IRC Proceedings: January 17th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

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Mageia Joins the Open Invention Network (OIN) as Linux Consortia Grow

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mandriva, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 2:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original image source

Summary: A Mandriva derivative/fork joins the OIN while many more companies huddle around Linux organisations such as the Linux Foundation

THE GNU/LINUX system is growing very strong, very quickly. OIN too is growing strong with a new addition almost every week and a former Novell employee, Joe Brockmeier, has been trying to explain how OIN works, including its blind spots, e.g.:

OIN, in other words, isn’t a magic bullet for companies that are doing business on top of Linux.

Mageia joins OIN based on very few reports (Mageia is a new and thus obscure distribution).

As we explained before, the Linux Foundation and the OIN are closely related and the Linux Foundation too is growing at an incredible pace (we covered this in the daily links). The most jaw-dropping addition was Broadcom (just earlier this month) and IDG said that “IP management company Protecode and Timesys both joined this week, and Cybercom and GoAhead will join Broadcom in announcing their own membership next week.”

“Hopefully,” wrote Groklaw, “they are also going to join Open Invention Network.”

The addition of Protecode shows that the Linux Foundation is really not selective, however even if Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation or the OIN (it is said to have been invited), that would not jeopardise the GNU/Linux world; to the contrary — it would probably defang Microsoft to a high extent.

TechBytes Episode 26: £98 GNU/Linux Computer, Stuxnet’s Government Roots, and More

Posted in TechBytes at 2:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct download as Ogg (2:09:30, 50.0 MB) | Direct download as MP3 (59.3 MB)

Summary: Tim and Roy talk about a 98-pound PC, Stuxnet, Android/ChromeOS, and copyright news

LAST NIGHT’S show started with some important GNU/Linux news from the UK and it then covered many different topics that are linked in OpenBytes’ show notes. (Update – 22/1/2011: show notes posted days later)

RSS 64x64The show ends not with the usual opening/closing theme but with Marti’s promotional track for TechBytes. We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):


Ogg Theora
(There is also an MP3 version)

Our past shows:

November 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 1: Brandon from Fedora TechBytes Episode 1: Apple, Microsoft, Bundling, and Fedora 14 (With Special Guest Brandon Lozza) 1/11/2010
Episode 2: No guests TechBytes Episode 2: Ubuntu’s One Way, Silverlight Goes Dark, and GNU Octave Discovered 7/11/2010
Episode 3: No guests TechBytes Episode 3: Games, Wayland, Xfce, Restrictive Application Stores, and Office Suites 8/11/2010
Episode 4: No guests TechBytes Episode 4: Fedora 14 Impressions, MPAA et al. Payday, and Emma Lee’s Magic 9/11/2010
Episode 5: No guests TechBytes Episode 5: Windows Loses to Linux in Phones, GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share Estimations, and Much More 12/11/2010
Episode 6: No guests TechBytes Episode 6: KINect a Cheapo Gadget, Sharing Perceptually Criminalised, Fedora and Fusion 14 in Review 13/11/2010
Episode 7: No guests TechBytes Episode 7: FUD From The Economist, New Releases, and Linux Eureka Moment at Netflix 14/11/2010
Episode 8: Gordon Sinclair on Linux Mint TechBytes Episode 8: Linux Mint Special With Gordon Sinclair (ThistleWeb) 15/11/2010
Episode 9: Gordon Sinclair returns TechBytes Episode 9: The Potentially Permanent Return of ThistleWeb 17/11/2010
Episode 10: Special show format TechBytes Episode 10: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux 19/11/2010
Episode 11: Part 2 of special show TechBytes Episode 11: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux – Part II 21/11/2010
Episode 12: Novell special TechBytes Episode 12: Novell Sold for Microsoft Gains 23/11/2010
Episode 13: No guests TechBytes Episode 13: Copyfight, Wikileaks, and Other Chat 28/11/2010
Episode 14: Patents special TechBytes Episode 14: Software Patents in Phones, Android, and in General 29/11/2010
Episode 15: No guests TechBytes Episode 15: Google Chrome OS, Windows Refund, and Side Topics Like Wikileaks 30/11/2010

December 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 16: No guests TechBytes Episode 16: Bribes for Reviews, GNU/Linux News, and Wikileaks Opinions 3/12/2010
Episode 17: No guests TechBytes Episode 17: Chrome OS Imminent, Wikileaks Spreads to Mirrors, ‘Open’ Microsoft 5/12/2010
Episode 18: No guests TechBytes Episode 18: Chrome OS, Sharing, Freedom, and Wikileaks 11/12/2010
Episode 19: No guests TechBytes Episode 19: GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktop at 4%, Microsoft Declining, and ChromeOS is Coming 16/12/2010
Episode 20: No guests TechBytes Episode 20: GNU/Linux Gamers Pay More for Games, Other Discussions 18/12/2010
Episode 21: No guests TechBytes Episode 21: Copyright Abuses, Agitators and Trolls, Starting a New Site 20/12/2010
Episode 22: No special guests TechBytes Episode 22: Freedom Debate and Picks of the Year 27/12/2010

January 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 23: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 23: Failuresfest and 2011 Predictions 2/1/2011
Episode 24: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 24: Android, Microsoft’s President Departure, and Privacy 10/1/2011
Episode 25: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 25: Mono, Ubuntu, Android, and More 14/1/2011

SCO vs. Novell Appeal Two Days Away, SCO Asset Sale Last Friday

Posted in Novell, SCO, UNIX at 1:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Worker on phone

Summary: The remaining assets of SCO are being sold (e.g. support for remnant of its customers) and the Novell case will resume shortly

The SCO case is not over just yet. This serves as a cautionary lesson regarding the litigation system (“legal system” sounds too good), which favours persistence and works quite well for lawyers (the longer the process, the more they will be paid).

Since we mentioned Groklaw in the previous post, it seems reasonable to mention its updates regarding SCO bills and SCO’s latest sale of business assets (said to have taken place 4 days):

SCO wants to have another auction. The first one was a fizzle, or so they seem to be indicating, even though at the hearing back in August on SCO’s desire to hold the first auction, they represented they had bidders lined up already. But no sale.

This isn’t just another way to delay until after the January 20th oral argument in SCO’s appeal of its loss to Novell, is it? Or avoid the inevitable discussion about defaulting on the Yarro loan, handing over the keys, and turning out the lights once and for all on SCO as we knew it? And what should us normal folks hope for in such a scenario as this?

That we knew The Rest of the Story of what’s going on behind the scenes, methinks.

The above gives away the date of January twentieth, which Groklaw is going to aim for and cover:

Synchronize your watches, and if you need to book a flight, now you know the day to arrange for. SCO is listed last for that day, but call the court if you plan to attend to verify closer to the date.

SCO is eternally in bankruptcy, as Groklaw helps show: “SCO has filed its monthly operating reports for October in the bankruptcy farce. Here are the September MORs, if you’d like to compare.”

Here is a new press release regarding a book with SCO vs. Novell in it:

Tenth Circuit’s The SCO Group, Inc. v. Novell, Inc.; Retirement Group v. Galante and Dowell v. Biosense Webster, Inc., from the California Court of Appeal

It will be interesting to see what AttachMSFT [sic] does regarding this whole case, which has cost Novell a lot of money (Novell really wants UNIX for itself).

Groklaw on Apple Patents

Posted in Apple, Patents at 1:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Macintosh with transparency

Summary: Apple patents and the accompanying fanfare are a source of concern and ridicule

ON NUMEROUS occasions we wrote about patentlyapple.com, which is some sort of a fan site (maybe AstroTurfing) for Apple monopolies. Some of them are used to sue Android. This time the site looks at Apple patents from the past year, noting (cultists alert): “It was another banner year for Apple patents in 2010. The Crazy Ones of Cupertino were shown to be working on an incredible line up of ideas and projects in areas ranging from sports to Near Field Communications to next generation 3D user interfaces and devices and even green technologies. Yet at the end of the day, there were ten patents that rose to the top; Ten patents that the Mac Community clearly chose as their favorites. The Mac Community celebrates Apple’s spirit of invention as it empowers and inspires us throughout the year. Will one of your favorites be on this list? Well, let the top-ten countdown for 2010 begin!”

“I *know*! I thought I’d give you a laugh,” wrote Groklaw, whose apologetic attitude towards Apple we previously questioned (it has changed a lot since then). “I had no idea there was any tech community anywhere that had a top ten favorite patents list. Patents. That’s like a list of your favorite plagues. I’d have to vote for frogs … in the oven, in your bed, in your clothes. Definitely my favorite plague.”

Here is another new patent from Apple:

Apple has received a patent that hints to the intent of providing network computers that will boot through a “net-booted environment.”

The difference between Apple/Microsoft patents and IBM patents is that the former get used against Free software, so we shall keep an eye on these.

Patents Are a Loser’s Game

Posted in Patents at 1:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jay Walker
Photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

Summary: Examples of former innovators who simply perish and then become patent trolls that harm the industry and add nothing to it

OCCASIONALLY we give examples to show who is exploiting the patent system. People who once had companies use them as a safety net and large companies use them as some sort of negotiation tools and ‘insurance policies’. Forgotten in the process are matters like documentation and innovation. The patent system has not been about anything fruitful for quite some time now.

As this new item shows, people who used to actually make something are now just a patent (or several patents) with one man (or more) sort of ‘around’ it. Jay S. Walker is a recent example of it [1, 2, 3]. Once a real developer of something, Walker devolved to end up as a major nuisance and become a patent troll. He uses some shell called Walker Digital to not do anything digital but instead to sue companies (using analogue papers). Here is what TechCrunch has to say about it:

Walker Digital, the “invention company” founded by Priceline.com co-inventor Jay S. Walker, isn’t just suing Facebook, he’s also trying to take on some giant game publishers.

More specifically, Walker Digital has just filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Zynga, Activision and the latter’s subsidiary Blizzard Entertainment.

As you can see in the complaint embedded below, the patent-in-suit is U.S. patent no. 6,425,828, which was issued on July 30, 2002. The patent is entitled ‘DATABASE DRIVEN ONLINE DISTRIBUTED TOURNAMENT SYSTEM’.

“One patent troll sent reportedly sent such threat letters to 75,000 companies,” says this document (in page 4) recently found/highlighted by the FFII’s president. When that’s the business model, no wonder the patent system gets so paralysed.

Over at Identi.ca, Silner says: “I’ll make a wild and woolly 50 year prediction. Eventually, patents will be the undoing of the Western world” (Asia uses patents differently).

Big Blue’s Winter of Shame

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Patents at 12:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Abstract floral winter background

Summary: IBM is named a #1 monopolist again for grabbing more patents — including patents on software algorithms — than any other company in the world; some controversial patents are highlighted

GUESS which company is the #1 patentor? That’s an easy question because it’s always IBM, which supports software patents. IBM’s ‘achievement’ (gaining the most monopolies) is very unimpressive and unnecessary. In just one year IBM earned 5,896 patents [1, 2, 3], which means that there are many areas of computing being ‘locked’. The rise in IBM’s pace of patenting may say something about the quality of patents rapidly declining — a subject we’ll deal with in later posts. Jan Wildeboer writes: “The new #PaaS by #IBM – Patents As A (patented) Service :-) http://is.gd/kufJe” (from end of December 2010).

IBM loves patenting every piece of junk under the sun and occasionally it bullies companies with it, e.g. Sun. Colin Jackson writes:

IBM patents…patenting? What? http://bit.ly/fM76Pu End the madness, end software patents! #swpats

In IBM’s critics’ rink [via Slashdot] there are suggestions that it’s a “Patent Troll Patent” and to quote the original:

It may be somewhat ironic that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published in the last week of 2010, a year with a boat load of questionable patent filings and approvals, a patent application from IBM, which automates the management of intellectual property and comes with a “defend” module to formulate a strategy in the case of patent infringement.

The right to protect inventions and intellectual property from being copied in a frivolous way is one of the foundations of a rewarding economy, but a loose control and oversight in fact can have the opposite effect and we are witnessing astonishing lawsuits based on IP infringement claims every day. A few days ago, Microsoft co-founder revised his rampage against Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo. There is an ongoing trial involving a key Wi-Fi patent. And we are lost in confusion who is suing whom over what in the smartphone arena. The latest entrants are Sony and LG: Sony claims that LG infringes on 7 Sony mobile phone patents.

Another respectable Web site alleged that “IBM Files Application to Patent The Patent Process”:

Reading through IT patents these days requires patience and tolerance. When you can patent common sense, there is clearly something wrong with the system. But as long as no changes are being made, you are inviting people to exploit what is available and IBM has just demonstrated what may be possible, if one of their most recent patent applications is accepted by the USPTO.

The company felt it would be beneficial to patent the patent strategy process all the way from training inventors, to competitor monitoring and protecting (i.e. suing someone) a patent from infringement. This patent does not describe anything new, but a strategy that is being pursued by anyone who owns a patent and especially patent trolls or people like Paul Allen, who is just taking another shot at suing Google for patent infringement.

This was also covered in ““IBM Files For Patent On Patent Trolling, But It May Be Too Late”; “IBM targets patent trolls – with a proposed patent” and “Big Blue tries to patent the patent process”, which are more sympathetic towards IBM (alleging that IBM is just trying to defend itself from patent trolls.

“What about IBM’s legitimisation of software patents?”From a somewhat selfish point of view, the Free software community can yawn at the news because IBM uses some of its patents to defend F/OSS, but then again, what about companies that become victims, like Sun? What about IBM’s legitimisation of software patents? And what would happen if IBM lost its implicit “government franchise” status and fell under the bus after a decade or so? Would it be legally obliged not to sue everyone under the sun? Of course not. And as experience suggests, patents such as Novell’s and Sun’s become weapons once their original holder implodes. This will be the subject of the next post.

If IBM loves software freedom (which it only cares about out of convenience), then it will reform the system rather than be the largest participant in it, with its a former employee now heading the USPTO.

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