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Author Topic: Microsoft takes on the free world  (Read 5394 times)

app103

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Microsoft takes on the free world
« on: May 13, 2007, 09:50:45 PM »
Quote
Microsoft claims that free software like Linux, which runs a big chunk of corporate America, violates 235 of its patents. It wants royalties from distributors and users. Users like you, maybe.

Quote
Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they're being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them.

But he does break down the total number allegedly violated - 235 - into categories. He says that the Linux kernel - the deepest layer of the free operating system, which interacts most directly with the computer hardware - violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux graphical user interfaces - essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up - run afoul of another 65, he claims. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68.

Quote
If push comes to shove, would Microsoft sue its customers for royalties, the way the record industry has?

"That's not a bridge we've crossed," says CEO Ballmer, "and not a bridge I want to cross today on the phone with you."


gjehle

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2007, 02:01:34 AM »
well, this sounds like SCO all over again.
i think it just FUD FUD FUD.
MS has been sponsoring SCO anyways.

justice

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2007, 03:06:33 AM »
Their marketshare must have dropped below 99%  :huh: Why do they play it like this? If they asked for changes because this library violates these patents, people might collaborate. Sounds a lot like tactics to scare IT managers. Are they trying to affect the image of linux in the corporate world?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 03:11:07 AM by justice »

jgpaiva

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2007, 04:03:31 AM »
I sure hope MS will lose.
The problem is the money the FOSS community will spend in the meantime :(

Gothi[c]

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2007, 07:41:06 AM »
hahaha 235,... is that all they could come up with? I mean, given that they even attempted to copyright stuff like 'double clicking'... I'm sure, just like their 'double click' patent, these are full of prior art and vague definitions. If Xerox patented their windowing interface which Apple and then Microsoft stole, they could easily sue Microsoft, Apple, and most of the software world; but do they? No, because any sane person would know that it would be like sueing someone for using a fork or knife.

In all likeleyhood this is just a PR stunt, trying to scare users into thinking that using OSS = piracy. Either way, I think it will hurt them more than help them in the long run,... Users don't like to be incriminated.


dhuser

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2007, 09:02:37 AM »
Watch some users decide to use Windows, instead of Linux (I use a Live CD & like it), due to the claims. It takes one company to ruin/destroy it for everybody. Personally, I do not like Microsoft, but I have no choice.

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hollowlife1987

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2007, 09:19:15 AM »
The whole patent system is flawed,
A boy got awarded a patent for swinging sideways on a swing.

http://www.newscient...article.ns?id=dn2178

I think the whole patent system needs a look at if something as stupid as that got aproved.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2007, 09:34:14 AM »
OK, granted that a lot of software patents are nonsense built on obvious ideas. This is a mess and needs to be changed.

But without evaluating MS's list, how can you offhandedly dismiss the whole thing?

And if you think that software shouldn't be patentable under any circumstances, you have to change the entire system. You can't strip MS's IP assets without doing the same across the board.

The only fair response now is to ask MS for more information about the putative violations.

hollowlife1987

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2007, 10:02:46 AM »
True, but I'm guessing over 75% of the "violations" are nonsense ones like having emoticons display inline in an Instant Message program like Gaim

zridling

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2007, 04:43:52 PM »
Well, and much of what we know as "Windows" came from IBM's Common User Architecture (menus, dialogs, keyboard shortcuts). Microsoft is trying to get as many businesses as possible to sign onto their "agreement not to sue" open source companies, but so far only Novell has jumped the shark. Everyone else is openly challenging Microsoft to Show Us the Code. To me, this is a "business" strategy, not a legal one. It's intended to scare up business for Microsoft software directly against Linux. But since the vast majority of Fortune500 companies use Linux to run their businesses, Microsoft is bluffing without a hand to play.

I'm not piling on, and I don't mean to come off as hyper-critical, but has Microsoft done anything right so far this century? Seriously. Vista is a flop with both government and business. There's only about 650 Office 2007 documents online (around the world!). We users get stuck with highly restrictive EULAs on their products. There's little if any innovation, and no excitement. And I don't see any company developing around Silverlight because they don't see a future with Microsoft's software if it's going to be tied up in court over the next 10-15 years. The whole move smells of desperation. Like SCO, RIAA, et al. — if you can't make money by competing, then use the courts as a way to generate revenue. (Those 800 Microsoft lawyers on staff have to keep busy somehow, right?)

dk70

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2007, 04:57:59 PM »

Grorgy

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2007, 06:38:09 PM »
Its interesting to see articles in some of the tech blogs and magazines about the number of companies, mainly small to medium business but some bigger ones, who are switching to open office and other open source software.  Makes sense really, they want to spend the money on their core business, which usually is not computing or critiquing microsoft products, they just want something that works, works well, and doesnt overburden the budget.  As (and if) this catches on microsoft may do a lot more suing.

zridling

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2007, 11:20:07 AM »
Here's some recent takes on this week's patent "eww" factor:

Andy Updegrove
Through the Patent Looking Glass with Microsoft's Brad Smith
What does one make of the fact that Microsoft wants royalties, but doesn't want to sue anyone to get them? And if Microsoft really believes that it has so many patents that are being infringed by Linux, why has it waited so long to assert them? Then there are the practical considerations: the fact that it would be infeasible for Microsoft to actually sue myriad vendors and customers; the fact that many of the its patents (perhaps most) would not stand scrutiny.

Once More into the Breech
The Microsoft Open Source Patent Gambit
Microsoft needs to get back in the business of building exceptional solutions to customer problems

Bob Sutor
Again? How tiresome
Enough said.

Patent Commons
http://www.patentcommons.org/
The Patent Commons Project is dedicated to documenting the boundaries of The Commons -- a preserve where developers and users of software can innovate, collaborate, and access patent resources in an environment of enhanced safety, protected by pledges of support made by holders of software patents.

Sun's Jonathan Schwartz
Free Advice for the Litigious
No amount of fear can stop the rise of free media, or free software (they are the same, after all). The community is vastly more innovative and powerful than a single company. Open standards and open source software are literally changing the face of the planet — creating opportunity wherever the network can reach.... That's not a genie any litigator I know can put back in a bottle.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 11:23:40 AM by zridling »

Edvard

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2007, 01:10:17 PM »
Ok, I'm going to drop 2 cents here...

I don't normally get into these kind of discussions because, even though I use Linux and have for a few years now, I have nothing against Microsoft and it makes no sense to me to constantly tear down the ones who (for better or worse) made the most headway into making computing available for the masses (even if it's fun sometimes).
Besides, I am usually perfectly happy minding my own business, tinkering with my Linux box at home, glad that MS is mostly out of my way.

But sometimes somebody annoys you, like a mosquito around your head in the night, to the point you gotta just SWAT the damn thing.

May I present my Mr. Mosquito, aka Bill Hilf, Microsoft's "Platform Strategy Director". He is head of Microsoft's Linux lab and he so clearly doesn't get it that it's annoying, maddening, and pitiful.
Someone whose job it is to understand these things should know better than to make statements like these publicly:

Microsoft director out to 'debunk mythology around open source'
http://www.bangkokpo...09May2007_data05.php
billhilf.jpg

Wait a minute, hold the phone:
I was going to go into a full-blown rant on this, but I just got a message pointing me to his blog.
Apparently, he was clearly taken out of context on some things, and according to his own words:

http://port25.techne.../clarifications.aspx

he even said he may have spoken too soon.

My opinion still stands that he should think before he speaks, but at least I am dispelled of the notion that he is a complete idiot.

justice

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2007, 01:51:22 PM »
Well that does put things in context. All's not as bad as it seemed.

zridling

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Re: Microsoft takes on the free world
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2007, 11:12:47 PM »
This is a persistent behavior of Microsoft, though. Remember the nastiness surrounding their Vista EULA and how if you changed one device, WGA would invalidate your license and you'd have to buy another? Still true for the most part, but eventually after much bitchin and gnashing of teeth, Microsoft clarified that one section to be a little less vague. I wouldn't doubt that Hilf had Ballmer's blessing to toss out the patent ugliness.