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[News] LWN Dissects the IBM-TurboHercules Situation

  • Subject: [News] LWN Dissects the IBM-TurboHercules Situation
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 22:42:03 +0100
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.3.1
Hash: SHA1

IBM and the labors of TurboHercules

,----[ Quote ]
| The story starts with the Hercules emulator, 
| which lets PC-type systems pretend to be IBM's 
| System/370 and ESA/390 mainframe 
| architectures. Hercules is good enough to run 
| systems like z/OS or z/VM, and, according to 
| the project's FAQ, it has been used for 
| production use at times, even if that's not 
| its stated purpose. The project is licensed 
| under the OSI-certified Q Public License.
| Enter TurboHercules SAS, which seeks to 
| commercialize the Hercules system. The company 
| offers supported versions of Hercules - 
| optionally bundled with hardware - aimed at 
| the disaster recovery market. Keeping a backup 
| mainframe around is an expensive proposition; 
| keeping a few commodity systems running 
| Hercules is rather cheaper. It's not hard to 
| imagine why companies which are stuck with 
| software which must run on a mainframe might 
| be tempted by this product - as a backup plan 
| or as a way to migrate off the mainframes 
| entirely.



Matt Asay: Completely Wrong on IBM Patents


The IBM open source pledge amended

,----[ Quote ]
| The real news is that Eric Raymond agrees
| with Mueller. The author of The Cathedral
| and the Bazaar, which did so much to define
| open source as distinct from Richard
| Stallmanâs free software ideal, says IBM is
| digging itself into an ever-deeper
| rhetorical hole.


Turbo tempest over TurboHercules

,----[ Quote ]
| Jones got into this with a long Groklaw post
| that has 11 updates (so far) acting as
| exhibits. Itâs the fiercest debate there
| since the end of the Novell case, which is
| to say in about two weeks.
| A summary is that TurboHercules started this
| mess, that IBM has not even filed a case,
| and that it looks like a shakedown by
| Herculesâ Roger Bowler and Jay Maynard.
| (Raymond credits Maynard with bringing him
| into the case.)


IBM and TurboHercules: The Patents, the Pledge and the Blogosphere Brawl


FOSS Claims of IBM Breaking Promise Seem Mostly Smoke, Little Fire

,----[ Quote ]
| The thing is, Mueller may have jumped the
| gun on his accusations that Big Blue was
| giving the finger to the open source
| community.


Press Release: More Ado About Big Blue and Patents

,----[ Quote ]
| Florian Mueller, Open Source Patent
| Activist, just released the following
| information. He believes that patents
| already used by IBM against TurboHercules
| are also a threat to other major FOSS
| projects. He now calls on the community for
| action.


EUROPE: Open-source Advocate Enters IBM Antitrust Fray


IBM vs. TurboHercules: Our story thus far...


IBM: Open Sourceâs Friend or Foe?


IBM says it won't sue to protect open-source patents


â When Reptiles Attack: Has IBM Tired Of FOSS?

,----[ Quote ]
| Despite the temptation to believe that some
| companies are unequivocal supporters of
| free and open source software, we should
| never forget that all for-profit companies
| are actually reptiles, acting instinctively
| on behalf of their shareholders and not
| acting on the basis of intellectual or
| philosophical insight. An expression of
| support will inevitably be a statement by a
| group of people within the company,
| motivated by a business activity. It will
| have been made in the context of a set of
| tensions between different priorities and
| with other groups of people in the same
| company. It will be the direction instinct
| has been steered by the availability of
| âfoodâ and the presence of âthreatâ.  Every
| expression of support â or act of
| aggression â needs to be seen in that
| light.
| An important part of my job at Sun was to
| monitor actions they took that affected
| communities. I monitored the flow of
| requests to use and release open source
| code, ran the Ombudsman service so that I
| was first to hear of community issues, and
| acted as a (mostly!) âtrusted friendâ to
| Sunâs legal staff prior to any action they
| took. At regular intervals throughout my
| five year tenure, I spoke up for
| communities and ensured that the actions
| taken in Sunâs name were not harmful to a
| community or Sunâs FOSS reputation. On some
| occasions I even had to request executive
| back-up for my position, in effect
| requesting a veto power.
| Regardless of the merits of IBMâs case
| against TurboHercules, the fact the
| incident has happened at all is an
| important signal. I canât for a moment
| believe this is the first time since IBMâs
| patent pledge that any part of the company
| has wanted to act against a community
| participant. We can see the tension between
| the statement Dan Frye makes through the
| Linux Foundation and the statement of
| another IBM spokesperson in the WSJ
| attempting to say the Pledge doesnât apply
| to everyone. To hazard a guess, the
| competition is now characterised by Google
| â a huge user of and contributor to open
| source software â instead of IBMâs old
| foes, Microsoft and Solaris.


Is IBM splitting hairs with open source?

,----[ Quote ]
| Itâs no secret that Iâm a big Free Software
| fan. Itâs no secret that IBM is a giant
| company with more money than I can possibly
| imagine. So I was pretty happy in 2005 when
| IBM, in an obvious PR stunt to get buddy-
| buddy with the open source community, made
| its Statement of Non-Assertion of Named
| Patents Against OSS, ostensibly saying that
| it would permit open source projects to use
| any of the items covered by those patents
| without risk of penalty or lawsuit. Yay!
| Finally, a BigCo getting it and doing the
| right thing! But five years is a long time,
| people come and go, and promises can be
| forgotten. IBM has lately threatened to sue
| someone for infringement of a lot of IBM
| patents, including at least two that were
| included in the Non-Assertion statement.
| [...]
| More plausibly, what I think is going on
| here is one of two things. Either the
| lawyers got a little over-excited in
| creating the non-exclusive list of patents
| used to threaten TurboHercules and included
| two patents covered by the Non-Assertion
| statement; or IBM thinks theyâre free to
| sue the company, and not the open source
| project itself, for the patent
| infringement. My guess is itâs the latter.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)


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