04.14.08

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US Commerce Secretary Wants to Restore Some Patent Sanity, Microsoft-Novell as Role Model of Abuse

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 10:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Groklaw has just up scooped the following small portion of slightly reassuring news. It’s about the Commerce Secretary Gutierrez addressing the US senate regarding patents.

The Administration strongly supports the AQS provision in the bill in its current form, and believes enacting AQS will reduce the number of poor quality and imprecise applications, thus dramatically reducing patent pendency and backlog, as well as the likelihood of excessive litigation.

This is quite a significant turn considering the Administration's recent snub of a reform, which is an ineffective reform anyway.

Yesterday we shared a video where Red Hat speaks about its patents. It’s discouraging, but some view it as a necessarily evil due to the broken legislation (see the above) and some even try to capitalise on it. Have a look at this analysis:

A company turns the Microsoft-Novell case into an open source business model

Everybody seems to agree that software patents are bad: because of patent trolls, because the patent system is broken and overwhelmed or because they threaten FOSS. In short, people don’t want to pay for Linux.

Yet even pro-open-source companies are making this argument that they have to build a patent portfolio so that to be able to defend themselves, just in case. Hey, even open source communities have adopted this “I’m forced too” stance.

Therefore it was only a matter of time before an open source company decides patents could be used to solidify open source dual-licensing schemes. Imagine the deal between Microsoft and Novell erected into a widespread open source dual-licensing scheme. Scary.

We wrote very briefly about this company a couple of week back. By the way, milkingthegnu.org is a recommended new Web site that focuses on important matters (the macro issues), so if you can spare some room in your reading list, this site is worth considering.

An increasing number of sites appear to be focusing on what can best be described as the perversion of Free software, or at least its redefinition. When you see OOXML described as open source in the Times of India, you know something is amiss. As an aside, Richard Stallman is coming to Manchester in a couple of week. I’ll finally get to see him talk.

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