03.24.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Software Patents Complication Shows Why Linux Needs the FSF

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, FSF, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU and Linux

Summary: Contrary to common misconceptions, the FSF’s philosophy and work actually defend Linux from the patent attacks it currently faces from Apple, Microsoft, and possibly their henchmen at Intellectual Ventures

SEVERAL days ago, TuxRadar (a Linux Format magazine Web site) decided to run a strange poll with a strange introduction that can be seen as bait (the question seems like push polling [1, 2, 3]), or maybe an attempt to make the FSF look bad. That’s fair enough as they can express an opinion or seek opinions, but as Jason from The Source put it:

This reminds me of a GNOME Foundation poll.

Jason refers to this incident [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], which ended up with tears.

“The FSF is actually fighting against the problems and the associated corruption of the patent system, for example.”Anyway, that poll about the FSF was seemingly alienating GNU/FSF and it led to this troll headline from ECT, which says “Would Linux Be Better Off Without the FSF?”

This is ludicrous. The FSF is actually fighting against the problems and the associated corruption of the patent system, for example. On the contrary, Linux is backed by some of the very same companies that are part of the problem. They have many software patents that they are not prepared to give up or give away (bar OIN).

Ciaran from the FSF has produced a full transcript of Andrew Tridgell’s recent talk (video here) and The Source remarked on it as follows:

Well worth reading, especially in light of increasing patent-based FUD attacks against Linux from Microsoft and the doom-and-gloom appeasement arguments and anti-community actions from Microsoft lackeys.

In the comments, Jose_X points at this old article from Richard Stallman. It’s about patents. The FSF should be commended for its work on the issue of software patents, not denounced or ostracised by people who choose to ignore reality. The reality is not as simple as “Linux is cool”; there are many legal attacks or even corruption (white-collar crime) involved in marginalising Linux and those who are blind to it are not helping the cause of GNU/Linux promotion. Moreover, those who stomp on the FSF are doing more damage than they realise.

Glyn Moody has published this follow-on post after a previous post where he wrote about Intellectual Ventures.

Free Software’s Secret Patent Weapon

Yesterday I was warning about the threat that the super-troll Intellectual Ventures represents. To provide some balance, here’s a surprisingly upbeat piece from Samba creator Andrew Tridgell on how to read software patents. It’s incredibly well done, and I recommend it to everyone.

Tridgell’s warnings were first mentioned by us in a post about "Apple's Patent Threat to Linux". We more or less foresaw what shortly afterwards became a reality because Apple sued Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and received Microsoft’s support [1, 2, 3]. It smacks of racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. HTC and Google will fight back and as Lora Bentley put it, the circumstances make it apparent that Linux indeed is the target (Android).

The fact that Google issued a statement in support of HTC before HTC even commented on the lawsuit also lends credence to the idea that Apple is actually gunning for Google here.

Google is also harassed (sued for patent violation) by a company called Red Bend. It does not appear to have a software product (maybe just licensing). The company’s Web site is vague about it and all the company talks about are some big numbers (new press release) and FOTA [PDF].

“People are gradually beginning to ask questions about the role of Intellectual Ventures and their immense holding of software patents.”
      –Simon Phipps
It is worth noting that Red Bend chooses Windows for its Web site and its latest blog post is about Microsoft.

Going back to Intellectual Ventures, which was funded by Apple, Microsoft, and Bill Gates, this patent troll has over 1,000 ‘satellite’ firms that it is said to be using to sabotage the business of companies which refuse to pay “protection money” (secretly, under NDAs). Simon Phipps has this to say about Kodak's latest revelations about Intellectual Ventures: “People are gradually beginning to ask questions about the role of Intellectual Ventures and their immense holding of software patents. Kodak is not a company I like (they trolled Sun for a fortune) but this accusation is very serious. Getting to the bottom of it would take some serious and well-funded investigation. Or, plan B, we can ask our legislators to remove the mechanisms used for trolling…

Stephen O’Grady explains why he is against software patents and uses Intellectual Ventures to make his case:

Still others expect me to argue that the greater good – a dangerous phrase if ever there was one – demands that software be unpatentable. That Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures is the epitome of evil in the world, with a revenue model based strictly on extracting value from an antiquated patent system that has been mistakenly applied to an industry that requires no such protections. But while I personally believe that Myhrvold’s company is based entirely on extracting profit from a broken system rather stimulating invention as he claims – that Intellectual Ventures is just a version of those infomercials seeking ignorant “inventors” to exploit writ large – this isn’t why I’m against software patents.

TechDirt also has this new example of why software patents have gone extremely silly.

Why Real Programmers Don’t Take The USPTO Seriously: Doubly-Linked List Patented

[...]

It’s pretty difficult to find software engineers who take the patent system seriously. There are a few, but it’s still pretty difficult. For the most part, they recognize that code is just a tool: you can make it do all sorts of things, given enough time and resources, but that doesn’t mean that doing any particular thing in code is an “invention” that no one else should be able to do. And then, sometimes, they discover that something pretty basic and old has suddenly been given a patent. Brad Feld discusses his discovery that doubly linked lists were apparently patented in 2006 (patent number 7,028,023)…

In the news this week we have: “Cognex and Fuji Resolve Vision Software Patent Dispute”

As we continue to emphasise, a lot of the bullying with software patents comes from Apple and Microsoft (among the large companies, IBM and Google do not do this, even though they have software patents). But there is more to Microsoft than just Microsoft itself; for instance, look at former Microsoft employees who created companies such as LikeWise [1, 2]. They are playing with software patents and with Microsoft. They bring that over to UNIX, Linux, and even VMware, which is also run by former Microsoft employees and it shows. Microsoft is trying to feed Linux with software patents by shoving them down its throat. What is Linus going to do about it [1, 2]? If it weren’t for the FSF and FFII, for example, where would we be?

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.

A Single Comment

  1. anthony said,

    March 25, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Gravatar

    Future Publishing’s web page. They use the term “open source.” The PR org’s are pushing dilution to GNU GPL. It also would not be necessary to be aggressive towards FSF if they were just trolling for the web traffic. Why would they be aggressive (bad social move) unless there was coercion. The typical layout of being divisive, because of the ‘I’m on your side but….’

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 07, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 07, 2023



  2. When the Pension Vanishes

    Today we commenced a multi-part mini-series about pensions and what happens when they suddenly vanish and nobody is willing to explain where all the money went



  3. Sirius 'Open Source' Pensiongate: An Introduction

    The Sirius ‘Open Source’ series continues in the form of a mini-series about pensions; it’s part of an ongoing investigation of a deep mystery that impacts people who left the company quite a long time ago and some of the lessons herein are applicable to any worker with a pension (at times of financial uncertainties)



  4. Links 07/02/2023: Endless OS 5.0 and Voice.AI GPL Violations

    Links for the day



  5. No Doubt Microsoft Unleashed Another 'Tay', Spreading Bigotry Under the Guise of Hey Hi (AI)

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  6. Links 07/02/2023: Fedora 39 Development Plans Outlines

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 06, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, February 06, 2023



  8. Links 06/02/2023: Escuelas Linux 8.0 and Many Political Issues

    Links for the day



  9. Links 06/02/2023: Sparky 6.6 and IPFire 2.27 – Core Update 173

    Links for the day



  10. Taking Back Control or Seizing Autonomy Over the News Cycle (Informing People, Culling the Marketing)





  11. Reality Versus Fiction: EPO Insiders Versus EPO Web Site and UPC 'Churnalists'

    The "official" sources of the European Patent Office (EPO), as well as the sedated "media" that the EPO is bribing for further bias, cannot tell the truth about this very large institution; for proper examination of Europe's largest patent office one must pursue the interpretation by longtime veterans and insiders, who are increasingly upset and abused (they're being pressured to grant patents in violation of the charter of the EPO)



  12. Links 06/02/2023: Linux 6.2 RC7 and Fatal Earthquake

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 05, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 05, 2023



  14. Links 05/02/2023: Wayland in Bookworm and xvidtune 1.0.4

    Links for the day



  15. Links 05/02/2023: Pakistan Blocks Wikipedia, Musharraf Dies

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 04, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 04, 2023



  17. Links 04/02/2023: FOSDEM Happening and Ken Thompson in SoCal Linux Expo

    Links for the day



  18. 2023 is the Year Taxpayers' Money Goes to War and Energy Subsidies, Not Tech

    Now that a lot of powerful and omnipresent ‘tech’ (spying and policing) companies are rotting away we have golden opportunities to bring about positive change and maybe even recruit technical people for good causes



  19. Getting Back to Productive Computer Systems Would Benefit Public Health and Not Just Boost Productivity

    “Smartphoneshame” (shaming an unhealthy culture of obsession with “apps”) would potentially bring about a better, more sociable society with fewer mental health crises and higher productivity levels



  20. Links 04/02/2023: This Week in KDE and Many More Tech Layoffs

    Links for the day



  21. Dotcom Boom and Bust, Round 2

    The age of technology giants/monopolies devouring everything or military-funded (i.e. taxpayers-subsidised) surveillance/censorship tentacles, in effect privatised eyes of the state, may be ending; the United States can barely sustain that anymore and raising the debt ceiling won't solve that (buying time isn't the solution)



  22. Society Would Benefit From a Smartphoneshame Movement

    In a society plagued by blackmail, surveillance and frivolous lawsuits it is important to reconsider the notion of “smart” phone ownership; these devices give potentially authoritarian companies and governments far too much power over people (in the EU they want to introduce new legislation that would, in effect, ban Free software if it enables true privacy)



  23. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 03, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, February 03, 2023



  24. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 02, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 02, 2023



  25. Links 03/02/2023: Proton 7.0-6 Released, ScummVM 2.7 Testing

    Links for the day



  26. Links 03/02/2023: OpenSSH 9.2 and OBS Studio 29.0.1

    Links for the day



  27. Links 03/02/2023: GNU C Library 2.37

    Links for the day



  28. Sirius Finished

    Yesterday I was sent a letter approving my resignation from Sirius ‘Open Source’, two months after I had already announced that I was resigning with immediate effect; they sent an identical letter to my wife (this time, unlike before, they remembered to also change the names!!)



  29. The Collapse of Sirius in a Nutshell: How to Identify the Symptoms and Decide When to Leave

    Sirius is finished, but it's important to share the lessons learned with other people; there might be other "pretenders" out there and they need to be abandoned



  30. Links 03/02/2023: WINE 8.1 and RapidDisk 9.0.0

    Links for the day


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