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Red Hat Fights Patent Troll With GPL

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the mightier-than-the-sword dept.

Linux Business 98

jfruh writes "Red Hat is in the middle of a patent lawsuit with Twin Peaks Software, which claims that a Red Hat subsidiary is abusing a Twin Peaks filesystem lawsuit. Now, Red Hat is launching an intriguing countermeasure: the company claims that Twin Peaks' own closed source software violates the GPL because it makes use of an open source disk utility that Red Hat holds the copyright on. Is this a smart move on Red Hat's part?"

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s/filesystem lawsuit/filesystem patent/ (5, Informative)

awkScooby (741257) | about 2 years ago | (#41338517)

It's a patent RedHat is accused of "abusing".

Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (4, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#41338609)

Doesn't seem to be a Patent Troll if the company has a product. Trolls are generally Non Practicing Entities. Are we going to start calling Apple, Google, and Microsoft patent trolls now?

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (5, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41338635)

Sure.

A troll is a parasite extracting payment for something that isn't really his.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (5, Informative)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#41338801)

No, Troll is not a generic name for an evil company. A Troll is a company whose primary source of income is patent lawsuits. This company doesn't fit that discription. It has another source of income that can be sued. You can't fight a patent Troll with GPL because a patent Troll doesn't have a product that uses GPL. A true patent Troll is just a P.O. Box and a lawyer.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (-1, Troll)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41338927)

Your personal definition of the word "troll", which only you accept, is irrelevant to this discussion.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339053)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll

"Patent troll is a pejorative term used for a person or company who enforces patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered aggressive or opportunistic with no intention to manufacture or market the patented invention.[1]"

1 Alexander Poltorak. "On 'Patent Trolls' and Injunctive Relief"., ipfrontline.com, May 12, 2006

------

Sorry, you were saying something?

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339439)

Haha, Wikipedia.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41340851)

Phil Ken Sebben reads Slashdot?

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41340923)

Haha, retard.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41338939)

> No, Troll is not a generic name for an evil company.

No. Troll is a metaphor. That part you conveniently ignored in your rush to defend your favorite corporation.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#41340649)

Yes it is a metaphor. The troll under the bridge. A threat that is unseen that only exists to attack. My favorite corporation is... Google, McDonnalds, or Sony depending on how I measure it.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#41343051)

Yes it is a metaphor. The troll under the bridge.

Actually no. Troll as used in internet slang is a bastardisation of the word trawl, which means a large industrial scale net dragged along the sea bottom by a fishing vessel.

On a forum like slashdot, a troll is a user who is fishing for predictable responses by other users. This is analogous to trawling because the troll is targeting everybody, usually with a controversial top level comment, and people get caught up in the resulting flamefest. Also like trawling, it damages the environment and leaves behind a population vacuum of sorts, ie readers who are still willing to have an intelligent discussion are rare.

The true meaning of patent trolling is derived from the above. It means a company or individual who is casting a wide net of legal attacks, essentially on the whole world, with the aim of intimidating as many small fish as possible into paying patent extortion money. Like the other forms of trolling above, it leaves a vacuum behind, where those who would otherwise have developed an idea won't or can't do so anymore.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41343453)

Trolling and trawling are different flavors of fishing. So "troll" may be a bastardisation of "trawl", but the internet borrowing is post-bastardisation. Thus your second paragraph is mostly wrong.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (1)

r1348 (2567295) | about 2 years ago | (#41339087)

Are you claiming that SCO wasn't a patent troll?

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (5, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | about 2 years ago | (#41339169)

SCO wasn't a patent troll by any reasonable definition of the term. This is not because they had a product for sale, but because they didn't sue over patents.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#41343159)

I believe that at one point, SCO claimed they were going to sue over patents, but then, somehow, never got around to revealing which patents...

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41344011)

I think you might have confused Microsoft with SCO. I think they (SCO) even acknowledged MS patents that linux violated but didn't elaborate in an attempt to steer business their way. (Or nam I thinking of Novell?)

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 2 years ago | (#41343873)

I dont think thats a very useful definition. There are many lawfirms that merely act on the request of clients, and largely this is an honorable thing, even if the clients are scumbags (And as has been said, in a just society, even scumbags deserve a lawyer). I dont think such law firms are "trolls", but their primary source of income is patent legal shenanigans.

I'd suggest a better definition.
1) Does the IP originate with the litigant?
if it doesnt
2) Is it being used abusively.

If 1 and 2 is true, then its a troll. An example of this might be the MPEG-LA. It fits your description too. It puts call outs trying to get its hands on as many patents over video compression as possible, then proceeds to sue or extort rent from everybody. Another example of an IP-Troll in my definition (although not a patent troll) would be Caldera/SCO. It asserted copyrights and licences over stuff it did not originate and attempted to sue everyone. But it did have a product, SCO Unix. Its just that it used acquired IP abusively, so its a troll.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (2)

kumanopuusan (698669) | about 2 years ago | (#41347583)

in a just society, even scumbags deserve a lawyer

I'm certain that you meant

in a just society, not even scumbags deserve a lawyer

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (4, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 2 years ago | (#41338915)

Traditionally speaking, a patent troll was an NPE. I HATE rephrasings of meanings, which lead to the exact same 100 comment threads about the following issues:

1) Open Source vs. open source
2) Free vs. free vs. libre vs. beer vs. freedom
3) Stealing vs. Copyright infringement
4) Patent Troll vs. patent troll

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | about 2 years ago | (#41344065)

Some are homonymous, others are not. If you don't differentiate you will not be talking about reality.

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (4, Insightful)

bwcbwc (601780) | about 2 years ago | (#41338727)

In selected cases where the patent is obvious or duplicated by prior art, yes a lawsuit is still trolling even if you actually make use of the invention..

Re:Not a NPE, Is it a Troll? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338917)

Are we going to start calling Apple, Google, and Microsoft patent trolls now?

You must be new here.

Well, except for Google - on Slashdot, Google can do no wrong...

Free publicity! (1)

jest3r (458429) | about 2 years ago | (#41338611)

RedHat must have known about this before they acquired Gluster ...

It seems like patent lawsuits are a good marketing strategy these days to get press. Any press is good press I guess.

Re:Free publicity! (4, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41338733)

Not necessarily. It is likely that Twin Peaks kept it under their hat until Red Hat's deeper pockets were firmly committed.

Re:Free publicity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338841)

Agreed, and the same thing happened with the Hibernate nuisance lawsuit right after Red Hat acquired JBoss.

Doesn't matter (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338615)

This is brilliant! Just accuse them of a GPL violation and they'll be forced to prove their source code is different by revealing it.

It's a wonder nobody has done this before.

Re:Doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

gomiam (587421) | about 2 years ago | (#41338833)

I guess the judge would usually consent, in that case, to reveal the code to experts under condition of secrecy. That way, the experts would be able to check whether the copyright allegations have any base and the code, should it not be infringing, would still stay closed.

Even if the code was considered infringing, it would only need to be revealed to those customers that asked for it before three years (since the ruling in this case?) have passed. Unless one of those customer asks for it and decides to publish it, the code would still be unavailable.

Re:Doesn't matter (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#41339303)

Correct. This is what was done in the SCO v IBM case. SCO asked the court to force IBM to turn over all the source to AIX. IBM agreed, but only on the condition that neither SCO nor SCO's counsel had access to it.

Re:Doesn't matter (3, Interesting)

draconx (1643235) | about 2 years ago | (#41340367)

Even if the code was considered infringing, it would only need to be
revealed to those customers that asked for it before three years (since the
ruling in this case?) have passed.

IANAL, but I don't understand where this comes from. TFA says that code
in question is licensed under the GPL, version 2. According to section 3
of the license, distributing binaries requires you to do either:

    (a) "Accompany [the binary] with the ... source code ...."
or
    (b) "Accompany [the binary] with a written offer, valid for at least three
            years, to give *any third party*, for a charge no more than your cost
            of physically performing source distribution ... the corresponding
            source code ..." [emphasis mine]

(there is an option (c), but it is unlikely to apply in this case).

Note that if you choose option (b), then you must distribute source to anyone
who asks. Moreover, Red Hat alleges that Twin Peaks Software has done neither
of these things. If Red Hat is correct, then Twin Peaks Software has no
right to distribute any binaries at all, until they have their license
reinstated by Red Hat.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#41343727)

(b) "Accompany [the binary] with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give *any third party*, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution ... the corresponding source code ..."

Sounds like the best way to get out of source code distribution is only distribute it on hand carved stone tablets with the source engraved and charge the cost of physically performing source distribution. I'm surprised that MS hasn't tried that yet they could have there own linux distibution an no one would bed able to afford the free source code.

Actually, the GPL writers thought of this. (3, Informative)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 2 years ago | (#41344249)

Both A and B include the clause "on a medium customarily used for software interchange".

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

gomiam (587421) | about 2 years ago | (#41348057)

...to give *any third party*...

I cannot understand how I have missed that text after reading the GPL many times over the years .

Re:Doesn't matter (3, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 years ago | (#41340939)

This is brilliant! Just accuse them of a GPL violation and they'll be forced to prove their source code is different by revealing it.

Nobody can force you to release any source code, GPL or not. However, copying source code against GPL rules when the GPL license is the only thing that gives you permission, is plain old copyright infringement. And since this company just badly upset the copyright holder, they will have to pay for this.

Prior Art? (3, Interesting)

conspirator23 (207097) | about 2 years ago | (#41338625)

If the Twin Peaks patent is on GPL-violating code, then that would seem to me (IANAL) to be a clear and direct example of prior art. You'd have a case of an entity stealing work, then patenting it, and then attacking the people they stole from. That could be an incredibly embarassing thing for Twin Peaks. OTOH, if the GPL infringement is on unrelated code, then I would imagine that there could be seperate verdicts that each could be found guilty on. The question there would be: Are the damages comparable enough to force a settlement?

Re:Prior Art? (2)

bwcbwc (601780) | about 2 years ago | (#41338747)

In the first case: Not just prior art. Unclean hands and a few other "technicalities" come to mind. (IANAL)

In the second case: offense can be defense. One way to force someone to the settlement table on the original suit is with counterclaims.

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339957)

(IANAL)

This is the most informative part of your post.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 2 years ago | (#41338919)

Next time, it might be nice to RTFA before commenting. It makes you look woefully uninformed...

Re:Prior Art? (3, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41338925)

The GPL code in question is only to make the filesystem available to the operating system and is part of the code that constitutes the patented filesystem in question. It is basically mount instructions to put it as simply as possible. Twin Peaks could rewrite their own implementation of this avoiding the GPL problems if they have the expertise to do so.

The real significance here might be that because the two are related but not the same, an award for one could be equal to an award for the other meaning either company is out only the amount of lawyer fees in the end. This less then zero sum gain potential could very well be the cornerstone to working some sort of deal out. This could work out to some agreement where in exchange for open sourcing the file system, Red Hat agrees to pay a royalty from it's enterprise implementations of the filesystem and works with twin peaks to develop a revenue stream from the open source uses of the filesystems (support and development).

I can't find any gpl version on the mount.mfs program that is supposed to be embedded within the filesystem but if it is GPLv3, their defense to the copyright claim could hurt their patent claim in the process because of the patent provisions. Of course that could lead to the same old FUD claims of the GPL poisoning and stealing code and so on. With windows 8 comming about and renewed talk of linux on the desktop, I have been waiting on something like this to come along and shoot the linux troops in the foot.

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339537)

According to the article and the court documents the mount utilities use GPLv2.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

wkcole (644783) | about 2 years ago | (#41339029)

If the Twin Peaks patent is on GPL-violating code,

Thank you for playing, we have some nice parting gifts for you...

A patent is not "on" a specific piece of code, but rather on a method of doing something useful. Specific code is covered by copyright. GPL is a copyright license, not a patent license.

Re:Prior Art? (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#41339049)

The patent suit brought by Twin Peaks is on the Mirror Filesystem.

Twin Peaks provides an implementation of it that includes a mount utility.

Red Hat is saying portions of Twin Peaks' mount utility was copied from mount, which RH owns the copyright to.

Even if Red Hat wins their copyright claim, they could still lose on the patent infringement claim.

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339419)

Twin Peaks could comply with the GPL by just releasing the source for their mount.mfs. I would assume the critical parts (their magic sauce) is not the mount utility but some libraries or kernel modules. Then they just have to convince the court that the damage from their actions is much smaller than the damage by RH, which it probably true, and they are back in game.

Re:Prior Art? (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#41339907)

Then they just have to convince the court that the damage from their actions is much smaller than the damage by RH

This is a good point.. what are the damages to RH for a utility they give away for free?

Re:Prior Art? (2)

jbo5112 (154963) | about 2 years ago | (#41341509)

While RH does give the product away, it does so in such a way that it encourages others send them improvements, which then encourages people to buy their software and services. For being Linux, Red Hat products aren't cheap.

A second potential damage is that someone steals RH software, patents their own little version and sues the original author. If there is a copyright violation, Red Hat may claim that Twin Peaks was only able to develop the patent because of the money from stolen software, whether it was just potential future income or actual payments.

Red Hat has asked for a permanent injunction against software that violates a copyright. Unless Twin Peaks decides to comply with the GPL, which would render any covered patents useless against RH, I wouldn't think it matters that the software is free. If they do open their mount under the GPL, it appears that would affect most of the patent. I do not have time to make a lot of sense out of something so poorly written (nor have I looked at the internals of mount and file system software), but most of the claims mention mounting or physical media devices.

Re:Prior Art? (5, Informative)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 2 years ago | (#41341231)

No, the GPL doesn't work like this. Having violated the GPL on this code, Twin Peaks are no longer licensed. They cannot reacquire a license simply by coming back into compliance. They need to explicitly be relicensed by the copyright holder (Red Hat), who are not likely to do so in this case.

It has been the norm for the resolution of GPL violations that the violator comes back into compliance and then is relicensed, because Free Software organizations are generally more interested in cooperation than conflict, but there is no legal requirement for Red Hat to follow this norm.

You can read the GPL here:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html [gnu.org]
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html [gnu.org]

Re:Prior Art? (2)

DRJlaw (946416) | about 2 years ago | (#41342757)

No, the GPL doesn't work like this. Having violated the GPL on this code, Twin Peaks are no longer licensed. They cannot reacquire a license simply by coming back into compliance. They need to explicitly be relicensed by the copyright holder (Red Hat), who are not likely to do so in this case.

That is only under GPL v3. GPL v2 contains nothing which precludes becoming relicensed by coming into compliance and obtaining another 'downstream' license. Nor does the copyright holder have the right to terminate any license obtained by an entity that was formerly not in compliance. You'll notice that the procedure you describe is very explicit in the v3 license. The v2 mentions termination only twice, in section 4, and section 6 is quite clear that the recipient is automatically granted a license.

Licenses are to be construed strictly against the drafter, and so forth...

Re:Prior Art? (2)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 2 years ago | (#41344861)

OK, it looks like you're correct on that.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

eric_herm (1231134) | about 2 years ago | (#41341239)

Not sure if GPL v2 code can be linked to a proprietary module, so they would still violate the license, or be forced to say "the library is also free software" ( or use a ditry trick of using a library serving as "gateway" under lgpl linked to proprietary code ).

Re:Prior Art? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 2 years ago | (#41342299)

Keep in mind that a Willfull violation of Copyright in the United States can result Massive Punitive Damages. Simply put, RH could recieve a judgement as great as the recent Apple/Samsung Case exceeding a Billion Dollars.Well Played RH.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#41342499)

You forgot "IANAL"... which you obviously aren't, because you don't know what you're talking about.

Notably, Congress made no provision in the Act for awards of punitive damages. "The language is clear, unambiguous, and exclusive: these are the alternatives available to a copyright plaintiff, and punitive damages are not provided by either of them." ... The Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals long ago stated explicitly that "[p]unitive damages are not available in statutory copyright actions."

http://corporate.findlaw.com/intellectual-property/are-punitive-damages-available-under-the-copyright-act.html [findlaw.com]

Re:Prior Art? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 years ago | (#41371191)

Even if Red Hat wins their copyright claim, they could still lose on the patent infringement claim.

Of course, but RH losing the patent suit has relatively little impact on them compared to TP losing the counter-suit. The obvious course of action is for TP to drop their suit in exchange for RH dropping their counter-suit and the two can kiss and make up.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#41371705)

glusterfs is used in red hat storage and other RH products. RH storage is exactly the same as glusterFS, and the entirety of glusterFS is what TP is claiming infringes their patent. RH earns actual revenue from it, and if found infringing, TP will have real damages, proven by the revenue of RH storage & other products.

mount is a free utility, included in TPs implementation of mirrorFS. It has no revenue, is not sold separately, or even a primary feature of mirrorFS. RH makes no revenue or profits from it.. damages would be $0 or maybe a small portion of TPs revenue from mirrorFS.

How in the world you twisted this into TP has more to lose than RH... I have no idea.

Looks like RH grasped to the only straw they could find.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 years ago | (#41371735)

Because there's obviously more to lawsuits than damages. If you'd read the article you'd see RH's case is for copyright infringement and they are requesting a permanent injunction...if that happens then a good 1/2 of TP's products will be off the market, even a temporary injunction would cause serious harm.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#41371789)

it's mount. It's not a revolutionary app. They'll rewrite it in a day.. before the ink on the injunction is even dry.

sounds good to me (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#41338629)

Fight fire with fire.

But in the end, the lawyers win.

Is this a smart move on Red Hat's part? (0)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41338631)

It depends if they win or not.

Normally with these patent cases both sides own patents and what normally ends up is an agreement to share each other patents. the GNU Forbids Patents, so copyright is the next best thing, perhaps it is even bigger then the patent because it is even more blatant misuse.

Re: Is this a smart move on Red Hat's part? (1)

joaosantos (1519241) | about 2 years ago | (#41338769)

GPL doesn't forbid patents, only forbids you from enforcing them on GPL code you distribute.

Is every patent lawsuit a patent troll. (-1, Troll)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41338665)

I mean really? Every time there is a patent dispute it is a patent troll.
Ok fine you don't like patents, I can respect that opinion, but there are here and they were there to protect the inventors. This could be a legitimate dispute.
Oh wait I am sorry Red Hat is the Open Source company so by default they are the good guy and everyone else must be evil.

Re:Is every patent lawsuit a patent troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338753)

I know this is /., and all, but I think you failed to even read the summary. Red Hat is not suing someone with a patent claim, they are countersuing someone with a copywrite claim in response to a patent lawsuit against them.

Re:Is every patent lawsuit a patent troll. (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41338869)

Most software patent suits ARE trolls. Enough that it's a reasonable enough default opinion unless/until proven otherwise. The ones involving a non-practicing entity are the most obvious of them, but sometimes a practicing entity trolls as well.

Re:Is every patent lawsuit a patent troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339289)

When it comes to software patents? Yes.

Genius of the GPL revealed once again (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338671)

Laugh all you want, but RMS keeps getting proved right over and over about Free Software.

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338745)

Laugh all you want, but RMS keeps getting proved right over and over about Free Software.

Except for the part about people caring about whether their software is proprietary or open. Witness Android for instance. Nearly all Android users do not care about the Linux kernel being open.

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (4, Interesting)

Galestar (1473827) | about 2 years ago | (#41338845)

Nearly all Android users do not care about the Linux kernel being open.

Its not about the user caring, its about the handset manufacturers caring.

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338971)

Nearly all Android users do not care about the Linux kernel being open.

Its not about the user caring, its about the handset manufacturers caring.

Well they don't care either. Proprietary or open, Google would hand over source to handset manufacturers in either case if the manufacturer needed the code in order to get Android up and running on their device.

Its only a few hobbyists who care that Android is mostly open.

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339831)

Laugh all you want, but RMS keeps getting proved right over and over about Free Software.

Except for the part about people caring about whether their software is proprietary or open. Witness Android for instance. Nearly all Android users do not care about the Linux kernel being open.

This is an extremely short-sighted view of things.

Android is built on the Linux kernel precisely because it is open. That is, Google doesn't have to pay to develop it's own kernel from scratch and doesn't have pay per-copy royalties to anybody. On the consumer side, this means Android devices can be made cheaper than iOS or Windows Phone equivalents.

Now tell me, do nearly all Android users care about saving money on their phones and tablets?

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (1)

nzac (1822298) | about 2 years ago | (#41340015)

Except for the part about people caring about whether their software is proprietary or open.

That's the wrong question, the question should be:
Has the consumer benefited from having an open-source kernel and operating system being available?

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41342199)

Which is why Open Source misses the point of Free Software and again makes the case for properly giving credit to both sides.

When people don't understand that Android is Dalvik/Linux and not GNU/Linux, its understandable that they won't care about their freedom since they don't even know they should in the first place.

"If they don't recognise their freedoms, they'll let their freedoms fall. They'll let freedom slip through their fingers because they won't bother to close their hands if they dont know why" - Richard Stallman (WSIS Tunis 2005)

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 2 years ago | (#41344337)

"If they don't recognize their freedoms, they'll let their freedoms fall. They'll let freedom slip through their fingers because they won't bother to close their hands if they don't know why" - Richard Stallman (WSIS Tunis 2005)

Getting a 'we know better than you' vibe form this, so call me skeptical.

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338777)

Laugh all you want, but RMS keeps getting proved right over and over about Free Software.

A broken clock is correct twice a day. Make enough predictions and a few may resemble future events. Be vague and cherry pick appropriately and you too can "seem" like a prophet.

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about 2 years ago | (#41341777)

Ok, so which of his predictions has gone wrong then?

Re:Genius of the GPL revealed once again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41344543)

How was he proved correct?

Clause 8? (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | about 2 years ago | (#41338695)

Are they intending to use clause 8 to then say that they are in violation? I read the IT World article but didn't really gether how they were intending to use the GPL to fight back other than just saying "you distribute a work based on the GPL and aren't in compliance." In which case (if indeed true) all they would have to do to settle that matter would be to release their source.

8. If the [gnu.org] distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the original copyright holder who places the Program under this License may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding those countries, so that distribution is permitted only in or among countries not thus excluded. In such case, this License incorporates the limitation as if written in the body of this License.

Re:Clause 8? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338843)

Clause 4 seems better:

4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.

They simply remove the licence to the mount utility rendering the current software unusable for a long time.

Re:Clause 8? (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41339477)

It's a little more sticky for Twin Peaks than that. The geographic limitation would prevent them from distributing their software under GPL anywhere where they assert a patent right. So to comply they would have to grant a royalty free license to all (including Red Hat) OR just never sell the product again.

They would at least have to review their codebase and carefully purge all signs of GPL code to get back in business, but would still have to settle the past infringement.

Typically in GPL violations, the infringer is given the opportunity to cure the infringement without going to court, but then there isn't usually a patent suit in play.

May infringe (3, Insightful)

Mordocai (1353301) | about 2 years ago | (#41338895)

Doing some VERY basic binary comparison between their mount.mfs binary and one of Redhat's mount binaries I would say there is nothing that says straight out one way or the other. There were definitely some differences (licensing crap all through twin peak's binary for instance, trying to catch if you run it and have no license) and some similarities, but it isn't enough for me personally to say for sure. I'd be going after looking at TwinPeak's source, but that's probably what they'll end up doing anyway.

Re:May infringe (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339125)

To get a clearer picture of exactly what the similarities are, we need to get a good look at the changelogs. Red Hat's logs will be in the open of course, easy to read. For Twin Peaks, we'll have to ask the Log Lady.

"Patent Troll" != "Patent Litigant" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338991)

Neither party in this lawsuit is a patent troll. RedHat couldn't go after Twin Peaks for a copyright violation if Twin Peaks didn't have products. In fact this is pretty much why patents held by product companies aren't as much of a threat to the economy as patents held by trolls. When a product company uses a patent offensively it always risks blowback. In this case it looks like Twin Peaks is did something pretty dumb in suing a company whose copyrights they had previously violated and had so far gotten away with. The people responsible for the suit probably didn't know about the copyright violation, but they before they sued I'm sure they wondered if they might have some skeletons in their closet that discovery might reveal. Product companies usually don't sue, they cross-license, with a payment going to the company with a better portfolio. The Apple harakiri is an exception not the rule.

Anyway, they just need to stop distributing those products for a few weeks while they write their own mount utility and either pay statutory damages to RedHat for past violations and keep the patent lawsuit going, or negotiate with RedHat for cross-licensing with a smaller payment to RedHat. The GPL license on the code doesn't really matter at all and this story isn't really worth a headline on slashdot.

we need a simple law that says (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339063)

if you do not use or license your patents within the first year of aquiring a patent then the patent is no longer valid. PERIOD! Having worked in the patent office and see all the patent holding companies that just sit on patents to sue people, it is time we ended this. Call it the use it or lose it law.

Re:we need a simple law that says (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339243)

That is wrong on so many ways.

- most of the time it takes years before the usefullness of an invention is appreciated
- software being an exception but mosts inventions take more than one year to copy and bring to market
- You can't license if nobody comes and wants to license your patent.
- interested companies would just have to collude and hold still for one year to invalidate patents from small scale inventors who can't bring it to market alone

Re:we need a simple law that says (1)

jmv (93421) | about 2 years ago | (#41339295)

Create dummy company, license entire patent portfolio for $1, law worked around. These issues are not *that* simple.

Re:we need a simple law that says (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41339301)

Which only benefits the megacorps.

Twin Peaks uses it's patent (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#41340253)

How does that help anyone in this case. Twin Peaks uses their patent. Here's a link to the product on their website:
http://twinpeaksoft.com/clustering%20plus.html [twinpeaksoft.com]

Red Hat just wants to call them a patent troll to try to turn public opinion against them.

THIS is why the GPL is fucking *EVIL*. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339263)

So now Red Hat can STEAL the intellectual property of other companies just by using the GPL against them? What a fucking joke. Richard Stallman is a fucking communist, and anyone who uses the GPL supports communism.

Re:THIS is why the GPL is fucking *EVIL*. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41341583)

It is not Red Hat that is stealing. It is Twin Peaks.

Re:THIS is why the GPL is fucking *EVIL*. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41343311)

who taught this AC how to read and type but not how to understand?

Hype (1)

Conficio (832978) | about 2 years ago | (#41339381)

IMHO, more sensation then fact
[quote]"if Red Hat were to be successful in establishing copyright infringement and obtaining a permanent injunction," the legal blog wrote.[/quote]
If the code in question is GPL 2 licensed, and Redhat holds the copyright, then RedHat has the right to pursue the Copyright infringement. However a permanent injunction can easily be avoided by coming in compliance with the GPL 2. And as the alleged code code is just the mount tool, that should be limited to GPL license of this piece of code.

And one wrong (violation of GPL) does not cure the other wrong (patent infringement), even if both allegations can be proven correct.

Re:Hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41341869)

(Assuming the accusations are true:) This is GPLv2, they can't come into compliance, they have lost the license. They can't distribute any of the code they copied ever again unless RedHat reinstantiates the license (in particular, they can't redisitribute any standard Linux distribution anymore).

The best defense... (1)

bakuun (976228) | about 2 years ago | (#41339469)

... is a good offense.

Twin Peaks? (1)

boojumbadger (949542) | about 2 years ago | (#41339993)

Don't tell me who did it, I want to figure out who killed Laura Palmer all on my own!

Spoiler Alert (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 2 years ago | (#41340727)

The Twin Peaks filesystem was an undesirable competitor to ResierFS.

Vero old advice still holds (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41340495)

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Re:Vero old advice still holds (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about 2 years ago | (#41341343)

You know what happened to the guy that said that, don't you?

good software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41344435)

How can we take "Twin Peaks Software" seriously if they cannot even use spell check on their front page...

http://www.twinpeaksoft.com/

"If you are responsible for enterprise severs that many users depend on, what do you do if they demand immediate access to their files when the server is down, whether it be for service or another reason?"

s/severs/servers/ ... (in case they remove/fix it: http://capturefullpage.com/default.aspx?url=f906aa1e-0848-4c44-b544-299c10c1d9ee.jpg )

Your Are ANAL (1)

equex (747231) | about 2 years ago | (#41344903)

Could everyone just stop saying IANAL, we know that already.
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