Linux Web browser.

“It’s clear that whoever develops the site only bothers checking if it works in GAFAM+Firefox browsers, nothing else.”Then you have to wonder if they’re inclusive of blind people or other people who have special needs when navigating the site. The Linux Foundation made even me feel disabled; for failing to use the site with an actual Linux Web browser.

GitHub is moving in a similar direction and is now Director at Large in the Foundation.

The Foundation says it helps setting/crafting standards, but that too isn’t a consistent message (actions not matching one’s words or perceived values). 81 validation errors/warnings in the front page alone.


Nothing Has Truly Changed Since Netscape and Antitrust

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Standard at 3:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This kind of thing is all but uncommon

GitHub warns Firefox for iOS isn't supported, and doesn't work (infinite loading, unresponsive buttons). Does anyone have the same issue?

Summary: The same old crimes persist, as well as the blatantly anticompetitive behaviour


The Open Invention Network Has Become a Guard Dog of (Some) Patent Trolls and It Misrepresents Us Under the Guise of ‘Open Source’

Posted in Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Law, News Roundup, OIN, Patents, Standard at 2:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Defending software patents and trolls. Calling them “charities” was likely the last straw.

2 dogs

Summary: The Open Invention Network (OIN), in collaboration with Fraunhöfer, is promoting software patents and all sorts of other nonsense as part of ‘open’ standards in a new paper sponsored by the EU and edited by the former EPO Chief Economist Nikolaus Thumm (not Battistelli's choice); this is another reminder of the fact that OIN misrepresents Free/Open Source software (FOSS) developers and their interests

The Open Invention Network (OIN) is somewhat of a scam. It wasn’t always like this. Ignore their use (or misuse) of the Tux logo and the brand “Linux”; then, check the pertinent members instead. Check the leadership. OIN will truly serve Linux only when it finally combats software patents, i.e. when pigs fly (“OIN OIN!”). As we showed earlier this year, “Today’s Open Invention Network is Run by Former Patent Trolls, Connected to and Backed by Microsoft”

Today’s OIN already calls some patent trolls “charities”, works with them, even hires from them. OIN does not speak for FOSS. It speaks for patent bullies like IBM that also happen to rely on FOSS for some things. OIN is convenient for the likes of IBM. Right now OIN even promotes patents and software patents as part of standards. What are they thinking? Who on Earth thought it would work out well? With the likes of Microsoft as celebrated OIN members, the brain might ‘have gone somewhere else…’ (to put it in more subtle terms)

OIN does not oppose software patents (it never did, since its very inception); its members, especially the big ones, oppose 35 U.S.C. § 101 and are big “customers” of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Yes, the word “customers” is used by them. They are, in a lot of ways, part of the problem, not the solution to it.

“OIN does not oppose software patents (it never did, since its very inception)…”You know something has gone wrong when you see OIN acting as more of a front group for proponents of software patents, manned by patent trolls instead of FOSS proponents. These are people who actually sued Linux (in the previous employer). Unfortunately, many people lost sight of how OIN changed over the years. Therefore, they can’t quite see the changes.

As Henrion noted the other day: “OIN and Fraunhöfer, the foxes in the henhouse, behind the an awful study on how patents in standards are ‘compatible’ with FLOSS…”

With ‘representatives’ like these…

Knut Blind

EU paper

He added that “[t]hey should have read the GPL” and citing the GPL he quoted: “Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, IN EFFECT MAKING THE PROGRAM PROPRIETARY. [...] To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone’s free use or not licensed at all.”

“…many people lost sight of how OIN changed over the years.”“OIN is in the same ‘club’ that opposes and badmouths copyleft,” I told him (check what IBM et al use for licensing of choice). They only adopt GPL when “there’s no choice” (e.g. Linux kernel). “Software patents ought not even exist and after Alice (which Microsoft and IBM attack via their front groups and corrupt lobbyists like Kappos selling ‘connections’) such patents are likely bunk, invalid anyway.”

I was reminded of this again some hours ago because of this new blog post. It’s by Mirko Boehm from OIN, who blocked me in Twitter so we know he has much to hide… (some of his tweets are appalling)

“Their paper uses propaganda terms such as “Intellectual Property Right (IPR)” and I’ve circulated this for discussion in IRC.”“I already tweeted about it,” Henrion told me, “as the fox in the henhouse. We cannot tolerate lobbyists of OIN and Franhofer to write such papers with public money, as they have an interest. This has basic conflict of interests problems.”

Their paper uses propaganda terms such as “Intellectual Property Right (IPR)” and I’ve circulated this for discussion in IRC. For obvious reasons we’d rather not quote the paper or link to it directly (there’s an indirect link above). Instead, we shall leave readers with this OIN tweet:

Mirko Boehm on Fraunhofer as charity


Microsoft Office 360 Banned

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, Standard at 2:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft implemented ODF with all the grace of a 6 year old asked to tidy up their room”

Jeremy Allison, LCA 2010

Summary: OpenDocument Format (ODF, a real standard everyone can implement) and Free/libre software should be taught in schools; it’s not supposed to be just a matter of privacy

Days ago we included in our daily links some early reports about Microsoft Office 360 getting banned in German schools. CBS (ZDNet) is helping Microsoft spin all this with a bunch of lies [1], but this development must worry Microsoft as it can inspire other countries and even non-schools to do the same. We’ve meanwhile noticed (hours ago) that some “Linux sites” promote proprietary software with “ribbons” and OOXML [2] (because there are binaries for Ubuntu). Why not Free/libre software? Are bloggers really this clueless? What does one gain by swapping one piece of proprietary software with another? Or one surveillance form (Microsoft) with another (Google)?

Software Freedom needs to be stressed more and more for such poor advocacy to be discouraged. Choosing something like Google or Apple instead of Microsoft isn’t swapping digital slavery with freedom but instead just swapping ‘masters’.

Update: For the second time in just hours [3] that same “Linux site” promotes yet another piece of proprietary software as a “replacement” for Microsoft Office.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Office 365: Banned in German schools over privacy fears
  2. FreeOffice July Update Adds MS Office 2019 Support, Classic Interface Option

    A major update to FreeOffice by SoftMaker, a gratis set of productivity apps modelled after Microsoft Office, is now available to download.

    Dubbed the “anniversary update”, the latest version of this office suite intros compatibility with the latest Microsoft Office file formats.

    All three apps in the family, TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations, are said to be fully compatible with the latest Microsoft Office file formats, allowing users to open, edit and save in native Office formats like .docx.

    The suite now lets users choose an interface layout, with the standard “Ribbon” interface mode and a more traditional menu-based UI available.

  3. Microsoft Office Clone ‘SoftMaker Office 2018’ Sees Summer Update

    Do keep in mind that SoftMaker Office 2018 is not free software so you will need to buy a subscription or make a one-off purchase to use it longterm.


Microsoft Putting Patent Traps Inside Linux While Blackmailing Companies Using Patents Associated With These Traps

Posted in Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Standard at 8:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

Summary: In an effort to make exFAT (a patent trap) the ‘industry standard’, even inside Linux, Microsoft now wants exFAT inside the very heart of Linux and people are pushing back

With food came the appetite and shortly after being allowed into a secretive circulation of flaw information — the kind of information former Microsoft employees use to come up with brands, logos, buzzwords and Web sites to hype up and profit from Linux and FOSS bugs (e.g. "VENOM" and “Heartbleed” [1, 2] — it’s already progressing even further. Suffice to say, corporate media isn’t interested in Microsoft’s bad history (it's just spamming us 24/7 with "Microsoft loves Linux" revisionism).

Michael Larabel has taken note (as recently as yesterday evening) of filesystem guru Ted Ts’o writing: “Personally, if Microsoft is going to be unfriendly about not wanting others to use their file system technology by making patent claims, why should we reward them by making their file system better by improving its interoperability? (My personal opinion only.)” (those last 4 words are an expression of fear of association, like bullying through one's boss/employer)

It was a discussion among some Microsoft people and former Novell people. They’re still up to no good. They’re not serving Linux; they serve Microsoft, which promotes Windows.

“It was a discussion among some Microsoft people and former Novell people. They’re still up to no good. They’re not serving Linux; they serve Microsoft, which promotes Windows.”Ted Ts’o is not a person who trusts Microsoft (never did!) and the same person who tried to portray Torvalds as sexist (back when the person was female, not male) Ted Ts’o was spun as a “rape apologist” based on some very old message — obviously taken out of context to make Ted Ts’o like an an abominable, unemployable person. We recently recalled and highlighted issues related to this [1, 2].

At the moment Microsoft charges patent tax through companies like Tuxera, so the point raised by Ted Ts’o is absolutely legitimate. But if Microsoft’s entryism inside Linux is working as expected/hoped, even senior and prominent developers like Ted Ts’o can be ousted or at least silenced somehow. Microsoft is now officially inserting patent traps into the kernel used on billions on chips. Sometimes it feels like the kernel is being ‘sold’ to Microsoft by Zemlin et al at the Linux Foundation (they became millionaires by doing so). It often feels, now with people like Cox gone, like the Foundation is nothing but the corporate cabal its Board has become (Microsoft, Oracle and so on). First they kicked out community members, then their journalists and editors. So what’s left? Peripheral PR people, 3 developers on the payroll and an operation that ‘sells’ (passes) Linux+FOSS code to surveillance companies. In this particular case they hope to impede ongoing efforts to replace exFAT with non-Microsoft things. What we see here is how Microsoft uses its ‘moles’ inside Linux (the kernel) to make Microsoft ‘the standard’. It’s not hard to achieve when one ‘controls’ both Windows and Linux, where the latter is a lot more widely deployed.

“There are lots of angry comments about this in Phoronix right now (almost 50, tenfold the usual/average).”Microsoft’s participation was all about pushing proprietary things of Microsoft. Just as one would expect…

Larabel brought up OIN, but even after joining OIN Microsoft is not only threatening but also suing using patents, claiming the usual claims. It demands billions of dollars for patents. And yes, it’s about Linux and Android.

EEE moves so, so very fast inside Linux. There are lots of angry comments about this in Phoronix right now (almost 50, tenfold the usual/average).

“He [Bill Gates] is divisive. He is manipulative. He is a user. He has taken much from me and the industry.”

Gary Kildall


Patent Offices Reward Microsoft for Corruption

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The EPO and Britain’s UKIPO join the USPTO in making Microsoft’s proprietary format the ‘standard’ in filing; this merely perpetuates the negative publicity associated with patent offices

THIS IS not an unfamiliar topic. A decade ago (or more) we wrote hundreds of articles about Microsoft’s OOXML-related abuses. Corrupt European Patent Office (EPO) officials now help the abusers from Microsoft by advancing their fake ‘standard’ that they bribed and corrupted ISO for. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does too, but the latter is based in the US (where Microsoft is based, unlike ISO, which is Europe-centric).

“We suppose they’re perfectly OK being agents of Microsoft, rewarding the company for its corruption instead of embracing open standards anyone can use (not just clients of Microsoft).”As IP Kat put it two days ago: “The EPO and UKIPO are teaming up to make online filing easier to understand. In the EPO and UKIPO online services workshop you will learn about the EPO’s web-based online filing system and the second phase of the DOCX filing pilot. Witness a live demonstration of Mailbox and hear an overview of best practice interaction with the EPO.”

No ODF pilot? Why not? We suppose they’re perfectly OK being agents of Microsoft, rewarding the company for its corruption instead of embracing open standards anyone can use (not just clients of Microsoft).


US Supreme Court Will Hear Helsinn v Teva, But What’s Needed Right Now is a Challenge to Patents Inside Standards (a.k.a. ‘FRAND’ or ‘SEP’)

Posted in America, Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Standard at 11:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Standards you can’t use (unless you’re rich)


Summary: Antitrust/monopoly aspects of patents one cannot work around (to merely conform/comply with industry standards) are worth debating at the highest of levels rather than in forums full of lobbyists (sometimes hosted inside Microsoft’s very own premises!)

EARLIER this week we noted that SCOTUS would not reassess patent scope (e.g. Section 101). It was mentioned by Patently-O earlier this week and is now being mentioned by many other patent-centric blogs. Managing IP wrote:

The court in Helsinn v Teva appears likely to craft a bright-ruling on the issue of whether the confidential sale or license of a not-yet-patented technology or process qualifies as prior art under the America Invents Act

Gregory Sephton and Anna Schoenfelder said: “As a follow-up to our previous post “The Federal Circuit Has Its Final Say On the “On-Sale” Bar Under the AIA,” the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the Helsinn v. Teva case, which concerns whether the America Invents Act (“AIA”) changed the longstanding “on-sale bar” rule. This means that at least four of the nine Supreme Court justices agreed to address this case.”

Watchtroll (Gene Quinn) also had to say something only hours after promoting an “ethical” troll, claiming that “iPEL has also defined a set of business practices that a Non-Practicing Entity can follow in order to call itself an Ethical NPETM.”

Ethical? That’s funny!

It’s like Patent Factory Europe (PFE). WIPR has since then done a puff piece for this troll’s PR campaign and it’s comical that those taxing everything with patents, harming small businesses the most, are trying to hide that fact by associating themselves with “Startups and Small Businesses” and “SMEs”. It is, at best, a googlebombing strategy. They wish to drown out the truth with press releases and lies.

The subject of FRAND has meanwhile resurfaced. The same people who push this PFE nonsense are best known for lobbying on FRAND in Europe. They front for large corporations, notably Microsoft. “I am reminded that FRAND worked its way into the ITU’s false definition,” a reader told us, linking to ITU’s definition of “Open Standards” after Microsoft lobbying/entryism (we covered this before).

Florian Müller, a FRAND proponent, has meanwhile ranted about Delrahim (lobbyist-turned-official), whose take on FRAND — related to standard-essential patents (SEPs) — he does not agree with. To quote:

This is a follow-up to last month’s post on an open letter that 77 former government officials and professors (of law, economics, and business) sent Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim in order to remind him of long-standing and consistent U.S. policies on standard-essential patents (SEP) under both Republican and Democratic administrations. I’ve meanwhile become aware of the AAG’s reply, which does not provide any indication that he’s on the side of innovation and fair competition.

To his response, Mr. Delrahim attached a letter dated February 13, 2018 from about a dozen academics and former government officials that support the statements he makes, which he describes as “the United States’ policies” (we’ll talk about that further below). With the greatest respect for those individuals, they do not collectively counterbalance the 77 signatories of the letter that criticized Mr. Delrahim’s statements. That’s not just a matter of numbers: for an example, there is no former FTC chairman among them.

Also, before the academics’ February letter, there was a very impressive industry letter to AAG Delrahim in January, signed by industry bodies such as CCIA, the Fair Standards Alliance, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIAA), and ACT | The App Association, but also by major tech companies such as Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, HP, Dell, and Cisco. It’s very hard to understand why neither of those letters appears to have given AAG Delrahim pause. Does he seriously think he can make his contribution to #MAGA by acting against the likes of Apple, Intel, HP, and Microsoft–and trade organizations that have such companies as Google among their membership?

This whole “MAGA” delusion aside (Müller is an avid Trump proponent), it’s not hard to see that several of the above groups are Microsoft front groups (at least 3 of them). But what ought to matter a lot more is the benefit to society at large, including small businesses. Maybe the Justices at SCOTUS will some time soon find an opportunity to look into the matter (instead of relying on corporations and front groups that set policies by lobbying Trump-appointed ‘officials’, or former lobbyists). We certainly hope so because we have written a great deal about this subject since our inception in 2006.


Patents Are Becoming a Welfare System for the Rich and Powerful

Posted in Patents, RAND, Standard at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: The SEP/Patent Trolls’ Lobby Insults the Victims, Calling Them “Free Riders”

Welfare of dogs

Summary: A culture of litigation and more recently the patenting of broad industry standards may mean that multi-billion dollar corporations are cashing in without lifting a finger

THE gross saturation of patents in the United States used to work in favour of patent law firms, at the expense of firms which actually produce things.

A few days ago we learned about yet another large sum (nearly 0.1 billion dollars) being passed based on a patent dispute/lawsuit that alleges “lost profits” (as if it’s corporate welfare, wherein you declare an entitlement for profits). We wrote about that subject a few weeks ago. “The lawsuit is related to WesternGeco’s patents on marine seismic surveys,” Patently-O wrote. “Adjudged infringer ION manufactures components of the system in the US, for assembly and use “on the high seas.” A jury found liability under 271(f) – exporting components of a patented invention for assembly abroad. The jury also awarded the patentee $12.5 million in reasonable royalties in addition to $93.4 million in lost profits based upon specific competitive contracts lost.”

“Since when have patents become merely a tool of ‘wholesale’ wealth passage?”So that’s even over 0.1 billion dollars (all in all). Based on potential alone, or the mere claim of potential.

Since when have patents become merely a tool of ‘wholesale’ wealth passage? Patents were not originally envisioned as such and this does not contribute to innovation, it just makes already-rich people even richer.

Now let’s look at so-called F/RAND, which ought not exist in the first place. It’s the basic idea that even industry standards are ‘owned’ in the patents sense, and we’re supposed to think that’s “fair”, “reasonable” and “non-discriminatory”. In reality, it is the opposite of all these things. It’s an unjust tax which empowers monopolies.

“It’s the basic idea that even industry standards are ‘owned’ in the patents sense, and we’re supposed to think that’s “fair”, “reasonable” and “non-discriminatory”.”A short while ago (in academic terms) Colleen Chien mentioned her new paper which can be found here. “Patent litigation is down but transactions are up,” she said. “I discuss in my new paper, “Software Patents as Currency, Not Tax on Innovation” @BerkeleyTechLJ”

Here is her abstract: “Software innovation is transforming the U.S. economy. Yet our understanding of how patents and patent transactions support this innovation is limited by a lack of public information about patent licenses and sales. Claims about the patent marketplace, for example, extolling the virtues of intermediaries like non–practicing entities, or characterizing software patent licenses as a tax on innovation tend not to be grounded in empirical evidence. This Article brings much–needed data to the debate by analyzing transactional patent data from multiple sources and reporting several novel findings. First, this study finds that, despite reductions in the enforceability of software parents and levels of patent litigation, the market for software patents has remained remarkably robust, and actually grown in the number of transacted assets. The strength of this demand appears to be driven by the defensive—not only offensive—value of software patents, the importance of software–driven business models, and bargain shopping in the acquisition of patents. Second, this Article explores the extent to which software patent transfers support the transfer of technology as opposed to supporting just the transfer of liability, or freedom from suit, with mixed results. This study finds that the majority of material software licenses reported by public companies to the SEC from 2000–2015 (N=245) support true technology transfer. However, in recent years, large numbers of software patents apparently have also been sold to avoid litigation or to provide general operating freedom, rather than to access specific technologies. Software patents transferred between public companies from 2012 and 2015 were two to three times more likely to go from an older company to a younger company, and from a higher revenue to a lower revenue public company. These findings underscore the enduring importance of software patents in supporting both technology transfer and freedom to operate. Despite the prevalence of NPEs, most patents are not bought for assertion, but to support these critical innovation functions. As such, the data support the characterization of software patents as a currency of—rather than a tax on—innovation.”

It is certainly good news that litigation is decreasing, but software patents ought not be viewed as patent-eligible anymore. A lot of these transactions Chien speaks of are akin to FRAND and it’s a form of loophole, just like the so-called ‘NPEs’ (trolls) she alludes to.

Looking at sites of the patent microcosm rather than academic papers, one finds another new lawsuit. Here is what IAM said:

Sprint, the US’s fourth largest mobile company, has launched a patent infringement lawsuit against Charter alleging that the cable TV giant infringes on 11 patents relating to voice over packet (VoP) technology.

The case was filed in Delaware district court earlier this month and marks the latest attempt by Sprint, which is owned by Japanese tech giant Softbank, to monetise its patent portfolio. As well as the suit against Charter, Sprint also filed a case using the same patents against another cable business, Mediacom Communications.

Unfortunately, VoP is — quite arguably — about software, just like VoIP (Internet Protocol, which deals with packets too). We hope that Charter will fight back and attempt to invalidate these patents (invalidating a dozen won’t be cheap and definitely not fast).

“We hope that Charter will fight back and attempt to invalidate these patents (invalidating a dozen won’t be cheap and definitely not fast).”The patent microcosm shares IAM’s blood-lust. It wants a lot of litigation or taxation as it gets a share of the loor. See this for example. Just about everything that’s bad for society Bristows will love. It is celebrating with patent trolls and maximlaists again (SPCs). It’s also lobbying for software patents, FRAND, SEP, and the UPC, which this guy too is promoting, along with the rest of that toxic bundle. “Isn’t it funny,” he asked, “that the free market loving Anglo-Saxons want judges to determine the #FRAND rate while the Germans (of all people) want the judge to provide boundaries and let the market set the #FRAND #royalty for an #SEP #Patent”

“A lot of that tax pertains mostly if not entirely to software patents.”The term “royalty” is a euphemism for tax. This new article by William New speaks of the 5G tax, which we wrote about earlier this winter.

The bottom line is, patents are becoming merely a tax in many areas. Sure, litigation is on the decline in the US (unlike — say — in China or Germany), but that in itself does not guarantee end of injustices. A lot of that tax pertains mostly if not entirely to software patents.

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