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[News] Microsoft Attacked at its Own Event for "Patent Terrorism" Against Linux

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Software patents hot topic at Microsoft event

,----[ Quote ]
| A Microsoft panel discussion with two members of the open source community 
| changed course when attention was swung to patent issues raised by a member 
| of the audience.  
| During a Microsoft interoperability event Tuesday, Harish Pillay, president 
| of the Linux Users' Group (Singapore), asked if Microsoft would make its 
| software patents available to the open source community.  
| Pillay asked if Microsoft would release its patents to the Open Invention 
| Network (OIN), in line with its pledge toward interoperability. 
| The OIN, whose founders include IBM, Novell and Red Hat, acquires patents, 
| licensing them royalty-free to companies that agree not to assert their own 
| patents against Linux or open source applications.   


Oi, OIN: What Took So Long?

,----[ Quote ]
| Right, so it seems that OIN won't be doing anything directly, other than 
| getting the relevant patents posted the Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent website 
| associated with the Linux Defenders portal.  
| Isn't this a rather roundabout way of doing things? I can't help feeling that 
| this could have been done rather quicker: after all, if it's just a matter of 
| posting the relevant patents for people to examine and poke holes in, why 
| wasn't it done as soon as Microsoft attacked TomTom? Did we really need to 
| wait for TomTom to join OIN, and for the latter to pass the message down the 
| chain a few weeks later?     


saulgoode: "Peer-to-Patent does good things for bad reasons. OIN does bad
things for good reasons."

If We Can't End Software Patents Tomorrow, What Should We Do In the Meantime?

,----[ Quote ]
| As we've talked about in our recent podcasts, and as I mentioned in various 
| blog posts, software patents (i.e., patents that read on software) are a 
| major threat to software freedom. Due to this constant threat, the primary 
| goal of the Software Freedom community must be an end to all software patents 
| worldwide. “Patent reform” will never be enough. The hard part, though, given 
| that abolishing the software patent system is such a long and tough war, is 
| what to do in the meantime about software patents that stand in the way of 
| immediate advancement of software freedom.       



Bradley and Karen discuss the settlement of the Microsoft/TomTom law suit and
the implications for the software freedom community.

,----[ Quote ]
| This show was released on Tuesday 14 April 2009; its running time is
| 00:34:36.
| [...]
| # Bradley and Karen were in San Francisco attending the Linux Foundation's
| Collaboration Summit (00:46)
| # “Producer Dan” is Dan Lynch of half baked media. (01:10)
| # Bradley mentioned Nehru jackets, notably worn by Ricardo Montalbán as Khan
| in Star Trek. (01:23)
| # On 30 March 2009, Microsoft and TomTom settled their patent dispute. (2:30)
| # Bradley mentioned two articles on 29 December 2008 and on 29 January 2009
| in SD Times where he and Sam Ramji debated Microsoft's policies toward the
| FLOSS community. (04:20)
| # Karen and Bradley talk about Microsoft's historic patent threats against
| Linux. Bradley refers to Microsoft's assertions just 16 months before its
| aggression with TomTom. (4:29)
| # Bradley mentions that many agree that Microsoft's FAT file patent should
| not be considered a valid patent. (6:30)


TomTom & Microsoft each file notices of dismissal "without prejudice"

,----[ Quote ]
| Two notices of dismissal have been filed with the courts -- Microsoft's in
| Washington State, and TomTom's in Virginia, each dismissed without prejudice,
| ending both patent litigations. "Without prejudice" means that either could
| ramp it up and do this some more in the future, should circumstances arise
| that made it necessary. But in most cases, it means the litigation, or
| whatever, is over. Remember when SCO withdrew "without prejudice" its
| emergency motion to sell its assets, or Novell's assets, depending on your
| point of view? We never saw that again, did we, despite it being
| withdrawn "without prejudice".


Analysis: Microsoft-TomTom settlement is end of a battle, not the war

,----[ Quote ]
| The Software Freedom Law Center, an organization focused on protecting
| open-source and free software, said in a statement that the "settlement
| between Microsoft and TomTom ends one phase of the community's response to
| Microsoft patent aggression and begins another. On the basis of the
| information we have, we have no reason to believe that TomTom's settlement
| agreement with Microsoft violates the license on the kernel, Linux, or any
| other free software used in its products. The settlement neither implies that
| Microsoft patents are valid nor that TomTom's products were or are
| infringing."


TomTom - "Settled, But Not Over Yet" says SFLC

,----[ Quote ]
| There's more. Red Hat's legal eagles have put out a statement too, the meat
| of which is this: "Red Hat was not a party to this case. Even so, without a
| judicial decision, the settlement does not demonstrate that the claims of
| Microsoft were valid."
| In fact, SFLC says they believe they are invalid:
|     The FAT filesystem patents on which Microsoft sued are now and have
|     always been invalid patents in our professional opinion. SFLC remains
|     committed to protecting the interests of our clients and the community.
|     We will act forcefully to protect all users and developers of free
|     software against further intimidation or interference from these patents.
|     SFLC, working with the Open Invention Network and the Linux Foundation,
|     is pleased to participate in a coordinated, carefully graduated response
|     on behalf of all the community's members to ongoing anti-competitive
|     Microsoft conduct. We believe in strength through unity, and we think our
|     community's unity in the face of these threats has helped to bring about
|     Microsoft's quick settlement on all issues with TomTom.



Sun exec accuses Microsoft of 'patent terrorism'

,----[ Quote ]
| The efforts of Microsoft to pressure the Linux community over alleged and
| unspecified patents is akin to "patent terrorism", according to a local
| executive for Sun Microsystems.


Microsoft, the art of Corporate Terrorism.

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft, no longer the technological leader in the Computer Desktop
| market, is taking on a terrorist role in its attempt remain in power
| at all costs. (see the link to the CNN story below)
| The tactic is intended to frighten current, and would be, free
| software users away from products that Microsoft just can't compete
| with. It's not a new tactic, but for the first time desperation is
| beginning to show.


Convicted Monopolist Terrorizes Software Industry

,----[ Quote ]
| That headline is designed to grab your attention. Sensationalistic as
| it may be, it also happens to be true, if what you mean by 'terrorize'
| is to provoke fear.
| If you've been following the presidential race in the United States,
| you know the present crop of candidates have been exploiting the fear
| of the American people as they never have before in the history of
| the country.

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