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Microsoft Offers to License the Internet

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the low-low-price-of-$29.95 dept.

Microsoft 463

NW writes "According to an eWeek story Microsoft is beginning to assert IP rights over 130 protocols including many basic Internet protocols including TCP/IP, DNS, etc. The story originates with a mailing list post to the IETF's IPR list."

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

jezreel (261337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745788)

Finally.. you're all asleep, are you?

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745792)

It has been a slow day for commenting

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745837)

Can anyone else not see the number of comments after the "Read More..." link?

From the front page, it looks like every article is new and without comments.

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745894)

Yeah, you're right. But it's only like that with the last 2 stories. The other ones seem fine.

Like most other IP battles... (4, Interesting)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745791)

This one was probably started by a intern lawyer at MS who's trying to impress his boss with "Look what I can do!"

Re:Like most other IP battles... (5, Funny)

datGSguy (820433) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745812)

I for one welcome our new.... er... fuck no!

This is REALLY serious (1, Funny)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745815)



When MS offers something, beware !

When MS offers something FOR FREE , run !

And unfortunately, this time, most of us have no place to hide.

Microsoft's personality (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745926)

Microsoft's personality is that of an arrogant kid from a rich family who succeeds by sneakiness and causing trouble for the competition, rather than succeeding by actually contributing something good.

This is similar to: The Bush administration's personality is that of an arrogant kid from a rich family who succeeds by sneakiness and causing trouble for the competition, rather than succeeding by actually contributing something good.

FUD (5, Insightful)

anonymous cowherd (m (783253) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745876)

This FAQ [microsoft.com] entry referenced by TFA makes it pretty clear that MSFT is not claiming ownership of anything with this:

Published Protocols And Royalty-Free License FAQ Q. When I sign a royalty-free agreement for these protocols, what am I licensing? A. The list of protocols under this license includes protocols for which documentation has been published, and that Microsoft has implemented in Windows client operating systems to interoperate with Windows server operating systems (up to and including Windows Server 2003). However, just because a protocol appears on the list does not mean that Microsoft is the owner or sole owner of rights in that protocol or its documentation. What the royalty-free license does is ensure that a license is available from Microsoft under whatever rights it may have in the published documentation and/or protocols on the list.
MSFT is not, as TFA summary indicates, "licencing the internet," in any meaningful way. That would imply that MSFT owns or controls what it is licencing. Further, TFA itself states that "a significant number of protocols date from the early 1980's," so, "here is no reason to suspect that Microsoft has any patent rights to these early protocols (such as the TCP/IP v4 core protocols). Further, in the unlikely event that applicable patents may be discovered, they would have likely expired at this point."

This is clearly, yet again, a story that is more about MSFT bashing than about anything real.

When you sign, you give up legal control. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745933)

When you sign an agreement with Microsoft, you are giving legal control over your self and your company in ways that, in this case, cannot be understood completely in advance.

Re:FUD (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745934)

LMSFT is not, as TFA summary indicates, "licencing the internet," in any meaningful way. That would imply that MSFT owns or controls what it is licencing.

If they don't claim to own or control it, why are they licensing it?

One stop indemnification? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745950)

I for one will welcome the day we can read a story about how Slashdot editors have finally decided to read the text of the submissions, and at least scan the contents of the offered links.

Re:FUD (5, Informative)

davecb (6526) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745951)

Not just FUD, but also lock-in. Please see the warning at the Samba Development [samba.org] page: In order to avoid any potential licensing issues we also ask that anyone who has signed the Microsoft CIFS Royalty Free Agreement not submit patches to Samba, nor base patches on the referenced specification.

Anyone who voluntarily licenses, for example, eating fish, must then abide by the fish-eating license (:-))

--dave

Re:Like most other IP battles... (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745924)

Well my first impression, from reading the list that started with the "Appletalk" protocol was that someone has hacked MSDN and injected the page...

Re:Like most other IP battles... (3, Interesting)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745944)

I really don't see this as a problem. There is overwhelming evidence that MS had nothing to do with the development of TCP/IP. The worst they can do is claim a patent over it, and send a case to court. Hopefully something like this will result in a reform to the patent system, but I think that's being optimistic. Whatever happens, there's no way MS could win any case over this (even a poor guy/small business would win with the EFF or whatever taking the case)

Before the M$ Bashing Begins (5, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745793)

I think this follow-up to the post in the NG fits nicely:

Keep in mind that even though the core protocols haven't changed that

much, actual TCP/IP deployments have drastically changed since the
early 80s. Efficient packet forwarding algorithms (which are
necessary in Gigabit networks and beyond) are certainly subject to
patents today.

Re:Before the M$ Bashing Begins (4, Informative)

kasperd (592156) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745869)

If people would just stop talking about things they don't understand, things would get a lot more quiet. First of all almost everybody who use the term TCP/IP don't know what they are talking about. Because if they knew what they were talking about, they would use the right term, which is often one of the protocols IP, ICMP, UDP, or TCP.

Packet forwarding have nothing to do with TCP. It happens in the IP layer, the efficiency is obviously also to some extent affected by the lower layer protocols. But not the higher layers like TCP. But mostly efficiency of forwarding is an implementation issue, and not a property of the actual protocol.

To make things even worse a new term was invented to confuse people, and it is also called IP. Since this term covers a nonexisting concept it is in our best interrest not to use it. IP means Internet Protocol, any other use of that abreviation should be avoided. Unfortunately a lot people errornously use the term TCP/IP about the Internet Protocol.

Some confusion can be avoided by actually specifying the version number as well and say IPv4 or IPv6 rather than just IP. But for god's sake, make sure you use the right terms, or you will just cause even more confusion.

WTF? (1)

doc modulo (568776) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745881)

Title of parent-post:
Before the M$ Bashing Begins

WTF? you sound as if you approve of patents on algorithms/software.

By the way, even if they did patent algorithms used in TCP/IP, then they've only got the American and Japanese part of the internet. Not (yet) the European part.

Re:Before the M$ Bashing Begins (4, Insightful)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745892)

Keep in mind that even though the core protocols haven't changed that much, actual TCP/IP deployments have drastically changed since the early 80s. Efficient packet forwarding algorithms (which are necessary in Gigabit networks and beyond) are certainly subject to patents today.

As might efficient packet discarding algorithms, as per their listing the Discard Protocol [ietf.org] as one of the protocols you can license from them.

That strongly suggests to me, at least, that they just enumerated protocols Microsoft implements but didn't invent solely by themselves (or didn't invent at all), and threw them into the list, perhaps on the theory that it's better that other organizations and individuals spend time figuring out what stuff might be covered by patents owned by Microsoft than that they spend time figuring out what public protocols actually are covered, in part or in whole, by some Microsoft patent.

Re:Before the M$ Bashing Begins (1)

krymsin01 (700838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745922)

Pretty interesting theory. The only problem with it is that it makes them look like jackasses, but I suppose from their position it doesn't matter. At the end of the day Gates could still by a small country.

MS & TCP/IP (2, Interesting)

MarcoPon (689115) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745795)

What damn rights Microsoft thinks to have on TCP/IP, DNS?? They even admitted in the past, in a way or the other, to have waited a bit too much to jump on the internet band-wagon...

Bye!

Re:MS & TCP/IP (4, Informative)

Harassed (166366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745838)

I wish people would stop jumping to conclusions! The author of the original document states that there is no mention of specific patent numbers so we don't know that Microsoft think they have any rights to the core TCP/IP, DNS or any other protocols.

As one of the first followups states, however:

"Keep in mind that even though the core protocols haven't changed that
much, actual TCP/IP deployments have drastically changed since the
early 80s. Efficient packet forwarding algorithms (which are
necessary in Gigabit networks and beyond) are certainly subject to
patents today."

There is nothing to stop Microsoft (or IBM or anyone else for that matter) developing such algorithms and patenting them. Before you all go off on your anti-Microsoft tirades, please make sure you have all the facts and not just conjecture!

Re:MS & TCP/IP (2, Funny)

mr_snarf (807002) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745860)

Before you all go off on your anti-Microsoft tirades, please make sure you have all the facts and not just conjecture!
This is slashdot, thats blasphemy! Quick, everyone, lets string him up with some cat5!

Re:MS & TCP/IP (1)

Harassed (166366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745937)

Sorry :) What the heck was I thinking. Somehow I completely forgot this was /.

Can you let me down now?

Re:MS & TCP/IP (5, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745861)

I think the acronyms have been mixed up here. Perhaps Microsoft is referring to the following, lesser-known usages:
  • TCP/IP Take Court Proceedings over Intellectual Property;
  • DNS Darl's Not Sinister;
  • DHCP Devise Hazardous Corporate Patents;
  • LPD Lawyers Paid Double; and, finally
  • RIP Our IP
That said, I've never found any alternate uses for NetBIOS over TCP/IP. Or UPnP.

RedSox, Bush, MPAA (4, Funny)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745796)

...and Microsoft.

Perfect!

The Horsemen are drawing nearer,
On Law suits they ride,
They come to take your LIFE!

Re:RedSox, Bush, MPAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745826)

on through the dead of night,
with the four Horsemen ride,
or go to court and DIE!

Re:RedSox, Bush, MPAA (0, Offtopic)

Troll-a-holic (823973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745832)

> or go to court and DIE!

And go to court OR die :-)

Re:RedSox, Bush, MPAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745903)

You were sitting at your workstation,
Downloading MP3s,
You had a burner, yeah, a real CD-R,
Said you want to get your Britney Spears,
Made me cringe when I thought of her,

Here is where I run out of ideas.

etc.

Dave Mustaine will kick your pansy Metallica ass.

How can I pay? (4, Funny)

mfearby (1653) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745797)

... and, more importantly, where do I input my credit card number? Microsoft worked hard for every patent they invented and deserve a right to protect it and earn financial reward for it... NOT!

Re:How can I pay? (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745810)

You think you are scared?

You're not scared enough -- MS has _tonnes_ of patents in the WIMP area, which several Operating Systems use.

MSR has been filing patents left right and center, in various areas such as Graphics, AI and what not. They even have people working on areas of Information Theory in Quantum Computing and what not.

A search on Delphion [delphion.com] shows that about 7,542 patents have been registered in almost every conceivable area of computer science.

I was hoping that MS would not take this stance, but I guess this was inevitable.

Re:How can I pay? (5, Insightful)

mfearby (1653) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745825)

What scares me is that Australia will probably end up with copyright and patent laws the same as the United States (which is part of our "free trade" agreement). I guess I can always renounce technology and go back to reading books and using pen and paper, but then, I'm sure Amazon has a patent on "a mechanism for the immediate and periodic loan of printed material from a central repository" (meaning I can't borrow library books, unless it takes more than one step :-)

Re:How can I pay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745946)

America is the land of the free.

Therefore, freedom is the exclusive preserve of Americans.

Therefore, free trade is trade that benefits America.

Silly Aussies, thinking they might actually get the US govt to play fair...

Re:How can I pay? (1)

Harassed (166366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745849)

Microsoft is still a tiny minnow in the IP/patent space. If you want to see the shark, look no further than IBM. Every major IBM event I've been to in the last few years (and that's quite a few!) make a big thing out of the fact IBM are the no. 1 patent holder in the world.

Re:How can I pay? (3, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745895)

Yeah, but while I've never really thought of IBM as being particularly benign, I definitely do not think of them as the kinda company who'd go around suing people unless they _really_ had to -- but I'm afraid I share the same sentiment about Microsoft.

I think despite everything, IBM at the very least showcases some ethics and principles -- maybe the IBM of the days gone was indeed an Evil Corp (TM) -- but I think the IBM of today is not so evil, maybe nice even.

However, I've never felt so about Microsoft -- they've always come across as _exactly_ the kind who would do something like this. Especially given their antitrust track-record and FUD on Linux and what not. Microsoft comes across precisely as the sort of greedy company that you would expect such a lawsuit from, no matter what.

But what do I know. IBM maybe turn just as evil, when it comes to corps you can never really say. Look at Sun -- how quickly they changed sides and what they're degenerating into.

I can only hope that IBM (and Google) and a few others don't go the same way.

Re:How can I pay? (2, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745902)

Yeah, but while I've never really thought of IBM as being particularly benign, I definitely do not think of them as the kinda company who'd go around suing people unless they _really_ had to -- but I'm afraid I share the same sentiment about Microsoft.

I meant to say, I do not share the same sentiment about Microsoft.

I need more coffee, been up all night.

Re:How can I pay? (4, Informative)

igrp (732252) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745898)

Microsoft didn't invent this game though. They're just playing it. And as usual, they're a tad bit late and have to play hardball to catch up with the competition. And of course, as usual, they throw at a lot of money at the (perceived) problem (which, sadly, I have to admit has usually worked for them in the past more often than not).

IBM has been doing this for decades and they are exceptionally good at this. The difference is that, at least at this point in time, they do not actively do anything with their patents - at least not beyond the point of what's necessary to keep them. They just keep filing new patents to keep their asses covered. And, in a way, they have to do that to ensure the survival of the company. Think about it: it's way cheaper to just file for and receive a patent than to challenge somebody else's patent and to try and have that invalidated (something that hardly ever happens). It also helps with ligigation. If another company is suing you, you first check your database to see if they have violated one of your patents.

And to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, check out this quote from IBM's IP & Licensing website [ibm.com] :

In 2003, IBM received 3,415 U.S. patents from the USPTO. This is the eleventh consecutive year that IBM has received more U.S. patents than any other company in the world. In addition to delivering these innovations through its products and services, IBM maintains an active patent and technology licensing program.

And, believe me, they're covering all their bases (last time, I checked they had 23k+ active patents and they have some exceptionally good lawyers). Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying IBM is the bad guy here. I like the fact that they're supporting Linux as much as the next guy. I'm not even saying what they're doing is inherently evil. I'm merely trying to point out that patents are becoming a priority issue everywhere and that it's becoming increasingly important to CYA.

Re:How can I pay? (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745911)

Ofcourse.

See my this post [slashdot.org] - IBM is definitely no better, but I do not see them as the El Meano El Cheapo Sue Happy (TM) company - atleast not at the moment.

But honestly, I was never surprised at MS doing this. Disappointed, perhaps. But definitely not surprised.

Btw, I wonder if this really was a sensible/sane business decision -- or a last resort thing at thawing out Opensource?

Re:How can I pay? (0, Redundant)

turgid (580780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745917)

Just leave $20 000 in used notes in a brown paper bag under the bush behind the bench in the park, by 22:00 hours tonight, or the Monkey Man gets it.

No, wait, that ain't right.

You get it from the Monkey Man.

Re:How can I pay? (1)

mfearby (1653) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745932)

If Microsoft were threatening to kill poor, innocent, kittens, I might consider the non-descript brown paper bag with money in it (that may or may not have a dollar-sign on it). Of course, if I were Mayor Quimby, I'd much prefer a brief-case...

GRAMMATICAL NONESENSE (0, Offtopic)

onlyjoking (536550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745945)

However kewel and ubiquitous the practice may be it is grammatical nonesense to make an assertion and attempt to negate it by tagging "NOT" onto the end. It makes me wince every time I witness the English language being butchered thus.

Unsafe intercourse (4, Funny)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745799)

MS seems to have caught SCO disease.

Re:Unsafe intercourse (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745801)


The SCO disease probably _did_ originate from MS, for all you know.

Please (-1, Offtopic)

skraps (650379) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745800)

...allow me to be the first to say: BWWAAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAAHAHA!!!11one11eleven!!11

Slashdot: Source of Hilarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745803)

Just as I thought we were running out of good SCO comedy, Microsoft steps up to the plate to deliver some good wholesome hearty laughs. gg MS.

I hope I can laugh ... (3, Funny)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745827)

... but I can't.

SCO doesn't have a deeeeeeeep pocket, MS does !

SCO doesn't have a huuuuugggeee influence over Uncle Sam, MS does !!

In fact, MS is more powerful than
MPAA, RIAA and RedSox combined !

Really... (2, Interesting)

JamesTheBard (755485) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745805)

...is this a suprise? A mega-corporation trying to make money by expanding it's IP portfolio. I'm not sure what is worse, the fact that I'm responding to a story about how Microsoft is trying to invade into another part of my life, or the fact that someone else has decided that they have a better reason to "own" the Internet...

QOS (3, Insightful)

kinzillah (662884) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745806)

Maybe they will be patenting their idea of setting the QOS on all packets to realtime, thereby making the whole damn thing useless.

Re:QOS (1)

skraps (650379) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745811)

The Evil Bit rears its ugly head once again. At least we now know how to block all traffic from Windows; we know how to destroy it. Spread the word to other towns.

Saw this bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745807)

However, just because a protocol appears on the list does not mean that Microsoft is the owner or sole owner of rights in that protocol or its documentation. What the royalty-free license does is ensure that a license is available from Microsoft under whatever rights it may have in the published documentation and/or protocols on the list.

notice the "under whatever rights" bit.

Intellectual Property Strikes Again! (5, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745809)

And I thought the purpose of intellectual property was to encourage innovation. With talented people now forced to investigate potential issues, I can't see how IP does anything but slow progress. Time for revision?

Re:Intellectual Property Strikes Again! (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745931)

Duh!

Yay! (1)

T'hain Esh Kelch (756041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745813)

I for one submit to our new MS Internet overlords.

atom bomb (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745816)

First Leo Szilard, then Amazon, now Microsoft

Now this is just stupid (1)

Raseri (812266) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745817)

Microsoft is certainly a huge, powerful organization, but there is no way in hell they can prove they have IP rights to protocols that existed long before the company did.

In other news, these guys in the article keep saying "appears to be," i.e., they could very well be spewing forth some FUD of their own.

Re:Now this is just stupid (1)

T-Punkt (90023) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745836)

RTFFAQ: They're not claiming, that they have IP rights of all those protocols and make that pretty clear:
However, just because a protocol appears on the list does not mean that Microsoft is the owner or sole owner of rights in that protocol or its documentation.
The trick here is that MS makes people buy something even though they don't know what they are buying (if anything at all).

Re:Now this is just stupid (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745844)

Either approach may give birth to various sorts of monstrosities. -- Larry Wall in

Re:Now this is just stupid (1)

Raseri (812266) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745874)

And the rest of the answer (from TFFAQ, of course):

What the royalty-free license does is ensure that a license is available from Microsoft under whatever rights it may have in the published documentation and/or protocols on the list.

Why would it have any rights to those protocols or documentation? And if they felt they had no ownership claims to some of them, why would they include those on the list?

Re:Now this is just stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745905)

And if they felt they had no ownership claims to some of them, why would they include those on the list?

Because fundamentally, they're crooks. Sorry but that really is the answer. They want to con people into licensing rights from them that they don't have. It's the same approach SCO followed with their Linux license. These people have zero integrity and think they can rip people off in this way, so they do.

Re:Now this is just stupid (1)

T-Punkt (90023) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745908)

Yes, whatever rights it may have.

oh my...... (2, Funny)

Vash_066 (816757) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745824)

oh my god....is it possible to book permanent passage on Richard Branson's first space trip? This is ridiculous.....

insane (2, Interesting)

dutt (738848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745829)

This is totally insane, isn't anyone going to stop MS from doing this?
TCP/IP, DNS etc are open standards created to be used by anyone and should be kept away from being crippled by legal patents.
I guess it's time for something more radical than an online petition...

Re:insane (3, Insightful)

Harassed (166366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745864)

Doing what? If you actually GO AWAY AND READ THE ARTICLE you will notice that it's one guys conjecture based on something he found on Microsoft's website. Nowhere does it say that Microsoft are claiming the entirety of these protocols for themselves (and I doubt they would). There is a good chance that Microsoft do own some algorithms for something related to these protocols. As an example, while it is unlikely that MS can claim DNS as their own "invention", they may well have some patents relating to Dynamic DNS and its integration with their Active Directory stuff.

A lot of rumours... (3, Informative)

arevos (659374) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745830)

There seem to be a lot of rumours, but no real evidence that Microsoft will pursue this action. Getting control of TCP/IP as a protocol is a near-impossible challenge, even for Microsoft.

As another have pointed out, they could patent IP routing algoritms, but I think most of the apocalyptic vision predicted by this story is rather unlikely to ever happen.

At least, I hope so!

Al Gore (2, Funny)

close_wait (697035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745831)

But I thought AL Gore invented the Internet? I hope he sues Microsoft.

Re:Al Gore (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745954)


Even if it were true, you think the Republicans are gonna allow that? ;-)

No!!! (2, Funny)

Trimbo2 (661670) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745833)

Not the Quote of the Day Protocol [ietf.org] as well!
We are all doomed now.

April 1st coming early this year or what?!? (0, Offtopic)

ivi (126837) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745835)


(subj sezs it all..)

No problem, use TTCPS! (5, Funny)

jocks (56885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745840)

Being the canny Scot that I am, I have used my inate ingenuity and now all my computers at home are linked together using TTCPS. Yes Two Tin Cans and a Piece of String networking is the way forward.

I have already spoken to Linus T. who will be imlementing TTCPS in kernel 2.8, but I have released some modules which can be compiled into kernels 2.4 and 2.6 right now. Those of us on BSD can try the Two Steel Cans and a Piece of Cord (TSCPC) protocol but I'm not sure about compatability.

I've also received a letter from SCO's lawyers claiming that the string I used was from their own private ball and I should cease and desist. To counter this I am using twine spun by my own mother from the wool of our own sheep. I still maintain that the string I was using was just like any other piece of string and as SCO has been unable to specify what length they have missing I am not too worried.

Some geeks over at www.ttcpsgeek.org have been experimenting with High-Tensile string and have achieved remarkable increases in bandwidth - expect this to be ported back into TTCPSv2, due for release at the end of February.

Just hold on a second... (2, Interesting)

cavac (640390) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745841)

..because M$ wasn't even the publishers of most of the protocols.

For example, take the "Character Generator Protocol" http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc0864.txt [ietf.org] , which was posted by Mr. Postel on May 1983 without any restrictions for usage and/or modification.

And AFAIK Postel never did work for Microsoft and never sold his rights to them.

I didn't take a look at the other protocols yet, i i guess it's the same story for most, if not all, of them...

You don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745939)

For example, take the "Character Generator Protocol" http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc0864.txt, which was posted by Mr. Postel on May 1983 without any restrictions for usage and/or modification.

There are few years in which anyone can file a petent even if the idea was already published by someone else. In other words, prior art has to be older than a patent by X years. (Anyone knows how many years it is exacly?)

Microsoft matured? (0, Redundant)

Lispy (136512) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745843)

A while ago I read a story about how Microsoft sees it self now as a mature company and that they wanted to play fair from now on. I was thinking "Yeah, right!" back then, but this story goes to show that old Redmond still takes every chance to stick other peoples ideas to their own crown (wich was of course a direct translation of a german saying, couldn't think of a fitting american phrase).

I just hope they won't be successful. They wouldn't be trying if there wasn't a chance of winning. Don't forget, Microsoft is not SCO.

Fuck, Someone's going to be pissed (4, Insightful)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745845)

I sit here using my Mac, open the MS page listing all the protocols that MS wants you to sign a licence agreement for, and lo and behold I see that Apple File Protocol is the first on that list. I think Apple might have some fun with it's lawyers on this one.

I also wonder just how arrogant, dumb and just plainly disconnected from reality you have to be to start licencing protocols that Microsoft had absolutely nothing to do with, such as DNS, DHCP, TCP/IP etc.

And the microsofties on this board wonder why people refer to MS as M$ or slam the company constantly.

MS is a bunch of criminal bastards. Fuck them and may they burn in fucking hell.

Boy is Al Gore gonna be pissed ... (1, Redundant)

B747SP (179471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745850)

Boy is Al Gore gonna be pissed when he heards that microsoft is trying to steal his thunder [issues2000.org] . Those bastards!

Ping (3, Interesting)

GridPoint (588140) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745852)

Not only are their legal precedents shaky (to say the least), they didn't even bother to check their facts very well. For one thing, they refer to the "ping" program as "Packet Internet Groper (ping)". This meaning of the program's name is a well-known backronym [wikipedia.org] of the original meaning which the author of ping [army.mil] stated had to do with the similarity to submarines.

Maybe this is a hint as to how much actual investigative work they have put into this spectacle.

MS didn't create the internet (0, Redundant)

Underholdning (758194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745855)

In other news, Al Gore sued Microsoft for infringing his IP on creating the internet.

Holy Bat Snot !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745856)

Another liberal leaning Microsoft bashing headline brought to you by none other than the great unwashed Linux fanboy hippie and John Kerry fluffer, Micheal.

Microsoft Internet XP 2005 License (2, Funny)

colonslashslash (762464) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745857)

For a low-low price of just $699 + a small piece of your soul, independent studies conducted by the impartial group, Forester, have shown this internet license has a lower TCO than its open source competetitors, click here [microsoft.com] for more info.

this is preposterous (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745862)

I seriously hope that the submitter is just very wrong.

European Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745865)

This just shows how _insane_ europe would be to recognise any patents. I can't believe they're even considering it - it would absolutely ruin the independent european computing industry, and make us all microserfs. If you're in europe, it is absolutely essential that you make it clear software patents will not be tolerated. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you're being ruled, that you are subjects of the eurocracy - we ARE european CITIZENS. We must govern the government. We must not let a tiny minority of ultra-rich mostly-americans declare that they own applied discrete mathematics ("computer science") and we are their subjects by their proxies in the EPO.

How unexpected (4, Interesting)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745866)

And of course, when yet another of MS' asinine patents is discussed, the shills come out of the woodwork bleating the corporate line "Microsoft is only interested in using their IP defensively!".

I completely fail to see how this can ever be used for anything but to harass competitors. Not surprising, since this strategic direction was already outlined in a 1998 memo [opensource.org] .

So this ought to shut up the MS shills for awhile (unfortunately, there is a large divide between 'ought' and 'will').

Mart

Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10745872)

This is just pathetic. A guy who has "envisioned" the Internet in the second edition of his autobiography, Bill Gates, licenses the Internet protocols. Does Tim Bernards Lee license HTTP and HTML? NO! Does Bill Gates? Yes! This is utterly pathetic.

Hold your hourses! (3, Insightful)

danalien (545655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745878)

just read the 1st line

  • Is Microsoft Ready to Assert IP Rights over the Internet?
    November 5, 2004

    Has Microsoft been trying to retroactively claim IP (intellectual property) rights over many of the Internet's basic protocols? Larry J. Blunk, senior engineer for networking research and development at Merit Network Inc., believes that might be the case.

    [...]

I am not found of M$ like the next slashdotter, but, before 'we' start bashing M$ ... lets do it after we know the _facts_ :)

I mean,

Microsoft Offers to License the Internet

  • vs
Is Microsoft Ready to Assert IP Rights over the Internet?

is a big difference, that awards 'caution, biased story alert'.

s/hourses/horses/ (1)

danalien (545655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745887)

maybe I ought to have 'hold my horses' too a little bit before pressing the submit-button :-)

Re:Hold your hourses! (1)

sopuli (459663) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745916)

Did you bother to click the "130 protocols" link? If not, please check it out. It will take you to the actual license agreement on Microsofts own site. Check out the pdf [microsoft.com] version where in exhibit A you can tick the protocols that you want to license.

but.. (1, Redundant)

WhitePanther5000 (766529) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745882)

Microsoft disgusts me, I thought it was common knowledge that Unix was written for networking, while Windows and Dos were originally standalone operating systems. Windows even contains some BSD code for their networking protocols. I hope no one is foolish enough to get the license. Knowledge should be free.

Closer look (5, Informative)

MadFarmAnimalz (460972) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745889)

I think the level of implied evilness in this matter is overplayed. Microsoft aren't denying that these standards are not exactly theirs exclusively to play around with.

Reading the FAQ, it looks more like some arcane clot of lawyers came up with this one to cover [Microsoft's|developers'] butts from ???. (can't figure out what the lawyers were trying to accomplish).

Specifically, this:

Q. I noticed a number of these protocols are available for license via other avenues - for instance, under license agreements promulgated by members of a standards setting body. If I already have rights to implement protocols (e.g., under other agreements), do I also have to sign a royalty-free license?

A. No, unless you wish to obtain rights available under the royalty-free license that are not available under other license agreements you may have.


There. They are acknowledging that you can use the protocols anyway without signing this license agreement.

Strange move, but not evil if I read things properly.

Re:Closer look (3, Insightful)

ctid (449118) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745955)

There. They are acknowledging that you can use the protocols anyway without signing this license agreement.

Well, that's very big of them, but some of these protocols don't belong to Microsoft. For example, TCP/IP was developed before Microsoft existed. You might reasonably call this "stupid". I would also call it "evil", just as I would call a burglar evil if I caught him trying to sell (sorry, "licence") property that belonged to me. I think "strange" is understating the case.

yeah (2, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745891)

Lets just up and hand Microsoft the keys to the Internet. So every other company that has invested even one dollar in internet infrastructure or internet-capable programs will lose a lot of money from whatever Microsoft will do with it. Then, all these said companies can sue Microsoft (not a class action, individual cases) and they will absolutely slashdot Microsoft's legal funds. Once that's done, they'll have to tap into their reserves. If these companies can bare their chests to such financial loss and paperwork, Microsoft would be wiped out. Someone could take the things that Microsoft sealed up, and free them. Unfortunately, someone would claim them for themselves, much like a certain human claimed the Ring.

I have not RTFA. (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745893)

And don't intend to.

Just think for one second: most goverments around the world have been pushing heavily for initiatives to use the Interent as part of the day to day dealings with the populace (the UK's gov has a Web portal, the easiest way to pay your taxes is via a website for example).

Would MS be so monumentally stupid as to want to make itself the enemy of the freeworld (and the unfree parts as well)?

Ballmer and Gates may be egotistical megalomaniacs, but frankly they ar not stupid.

The other shoe drops (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745897)

We've all been waiting for MS to start fighting with patents.
It is their last resort against a better product.

It has been reported here that the man primarily responsible for "productizing" IBM's patent portfolio went to microsoft to do the same thing a couple of years ago. So far, we've seen silly little things like attempting to patent the FAT32 format on flash devices, but nothing really used as an offensive weapon.

Ironically, our best hope of defeating Microsoft in the patent arena is IBM, and to a lesser extent, Novell. Both companies have significant patent portfolios that can be used as a retaliatory threat to MS for trying to lock-out Free software with their patents. Both companies have been hurt badly enough by MS in the past, but are currently stable enough that they aren't likely to make deals either (like Sun did).

Personally, I feel that the whole idea of patent portfolios and all encompassing cross-licensing agreements is an abuse of the patent system because it locks out the little guy. But, in this particular fight we don't have a hope of achieving patent reform soon enough (if ever), so we might as well be glad that we have a few big guns on our side.

A wise man said (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745899)

...A wise man (I don't remember who - perhaps Mark Twain?) said once "Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence"

I suspect incompetence here. However, it is important that Microsoft are corrected on this issue.

Re:A wise man said (2, Insightful)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745943)

in that case, we shouldn't forget the corollary: What looks like stupidity from one point of view may make perfect sense from another point of view.

WTF? (0, Offtopic)

cammoblammo (774120) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745901)

Okay, off the topic, but relevant to the site.

This site just managed to sneak a pop under through and then crash FireFox on me. Has anyone else had the same problem?

Part of DOJ settlement (4, Informative)

Keeper (56691) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745912)

This is part of the DOJ settlement requiring Microsoft to license communications protocols essential for 3rd party software/operating systems to interoperate with Windows. No matter how stupid, trivial, or ancient, they're required to license them.

And now they have.

From the FAQ (http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url =/library/en-us/randz/protocol/published_protocols _and_royalty-free_license_faq.asp):

Q. When I sign a royalty-free agreement for these protocols, what am I licensing?

A. The list of protocols under this license includes protocols for which documentation has been published, and that Microsoft has implemented in Windows client operating systems to interoperate with Windows server operating systems (up to and including Windows Server 2003). However, just because a protocol appears on the list does not mean that Microsoft is the owner or sole owner of rights in that protocol or its documentation. What the royalty-free license does is ensure that a license is available from Microsoft under whatever rights it may have in the published documentation and/or protocols on the list.

Re:Part of DOJ settlement (4, Interesting)

nagora (177841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745956)

No matter how stupid, trivial, or ancient, they're required to license them.

You can't license what you don't own. The obvious motivation for this long list is to allow MS to claim ownership at some future date when President Jeb Bush lifts even the pathetic restrictions of the DoJ case. They know that many small companies (and that's most when compared to MS) will simply fold and pay up rather than face being ground down in court for 10 years arguing the point.

TWW

Righteous Indignation (a.k.a. The US Was First) (2, Informative)

tilleyrw (56427) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745923)

OK, this is mildly humurous and rather ominous at first appearances, but has the richest man in the US ceased listening to his corporate attorneys?

Bill seems to have forgotten about a "small thing" called DARPA and their creation, DARPAnet, which was the forerunner to the Internet.

Any judge who is worth half his paycheck will refuse to hear this case on the grounds of extreme frivolosity. (See mom, I made a new word!)

Licence to discard (1)

veg (76076) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745949)

Interesting to see that amongst the list of protocols on the page (including Appletalk, ATM and HTTP), Microsoft is also kindly allowing us to licence the valuable discard protocol [ietf.org] . The protocol that accepts data and immediately loses it.

So Microsoft did invent that concept then.

The Real Problem (4, Informative)

justin_speers (631757) | more than 9 years ago | (#10745959)

First off, everyone should read anonymous_cowherd's comment above before panicking or engaging in any premature Microsoft bashing... [slashdot.org]

Second off, before everyone starts ripping on evil corporations and patents... let's not forget that the evil Government creates the environment that breeds bacterial scum like SCO.

In other words, engage in some activism. Help out the EFF [eff.org] , fight software patents in Europe, do whatever it takes to stop this problem at the source: Evil Government...

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