Links 21/4/2012: Linux on the Watch, More Migrations to Linux in India

Posted in News Roundup at 11:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source


  • Finance

    • Sequoia Fund Manager Campaigns Against Goldman Board Member, Former Fannie CEO Jim Johnson

      A telling taboo in elite circles is the issue of corruption. At INET last year, after a panel discussion on the financial crisis, Jamie Galbraith said he was astonished that there was not a single mention of fraud. His observation was met with a resounding silence.

    • The Risk of ‘Hot’ Inflation

      The answer is a ‘cold’ inflation, marked by a steady loss of purchasing power that has progressed through Western economies, not merely over the past few years but over the past decade. Moreover, perhaps it’s also the case that complacency in the face of empirical data (heavily-manipulated, many would argue), support has grown up around ongoing “benign” inflation.

      If so, Western economies face an unpriced risk now, not from spiraling deflation, nor hyperinflation, but rather from the breakout of a (merely) strong inflation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Possible hepatitus C cure stymied by deadlocked patent owners

      The two companies “owning” the drugs, however, are refusing to enter serious negotiations. Instead, they seem to be guarding their current patent monopolies and the profits generated thereby, while offering the public pablum justifications for not getting on with a deal that seems obvious and hugely in the public interest.

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Is the G8 already working on a new ACTA?

          A leaked G8 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and USA) document gives the strongest indication yet that the leading countries behind ACTA are working on the basis that the Agreement is now in serious trouble and needs to be fundamentally re-thought and re-worked – and in its current form even abandoned.

          The leaked document, apparently prepared in the context of law enforcement working groups, appears to consciously address some of the criticisms that have been made of ACTA. In particular, the document avoids repeating the most obvious failure in ACTA – seeking to propose a “one size fits all” solution for every IPR issue from counterfeiting to unauthorised copying of digital goods. Instead, it narrows its focus wholly to counterfeit goods and medicines.

Microsoft’s DRM-Box-as-a-Computer Concept is Dying (XBox)

Posted in DRM, Microsoft at 8:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The room

Summary: Microsoft admits that it cannot quite sell Microsoft-branded locked-down computers

THE XBox 360 was nothing less than an attack on general-purpose computing. To an extent, phones and tablets achieve the same thing — a very dangerous downward spiral/decline of freedom, even if they run Linux, the universal kernel. Putting aside the latter, the latest figures from Microsoft are as dubious as always, but they do seem to show very serious problems — a hole in the company’s pocket:

With the news that Microsoft is also seeing a decline in 360 sales with an excuse that people are holding back for the 720 it would seem that there will be many a sweaty shirt day for Steve Ballmer in 2012 – he’s going to have to dance like he’s never danced before to get Microsoft going in a product sense.

Microsoft has been losing billions of dollars online and the loss is growing with no signs of a rebound. Expect Microsoft to buy more patents, then attack more and more with patents (threats that result in settlement are an attack).

Google Should Follow Twitter’s Lead on Patent Mutilation

Posted in Google, Patents at 8:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Twitter’s latest move (making patents self-destruct upon offensive use) inspires many across the Web, including senior people at Google

TWITTER received some good karma for its latest patent moves. As one person said in Twitter, “By and large, we software developers don’t like software patents. Given that, twitter’s patent agreement is a recruiting tool, period.”

“Google’s Matt Cutts responded to Twitter’s move in an encouraging way. “Here is a VC’s response to the patent pledge from Twitter. It’s the story of a VC who invested in a company (with a patent) that went bankrupt and then their patent was used to sue 2 other companies he invested in. Another lesson about the absurdity of patents, right?

Google’s Matt Cutts responded to Twitter’s move in an encouraging way. “The more I read about Twitter’s “defensive uses only” patent agreement,” he says, “the more I like it.” So can Google follow suit? How about Red Hat? Cutts, who somewhat of a Google celebrity, links to the New York Times blog, which can be found here. Suffice to say, patents boosters are offended by this decision from Twitter. Less for them (the parasites), more for technologists.

Patent Lawyers and Boosters: Parasites in the World of Technology

Posted in Patents at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The likes of Patent Watchdog


Summary: News and remarks about the element in high technology which contributes nothing at all yet pockets big profits

Every now and then we find some sites that promote software patents. A Web site called “The Software Intellectual Property Report” tells us that “A Northern District of California court has rejected an argument that “a method of executing an instruction” was not patent eligible subject matter. Nazomi Communications, Inc. v. Samsung Telecommunications, Inc., No. C-10-05545 (N.D. Cal. March 21, 2012). The representative claim, reproduced below, recited a method by which a Java interpreter could more efficiently access byte codes.”

Another post says that the “USPTO Issues Preliminary Mayo Guidelines”, but it is clear that the USPTO is all in favour of more patents on just about everything conceivable. “It’s Time To Re-Establish That If A Patent Blocks Progress, It’s Unconstitutional,” alleges Masnick, but sadly, in reality, it is lobbyists (corporate proxies) who determine public policy. Among those who employ many lobbyists there is Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest patent troll, which according to the site of patent boosters makes a lot of money without making a single product:

• Intuit and Verizon have paid $120 million and $350 million respectively to IV in order to have access to its patent portfolio and, of course, to curtail the threat of legal action. According to a 2008 10-k filing, Verizon agreed to pay $100 million to IV in a non-exclusive licensing deal, while the company also invested $250 million “to become a member in a limited liability company” giving it rights to “certain intellectual property” in return for an annual licence fee. As the article notes, Verizon was not among the mobile carriers sued for patent infringement by IV in February. Looking at the amount Verizon has paid out, if IV prevails in its action against Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile, the odds must be that it will be looking at a very big pay-day and some very useful on-going licensing revenues.

All those costs are in turn passed to the public. It’s like all of us are subsidising patent trolls which contribute nothing to anyone.

“It’s like all of us are subsidising patent trolls which contribute nothing to anyone.”Meanwhile we learn that “the company that claims it invented the mobile Internet sells software businesses to focus on patents” and to quote the article: “Nasdaq-listed Openwave Systems, which claims it invented the mobile Internet, this morning announced that it has sold its software products businesses to investment firm Marlin Equity Partners so it can ‘focus on its intellectual property’.”

Here we are in a world which facilitates parasites and rewards them for nothing at all. The wasteful element which is patent lawyers needs to be eliminated/starved if we wish to drive prices down and innovate a lot more peacefully as scientists. Jobs would be created — real jobs — if patent lawyers were put out of work.

The Software Patents Lobby Goes Global, Faces Antagonism

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Three globes

Summary: A roundup of news from around the world, showing the insistence of the US (controlled by corporate power) to impose its patent laws overseas

THE storm of patent lawsuits is no longer localised or confined to the United States. Phones, for example, are sold everywhere, so sanctions are being used to pressure companies to pay for patents irrespective of local patent laws. At the same time there are attempts by multinationals to spread patents on everything to everywhere.

Over in China, smartphone firms now need to worry not just about competition but also about patents:

China’s smartphone companies are at risk of becoming embroiled in disputes over intellectual property rights since many important patents are held by international companies like Google and Microsoft, experts have said.

In 2005, international mobile phone-makers occupied over half the Chinese market. But in 2011, China shipped 455 million mobile phones, among which domestic brands made up 72 percent.

Sony and Apple have been sued for patent violations, showing once again the pointlessness of large patent portfolios. Facebook is being sued a lot since going public and it makes one wonder who this system serves other than patent lawyers. The UK-IPO receives complaints as software patents are increasingly being promoted and the EPO (Europe) tells us that software patents spreading to Saudi Arabia, based on this FAQ which says: “Computer programs as such are not patentable, but may be protected by copyright. Computer-related inventions may be patentable in Saudi Arabia, if the requirements for patentability are met. ”

“Facebook is being sued a lot since going public and it makes one wonder who this system serves other than patent lawyers.”Brazil has consultation on this matter and New Zealand (NZ) comes under enormous pressure from US lobbyists, leading to postponement of the obvious will/preference of the local software industry. Glyn Moody wrote that “The TPP agreement is believed to require signatories to grant software patents. If the New Zealand government passed the Patents Bill in its current form, and then signed up to TPP, it would be faced with the prospect of needing to amend the legislation almost immediately — and to justify its actions to the New Zealand public. The fear is that the current delay is so that it can sign TPP and then claim that it is “obliged” to remove the exclusion on software patents, before passing the Patents Bill.

“If that happens, it would be an appalling example of how international trade agreements like TPP, drawn up behind closed doors with no input from the public, can then be used simply to override the democratic decisions arrived at through long and careful national debates.”

A group that calls itself NZCS is still at it, pushing back against software patents and multinationals that pressure a foreign government:

While NZ Computer Society CEO Paul Matthews is adamant that there is no firm evidence that the Patents Bill has been “put on ice” owing to negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPPA), he says the possibility must give cause for concern.

The Bill, which started its passage in 2008, still languishes well down Parliament’s Order Paper, awaiting consideration of the Commerce Select Committee’s report, followed by the Bill’s second reading.

The thing about NZCS is, together with other NZ-based software groups it is still struggling against the monstrous lobby from overseas. It’s a form of imperialism and it’s very malicious. Let’s hope that NZ can reject and repel the invaders. Diplomacy can be worse that ammunition sometimes. The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (mind the euphemisms) is a surrender up for signing.

SUSE Watch Ends

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 7:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The end

Summary: The focus Techrights is expected to have on Novell and SUSE issues will decrease, giving rise to patent matters

NOVELL is no longer a company, so we officially let it go about 2 months ago. We stopped researching the subject, at least for the most part (news tracking). But what about SUSE, which Microsoft is subsidising? It has been over a month since we last researched it deeply/properly and issues like patents are the burning issues which take precedence, also at the expense of Gates Foundation watching.

“As Microsoft is no longer the only company that which attacks Linux, e.g. with software patents, we also had to let it slide a bit.”Frankly, there is not much to track when it comes to SUSE anyway. Just like Novell, it is becoming just a remnant of history and blog posts from the OpenSUSE Web site are hardly about news. They now blog about software which they package, e.g. “openSUSE 12.1 was one of the first major Linux distributions to include the new programming language Go.”

If anyone is interested in tracking Novell and SUSE, please get in touch. Otherwise, due to lack of time for the most part, we’ll neglect those seminal issues (which were the central point of this site back in 2006). It is hard to let go sometimes, but it is essential for our improved focus. As Microsoft is no longer the only company that which attacks Linux, e.g. with software patents, we also had to let it slide a bit.

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