Open Source

Microsoft is "patent"ly afraid


It came out today that Microsoft is now claiming that open source software breaks 235 of its patents. And, of course, it would seem on the surface that Microsoft wants what it (again on the surface) wants most: Money. But I think this whole thing is yet another smoke and mirrors set up to try to take down the competition that is threatening Microsoft's strangle hold on the computing world. You see on this same day it was announced that the Japanese government would be migrating to open source software. This migration is to happen this coming July. The central government of Japan plans on spending approximately 10.4 billion dollars over the next year and wants to decrease its reliance on Microsoft.

I don't know if the two announcements are just happenstance or if they are related. But the Juggernaut known as Microsoft has a track record of working ahead to keep what little competition it has squelched. This could be one of those instances.

But what of these patent infringements? What are they?

  • Kernel: violates 42 Microsoft patents.
  • Various GUIS: 65 Microsoft patents
  • Open Office: 45 Microsoft patents
  • Various E-mail programs: 15 Microsoft patents
  • Various open source programs:  68 Microsoft patents

Microsoft, in standard form, refused to specify what the patent infringements were.

Of course in some instances we're talking about patents Microsoft has claimed that cover the way a menu is laid out. Many of these patents won't stand up in court. In fact, recently it came out that the Supreme Court unanimously voted that patents had been too readily handed out over the past two decades and many of them are most likely invalid. I would venture that many of the Microsoft claims will fall under that category. 

 

But I don't think that matters to Microsoft. I think the only thing that matters is that they take the open source community to task in order to make the companies relying on open source solutions afraid. Once those companies are afraid Microsoft is probably certain that they will come crawling back.

I don't think that will be the case this time. I think the courts will find the majority of the claimed patents are invalid and the rest questionable. And I think we've finally reached a point in time where companies are no longer afraid of the computer behemoth.  I think the bully on the playground has lost its ability to strike fear in the hearts of the smaller kids. And I think this recent patent infringement threat is nothing more than a lame scare tactic.  Only this time it's not going to work. There was once a time when Microsoft shook the branch of fear the world shook. But now I think this new claim is showing how afraid Microsoft has truly become of open source software.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

391 comments
TechExec2
TechExec2

. Microsoft is now saying that they aren't planning to litigate their patents (1)(1b). Well, at least they are not shy about admitting they are all about FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), intimidation, extortion, nonsense, and bullsh*t. Microsoft's patent intimidation campaign is the high-tech version of "Make him an offer he can't refuse". Vito Corleone would be proud. [b][i]"...There are three things that we are doing: We're competing with Linux and Unix servers with Windows servers, we're going to find ways to interoperate between Linux and Windows because lots of our customers run both and we want to grow the open-source ecosystem as it relates to Microsoft software. There's no other strategy. There's no other hidden agenda. I'm trying to be as clear as I can to people that this isn't a threat. We're not going out and attacking people. We're trying to solve an IP issue..."[/i][/b] Bill Hilf, Microsoft General Manager of Platform Strategy (1b) I liked this a lot better when I heard it the first time: [i]"...I don't like violence, Tom. I'm a businessman. Blood is a big expense..."[/i] Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo in "The Godfather" [b]And another thing...[/b] ** This is a disgusting abuse of the patent system, competitors, and customers. ** When people buy Microsoft products, they are supporting this kind of unethical behavior. ** If Microsoft's claimed patents had merit, they would sue and get just compensation. ** If Microsoft's patents are like this one (2)(3) where Microsoft appears to own the "novel" idea the rest of the world has called "sudo" for decades, they know they are completely full of sh*t, would lose in court, and will never litigate. Can you say "prior art"? Can you say "obvious"? I am SO sick of this Microsoft bullsh*t! P.S. Microsoft is not just competing with Linux and Unix servers. They are also competing with desktops. I'm very pleased with my switch to a Linux workstation and OpenOffice. Perfect? Better than Windows+Office in every way? No, and it doesn't have to be. It is an excellent computing platform and it provides an excellent escape from Microsoft's bullsh*t. And, it will be further improved next year. Interested? Make a strategic plan that works for you (4) and try Kubuntu (5). ---------------------------------- (1) Microsoft won?t litigate open source patents http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/32106/118/ (1b) Hilf: Microsoft won't sue over Linux, for now http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/05/17/microsoft-wont-sue-over-Linux_1.html (1c) Microsoft takes on the free world http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033867/index.htm?postversion=2007051409 (2) Did Microsoft just patent sudo? http://ubuntulinuxtipstricks.blogspot.com/2007/05/did-microsoft-just-patent-sudo.html (3) Administrative security systems and methods (U.S. Patent 6,775,781) http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6775781.PN.&OS=PN%2F6775781&RS=PN%2F6775781 (4) The LEAVING WINDOWS Project http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=213495&messageID=2185615 (5) Hot tip for Windows users: Try Kubuntu 7.04 http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=212977&messageID=2228489

Fil0403
Fil0403

1) Open-source violates 235 Microsoft patents, fact; if you are retarded enough to consider the bad guy here is the company who is getting robbed or to believe open-source doesn't violate any Microsoft patent or there are not enough proofs of that (LOL, that would be the joke of the century), go learn what patents are and realize they are the consequence of something called "law". 2) Yes, a company who owns more than 90% of the OS market must be terribly afraid of an OS that represents not even 1% of it and declined more than 2% since 1 year ago (http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=5).

jim
jim

Many coutries do not allow patents to be given for software. Software is usually protected by copyright of the source code. The only place where Microsoft may be able to instill fear and to intimidate, could be the USA. And I suppose the public, of the USA, gets the impact of "patent" protection they voted for. It is the US politicians, carefully courted by special interest groups, who have prepared and foisted upon their citizens, the laws governing patent applicability. So in the end they deserve the patent protection they have. The rest of us don't care much about Microsoft's "Patent claims", wether they are valid or invalid, as most are not appplicable outside the US. Cheeky Jim

pcibmcomp
pcibmcomp

I think it's sad that Microsoft is using fraudulent claims to waste the time of the U.S. Judicial system. I would rather Microsoft make "explorer.exe" more innovative. That's my two cents.

DanLM
DanLM

Could one of the unforeseen consequences of this legal action cause more developer and support personnel to be outsourced from China/India/Brazil or any of the other nations that do not have a pay scale on the same level as we are use to receiving. I mean both Open Source and Microsoft. Reason for this question. Businesses will be spending so much money on legality matters that the first place they will look to cut costs is IT. Legality matters most likely would be on staff or support legal teams whose whole purpose is defending the company from license issues and also researching any further purchase of any type of software. Or even hardware for that matter(routers, whats the os of routers?). Followup question. Is it possible that the possible blood bath that may ensue due to Microsoft's last action cause new development to decrease dramatically by OS and hardware companies/organizations due to their resource's being solely on the defense of their legal position. Microsoft, Open Source, hardware manufactures who utilize one or the other. Hell, freelance developers who will be afraid to contribute(open source or proprietary) due to concern of someone claiming original concept. No matter how obscure the claim is. So, to summarize up my questions. Could this action by Microsoft slow or possibly stop the advances that we have seen in all development due to all resources will be funneled into the great black hole called the legal system. Hell, could this action by Microsoft slow both business and personal buying of both hardware and software due to all the uncertainties? Ok, stupid questions. But, I will bet that there is more then one board member funneling money from on going projects into his legal war chest to prepare for the worst. I will also bet that there are IT managers watching this, at least if they are worth their salt. Going, well there goes my 10 year plan right out the window. Dan [i]Edited to add: [/i] I think a lot of people think this will come back to bite MS in the ass. I think we should all look at our own positions no matter what they are, and ask. Is this going to bite us in the ass.

apotheon
apotheon

. . . and hilarious! Thanks for the link.

hhall1001
hhall1001

MS encouraged SCO's lawsuits, buying licenses from SCO, giving a favorable view to a VC about SCO's chances of winning the suit with IBM. The VC then invested in SCO and used the money to stay alive a little longer. Fear of lawsuits didn't slow Linux deployments so now they are trying a more direct approach. And just like SCO, they have no answer to the key question: Where does Linux infringe and on which patents? This latest attempt to sew FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) may give some IT managers an excuse to avoid Linux, but not for long.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

United States Patent 7,219,346 Patiejunas May 15, 2007 System and method for implementing a client side HTTP stack Abstract A software components and methods are provided for implementation of a client side HTTP stack, which provide high performance and scalability. Multithreading and completion ports are employed in the client side HTTP layer in association with sockets and a thread pool, thereby providing support for business-to-business and other more recent client side applications which create numerous requests. The invention further comprises a dedicated scheduler thread adapted to activate an object scheduled to begin sending requests at a specific time, as well as a dedicated DNS thread used for resolving symbolic domain names into IP addresses. In addition, the client side HTTP stack implementation comprises a dedicated timeout thread with a list of active sockets and timers associated with each socket to allow finer grain control over socket timeout periods. Inventors: Patiejunas; Kestutis (Redmond, WA) Assignee: Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA) Appl. No.: 09/730,190 Filed: December 5, 2000 Has MS patented how a web browser connects to the Internet or Intranet? http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=7&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=%22microsoft+corporation%22&OS=%22microsoft+corporation%22&RS=%22microsoft+corporation%22 Ok, another loser United States Patent 7,219,141 Bonasia , et al. May 15, 2007 Method of adding a device to a network Abstract A method of adding a device to an existing or new electrical or electronic automation or multimedia network. The invention facilitates adding a device to the network that can communicate using various protocols such as LonWorks, CEBus, X-10, etc. over media such as AC power line, IR, RF, twisted pair, optical fiber, etc. The method is a mechanism for adding a device to a system that can be used by an ordinary user of network capable electrical devices. The method comprises the steps an installer would perform including the handshaking that needs to occur between devices to accomplish the binding process. A Functional Profile for LonWorks networks is given as an example. This includes a Home Device profile that employs an automated explicit type messaging for all devices intended for use in a home environment. The invention includes adding to the device an install button and a visual indicator for status such as an LED. Alternatively, existing buttons and LEDs on the device may be used for installed and binding purposes. Other methods of binding can be employed by the use of wired or wireless handheld tools, remote controls, etc. Other interfaces and user feedback can be used such as touch screen, personal computers, cellular phones, PDAs, etc which can offer simple `virtual` binding by the press of an icon versus the physical button on the device. The binding can be performed locally or remotely such as via LAN, WAN, Internet, etc. Ok, maybe these are not how I interpreted them, but, in my defence, I really only scanned a few and did not look too hard. But I am sure that these would not hold up if they mean what I think they mean...

apotheon
apotheon

Interesting. How do you get from the numbers at [url=http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=5]this page[/url] to the claim that Linux-based OSes capture less than 1% of the market and have dropped by 2% since a year ago? That page doesn't even list Linux as a discrete OS family -- it lists "other", which presumably includes Linux (and AIX, and a few others), which in total are currently showing more than 3%. Furthermore, that only shows commercial OS license sales -- which is always inflated for MS Windows and deflated for open source OSes, since many people buy computers with MS Windows on them just to wipe the drive and install something open source on the machine (more, in fact, than the number of licenses sold for open source OSes -- a lot more). Not only that, but I see some interesting trends on that page. For instance, if you combine the market share totals for XP, 2k, and Vista, while Vista has increased constantly since it was introduced to the business market (pretty much unavoidable for a few months, since any number of users is an increase over zero), the XP and 2k numbers have dropped faster. In other words, that page shows that the total market share has been dropping since Vista was introduced despite the increases in Vista usage. That means that the drops for XP and 2k are not just due to Vista migration, but also due to migration to MacOS X and other OSes (like Linux distros and other open source OSes). Another point: While the total number of "Other" OSes has dropped during the same period since the business market introduction of Vista, it has dropped significantly less quickly than the total of MS Windows XP and 2k usage. Notable is the fact that MacOS, both before and after the switch to Intel, was the only OS that showed market share increases across the board on that chart -- though, again, the "Other" metric mostly likely includes a lot of upward trending OSes as well as downward trending OSes. Here's the trend since the business market introduction of MS Windows Vista for each, for the eight months since last August. WinXP: -1.53% Win2k: -2.12% [b]subtotal:[/b] -3.65% Vista: +3.02% [b]total:[/b] -0.63% MacOS: +0.18% (pre-Intel arch) MacOS: +2.70% (Intel arch) [b]total:[/b] +2.88% Other: -1.26% Now . . . keep in mind that, while every single MS Windows license passed out is counted toward the MS Windows totals, including thousands of them on consignment to OEMs but not actually sold to end users and business IT departments, the vast majority of open source OSes in use by both business and home users are unaccounted for because nobody ever paid for a license in most cases. I've worked for two companies (a defense contractor and the Wikimedia Foundation) who both had networks dominated by open source OSes -- and by dominated, I mean 90% or so of the systems ran open source OSes. In the case of the Wikimedia Foundation, only the office machines weren't running Linux or FreeBSD, and they were Macs. In the case of the defense contractor, all the Linux-based laptops and workstations, and most of the servers, started with MS Windows on them but got Linux installed after arrival. That's not out of the ordinary. Such circumstances are pretty friggin' common for companies that run a lot of systems with non-Microsoft OSes.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]1) Open-source violates 235 Microsoft patents, fact[/i] How do you [b]know[/b] that this [u]claim[/u] is "fact"? My guess is that you don't. [i]2) Yes, a company who owns more than 90% of the OS market must be terribly afraid of an OS that represents not even 1% of it and declined more than 2% since 1 year ago (http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=5).[/i] But, the [u]potential[/u] of this operating system kernel has you concerned enough to post, attempting to discredit it, hasn't it? :^0

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Fact ? If I said you were a complete idiot would that be a fact or an assertion ? How are they being robbed ? Is your next fact that if the patents MS assert are being violated weren't, then all those open source users would pay for windows ? If these violations are so obvious, you'll be able to name one won't you ? Patents are indeed a 'consequence' of law, what that has to do with this discussion, eludes me. By that argument, clothes are a consequence of law as well, so we can avoid being prosecuted for public lewdness. Don't forget it's US Law as well, it'll be a cold day in hell before, say Europe recognises them. China and Russia .... Did you look at where those figures came from? I did, you could have saved yourself a lot of embarrassment. That's up there with the claim that you are less likely to have a car crash if you wear odd socks !

DanLM
DanLM

example. The grep( Grep is listed in the Manual for Version 4 Unix which is dated November, 1973) command was just showcased on tech republic for windows server. grep is a unix command. Microsoft is making money on windows server, 2003. Thus, in my eyes. They have violated the license(GNU) agreement. Also, you can pipe( Pipes had been created by the time the Version 3 Unix Manual appeared in February 1973) data via commands in DOS. That was done first in Unix. That is a Unix idea, not a MicroSoft idea. Did they pay for it? No. Are they selling their software with that being documented in the sale. Yes. Again are they breaking the GNU license. In my eyes, yes. Wonder how many others they have stolen or license agreements are being abused by MicroSoft. http://news.com.com/Microsoft+makes+Unix+changes/2100-1016_3-5845790.html If they want to take this to the mat, they have to be ready to accept that they will also be accused and taken to court over every thing anyone can thing of with regard to both patent and license agreements. GNU is Open source's license. This is what they just might very well shove up MicroSofts behind for their blatent abuse of that agreement. What I want out of this is a fair, unbiased, and fully documented review of both open source and MicroSoft. I want to see what microsoft is NOT telling us about their code with regard to who created it. And the same goes for Open Source. My oppinion, the only thing Microsoft comes out ahead will be the number of violations it is found to be doing. Or what, don't you think Microsoft should have the same type of review done against it's suposid idea's? Dan

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

"It is the US politicians, carefully courted by special interest groups" Give me a break. You act as though this only happens in the US. Let's fix this quote. It is the (insert country of choice) politicians, carefully courted by special interest groups. There, that's much better.

GhostBrowser
GhostBrowser

1. Deed securing to person exclusive right to invention -a Just from the dictionary The deed to a/an invention

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

1) You're assuming the claims are fraudulent and if they aren't then they don't waste the US judicial system's time 2) If MS did improve explorer.exe, the Linux crowd would just call it bloat :) ha, ha, ha

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

I'd say that MS is pissing enough people off that more people will get involved in open source, not less. And to address developers at for profit companies, these legal fees are a drop in the bucket. They are used to fending off lawsuits all the time...usually from customers and government though. It's just a cost of doing business and they do plan ahead for it.

shardeth-15902278
shardeth-15902278

Here's a (taken to the extreme)look at the future... The US, because of excessive litigation and patent abuse will become an undesirable location for innovative companies. They will move to China, India, Africa, etc... Those countries will see an influx of wealth, and a reduction in class disparity, as the US's gap between rich and poor widens. The brightest minds in the US will ultimately move elsewhere, and The US will become a 3rd world country, desperately trying to find a global market for Lawyers and Politicians...

Scott
Scott

The only thing I hate worse than illegal activity is frivolous law suits. If a substantial number of the claims prove to be false, I hope someone (I don't know who) holds MS's feet to the fire for it. Tying up our court systems with false allegations and strangling competition by diverting their dollars into defending legal issues is contemptable behavior (if that is what is going on here).

apotheon
apotheon

Between Microsoft's patent threats and Attorney General Gonzales' proposed "attempted copyright infringement" crap, it's looking more and more like the US just doesn't want a viable domestic software industry at all. At this rate, it'll basically be illegal to write software unless you're working for a Fortune 50 corporation in under ten years. (edit: forgot a word)

GhostBrowser
GhostBrowser

They are very good story?s that may be better copyrighted Fiction or non-fiction may be the problem As an argument can be made that software cannot be an invention Because it cannot be proven to exist Therefore is a work of fiction Which copyright law can only cover or protect Bit sad that I forgot about that one when talking to rickk

GhostBrowser
GhostBrowser

Realize what you are arguing about Consider the source Steve Ballmer Can anything this guy says be taken seriously? It?s just a very funny joke? Maybe not to Microsoft?s share holders Development development development development Lets all dance Side splitting

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

this should reduce my insurance bill too, right? :^0 love it!

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]GNU is Open source's license. This is what they just might very well shove up Microsoft's behind for their blatant abuse of that agreement.[/i] "GNU is not Unix" is a hilarious, recursive acronym. "GPL" is the General Public License. [edit: blatent spelling error ;)]

DanLM
DanLM

And just paid for what they didn't have the inteligence to invent themselves. http://news.com.com/2100-1016-1007528.html Still willing to bet they are found with more abuse's when the chit hits the fan and the open source community questions all of microsoft's suposid idea's. dan

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

at the mentalty of most linux users I know (including myself) I would have to agree with you again. MS's actions are adding to the open source pool of talent and use as more and more people become frustrated.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

What are the signs usually associated with the collapse of any great society? But I am pretty sure that the alienation of talent, skill, and creativity is high on that list. Guess I will be rereading Collapse.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Is that all you have? Really, you can do better than that!

DanLM
DanLM

And I'm not sure how much to the extreme that really is. Think about it. It costs so much more and takes so much longer to stay ahead in the IT area that they become less competitive. If you can't stay aggressively competitive, whats the point of staying where you are at? This wouldn't chase people away just from open source. MS would have the same issue. MS pissed everyone and their brother off, so they become embroiled in on going legal battles in everything they try to developer or have developed. You have paid MS for their product, but because of legality questions as to IP. It is now possible that you have to pay someone else too. Who can keep up with who is suing who? Like I said, it becomes a blood bath. And the business community loses. Dan

Absolutely
Absolutely

I just don't believe software is patentable, as the constituent parts (the abstraction layer directly below, all the way to the machine code) are public domain, and the algorithms (program structures, mathematics & logic) are public domain (as well as 'common knowledge' among mathematicians, scientists, many fields of engineers & philosophers). Unless an application contains a programmatic example of a brand new math theorem, I would reject the claim for a "patent". Hopefully, this is similar to the reasoning used by the rest of the world, and our lawyers will catch up soon.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

There you go. Scare tactics work best don't they?

plinehan
plinehan

Note that Software Patents do not hold in most of the world - inspite of US and WTO efforts. So Microsoft is in effect killing the US software industry with this sabre rattling

GhostBrowser
GhostBrowser

Maybe loss of memory due to old age or stress or the fact That I was cracking up Ha Ha More comedy The cheering of the audience Wonder if he knows how many were cheering for his routine Also some of the best comedy I have seen was the start of this discussion It was based on what the comic genius had said HA HA and HA Did you pickup what I was trying to do with rickk Hopefully it will show some of the trolls out there That the old saying There?s always someone better at it than you Still applies Of course some people are also lucky and have warped sense of humour OMG Heres one A discussion with only trolls arguing about something unimportant And everybody else cracking up so much that they can?t even type let alone spell Very funny I hope I didn?t upset anybody too much There was always a chance I would Don?t care how upset the trolls got

Absolutely
Absolutely

But on the important fact, you're Absolutely Correct: "Side splitting" Funniest thing I've seen since the first time I watched Monty Python. Hilarious beyond description.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

missed that opportunity to help us reduce the bill isn't it? :D

Absolutely
Absolutely

"I've been trying to research everything where I disagree when I should be looking up everything that I am unsure of. Oh well, lesson learned." If everybody did that ... No, too mind-boggling. Great habit, I think I'll adopt it myself! That isn't patented, is it? :^0

DanLM
DanLM

I just took it for granted that I was wrong, and didn't even look it up. I've been trying to research everything where I disagree when I should be looking up everything that I am unsure of. Oh well, lesson learned. Dan

DanLM
DanLM

The GNU is the license that I am used to. But, then again. Isn't it, Microsoft says Open Source is abusing their patents. Sorry for the slip. Dan

DanLM
DanLM

yes or no They bought that technology because they didn't have it, and there was no other way they were going to get something as widely accepted. Yes or no. It took them almost 20 years to figure that out, now didn't it. Yes or No. Is their current Vista security organization based on Unix/Linux security organization. Ie, user accounts that do not have administer rights. Now there's an idea, now isn't it. Yes or no No matter how much they were taken to task over their security on their OS, it took them almost 40 years to go back to the original security idea of Unix. Again, not theirs. Lets see your answers Rick. Who is stealing who's ideas here. Who is going back to the basic's here, that someone else developed here Rick. Dan

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

or do you base an intelligence test on what OS someone worships?

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

How you insult MS's intelligence yet probably 90% of the people working their far exceed your skills, abilities and intelligence.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

No empire collapses over night. Rome took centuries, as did Egypt. America has a few hundred or more years left in her. But, as a prediction, I think it is safe to say, given a large enough amount of time (say a million years), America will eventualy be gone. But thats just the "nothing but death and taxes" argument, so not very interesting. Mostly I am interested in seeing if the signs of civilization collapse can be applied to corporate bodies, my guess is that they can, and will as a curate as for any other society.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Actually predicting the collapse of the US? Non-sense.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

especially in govt. But I am sure that is not the only common thread. I think that your list cover quite a bit as well.

shardeth-15902278
shardeth-15902278

That's my list of prime suspects anyway. I am an (extrmeely) amateur historian, but It seems that civilzations get in trouble when they become too absorbed in self-indulgence, and freedom from responsiblity (as opposed to freedom OF resopnsibilty).

shardeth-15902278
shardeth-15902278

I don't expect I'll be making millions in Hollywood anytime soon. ;) However, it is not necessarily an unrealistic scenario either. Plenty of Civilizations have come and gone. No reason the same can't happen to ours. It really depends on us.

apotheon
apotheon

You seem to think that any time someone describes an obvious, at least somewhat probable outcome of current behavior, that constitutes "doom and gloom" without value. I, for one, like to be prepared for the future, rather than blindly and unmitigatedly optimistic.

ron.dondelinger
ron.dondelinger

There are two ideals that need to be debated and passed into law by Congress: 1. Tort reform 2. Federal income tax reform Tort reform must be enacted to do away with frivilous lawsuits, which needlessly drive up costs and stifle innovation. Tax reform must be enacted to simplify the tax code, which has morphed into a freakin' omnibus bill of earmarks for special interests, the interpretation of which even stumps the tax-form preparation professionals. The current tax code should be scrapped. Starting over from scratch, the new tax code should be simple, clear and transparent to the average citizen. It must also require little effort with which to comply -- which in turn would spell the obsolescence and demise of the IRS.

Absolutely
Absolutely

However "novel" or "non-obvious" a combination of "look and feel" might be, that look and feel would amount to a trademark, not a patentable "invention". What does your look and feel do? It looks pretty, and it reminds people of our brand. Not an "invention".

apotheon
apotheon

All this "look and feel" nonsense is just an attempt to extend the argument behind trademark law (which is a good argument) into patent law (which is a bad place for that argument).

Absolutely
Absolutely

To hlhowell's point, which I also see, the counterargument I would present, if I were a Microsoft litigator, is that all cars have steering wheels, seats, doors, etc., but all cars may not copy the "look and feel" of the Corvette. I have no comment on how well this analogy applies to the software issue under discussion; it is a matter of the legal protections of patents for "form", and relies on (subjective, IMO) interpretations of aesthetic appeal, a topic on which I consider myself unqualified to opine. Raise your hand if you just suffered coronary arrest because a topic exists on which I consider myself unqualified to opine! :^0 [edits: function & form]

hlhowell
hlhowell

When you get in a car, you expect a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator, key slot, windshield, windshield wipers, speedometer, idiot lights, and have some reasonable expectation of where to find them, don't you? That is called standardization. without standards, everytime you use something it would be a learning experience. Standards though often utilize patents. Those patents are licensed, and if the public good is great enough, they are somtimes released from the burden of licensing. Also patent rights expire. The former term was for 7 years, then the patent material becomes public domain. That is to increase the greater public good by both permitting the originator to benefit from his invention, and at the same time, grow the greater public knowledge. This is a fallacious argument by many counts. Appearance is copyrightable, not patentable. Software should and is copyrightable. It should have never been patentable, and this course may yet be reversed in the near future. Also think about this... if Microsoft does sue, and in the processing of that suit, their software is revealed to contain any code covered by the GPL, they will have to open all of it, as well as freely distribute it. This is the big hammer that is hanging out there in space for Microsoft. Their OS is tens of milliions of lines of code. What are the odds that some piece of it infringes the GPL? Microsoft does not want to open themselves up to that. Regards, Les H

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

However, software is patentable in other ways. All your points I do agree with. But the sum of the parts is sometimes greater than the parts themselves. I do not believe companies should be allowed to go around and copy the same look and feel of software nor do I believe companies should be allowed to make anything similar enough to confuse the consumer.

apotheon
apotheon

It wasn't so obvious because that's such an absurd twisting of facts to suit some unbelievable agenda of yours in discrediting everyone that disagrees with you that it's unrealistic to expect anyone to have figured out what you meant.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Let me explain this in a way you'll understand. Four words: Look in a Mirror! You are constantly accusing MS of FUD, yet you also constantly predict doom and gloom if MS takes over the universe. Your predictions of doom and gloom are FUD. What's right for the goose is right for the gander? Amazing how you can accuse various people and companies of various "evil" things, yet you, open source, Linux, etc does know evil. Maybe ya'll work for Google? Do no evil, right? Which, BTW, off the subject, Google is about as evil as MS in most people's opinions.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

is more effective then the pain its self. Pain can be tolerated, managed, understood. The threat of pain builds and changes as we anticipate and fear, and so is more difficult to control. MS, and really any major company today, should be familiar with these words, poor paraphrase that they are.

apotheon
apotheon

What's your point, exactly?

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