08.26.19

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Covering What Other Sites Fail to Cover or Do Not Want to Cover

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Silently but steadily Microsoft is ‘taking over’ more parts of GNU/Linux, its direct competition; this is a problem that must not be ignored anymore

It is almost the end of summer and the fight against 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice (SCOTUS) has not gotten very far, has it? The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has carried on with Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs), we still closely follow Federal Circuit outcomes (in our daily links) and it’s more of the same, Coons et al haven’t made much more progress with their bill (also in our daily links) and about a week ago an Internet troll who is also a patent troll lost his defamation case (we did not write about as it would feed the troll, twofold).

“Nowadays the Foundation is outsourcing almost everything to Microsoft (GitHub) and actively praising Microsoft.”It seems fair to say, judging by the tone at IAM and Watchtroll, that they too don’t expect anything major to change. They’ve come to the realisation that outside China and Europe it is very difficult to pursue software patents. In Europe it’s hard to enforce these in courts, just like in the US, but they’re being granted anyway.

The above observation motivated a focus shift last Christmas, a couple of weeks before Iancu pretended that he could just supersede judges (he cannot); that move from him hasn’t yielded any significant, noticeable changes, certainly not in courtrooms (which actively dismissed his agenda). As for the EPO, things continue to get worse, but courts stand in the way (impeding enforcement of European Patents) and the UPC is nowhere on the radar. Even if miraculously enough the complaint in Germany got dismissed (which we doubt), the German government would still not ratify; the UPCA is just a waste of paper.

“It’s something that we probably should have done years ago, but the urgency wasn’t the same.”Earlier this year, owing to sources, we began an investigation of the Linux Foundation and offered pointers of interest. It’s something that we probably should have done years ago, but the urgency wasn’t the same. Nowadays the Foundation is outsourcing almost everything to Microsoft (GitHub) and actively praising Microsoft.

Longtime readers have long been consulted about changes (to the site, to its focus and so on), so it’s time to request some feedback (E-mail or IRC may do). We’re thinking that, as per the past few days, there’s room for expansion along the lines of tech rights (like our name), such as privacy. Additionally, we may carry on increasing our GNU/Linux focus. At what expense? Not EPO coverage. We’re making big contributions in that area and the underlying issues there have not been addressed or resolved. It’s more likely that we’ll spend even less time covering US patent affairs and instead ‘shelve’ news to that effect in our daily links. Much as we hoped last Christmas, all these efforts to turn things around (Iancu, Coons, PTAB leadership changes) did not impact the legal certainty associated with software patents. When this site started back in 2006 it was an entirely and profoundly different reality. Software patents certainly did have ‘teeth’ in court and quite a few were used against GNU/Linux (we’ve documented lawsuits against Red Hat). That’s hardly the case anymore. It’s actually a lot safer to write both Free software and proprietary software without fear of being sued in the US (in case of a frivolous lawsuit PTAB can be petitioned). Knowing that the UPC is likely a dead (for good) project, the same is true in Europe.

“…how much longer can we pretend that it’s OK for GNU/Linux components, projects and sometimes even entire distros to be hosted by Microsoft’s GitHub?”Our coverage of GNU/Linux matters/affairs will revolve around original and unexplored aspects. So for instance, if there’s a new distro release and it can be mentioned by means of linking, we’ll leave that ‘relegated’ or ‘confined’ to the daily links. There’s no point writing about an event which is already properly covered by the originator/s; we can link instead. A lot of effort in today’s media (sadly enjoying the lion’s share of readers’ time) goes into merely repeating known facts, such as a distro being released; unless there’s a backstory or something special to add, what’s the point/purpose of merely repeating? Expanding the reach and audience of an announcement? Probably. Tux Machines can do that without necessarily writing long and detailed articles. Social Control Media can do the same. No doubt distro releases are important (much work associated with each such release). But that still leaves much more important aspects unexplored. The unturned stones are where the future of GNU/Linux gets determined. For instance, how much longer can we pretend that it’s OK for GNU/Linux components, projects and sometimes even entire distros to be hosted by Microsoft’s GitHub? Almost nobody talks about it. Certainly not blogs or media sites. Why?

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