Summary: Sunny day here today, so here are just some patent ‘quickies’
TiVo is a patent nuisance to everyone. Despite using Linux, it is a patent aggressor [1, 2, 3], just like Akamai. And just because it uses Linux (and applies TiVoization to it) does not magically make it a nice company. TiVo carries on with its journey of aggravation:
TiVo said Wednesday that it is suing AT&T and Verizon over three DVR patents. The complaints seek damages and a permanent injunction.
Simply put, TiVo is pursuing the same legal playbook it followed against Dish/EchoStar. The patents in question include 6,233,389, 7,529,465 and 7,493,015.
Nintendo Co., the maker of the top- selling Wii video-game console, settled a U.S. trade fight that could have resulted in a U.S. import ban of the popular gaming systems.
Nintendo and Hillcrest Laboratories Inc. filed a notice with the U.S. International Trade Commission on Aug. 21 that they reached a settlement of patent-infringement claims before the agency. Financial details were blacked out in the copy of the agreement made available to the public.
The patent system may often be characterised as a system of honour and mutual respect, but what we find here is a system of embargoes and strangulation. There is also such a thing as a “nasty patent” and Microsoft shows exactly what that can be:
Microsoft is seeking to patent a method for using a popular human-verification technology on the Web to deliver advertising to a captive audience.
Summary: KDE’s lesson in maintaining Freedom and defending data accessibility at the same time
YESTERDAY WE WROTE about Linux pondering DRM, having already let in TPM or something that's akin to Tivoization. Some of us at Boycott Novell hold the belief that this is counter-productive for users who perceive GNU/Linux as a free (libre) operating system that respects its users by putting rights and trust in the hands of these users.
Aaron Seigo from the KDE project has just dispatched this encouraging post which revealed how they handled the growing plague of document DRM. From the opening paragraphs:
Jonathan Corbet wrote a piece on LWN about Okular and it’s implementation of user permission restrictions in PDFs (sometimes errantly refered to as “DRM”). This is actually something it has done since it was KPDF back in KDE 3. Obviously, permissions in PDFs are a generally misguided attempt at protecting the agenda of a publisher in a demonstrably ineffective way that comes at a cost to things like the concepts of fair use.
So what’s up with Okular having support for permissions? It’s quite simple: not only is permissions in the PDF spec, but there are organizations in the world who, for contractual or legal reasons, require permissions in PDFs be respected.
Do we simply not serve those users needs? Do we “know better” for the user who says “I want to accept the terms of the publisher of this document”? Of course not; that’s rather user unfriendly in itself.
So the strategy adopted was quite simple: make it an option that the user may choose to abide by the permissions flags in a PDF or not.
If a Linux authority ever insists on support for DRM*, then maybe developers can provide people with a similar option to that which KDE offers. Novell’s Go-OO developers take it a step further.
Canola Project’s GPLv3 Permissions are Worth a Look
The foundation and its members all believe that licensing choice is ultimately up to the developers and owners of a project. We are concerned, however, with whether the language of popular licenses is legally clear, and also with the fact that having too many licenses and license variations can become confusing.
Regardless of where you come down on the debate as to whether these permissions should be granted, it is clear that this language is effective and that its consistent use will be helpful for those projects and developers that DO wish to provide a similar exception to the GPLv3.
Could this have played a role in Linus’ decision regarding GPLv3?
Summary: TPM in Linux raises important questions about Freedom
A COUPLE of years ago Linus Torvalds wrote “I think Tivoization is *good*,” which led to lengthy discussions.
Yesterday in the IRC channel a fascinating tidbit resurfaced as IBM’s Trusted Computing ambitions for Linux reared their ugly head again. The idea of embedding ‘trusted’ computing in Linux (it is the very opposite of trust) probably involved work from IBM, at least based on some prior reports and the Linux Weather Forecast, which has the following for Linux 2.6.30.
Support for integrity management in the kernel has been merged. This code makes use of the trusted platform module (TPM) built into many systems to ensure that the system’s files (including its executable software) have not been corrupted, maliciously or otherwise.
This can be misused to achieve the very opposite, where “corrupted” means benignly hacked. An older article about this seems innocent enough, but questions may arise, such as: could Linus have known something about TPM when rejecting GPLv3?
“What would this mean to Linux as a Free underlying platform?”“It was one of the main reasons for the rejection in the Linux kernel mailing list,” writes oiaohm. If binaries are changed (or their ‘integrity’ not authenticated), then programs won’t run.
“Problem is, there are devices where TiVo style security is needed,” claims oiaohm, “Like you don’t want people tampering with electronic voting systems.
“As I said, there is good and bad to it. Good for very particular uses. You really do want to be able to inspect the source code of a electronic voting machine to make sure it is not stuffed up. You also don’t want people tampering with it. If you look around, you can find other valid uses of the tech.”
What would this mean to Linux as a Free underlying platform? The GNU/Linux operating system could suffer from this. “Problem is, I would bet almost all the money I have that it will be abused to harm users,” concludes oiaohm. █
Striking balance between mindsets might be a factor on which the success of Free software is hinged. Put simply, a struggle against so-called ‘pragmatism’ may have been one of the greatest barriers to wider adoption of Free software. However, at the same time, such a struggle ensures that Free software never devolves to become excessively assimilated to proprietary software, at which point its fundamental goals are simply not met.
Over the past 25 years, Free software fought its growing pains and became an integral part of the computer industry. Against all odds, Free software, which at a later stage grew alongside the Open Source branch, has reached and touched almost every aspect of our lives, at least as far as computing goes. In the case of Open Source, nowadays it’s common to find that similar concepts get adopted almost everywhere, not just in technology.
“Even Microsoft Windows contained portions of BSD-licensed code.”To give a few examples demonstrating ubiquity, Google is powered by Free software at its deeper levels and Mozilla Firefox, which is said to have reached approximately 123 million desktops and laptops, is by all means Open Source software. The various BSDs gain acceptance also. As Macintosh users are probably aware, their system enjoys a symbiotic relationship with BSD (or Darwin) development. Even Microsoft Windows contained portions of BSD-licensed code.
When it comes to Free software, the outlook seems bright. Market predictions are largely optimistic and sharp growth of Open Source software is foreseen quite uniformly. An overwhelming lump of investments which were seen at the beginning of 2008, along with the one-billion-dollar acquisition of MySQL and another of Trolltech, are definite signs that Free software is no longer just a niche in the industry; it is a major part of it.
Obstacles to Adoption
There are areas where Free software has been more successful than others. In order to understand how adoption can be sped up, one needs to look at known weaknesses and barriers, then address them.
There are two separate sides to consider here; the first is the environment to which Free software needs to adapt and the second is the environment in which Free software is being developed.
In the first case, a reciprocal relationship can be seen. The industry wishes to leverage Free software to its own advantage, whereas Free software relies on an industry which supports, funds, and contributes improvements to the software being deployed. Those two sides are bound to meet half-way and benefit mutually.
“Separate strands — at times even referred to as “movements” — adopted slightly different routes to a digital emancipation.”In the second case, there are frictions to be addressed and reconciliation to be reached. As alluded to at the beginning of this article, there is no single ideology which represents everyone. There are those who prefer to make compromises that can be seen as shortcuts to acceptance, which come at a cost. This is typically accompanied by caution or resistance from one side (developers) and acceptance from another (targeted market).
Separate strands — at times even referred to as “movements” — adopted slightly different routes to a digital emancipation. They strive to accomplish very similar goals, but they use different software licenses. While their philosophy is not inherently the same, it is still almost identical. The development methodologies are largely consistent across the different strands and yet, unnecessary arguments sometimes get in the way. That barrier is akin to a ‘civil war’ and it can quickly becomes a distraction.
In order for Free software to become more dominant, here are just a couple of broad issues that need to be resolved. They correspond to the items above.
The problem: In a market where customers are seen as passive, they are often referred to as consumers. Most consumers out there in the market are foreign and oblivious to the ideas which make up Free software. To many people, “Free software” means “cheap software”, which at a mental level translates to “bad quality”. However, “Free software” truly ought to be synonymous with freedom, as in free speech or liberty. This ambiguity in the English language can be misleading and unfortunately enough it has been rather damaging to this software’s reputation.
“Software producers gain greater control over the user’s wallet, too.”In recent years, innocent consumers have grown more familiar with some harms of proprietary software by witnessing unwanted behaviours which can be explained in fairly simple terms. Examples include the inability to access or edit one’s family videos and the loss of access to entire music collections, which need to be repurchased. As the days go by, computers control the user more then the user controls his/her own computer. Software producers gain greater control over the user’s wallet, too. “Why,” you ask? Because they can, particularly as long as customers obey and accept rather than demand change through resistance.
There is clearly a problem of perception here. Users who are ‘external’ to the development world frequently fail to see where they are being led and how they are being controlled. Additionally, despite the fact that software is not tangible, people tend to forget that software is duplicated virtually free of charge and therefore, cost of acquisition says very little about quality. The value of software depends a great deal on the number of people who use it.
Companies that stock and sell Free software are still required to combat public perceptions, which is why the term “Open Source” is used more commonly than “Free software”. What remains unclear, however, is the number of Free software values that are maintained once this transition from Free software to Open Source is made. This can lead to backlash.
There is a always a level of pragmatism which strives to ease migrations between software, including entire operating systems, but the process tends to blur the gap between Free software and proprietary software. Consider the fact that companies which sell GNU/Linux desktops are struggling to please each and every customer and supplier (developer). If the freedom of software and hardware is preserved, this often means that the customer must then cope with a steeper learning curve. There are usually those who would bluntly accuse the company of betraying or exploiting Free software developers if proprietary ‘shims’ are included to remove adoption obstacles such as DVD playback and proprietary codecs.
Lastly, there is the perception that good products are advertised heavily. Wealthier companies, whose business model thrives in high cashflow (higher spendings and higher revenue), are able to raise awareness of their products. The public is drawn in by hype and there is no equally-effective response from the Free software world. Broadly speaking, advertising may be the Achilles Heel of Free software.
Possible solution: Education is probably the key to resolving the issues above. When stressing the value of freedom (and gradual loss thereof) users will be led to exploring more options. Not so many people are aware of real choice.
By raising the importance of user’s control in computing and by understanding that advertising does not necessarily reflect on the quality of advertised products, people can better appreciate Free software alternatives to what they currently use. Manufacturers of software and hardware need to understand this as well in order for them to properly support lesser-known operating systems such as FreeBSD and GNU/Linux.
Pragmatism can sometimes be seen as a case of giving up because there isn’t sufficient understanding out there. Hardware companies, for example, are sometimes unwilling to offer documentation that is needed for improved interaction with Free software. Their attitude is incompatible with Free software ideals simply because they fail to understand the economic benefits of customer-centric computing. Myths and fallacies play a significant role here.
The great divide between developers and everybody else is so infamous that it created the “nerd” stereotype, but there is another divide which involves just developers. This problem is broad, but let us consider one individual example which is representative of most.
The problem: The creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, considers himself to be pragmatic. He happily buys Apple hardware on which he immediately installs his own software and he takes pride in focusing on just the technical merits of his work. He rarely gets distracted by some of the more philosophical and seemingly-boring questions that are associated with software. And that’s a good thing, not a problem.
Torvalds distanced himself somewhat from the Free Software Foundation when he made the decision to stick with an older software license of theirs, the GNU GPLv2 (General Public License version 2). The main factor that led Torvalds to this decision is a set of clauses which forbid Tivoization. The term Tivoization is used to refer to a GPLv2 workaround which permits manufacturers to forbid modification joined by execution of a program. Some view this as controversial, but some do not. While Tivoization is legally permitted based on the GPLv2, this does not sit right with the spirit of the GNU project as a whole. The GPLv3 (version 3) was introduced to close the Tivoization loophole.
“It is hard to tell whether a solution is near, but it seems to be approached.”Torvalds has openly said that he likes Tivoization. He insists that Linux does not require some of changes introduced in GPLv3. This led to mild hostilities and disagreements. By no means was this a case of infighting, but tensions rose and a little fracture appeared.
Possible solution: While the problem at hand is truly a matter of opinions, divergence in terms of ideologies can be endemic in the sense that it can lead to forks. It is hard to tell whether a solution is near, but it seems to be approached. A year ago Sun Microsystems said that it would license OpenSolaris under the CDDL and the GPLv3 (dual). Past correspondence in the Linux mailing lists seems to suggest that Linux may have no choice but to swallow the GPLv3 along with terms that are perceived as undesirable by Torvalds. Alan Cox, unlike Linus Torvalds, has shown little or no opposition to this and he is very influential.
The greatest enemy to the success of Free software is Free software itself, as well as public perception. Some mild disagreements regarding the definition and values of Free software can lead to fragmentation, but there are usually some resolutions within sight.
What remains to be achieved is a grand goal related to education. Some computer professionals still fear what is yet to be understood a little better. Getting the word out there is probably the best route to removing that last major obstacle. █
The Supreme Court is refusing to disturb a $74 million judgment against Dish Network Corp. for violating a patent held by TiVo Inc. involving digital video recorders.
TiVo sued in 2004, alleging that EchoStar, a satellite broadcaster, infringed on TiVo’s patented technology that allows viewers to record one program while watching another. EchoStar Communications changed its name to Dish in late 2007.
The vice-president of the European Commission, Gunter Verheugen, claims that he remains hopeful that a way forward can be found in negotiations over the creation of a one-stop Community patent covering the entire European Union. In an interview published at the end of last week, Verheugen – who is so committed to patents he fell asleep during a press conference on the subject in May – saluted the efforts of the Portuguese and Slovenian presidencies in getting talks moving. However, he did not mention France, the current holder of the presidency, despite the interviewer’s claim that the Community patent was a priority for the French.
Where is the “innovation” that they speak of? All we have here is a lawsuit, a laughable patents, and political games. It’s a total waste of time. █
“I think that “innovation” is a four-letter word in the industry. It should never be used in polite company. It’s become a PR thing to sell new versions with.”
“It was Edison who said “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”. That may have been true a hundred years ago. These days it’s “0.01% inspiration, 99.99% perspiration”, and the inspiration is the easy part. As a project manager, I have never had trouble finding people with crazy ideas. I have trouble finding people who can execute. IOW, “innovation” is way oversold. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be applied to products like MS Word or Open office.”
“Q: Novell claims to have not acknowledged any patent infringements by
Linux. But Novell is now paying a tax to Microsoft on the Linux
distributions it ships. What, exactly, is Novell paying for?
Nat Friedman: We’re paying for the promise that Microsoft made to our
customers not to sue them.
Q: Not to sue them for *what*? For problems you don’t acknowledge exist?
Nat Friedman: We put together an agreement with Microsoft to make Linux and
Windows work better together. Now, as everyone knows, Microsoft has spent
the last 10 years saying negative things about Linux, including implying
that there are IP issues in Linux. It didn’t make sense for us to do a
partnersihp with Microsoft on interoperability issues and still have this
patent cloud hanging around for our customers, so Microsoft asked us to put
together a patent agreement as well. And so we promise Microsoft’s
customers that we won’t sue them and they promise the same thing to our
customers. They pay us for our promise and we pay them for their promise.
It doesn’t matter if the allegations from MSFT are true or not. People can
sue each other anyway, and a patent lawsuit is very expensive to defend
So, essentially what they are saying is :
“”We do not acknowledge any M$ patent violations in stuff we distribute, but
we will pay M$ a lot of money so that they do not sue us for things we are
not guilty of. We want a partnership with them at all costs even if we have
to pay that illegitimate protection money.”"
Apparently, its not costly for Novell to fight SCO when it has no case, but
it is costly to fight Microsoft when they have none either. Pretty clear
who badly wanted this deal – it was Novell (agrees with Microsoft
statements that they were approached). As for Microsoft, it was just
Christmas that came early.
This deal is just like a gift that keeps on giving for Microsoft and makes
less and less sense for open source users as revelations keep coming. At
best, it is an industrial shakedown that Novell capitulated to. At worst,
Novell decided to become Microsoft’s underling (the most polite word I
could think of in this context) just for a partnership that lasts 5 years.
Ever since, Novell has committed to a lot more partnerships and collaborations with Microsoft. According to what Novell’s CEO said last month, “we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”
There was some distressing news buried in Sean Michael Kerner’s look into Novell’s and Microsoft’s virtualization partnership. The news, however, had nothing to do with virtualization, and everything to do with Microsoft job titles.
When you have someone whose job it is to come up with “intellectual property and licensing products,” you’ve lost your way. Most software companies focus on selling (gasp!) software. Not, apparently, Microsoft.
I foresee VMWorld bringing some significant surprises to light this year. Whether it’s a Microsoft-Novell merger, a Sun-Microsoft partnership, or simply that the whole world goes virtual Desktop mad; there will be an abundance of high fiving, glass clicking, and from me — some “I told you so’s.”
What will it eventually be? Those who dare to predict that allies will roost under the same roof are being labeled “conspiracy nuts”. Novell is very cheap to acquire and its worth keeps sliding. █
There’s lots to catch up with and here is just a summary.
Is LiMo the OIN of Mobile Linux?
This interesting new article from The Register is little cynical (that’s just the publication’s style). It seems to suggest that LiMo members may benefit from somewhat of a patent pool, a patent shield, some would say an “umbrella”. There is also some legitimate criticism:
For all its talk of openness, just a quarter of the code in the LiMo Foundation’s mobile platform is open source, making it a minefield to navigate in terms of protected patents – 300,000 patents to be precise.
“300,000 patents,” eh? Can people finally understand why OpenMoko feels cornered? Such an industrial environment fosters no development whatsoever, unless you have already established yourself as a giant, a monopoly. And then there’s the patent-trolling…
Software patents are not legal in India, but Microsoft may be ‘leading the way’ by breaking law there, just as it does in South Africa. Professor Derek Keats has already accused Microsoft of breaking the law in hope of setting precedence .
According to Richard Stallman, the co-developer of the GNU-Linux operating system and proponent of Free Software says, “Software patents are patents which cover software ideas, ideas which you would use in developing software. [...]”
With respect to computer software, in Patents (Amendment) Act, 2002, the scope of non-patentable subject matter in the Act was amended to include the following: “a mathematical method or a business method or a computer programme per se or algorithms”.
India for its part seems to have adopted the more conservative approach of the European patenting norms for software. But the Ordinance definitely has its use and relevance in today’s India, particularly for our growing domestic semi- conductor industry. This, along with judicial tempering might definitely ensure a judicious use of patent protection while allowing the industry to grow through innovations and inventions, thereby, mitigating the risks of trivial patents chocking the life out of real innovations and inventions. This is the reason a patent should always be treated as a “double edged sword”, to be wielded with caution and sensitivity.
Now whether, in reality this will be implemented on a rigid basis or will become broad in scope through application (as in the U.S.), and, more importantly, whether the Ordinance would, in fact, result in increased innovation and inventions in the software industry, remains to be seen.
What will it be in India? Please send in some feedback shall you come across information of value.
Former Patent Troll Tracker blogger Rick Frenkel has left Cisco Systems and moved to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a top Silicon Valley law firm, where he is of counsel. Today is his first day at the firm.
“We were impressed with his breadth and depth of experience,” said Michael Barclay, an IP litigation partner at Wilson Sonsini and a PTT reader, natch. “Rick has developed a lot of knowledge and insights about patent trolls that will be helpful to our clients who have to deal with them.”
This turn of events was also covered in an article from Law.com. Congrats to Rick. Now he can expose and depose the other Niros of the world and even get paid for it.
From patent trolls tracker to patent trolls buster.
The world need more ‘regulators’ like him.
Software Patents from Hell
Ugly, ugly, ugly.
It’s appalling to see just what’s perceived as patentable these days. The company that invented GPL circumvention (video, more about it in [1, 2]) continues to be part of the problem. It adopts intellectual monopolies as a business model. Here is the latest from this case:
Dish plans to sustain legal fight with TiVo
“You know, I know this case inside and out,” Ergen said in a conference call with analysts Monday. “We have changed that intellectual property in a way we don’t violate (TiVo’s patent) anymore. I’m just stubborn enough to say, ‘Why am I going to pay for something that we don’t violate?’ ”
The original complaint alleges defendants Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and Aruba Networks infringe the ’118 Patent by making, using or selling wireless Internet access systems which utilize captive portal techniques to block or redirect HTTP requests.
Virtually all networking/routing equipment rendered “guilty” in one fell swoop?
It still seems rather amusing (if not twisted) that some patent system supporters are trying to convince the world Google would be harmed by an absence of software patents. Instead, it seems increasingly obvious that it would only serve to help Google, who is a regular target of questionable patent infringement lawsuits. Take the latest such case as an example. A company by the name of Web Tracking Solutions, which ironically enough, doesn’t appear to have much of a web presence (if any), has sued Google for patent infringement, claiming that its patent on third-party on-line accounting systems is being violated by Google’s AdSense offering.
Arti K. Rai (Duke University School of Law) has posted Building a Better Patent System: Facially Neutral Standards with Disparate Impact (Houston Law Review, Vol. 45, 2008) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Prompted by persistent complaints, particularly from the information and communication technology (ICT) industries, about the dangers allegedly posed by strong patents of poor quality, both the legislative and judicial branches have recently made attempts at patent reform.
To increase the digital economy in different countries myriad firms engage in costly R & D activities to forth innovative software effort due to the fact that achievement of competitive help. This paper covers eight countries the most developed software industry in the in every respect US and than after Europe, UK, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, India, and Israel. These countries are having its own standard to grant software Patents, the laws followed not later than these countries are distinctly outlined one by one.
Trademark (In)Sanity in the USPTO
The problems of the USPTO run deeper than just patents. It’s more industry-oriented than logic-oriented or economy-oriented. It too easily obeys the requirements of individual companies and thus loses sight of its original goals. The Dell “Cloud Computing” debacle, which was mentioned here just very briefly, remains inconclusive — for now.
Dell had received near-final approval for its trademark application of the term “cloud computing,” but the US Patent and Trademark Office canceled its “Notice of Allowance” on Tuesday and changed the status to “returned to examination.”
This means that there are still some Clouds [pun] of uncertainty over the use of the term “cloud computing”. Watch this:
Dell’s filing described the term as “Custom manufacture of computer hardware for use in data centers and mega-scale computing environments for others.” Dell also owns the URL cloudcomputing.com.
We’ve done a quick Whois.Net lookup and here’s what it coughed out:
One Dell Way MS 8033
Round Rock TX 78682
firstname.lastname@example.org +1.5127283500 Fax: +1.5122833369
Domain Name: cloudcomputing.com
Registrar Name: Markmonitor.com
Registrar Whois: whois.markmonitor.com
Registrar Homepage: http://www.markmonitor.com
Dell Domain Administrative Contact
One Dell Way MS 8033
Round Rock TX 78682
email@example.com +1.5127283500 Fax: +1.5122833369
Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
One Dell Way
Round Rock TX 78682
firstname.lastname@example.org +1.5127288565 Fax: +1.5127286024
Created on..............: 2007-02-28.
Expires on..............: 2010-02-28.
Record last updated on..: 2008-02-21.
Domain servers in listed order:
It’s hopefully clear to see that this domain was registered long after the term “cloud computing” had been in common use. Dana Blankenhorn asks: Has Dell lost its mind?
Dell did not succeed in the 1990s as an intellectual property company. It succeeded by delivering precisely what buyers wanted, with bulletproof quality, at the lowest possible price.
In an open source world these are still the keys to success. Not intellectual property. Precision, value, quality.
Dell seems to be following Microsoft’s footsteps. In difficult time, it strives to capitalise on imaginary property. █
A fairly far-fetched hypothesis and a controversial opinion too is that Novell has already been sued by Microsoft over software patents, albeit by proxy [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Be it true or not, we know what we know, but we probably will never know the truth — not for sure anyway. We just gather evidence and let others draw conclusions or at least consider probabilities. At the end of the day, likelihood can become compelling enough a factor to satisfy an observer’s thirst for answers and facilitate further connection of dots. In the Internet everyone works together.
Regardless of Microsoft, folks from Astrum (probably just one of them) have have been openly protesting for a while in the Boycott Novell site, using the comments section where they voice their complaint and share the message. We welcomed this because its showed that Novell was willing to betray its own partners.
A question to be begged for is this: if Novell, just like Microsoft, back-stabs its own close partners, what would ever prevent it from screwing codebase siblings like Ubuntu, Red Hat, Mandriva, Slackware, Debian and [apologies to all those who are left out]? In fact, Novell has already done that. It signed a deal which it knew was exclusionary. It took a direct shot at the likes of Red Hat, whom it was unable to defeat otherwise. It helped Microsoft in the process — and knowingly so! It jeopardised free software.
Mono advocates who read this site like to rave about Mono’s speed, power, etc. (avoiding all the key issues). They also rave about Moonlight, which Dana Blankenhorn recently compared to a pony in a horse race. Will you have a look at the Moonlight reference page at microsoft.com? Groklaw has taken a look and said last night: “You might want to read the Microsoft-Novell patent covenant for Moonlight, for example. Who can be sued? When? Under what circumstances?”
As such, there’s no reason to sympathise for/on Novell’s behalf at the sight of this news:
Novell slapped with suit for new mini-OS
Astrum Inc., a software security company in Carrollton, Texas, has filed suit against Novell Inc. Astrum claims that Novell violated its contract regarding development of the mini-operating system appliance that Novell launched last month. Novell’s JeOS or Just enough Operating System, is a miniature version of the SUSE Linux Enterprise OS, which was created to help independent software vendors develop or deploy new SUSE-based applications easier and faster.
Filed in U.S. District Court in Texas’ Eastern Division, the lawsuit contends that the two companies entered into a mutual nondisclosure agreement on Oct. 25, 2006, to develop the software appliance but Novell violated the agreement by revealing confidential information to partners and customers. Then, after the prototype was successfully tested in November 2007, Novell engaged rPath of Raleigh, N.C., the following April to create the appliances based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.
The suit alleged breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, common law misappropriation, misappropriation of ideas and promissory “estoppel,” or broken promises.
”Microsoft’s conduct as a corporation and a manufacturer of computing products, is predicated upon an internal policy of deception, which includes deceiving customers, deceiving competitors, deceiving partners, deceiving its own vendors, and at some level, deceiving its own staff.“