Bonum Certa Men Certa

Then, They Fight You... by Buying Some New Laws

"...yesterday we were notified that the Microsoft representative in charge with the education strategy had requested the organizers to pull the Ubuntu presentation because it is 'unfair competition' to hold such a presentation at an event sponsored by them. They are indeed co-sponsors but the conference is organized by the Ministry of Education and its local office, and is being held on the premises of a public University."

--"Then, they fight you," May 2008



The question of Free software adoption (or contrariwise -- obstruction) continues to involve some heavy doses of corruption, so herein we study some of the methods which are actively used against GNU/Linux and other disruptive trends, especially in light of news items that cannot escape without comment.

RAND



The ugly nature of RAND was discussed recently in [1, 2]. Microsoft, for instance, embeds its RAND routine in Mono and OOXML. It's a tool for monopolisation and control of rivals. One recent case, which demonstrated just how nasty a RAND can be, revolved around Rambus [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Let this new blog post remind you what it's all about.

By the time Rambus announced its patents and began demanding royalties (and filing patent infringement suits against companies that refused to pay royalties), Rambus had achieved a technical “lock-in” that made it difficult for the memory chip industry to move to a different technology. Rambus’s lock-in allowed it to obtain a 90% market-share, and demand supracompetitive royalties from companies that were producing JEDEC-compliant memory devices. Rambus has earned several billion dollars in licensing fees to date, and by some estimates its total royalties are could reach as high as $11 billion.


Think about OOXML, which is RAND-'protected' in the sense that it 'protects' itself from this 'nasty' thing called the GNU GPL. Expect more of the same poison to be spread via Microsoft technologies which are queued in the pipeline. For granted, Novell will continue to help Microsoft with this. It's Novell's new business model (since 2006).

Here is another month-old example of RAND nastiness. [via Digital Majority]

Now, here an example of a RAND (Reasonable And Non Discriminatory) licensing model, this one has been made by Cisco about VRRP :
Cisco is the owner of US patent No. 5 473 599, relating to the subject matter of "Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol for IPv6 <draft-ietf-vrrp-ipv6-spec-04.txt>. If technology in this document is included in a standard adopted by IETF and any claims of this or any other Cisco patent are necessary for practicing the standard, any party will be able to obtain a license from Cisco to use any such patent claims under reasonable, non-discriminatory terms to implement and fully comply with the standard.
First you need to contact Cisco to have a license but the terms are unknown. "Non-discriminatory" is vague and could be an issue for any free software implementation.


That would be convenient to Cisco, but not to any of its rivals. Therein lies the importance of vendor-independent protocols and formats such as ODF.

Media Codecs



In a similar vein, Microsoft lobbyist (dare we say "shill"?) Jonathan Zuck seems engaged in another new mission to ensure Europe's media formats remain discriminatory and require payments to be made (i.e. make Free software an impossibility). In his latest logical gymnastics he's trying to pretend to have agreed with FFII while at the same time pushing for Microsoft-esque technologies to be required.

We need to work together on live streaming challenge


Jonathan Zuck's crusades against ODF, against the GPL(v3), and for software patents in Europe were noted before. We have already expressed an opinion about such lobbying in general.

There is already a response to the latest FUD from Zuck.

To correct the article of EurActiv, the 2 petitions are not about free software adoption, but well about free and open standards, which are not the same as free software. So the article of EurActiv misses the point and has a confusing title.


In addition to this, a clarification was made to make people aware that the European Parliament shuts the door in the face of those who don't have proprietary "special software".

In order to find out what your members of European Parliament are doing, you need some special software. Europe by Satellite (EBS) is only for those people who have the right software.

[...]

None of those protocols and file formats are described in specifications, neither they are standardized nor free of patents or other restrictions. Why Europe is choosing technology which is not accessible to everybody, regardless of the platform?


Remember the recent story (possible corruption) from Hungary? Remember the BBC? That's just how it's done. Lobbyists and spinmeisters are used as agents of monopolisation, by intruding government authorities and deceiving them on technical decisions that are made. They impose lock-in 'from the top', so to speak, by requiring basic things like tax submission and communication with Parliament to be dependent on specific software vendors.

Rocket Docket



Blackboard, the very bothersome patent troll whose portfolio has been harassing FOSS projects [1, 2, 3], is getting stung again [via Digital Majority], having recently suffered defeat. Will it finally learn (pun unintended)?

TechRadium sues Blackboard over patent



[...]

TechRadium develops and sells a mass communication messaging systems that allows a "group administrator to send a single message that will be delivered to the members of [a] group via numerous communication devices such as cell phones, pagers, standard landline telephones and e-mail," according to TechRadium's complaint.


Quoted above is the claim, which hopefully illustrates superficiality. Unsurprisingly, TechRadium is a "Texas-based technology company." In addition, as one can just about guess, it "filed a patent infringement lawsuit Monday against Blackboard in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas." Yes, once again it's that Rocket Docket, which even Law.com is addressing.

Will the 5th Circuit Ground an Eastern District of Texas Rocket Docket?



In a mandamus case that could significantly alter one of the hottest federal civil dockets in Texas, the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on Thursday over whether a trial judge's discretion should be limited when a party moves to transfer venue.


Digital Majority had dug up some articles from 2006 to show just how often the slack treatment in the Eastern District of Texas is being misused. Will someone, anyone, somewhere, finally take care of this loophole?

Software patents are bad enough as they are, but for these patents to be seen as valid and assure settlement out of court due to one dysfunctional district court seems utterly inexcusable. It encourages programmers to apply for more software patents and it casts a shadow over the legitimacy of Free software. It taken one rotten egg to poison the entire well.

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