Sun Microsystems Flexes Its Muscles and Proves the Value of Defensive Portfolios in Open Source

Posted in Action, Courtroom, Law, Patents, SUN, UNIX at 9:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“You touch us, we hit you”

The following new development is a particularly interesting one because OIN might sooner or later jump to the rescue and become active with its highly extensive portfolio.

In previous coverages about the ZFS patent case [1, 2] we pointed out that patent trolls are here to stay as long as no action is taken either by USPTO or those who come under attack. Since the USPTO won’t be reformed properly any time soon [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], Sun has decided to strike back. Sun’s CEO wrote in his blog an item that is interpreted further in the following article.

Consequently, “Later this week, we’re going to use our defensive portfolio to respond to Network Appliance, filing a comprehensive reciprocal suit. As a part of this suit, we are requesting a permanent injunction to remove all of their filer products from the marketplace, and are examining the original NFS license–on which Network Appliance was started,” Schwartz said.

In another subsequent article, even more is said and good will is revealed.

Sun promises to donate half of legal bounty to free software foundations

Sun Microsystems is preparing to file a patent suit against storage vendor Network Appliance (NetApp), chief executive Jonathan Schwartz revealed on his blog.

It is the first bit that’s of interest here.

Related articles:

Microsoft and Novell Work in Isolation to Weed Out Common Threat (Free Linux)

Posted in Boycott Novell, Europe, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Protocol, Red Hat, Servers, Virtualisation at 8:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not much is new under the sun. Microsoft has a plan and Novell plays along happily, so long as it is rewarded financially and offered exclusive rights, at the expense of all other Linux distributions.

Here is what Novell had to say about Microsoft’s latest attempt to pretend to have ‘opened up’.

“The majority of our customers have mixed-source environments, and they want their platform vendors to make things work together,” said Roger Levy, senior vice president and general manager, Open Platform Solutions at Novell. “That’s why we entered into a technical collaboration agreement with Microsoft. As a result, Novell is the first vendor to develop and ship technology that will allow a paravirtualized Windows Server 2008 to be hosted as a guest on the Xen hypervisor. Microsoft’s decision to put the hypercall API under their Open Specifications Promise will make it even easier for Novell, our customers and partners, and the entire open source community to develop high-quality virtualization solutions that deliver true interoperability between Windows and Linux.”

Did you spot that bit about “hypercall API” and “Open Specifications”? Guess what? As usual, it contains anti-GPL poison. It is the old trick that involved licensing, which is part of the plan to block those that do not comply with Microsoft’s rules and assimilate.

This one particular issue was not entirely overlooked by Joe Wilcox over at Microsoft Watch.

Microsoft’s decision to license the hypercall API is the right call, although some pundits and competitors might balk at the licensing scheme.

If you think it’s just this hypercall, then think again. Reuters has just published a detailed list of Microsoft patented protocols, which brings back to mind the terms of the agreement in Europe [1, 2].

Microsoft will release interconnection information — called protocols — which rival servers need in order to work smoothly with Microsoft Windows desktops.

It is worth repeating the key argument that Microsoft wants to charge money for standard protocols which is deliberately ‘extended’ with the sole intention of breaking compatibility. It wishes to be rewarded for abuse of standards and sabotage of intercommunication among servers.

Red Hat, which is watching this type of worrisome developments from afar, responds with understandable concern.

While Red Hat welcomed Microsoft’s recent decision to comply with the European Court of First Instance’s antitrust ruling, Michael Cunningham, general counsel for Red Hat, stated that the company was still concerned about Microsoft’s patent model.

Evens Data’s GPLv3 Survey is Meaningless. Here’s Why. (Updated)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, FUD, GPL, Law at 8:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In our recent writings we remarked on the rising adoption of the GNU GPLv3 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9]. A few days ago we also mentioned the Evans Data survey, which conflicts with the methods used by Palamida.

The following new article, which covers the recent FSF powwow, reveals the great weaknesses in the methodology embraced by Evans Data.

Smith says that since the survey doesn’t say what projects the developers queried by Evans are working on, the survey tells you “basically nothing…. Maybe they all work on one of the BSD distributions, or Apache projects. If that’s the case, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that they have no plans to use GPLv3. It would be more interesting to poll people already working on GPLed projects, but even that wouldn’t necessarily reveal the whole story. Some projects probably intend to upgrade, but simply won’t get around to it until they do another major release. Others might be waiting for a library that they use to upgrade — I know that this is the case for a handful of KDE programs at least, for example, since Qt is unfortunately released under GPLv2 only.”

We actually pointed this out before. There’s no overnight avalanche of adoption because a new major release is needed to justify a licence change. It is pointless to release a new version where the code is totally unchanged, but only a licence is upgraded. With all due respect to Evans Data, one should stick with Palamida’s realistic perspective.

In lieu of sending out bi-weekly updates on GPLv3 conversions, we have moved to an RSS-feed model so that if you would like to continue receiving the information, it is easy to subscribe.

Please help Palamida spread its word because many wealthy parties out there have interest in blocking GPLv3 adoption. They use FUD and deception to achieve this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. They build stereotypes and make bigots.

Update: another large project has proudly announced its upgrade to the GPLv3 (press release even), which is also praised.

Daniel Chalef, KnowledgeTree’s chief operating officer, praised the GPLv3 as modern, well-structured and a significant achievement for the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

Banned Microsoft Commercial Shows the Effect of Patent Armageddon (Updated)

Posted in Boycott Novell, FUD, Microsoft, Patents, Videos at 4:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…Not exactly a patent Armageddon, but what makes this violent advertising an excellent example is the fact that, unlike cold wars, no real weapons are involved (only junk patents).

It can hopefully be understood how this relates to a patent maze that involved many parties such as OIN (IBM, Oracle, Google, etc.), incognito patent trolls, Novell, and Microsoft.

This commercial led to a big storm in the media when children at a school mimicked it (used it as an example). This could end up deadly because any fake game can be seen as real from afar.

Update (26/11/2007): the video above has been removed. Here is a link that works with an embedment (streaming Flash) below.

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