May 16, 2007 4:02 AM PDT

Experts say Microsoft's patent quest won't go far

Microsoft's accusation that the open-source software industry has infringed 235 Microsoft patents has spotlighted a difficult issue: how aggressively should a company police itself for patent violations?

Microsoft said it released the tally--though not the 235 specific patents--in an effort to bring open-source companies to the table to hammer out intellectual property licensing deals similar to the one struck by Linux seller Novell in 2006. But industry experts said the declaration's implicit demand--that companies with open-source software should figure out what Microsoft patents they're infringing and come to the negotiating table--is unrealistic at best.

In general, searching for potential software patent violations isn't practical, given the number, breadth and opacity of patents in the United States. Not only that, but it's at odds with Microsoft's own policy to wait for patent holders to get in touch with it if they think there's infringement.

In fact, searching for potential patent problems can actually leave a company financially exposed: if a lawsuit concludes a patent was infringed, a company or individual that knew about the potential infringement must pay triple the financial damages compared with an unknowing infringement.

"The fear of willfulness is so great that often firms instruct their engineers not to look at patents," said Matthew Schruers, senior counsel to a tech lobbying firm called the Computer and Communications Industry Association. Because of the willfulness issue, the expense of searching patents and the difficulty of actually understanding them, "It's gotten to the point where most software application developers cannot plausibly say they've conducted complete patent searches," he said. (The CCIA, although counting Microsoft among its clients, scorned its patent move on Monday as "very troubling.")

Though Microsoft has paid $1.4 billion in three years to license others' patents, the company indicated that it takes a more passive role when it comes to licensing others' patents.

"If a company believes we are using its intellectual property, they should come talk to us," the company said in a statement. It didn't respond Tuesday to questions about whether it has notified specific parties such as Red Hat or Linux kernel leader Linus Torvalds of any of the alleged infringements.

Torvalds defiant
Microsoft said the Linux kernel infringes 42 Microsoft patents, but Torvalds is among those who refuses to investigate whether he's violating any.

"There are several reasons why engineers should not read other people's patents, only their own. And it's not a 'hide your head in the sand' issue, it's a very practical issue of it being a waste of time," Torvalds said.

"The fear of willfulness is so great that often firms instruct their engineers not to look at patents."
--Matthew Schruers,
senior counsel
Computing and Communications Industry Association

For one thing, developing technology without looking at patents lets a person honestly say they developed that technology independently, which helps show that the patent in question doesn't meet the requirement of a technology not being obvious, he said. And engineers aren't likely to comprehend patents in the first place: "Unless you have a patent attorney at your side, patent language usually makes no sense."

He derided Microsoft for spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) rather than tackling the issue forthrightly. "If Microsoft were to actually tell people what patents they claim we violate, we could either laugh in their face and show prior art, or just show them to be obvious, or we could do things differently," he said.

Some, including David Jenkins, an intellectual property attorney with Eckert Seamans, believe in a more active patent-hunt approach. For example, Motorola should probably look for patent issues in Linux before shipping a Linux-powered mobile phone, he said.

But doing so isn't easy, and "Most people should not attempt to perform a search," he said.

"Finding a patent, especially a software patent, on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Web site is very difficult," Jenkins said. "Almost nobody calls everything the same thing...Either you use a (search) term so broad that you get a return of 1,000 patents, or if you narrow it down, it's likely you're going to miss a lot."

Jenkins' firm charges about $1,000 for a patent infringement search, but the prices go up in cases where a search yields more patents that must be scrutinized.

And even Jenkins could think of only a single instance when a client went back to refresh an existing search with up-to-date results. The frequency of checking "depends on how litigious the patent owner is going to be, and are they going to catch you," he said.

CONTINUED: Other complications…
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138 comments

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I so hoped I would be wrong
The day Microsoft made the Linux pact with Novell, I said\wrote that Microsofts only motive was to go after open source members, and other agencies Microsoft considered a threat.

I gave Bill Gates credit for alot of developments including making the Windows operating system the OS choice of the masses. But like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, Bill Gates and Microsoft has become an evil empire who's only focus is to destroy all competitors, and crush free thinking.
Posted by the1kingarthur (47 comments )
Reply Link Flag
true that...
Get a job at Microsoft and you'll notice that resinate through out the whole campus. Plus Windows sucks, and is a mere toy in my opinion.

The real Operating systems were here before that geek stabbed everyone in the back to make the $$$, those are his only motivations in life. I think him getting married was the best thing for him, because his wife gave him some humanity back, but he's still a robot in a sense.

His partner who started the company with him, got out, he's the smart one, who needs endless billions, the mountain of money will eventually ruin a person, you can't spend it anyhow.
Posted by RompStar_420 (772 comments )
Link Flag
Gates credit, IBM stupid
Bill Gates deserves credit for making the sweet-heart deal of a
lifetime by pulling the wool over stupid IBM by making the
exclusive contracts for his DOS (which was purchased from others -
another story).
Posted by weegg (849 comments )
Link Flag
Keep in mind...
That Torvald has advocated ignorance by intent. His direct quote:

"There are several reasons why engineers should not read other people's patents, only their own. And it's not a 'hide your head in the sand' issue, it's a very practical issue of it being a waste of time," Torvalds said.

That's pretty hard to deny. It simply isn't responsible.

Perhaps this is the wakeup call that open source needs to protect themselves from getting nailed for their ignorance later. If they continue to ignore it, well... then they deserve to get what they have earned.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
I so hoped there wouldn't be so many ignorants
You forgot to add "enslave and rule the world and then kill every living form on the face of the Earth" as one of the focus of evil Microsoft.
I hope one day when you get stolen and complain to the Police the thief sues you for having as onlu focus to destroy all thiefs and crush free robbery.
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Link Flag
That "industry experts" are saying
... "the declaration's implicit demand--that companies with open-source software should figure out what Microsoft patents they're infringing and come to the negotiating table--is unrealistic at best...". Just what will the software industry scenarios look like with the 800lb Gorilla (OS/2) which has apparently escaped into the Open Source Jungle from the Microsoft and IBM built "cage" and might be morphing into an adult size Godzilla like creature and heading for the REDMOND CAMPUS!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft will die if Xerox came foward.
Every Os created stole their Idea from Xerox.
Why won't Xerox just tell Microsoft to forget it.

Lets remove the gui from windows once Xerox in court wins.
Posted by inachu (963 comments )
Reply Link Flag
while true from history, it wouldn't happen
Common sense tells me, that someone along the way a while back, invented the wheel and everyone else after that used it to their benefit. Think about that, if the originator or their blood line came back and said, you know what, we want out F@#$ing wheel back and you can't use it no more, the world would collapse.

Windows and MS is just running scarred, F@#$ them, that's what you get for being an *******.
Posted by RompStar_420 (772 comments )
Link Flag
Shrink on MSFT: "A Childlike Belief in Their Own Omnipotence"
A colleague came back from a dinner in which he had an interesting conversation with a psychiatrist who was also computer literate. The patent gambit was, this shrink said, an interesting indication of some institutional pathologies but none so much as an apparent adolescent narcissism - literally a childlike belief in its own omnipotence. This perception lines up pretty neatly with a lot of employees and observers comments that MSFT is showing early stages of collapse because the lawyers are now managing larger corporate strategy, a sure sign of senescence.

MSFT as a bunch of lawyers who got their hands on an OS is an old paradigm for interpreting the company's direction (or lack of). This latest gambit indicates that the lawyers are not only in control but that they're completely out of their minds. If someone actually takes these idiots seriously, MSFT may end up with another company pulling the trigger on the company first and it is certain the company would lose some part of the contest in court.

In this way, the lawyers really are pushing the company into harm's way for no good reason other than their own savage entertainment. FOSS is not going to go away. MSFT knows that. Unfortunately, it has no imagination about how to work with it other than pretending it can manipulate contracts and courts to make it disappear, very much indicating a 'childlike belief in their own omnipotence.'

After the Vista train wreck and pathetic consumer electronics plays, it is clear the company is at sea now without a chart or a compass. What's worse is that at the helm is one big fat chair-throwing, psychotic, narcissistic fool taking navigational directions from passel of deranged, whining child men shouting that the land must come to them.

The next few years are going to be incredibly ugly for this company. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of guys.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Bankers" re smarter than lawyer. Duh!
"This perception lines up pretty neatly with a lot of employees and observers comments that MSFT is showing early stages of collapse because the lawyers are now managing larger corporate strategy, a sure sign of senescence. MSFT as a bunch of lawyers who got their hands on an OS is an old paradigm for interpreting the company's direction (or lack of). This latest gambit indicates that the lawyers are not only in control but that they're completely out of their minds. If someone actually takes these idiots seriously, MSFT may end up with another company pulling the trigger on the company first and it is certain the company would lose some part of the contest in court. In this way, the lawyers really are pushing the company into harm's way for no good reason other than their own savage entertainment..."; and, especially those at the international level. Who is focusing on an out-of-the-box-OS when it should be about "ETHANOL" (ever heard about a country called Brazil), Out-Of-Control forest fires, the effects of global warming....! Re: the subject line!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
That's True!
Too bad there are so many anti-collusion/anti-trust laws on the books that make companies timid about talking about common threats like this.

It'd be hilarious to see Xerox, Lucent, IBM, Apple, Siemens, Matsushita, RCA, HP, Unisys, etc. just get together, rummage through their patent portfolio, grab some easily identified instances of MSFT infringement and sue MSFT first.

Like all crazy bullies, they'll be shocked when the big kids get sick of him and stuff him in the dumpster behind the school.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Go for it, Microsoft
I can only wish Microsoft would be so stupid as to pursue this. It
would be a huge public relations disaster, giving users yet another
reason to abandon Windows.

They have to be really scared of Linux to believe that lawsuits are a
better option.
Posted by Thrudheim (306 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah! Let them "Go for it"!
Just like it went down at the "OK Coral" (or is it going to be like in Battle Star Galactica). Not quite sure though if Microsoft's morphing 800lb Gorilla Half-Brother (OS/2) will find "dead" Penguins very appetizing!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
If you do your own work, why would you?
If you spend your own time and effort creating somthing and submit for your own patents why the heck would you even bother policing yourself for infringing on someone elses patents? You did the work and submitted for your own patents exactly like you are supposed to do.

Even deravative works, building on other peoples efforts are perfect so long as you honor the original work.

If I build that 200 mpg Fuel Injection system for use on GM cars...I've done the world a good thing and deserve my patent and GM if they didn't invent it doesn't.
Posted by Renegade Knight (13748 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Problems with the patent system
See, this is the problem with the US patent
system. Because if a person knows about a
patent that is supposedly being infringed, they
have to pay triple damages, and because the
USPTO has been handing out patents on absolutely
everything, odds are there are multiple firms
with the same or similar patents. And because
they're handing out patents on obvious changes,
odds are every program infringes something.

The software industry is a bottom-up industry.
Rarely (if ever) is software created from
nothing; generally, new software is built on top
of old software, and innovation happens in an
incremental process. In such an industry,
patents do more to STOP innovation than help it
along, as all a company has to do to claim
monopoly over a specific branch of software
development is get a patent for something near
the bottom. This, in fact, is what Microsoft is
trying to do (claiming that they have patents on
kernel stuff, so therefore their OS is the only
legal one).
Posted by DarkPhoenixFF4 (206 comments )
Link Flag
Because ignorance isn't acceptable
If you spend your time and effort building something and then submit your patent, wouldn't it make even the tiniest amount of sense to see if someone else hadn't already done it first?

It's exceedingly wasteful of all that effort and resources to reinvent the wheel.

The idea that Torvald recommends ignoring patents and building the product anyways and then claim ignorance afterwards- yeah, doesn't say much about responsibility there.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
Time for new leadership
I am waiting for mighty Bill or even Paul to come back and rescue his rudderless company. I like what they make and use many of their products without the issues that the vocal minority constantly complain about. Since Bill stepped aside and let Ballmer move into place, the company has had a serious lack of focus. Maybe its Ozzie's turn. Maybe its time to give Mike Nash a bigger role. Maybe even Rick Devunitti. I have met Rick, Mike, and Balllmer and Stevie was definately not close to the brightest of them.
Posted by tgrenier (256 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting notion
I wouldn't mind seeing some change like that as well. Change is good. If it doesn't work out, go back to what you had.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
Interesting notion
I wouldn't mind seeing some change like that as well. Change is good. If it doesn't work out, go back to what you had.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
Property law as a reward system
Many commenters make little of the fact that someone/some company took their own time and risk to develop the wares that we depend on daily. Or they ignore it outright.

The patent and copyright systems are manners of protecting those efforts - of providing incentives and potential rewards for those discoveries or expressions that we so value, or may learn to value.

Regardless of what one thinks about MSoft's tactics here - the underlying private property-based system does work, and shouldn't be cast aside because some feel poked in the eye by MSoft's statements.

MSoft isn't the only company who has patents, or protects vigorously its IP portfolio. This quest to protect that property remains valid on its own no matter who's doing it.
Posted by mwendy (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think you are ignoring the problems with the patent system
Copyright is a well understood notion, and I actually believe most Open Source developers do a much better job of honoring it than developers working on proprietary software. But the patent system has become such a morass over the last few years that it is not possible to both develop software and review every patent that might be applicable to what you are working on. Besides, if numerous developers can come up with essentially the same idea on their own, that provides a strong argument that the patent should not have been granted in the first place because it was too obvious.

The real problem with Microsoft's tactics is that they are demanding payment for use of their patents without revealing which patents they claim are being used, leaving no possible means for developers and users to defend themselves. It is not a whole different than a land owner who hasn't bothered to put up fences and/or No Trespassing signs accusing you of trespassing on his property and demanding that you do the research in government records to determine what land he owns and the surveying to find out where the boundaries are if you want to defend yourself. Or we could use the analogy provided by the judge in the SCO/IBM case where you are accused of shoplifting in a large department store and the store insists that you know what you stole and only providing you with a catalog of all of the products in the store to find the item yourself.

It just doesn't make sense to take Microsoft's claims seriously until they are willing to produce a list of the patents they claim are being infringed.
Posted by acrider (14 comments )
Link Flag
protecting property
I don't think anyone would have a problem with MS protecting their property, just say what someone is stepping on, license it or not. They want everyone to search through all their code, see if maybe something could be something of MS's then go through all the patents and see if they are infringing on one. That is pure crap! Say what is being misused and be done with it. MS does not want to do that, they want everyone to plead guilty and pay the fine, even if they aren't guilty of anything!
Posted by dland51 (91 comments )
Link Flag
Wow. Linux Founder advocates ignorance
"There are several reasons why engineers should not read other people's patents, only their own. And it's not a 'hide your head in the sand' issue, it's a very practical issue of it being a waste of time," Torvalds said.

Wow. I really had respect for this person, but it's been shaken by this irresponsible comment. He's done a great disservice to the open source community and damage to his own credibility as a representative in the field. I just can't believe he said that. It's just... so irresponsible.

Thanks Linus. Should we follow your advice and ignore reality when we design our next product? Hey, here's an idea- I'm thinking of making a new OS and calling it, oh, I don't know... 'Linux', maybe? Nah, too short. Let's call it 'Red Hat Linux'. Yeah, that sounds better. And since you don't want anyone to bother with checking for patent infringements, I should be perfectly in the clear to go ahead and sell the product. With your logic, when RedHat comes along and wants me to stop, I shouldn't have to, right? I mean, you told me to ignore doing any sort of patent research so I can't be held liable for my actions, right?

Geez, I swear the guy is getting more senile by the day. Reality check time!
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And, "GOD" forbids....
... the leaderships of the Windows and Linux communities undergo simultaneous frontal lobotomies, then what happens to the world. Guess it will be that Dead (But Still Walking) OS/2 (The PROGRAM) and dem 500lb Chimps ruling the "Jungle". WOW!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
you missed the point
It's not "irresponsible" for software developers to neglect to
examine M$'s patents. In fact, Linus has a point. If you never
look at patents, yet you write code that violates a patent, doesn't
it show that the patent in question is at least somewhat obvious?
How can the code be "stolen" if you have never seen it before?
And if it is obvious, should it have been patented in the first
place?

Besides, the onus is on M$ to protect it's patents, not on
everyone else in the world.

This is all just a bunch of fear tactics used by a lumbering
dinosaur that doesn't want to become extinct yet won't adapt.
FOSS has them running scared and they're seeing the vultures
circling above them. The only way they know to defend
themselves is to throw rocks at them.

Let M$ die. It will be good for the world overall.
Posted by Dalkorian (3000 comments )
Link Flag
You aren't very bright are you?
You obviously didn't read all his comments in context.

A few things:

It would take years to do thorough research.

If a person or company can come up with what a patent covers, it just proves that the patent should never have been granted. But it would cost $100,000 minimum to get it invalidated.

Most software patents are total BS anyway.

It seems you advocate closing off software development to all but a few huge companies.

Pull your head out and breathe some fresh air.
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Link Flag
<rolls eyes at clueless wonder>
&lt;eom&gt;
Posted by anarchyreigns (299 comments )
Link Flag
They can lookup Microsoft owned patents
and, then evaluate if there has been a violation.

All patents owned by Microsoft are well defined, it should not be a complicated matter for s/w programmers to see if their s/w has violated any patents owned by Microsoft.

Analyzing patents may be excruciating for me, but I don't write software.

Software programmers need to read up on the ethics of software programming, software licensing and software patents, how can learning about patents/licensing etc be any less important than writing code?

Accusing Microsoft is not the answer.

Before discussing the speck of dust in another person's eye, it would be instructive to look at the log in one's own eye.

All these corporations and foundations have attorney's and programmers on staff, let them look into Microsoft owned patents.....or stop ********.
Posted by kapardin (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why should I have to check microsofts patents.
Soft ware patents are not legal in the UK
Posted by The Plgrim (3 comments )
Link Flag
Review Other Patents ??
Are you nuts?

So you're stating that everytime I write a few lines of code, I should review hundreds or thousands of patents to see if I violated someone's patent.

I know. I'll hire 50 lawyers to go to software development school and they can then sit with 50 programmers. It'll be like XP, only instead of faster development, you get no development.

Let's all stop being stupid. Get to work.
Posted by regulator1956 (577 comments )
Link Flag
You obviously don't have a clue
Microsoft has been granted more than 6000 patents to date (according to one report I read this week) and is submitting thousands of patent applications per year. And then there are the software patents held by IBM, Sun, Oracle, and many other companies. And since most patent applications are written by lawyers, they are not easy to understand even for software developers. It simply isn't practical for a developer to try to understand all applicable patents and still expect to do any development. If that were required, no one, including Microsoft, would be able to ever again write software that was affordable. We'd quickly find ourselves back in the days when all software was custom developed in-house and most developers spent most of their time re-inventing the wheel because there would be no commercial or free software available.
Posted by acrider (14 comments )
Link Flag
corporations and attorneys
You said you don't write code and that is obvious because most of the programmers writing Open Source are not in huge corporations that have huge amounts of money and lawyers, they are your next door neighbor or the kid down the street! How many years do you think it would take someone to read all through all of MS patents to see if anything they were thinking about might already be patented? Just guessing but at the rate they apply for new patents, just for ideas someone dreams up, not even for code it would take several lifetimes just to go through them and get what you think is an understanding of what they actually say! You aren't looking at engineering plans and drawings in software patents, they aren't tangible
3-d objects easily examined. If you read them you are contaminated in your own thought processes in what you are designing forever after, not a very logical or good idea!
Posted by dland51 (91 comments )
Link Flag
Is it the Software Freedom Law Center's (SFLC) controlling the SWPAT debate
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.digital-copyright.ca/node/3947" target="_newWindow">http://www.digital-copyright.ca/node/3947</a>

Basic argument: In order to overturn the bad caselaw that extended patent law in the USA to cover patents, a court case will need to be launched. Is the SFLC goading Microsoft to become their unwitting ally on eradicating software patents?
Posted by Russell McOrmond (63 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Did BSD ever infring on patents
Will, for instance Sun go after BSD if BSD picks up?

Will the comfortable relationship that BSD now enjoy become sour if BSD is successful?

It would be interesting to look at BSD. perhaps the Linux folks should examine BSD s/w....no hint of patent violations....yet......
Posted by kapardin (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
idiot
I guarantee you that every program no matter how small violates patents.

That is what is wrong with this system.
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Link Flag
freeBSD is tracible to original UNIX patents.
and i am sure the coders who wrote updates did not do a patent search on each line of code.
Posted by disco-legend-zeke (448 comments )
Link Flag
Microsft has Broke some Pattents if i rember
for example look at vista what is it with M$$$ they said they made the new AERO Graphics look i just wonder where have i seen that before at i wonder maybe apple thats werid copy other people use there pattents its all the same come on m$$$ needs to shut up and stop saying other people took there ideas they have not come up with anything new apple and linux even unix had things way before M$$ bill needs to get a life
Posted by linuxcable23 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Finally
A story to thoroughly debunk the actions of MS
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes!
And Apple, and RedHat, and so on. This entire patent process needs to be updated and streamlined. I can't believe that it's gotten this complicated.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
Yes!
And Apple, and RedHat, and so on. This entire patent process needs to be updated and streamlined. I can't believe that it's gotten this complicated.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
Do Ya "All" Think Microsoft Is All So Wrong...
... as far as its Business Model is concerned. Think Again! Take some time sometimes and do some research. How about this UNIDO "Computer Model for Feasibility Analysis and Reporting (COMFAR III Software)"?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.unido.org/en/doc/3651" target="_newWindow">http://www.unido.org/en/doc/3651</a>
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What business model?
MS uses FUD and a heavy hand to make money not produce quality good at reasonable prices.

Just because you can link to a model doesn't make it legitimate.

Seriously, how do you remember to breathe?
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Link Flag
What is your point?
Even IBM was doing that sort of thing back in the 1960's. Making software with limited features at different prices. By the way, a lot of software and OS patents that IBM held back in the 1950's and 1960's are now public domain. Those patents are used by Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, etc but since they are public domain, IBM cannot sue them over it.

When you think about it, most Microcomputer software uses patents that the early Mainframes used.

Not only that, but I own a copy of a book called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Software-psychology-computer-information-Winthrop/dp/0876268165">"Software Psychology"</a> by Ben Shneiderman that discussed how to make software and operating systems more human friendly. I am sure that the Macintosh, Windows, Amiga, OS/2, etc all used ideas from that book which are now patents that are part of the public domain.

By the way, most F/OSS Linux companies offer the same code in different software packages. For example Red Hat offers Fedora Linux for free, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for a fee. So basically the Linux companies use almost the same model as Microsoft, except with one difference the source code is open and the low end product is free for download.

In fact, the Linux companies that didn't have a "commercial" version of Linux or that didn't charge for tech support went out of business in the Dotcom busts. Those that did charge money have stayed in business like Red Hat.

I developed medical software for the last employer I worked for, and we developed a program and limited the features for each version. As my ex-boss explained it, the product is a bucket, and based on what they are willing to pay, they will fill the bucket up so far. If they pay the highest price the bucket is filled up all the way, if the pay the middle price the bucket is half-way filled, if they pay the lowest price the bucket is one third way filled. The only difference in the F/OSS business model is that the low end software is usually given out for free with limited support until support is charged for later.
Posted by Orion Blastar (590 comments )
Link Flag
The last refuge of the retarded
is to say that everyone violates patents......

A crime is a crime, even if "everyone" does it...those who think that Microsoft violated their patents do, in fact take Microsoft to court.....those who can get money from Microsoft actually do so......

Why should Linux be treated any different if it did indeed violate patents...Linux vendors may have to cough up either way......

Supporting a patent free world is a different issue, Linux has been sold in a world of patent rights. The same laws apply to Linux as well...

The double standards in the Linux-fan-mindset are evident.....
Posted by kapardin (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A crime is a crime...
Bzzt, try again. Patent infringement is not a criminal offense.
Posted by solrosenberg (124 comments )
Link Flag
If MS believes its patents are infringed, let it specify them.
We learned this lesson from SCO. It's called "Show us the code - Put up, or shut up."

Since MS is unwilling to do this, the obvious thing to do is dismiss its claims as pure FUD. MS has already told us why it is afraid to be specific. It's because it knows that its claims would be thoroughly investigated, and then its patents either shot down with prior art (meaning the patents are completely specious), or coded around by industrious Open Source programmers.

Curiously, that is precisely what is *supposed* to happen, too. But then MS wouldn't be able to bully people with vague patent claims any more, would it?
Posted by Mighty_Zogg (2 comments )
Link Flag
Some me a piece of code
And I will find the patent that makes that code infringing.

Why are all the idiots who have no clue about software and software development spouting drivel?

Speaking of thieves, I wonder where you got your catchy subject from? LOL I guess plaguarism is OK.
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Link Flag
why
Why do you say that? I haven't read where anyone says they won't pay a license fee or royalty because MS has a patent on something: they have said MS needs to say what they are violating and they will fix it, period! Likewise, if the Linux coders learn that MS is violating their GPL then MS will have to abide by the same laws they do! This is all a 2 way street, right now just one entity is driving a steam roller and trying to run over everybody else's toes with it! You know if I am driving down the highway exceeding the speed limit and get caught I expect to pay a speeding ticket, but I damned sure am not going to the police station and tell them I was speeding, and neither are you, or any other self-righteous detractor on this forum!
Posted by dland51 (91 comments )
Link Flag
Force Microsofts hand!!!
The FSF should simply force their hand on this. It would bring the issues to the surface and remove this huge anti Linux FUD campaign that they have been waging for years. The worst move is to let it just sit. Call the conglomos bluff!
Posted by frobroj (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ha! Ha! Ha!.......
Isn't it real fun to read how "anti Linux FUD campaign" folks and Penguin folks go at each other. Just when are the Pershings, the Cruise and the Tomahawks going to start flying around are is it all hot air coming from either side. Its anyone guess!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
Innocent until proven guilty
Microsoft need to show the infringement, otherwise Open Source is innocent.

Of course it would be interesting to see how many patents Microsoft is infringing upon. I would take a guess and say more than Open Source combined.

Everyone knows that all of Microsoft's products are copies of someone else's stuff.

But their code is closed and therefore it it not open to scrutiny as much. It only means that they can hide infringments where as Open Source is more honest in that it is there for all to see.

The FSF should (if they can) sue Microsoft for infringing on GPL. Then Microsoft could be forced to reveal their code for scrutiny. If they find any GPL code, then guess what? Windows is now open source.

The FSF should take Microsoft head on, the pay off could be immense for Open Source in many ways.

Leaving things as they are is not good for Open Source. Bring all things out into the light, just as Open Source does already.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsofts agenda
They want all Open Source to do deals with Microsoft, so Microsoft can make money from Open Source without subscribing to the GPL.

This in turn would slow down Open Source once Open Source coders realise that they are making money for Microsoft indirectly.

That is the true reason for Microsoft doing this and once again they show just how evil they are.

But they should be stopped. No matter what it takes they should be taken to court over this.

And Europe should whip them into line over this too. I don't think the US has the guts to do it. It was proven years ago that Microsoft is bigger then the Bush administration.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hi I am from Open Source
Hi my name is Joe Bloggs I work for Open Source. Have you heard of us.

:)
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Alright, you folks win, I was wrong. :)
I've taken all your comments to heart and have to realize that I've been wrong all this time. Your evidence and arguments have convinced me of the following:

If you want to create a product, don't bother looking to see if it was invented before, just make it and cry loudly if someone sues you for it later.

If you want to use ignorance as a shield, do so and claim you didn't know any better.

if you want to succeed in life, whine, *****, moan and complain loudly that nobody could have expected you to be responsible for your own actions. There's no reason in today's society why you should have to be responsible for your own actions at all. Go ahead, cheat, steal, murder, kill, whatever. It doesn't matter because you can always claim you didn't know it was wrong because you never asked.

Congratulations. I've come around to your side.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Reply Link Flag
>>>"Congratulations. I've come around to your side."<<<....
... Maybe you have; but, not so just yet with the Commander and Crew; and, as a point of reference here is an extract from a 1998 Lotus Development Corporation communication;

Re: "Concerning the issues with 1-2-3 that are talked about in the documentation you gave me, most of the issues are related to converting files between older and newer versions of product and converting documents between Lotus and Microsoft. Anytime a file is saved backwards or saved with an older file format than the format the file was created under, such as saving a 1-2-3 , 97 file for Windows 95 into a WK1 format for DOS, then naturally we are expected to loose certain features due to technology and features that are present now that were not present 8 - 10 years ago. Similarly, if we try to convert a file from Lotus into Excel or Excel into Lotus, due to differences in the products not every feature will be converted perfectly with the file filters that are available. Both Lotus and Microsoft create similar spreadsheet programs; however, there are several differences in both programs and these differences will remain to distinguish the products apart. We do try to design conversion filters that will allow as much of the file formats as possible to be exchanged and converted without disrupting the actual file design and format.

In one of your letters you made mention of the @IRR and @ERR functions in the 1-2-3 product. By design the @IRR (notably "absent" in Open Office) will calculate the Internal Rate of Return; where the @ERR is used in conjunction with other formulas, posted was an "ERR" showing an error was received in the calculations. As far as I can see in the program I cannot find an @ERR function that will allow us to calculate an Economic Rate of Return"; note again carefully what at least one intelligent mind intimately involved in the computer industry remarked--"As far as I can see in the program I cannot find an @ERR function that will allow us to calculate an Economic Rate of Return"; now, do you think that your statement -- "If you want to create a product, don't bother looking to see if it was invented before" makes any sense. Now, what does that all tell you about what others might say (to the extent of their limitation) or might not say?
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
Still clueless
For someone who absolutely no understanding of the issues you sure spend alot of time whining.

How about spend your time educating yourself?
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Link Flag
What a great way to singlehandedly squelch the Voice..
of the little guys..

Grassroots advocates such as myself rely on the generosity of those wonderful individuals and organizations that endlessly bust their cyber tushies to provide responsible free and open source projects.. (Started to name off the some eight, ten-odd ones loved and adored from this keyboard, but stopped for fear that would make them the next targets..)

Were I to have to buy the various versions of software I'm currently self-teaching on, I could not afford to eat for.. several years.. Guaranteed I'm not walking those particular shoes alone..

Yeah, permanently squelching the little guy's grassroots Voice certainly is not MS's motivation, but it sure will be the end result..

Buries that dadgum burr just a little deeper under the saddle, it does.. :\
Posted by SilkHope (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a great idea to call "little guys"...
...to thiefs.
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Link Flag
What experts?
Are these the same experts who said the fastest-selling OS ever (A. K. A. Vista) wouldn't go far either?
Just to check.
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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