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[News] MicroSCOft's Attack on Linux Stifled by Global Erosion of Software Patents

  • Subject: [News] MicroSCOft's Attack on Linux Stifled by Global Erosion of Software Patents
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 09 Mar 2009 09:47:30 +0000
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/0.10.9
Hash: SHA1

What's the Deal with Software and Patents?

,----[ Quote ]
| Last week I spoke with Phil Marcus, a Maryland attorney and electronics and 
| software engineer who concentrates on intellectual property issues. As a 
| point of clarification, he reminded me that most software is not subject to 
| being patented. Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that 
| certain algorithms or "programming recipes" could be patented as "business 
| methods." (And that may soon be limited further, he said, depending on how 
| the Supreme Court handles a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals 
| for the Federal Circuit that only those "business methods that run on 
| specific machines or somehow "alter matter" can be patented.)        


Patently-O Bits and Bytes

,----[ Quote ]
| # European Bilski: The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO is looking for 
| third-party input on four issues: 
|    1. Is it only proper to exclude patents covering computer programs as such 
|       when explicitly claimed as a "computer program"? 
|    2. Does a claim avoid the computer program as such exclusion by mentioning 
|       a computer or data storage medium? (If not, what technical effect is 
|       needed?)  


Microsoft's FAT32 Deserves Its Freedom

,----[ Quote ]
| So what are the implications of Microsoft having a patent on FAT technology? 
| Let's look at a simple example. Whenever you plug a flash drive into your PC, 
| the odds are that it's formatted with Microsoft's FAT32 technology. If you 
| take that flash drive to another non-PC device, the software on that device 
| needs to be able to understand the FAT32 format in order to read the files. 
| Microsoft says that to do that, you need to license their patents.     
| [...]
| Allowing Microsoft to control the FAT32 patent this way is allowing them to 
| leverage their monopoly status. 



- From the End of the Beginning to the Beginning of the End

,----[ Quote ]
| For more than 10 years Microsoft has toyed with the idea of using the
| entirely questionable practice of using software patent litigation as a kind
| of trump card in its battle against open source innovation. The idea was
| present in Halloween III and stepped up a notch in May 2007 when Microsoft's
| general counsel Brad Smith made the unsubstantiated claim that Linux
| infringed 235 Microsoft patents. As many of you may recall, Microsoft played
| very coy, refusing to identify a single infringement with any specificity.
| (The open source and free software communities have a great track record [1],
| [2], [3] of devising alternative implementations to avoid the possibility of
| patent infringement, and so perhaps Microsoft was more interested in using
| the element of surprise attack than indeed any timely remedy of the
| infringement. But that is mere speculation.)
| [...]
| Whatever the arguments may be, by filing against TomTom Microsoft has
| effectively pulled the pin from their legal grenade and have lobbed it into
| the center of the open source community. Can we pick it up and throw it back
| (like the FTC attempted to do with Rambus)? Will the grenade be judged a dud
| (if Bilski holds)? Will the legal shrapnel kill those who are trying to
| protect our village? And if it does, will Microsoft win anything more than a
| pyrrhic victory? As Brian writes, Microsoft's actions are despicable. But I
| remain optimistic. I believe that thanks to the financial meltdown and the
| stories of fraud and abuse coming from the most well-polished offices on Wall
| Street that the world understands now, better than it has for a very long
| time, that sustainable success depends on success we can all share and
| participate in. When monopolies rise all-powerful, when the power of a
| company becomes so great that we no longer question our need to police it,
| then that is the moment we must say "ENOUGH!". It is neither a sustainable
| nor a desirable condition to become beholden so such power, and we should do
| nothing, neither legally nor legislatively, to protect those monopolies
| against our own interests. Rather, we should fight against them with every
| strength that we have, knowing that when they are defeated, we can all build
| a stronger, shared success.



Why Microsoft Should Fret

,----[ Quote ]
| But what if at stake in the battle isn't just Microsoft's position in selling
| ads, but the very survival of its core software business? Microsoft would
| never admit that so much is on the line.


P. Graham: Microsoft is Dead

,----[ Quote ]
| A few days ago I suddenly realized Microsoft was dead. I was talking
| to a young startup founder about how Google was different from Yahoo.
| I said that Yahoo had been warped from the start by their fear of
| Microsoft. That was why they'd positioned themselves as a "media
| company" instead of a technology company. Then I looked at his face
| and realized he didn't understand. It was as if I'd told him how much
| girls liked Barry Manilow in the mid 80s. Barry who?
| Microsoft? He didn't say anything, but I could tell he didn't quite
| believe anyone would be frightened of them.


Will Microsoft Survive the Next 10 Years?

,----[ Quote ]
| I am not really an expert in this but when I read all the negative
| headlines and articles I ask myself if Microsoft really will survive
| the next 10 years.
| [...]
| I am pretty sure that the Open Source Community, the new Ubuntu,
| Google and of course Apple are those companies that are ready for
| our century and they will get more and more people that know what
| they really want.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)


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