03.13.21

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The Battle for Software/Digital Freedom Rages on

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 8:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cute cat

Summary: A word of caution (and optimism) about the long path towards people controlling computers instead of computers controlling people

THE growth of Free software is curtailed by monopolisation and centralisation efforts. Giant Pentagon-connected (sometimes Pentagon-funded) companies like IBM, Google and Microsoft want to tell us what operating system we can and cannot install on ‘our’ computers , what software we're allowed to install on the operating system, and then deny us access to the World Wide Web unless we run some arbitrary JavaScript code, executed and run by some proprietary Web browser with DRM inside/under its belly.

Not all hope is lost however; we need to point those things out and people who still care about software freedom will respond accordingly (e.g. dropping the term “Open Source”, talking about Free-as-in-freedom software instead).

We’ve often stated that Microsoft isn’t the sole threat. If Microsoft was to vanish tomorrow, we’d still have lots of problems. The threats are spreading and becoming more diverse, not just in terms of their names/brands but in terms of their nature.

Microsoft is, in a sense, already doomed to fail. They bleed, but as a cornered animal they resort to more aggression (and corruption).

With 3.41% market share in browsers, less than that in Web servers (IIS will die soon; it’s no longer financially viable to maintain), and probably far less in E-mail servers in months to come (due to the Exchange fiasco, which is still ongoing) it seems clear that Microsoft will get busy badmouthing competitors, working behind closed doors to sign corrupt deals (e.g. bribing officials), infiltrating the competition (via corruptible vendors, e.g. Linux Foundation) and of course defrauding the shareholders while laying off lots of workers (quietly).

Browsers share

“It should definitely be noted that neither IBM nor Google worked to help Free software on the patent front; IBM is in some sense even worse than Microsoft in that regard.”At the moment we focus a lot of our capacity/efforts on changing patent law for the better. Every single day we find stories about bogus patents being thrown out by courts; the Federal Circuit has just done so again, citing 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Alice/SCOTUS). Sometimes it doesn’t even go above the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) because the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) squashes such patents on the cheap, e.g. with inter partes reviews (IPRs). So far President Biden has neither appointed nor even nominated a person to lead the USPTO; we wait patiently for candidates to be put forth. It should definitely be noted that neither IBM nor Google worked to help Free software on the patent front; IBM is in some sense even worse than Microsoft in that regard.

IBM logoOn the subject of IBM, we’ll soon show something about how IBM (or Red Hat) fought against CentOS, in effect leveraging patents if not patent trolling. But for the time being we are 90% focused on our latest EPO series. Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos should be held accountable for their crimes, which are vastly more serious than their lobbying for fake European software patents (to the point where bullying judges).

The way we see it, there are far more of us than there are of “them” (the people who cheat the system and break the law). We just need resilience; the facts are on our side, we just need to repeat what’s factual.

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