11.29.07

Gemini version available ♊︎

A Reader’s Take on the Dangers of Software Patents and Microsoft’s Role

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, Open XML, Patents at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An anonymous reader wishes to share his point of view.


The speech by Richard Stallman on software patents is the fundamental basics any software engineer should know when thinking about how damaging the patent system is to his/her job. As the speech explains, the mainstream discourses about how convenient and useful the patent system and how nicely it allegedly “protects” software, are crafted by parties with vested interests in the system (usually patent lawyers or patent office bureaucrats or big corporations with an army of lawyers and legal counselors).

”One of the things the speech warns about, is that patents that are in the pipeline waiting for approval are secret for at least 18 months, so I am sure that even if no patent covers MSOOXML yet, they have something prepared in case the format gets approved by ISO and gains adoption.“This speech puts the perspective on the view of a software engineer, so I think is fundamental that every FOSS software engineer/developer know it. Combine it together with these rebuttal by Pieter Hintjents to all the typical justifications by the mainstream to the patent system applied to software, and you have a formidable set of arguments to dismantle all the FUD being applied to software patents lately by the usual suspects.

In Stallman’s speech you find a very, very good portion on software patents that explains very clearly why is so important to avoid patent-encumbered format. The speech explains LZW (patented by Unisys) and how it was almost impossible to avoid breaching the patent since it was implemented in GIF. I would call it “the software patents for dummies speech”.

But this can be applied to any format. I am sure that MSOOXML and Silverlight are full of patents. OK, now keep this in mind because it is important that the engineers and developers ingenuously (or disingenuously) implementing MSOOXML or Silverlight or .mono in FOSS projects to know why this is a terribly bad idea:

One of the things the speech warns about, is that patents that are in the pipeline waiting for approval are secret for at least 18 months, so I am sure that even if no patent covers MSOOXML yet, they have something prepared in case the format gets approved by ISO and gains adoption. Once the patents are disclosed, people would already be locked-in, so Microsoft can sue around users and companies alike and cause much disruption.


If you have posts that you want to contribute, I’d be happy to receive and publish them (roy at schestowitz dot com).

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  2. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.



  3. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...



  4. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)



  5. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day



  6. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  7. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021



  9. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day



  10. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year



  11. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be



  12. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them



  13. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing



  14. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 02, 2021



  16. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day



  17. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day



  18. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue



  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021



  20. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”



  21. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all still the same



  22. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  24. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation



  25. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  26. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  27. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  29. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  30. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts