Bonum Certa Men Certa

“What on Earth is Happening to The Economist These Days?”

The Economist

Summary: The Economist steps close to the edge by repeatedly smearing Free software and anything which is associated with it

A PUBLICATION that lands in the hands of many suits is The Economist, which also magnifies Microsoft-funded books that belittle "open source" this month [1, 2, 3]. This is not exactly the exception; in fact, Tim and I did a special episode segment in TechBytes -- one where we addressed an evidence-free attack on GNU/Linux, hosted by The Economist and making it look rather shameful. Perhaps the editorship no longer minds its reputation, given that it whitewashes some very bad people right now. Intellectual Ventures was accused by TechDirt of finding ways to produce a lot of PR and the latest platform for this PR seems to be The Economist. This 'article' (advertisement) is rather telling because it is an "unbelievably uncritical puff-piece on über-troll Myhrvold," writes Glyn Moody on Friday, "what on earth is happening to the Economist these days?"

“Perhaps the editorship no longer minds its reputation, given that it whitewashes some very bad people right now.”For those who do not recall, Myhrvold is said to be attacking Linux already. He has past and present roots in Microsoft. In fact, he is also close to Bill Gates and his bank account which helped bankroll Intellectual Ventures, the world's largest patent troll. Why on Earth is The Economist stooping as low as this?

In other news, an entity created by a former Microsoft manager/executive to produce proprietary software (with software patents) that exploits Free/open source software reports growth and we are not impressed. Even once these people leave Microsoft they continue to pose a threat to software freedom. It's a mindset.

For more decent coverage on legal issues with emphasis on patents and a stern critique of Myhrvold, consider following Joe Mullin, who is generally a good writer on this subject but criminally under-subscribed. He currently writes about the infamous Twitter case which we mentioned the other day and he uses this to show the problems of the patent system in the US.

A new lawsuit against Twitter underscores an emerging trend in patent litigation: patent lawyers suing over their own “inventions.” Often, these lawyers aren’t spending weekends tinkering in their garages with products in the making; rather, the sole evidence of their inventive spark comes in the form of the hundreds of pages of legalese and paperwork filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Twitter was sued this week by a company called VS Technologies LLC, which appears to have been created for the purposes of filing the patent suit.


The central role of patent lawyers in suits like this raises questions about the health of the U.S. patent system. Patent lawyers are insiders in this system, and an increasing number of them aren’t satisfied just with being very-expensive service providers to patent owners. They’re seeing the millions made by so-called patent trolls and are eager to get into the game themselves. The patent office simply isn’t set up to say no to a persistent applicant, and the patent lawyers know that as well as anybody.

The old press is dying a painful death because it chooses to serve big business rather than serve the readers by sticking to facts. This is why we need blogs and we also need sites like Wikileaks to provide raw material.

"I Enjoy Crushing Bastards." --Julian Assange

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