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Microsoft's Patent Pledge "Worse Than Useless"

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the infinity-bad dept.

Microsoft 140

munchola writes "The Software Freedom Law Center has declared that Microsoft's patent pledge to open source developers is 'worse than useless'. SFLC chief technology officer, Bradley Kuhn, has written to FOSS developers warning them that 'developers are no safer from Microsoft patents now than they were before'. According to Kuhn: 'The patent covenant only applies to software that you develop at home and keep for yourself; the promises don't extend to others when you distribute. You cannot pass the rights to your downstream recipients, even to the maintainers of larger projects on which your contribution is built.'"

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frist psot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798104)

Yeah I got it this time fuckers :P

Best. First. Post. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16799550)

Mod parent up.

Well.... (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798116)

Did you expected a different result?

No kidding (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798464)

Business and hippies don't mix. It's like oil and water. Except replace the water with filthy hippy grease and replace oil with bucket loads of cash. The two just don't mix.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798530)

Grease and bucketloads of cash? Sounds like a new game show to me!

Re:No kidding (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798696)

Business and hippies don't mix. It's like oil and water.

The point is, open source people _aren't_ hippies. They've been running successful businesses for years now. But microsoft wants them to be hippies, wants the world to believe them to be - and now, is trying to make them be, using software patent monopolies to shut down open source businesses. The message is "if you're a hippie hobbyist coder, we won't sue you. But dare to build a business, and we will". Remember, patent and copyright monopolies DESTROY free market capitalism. Microsoft, like most large software corporations, are absolutely terrified of a true free market in software.

"hippy and communist" are just wrong when applied to free software folk: "Raging gun-nut libertarian" is far more accurate. Microsoft are playing with fire.

Re:No kidding (3, Insightful)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799266)

"Remember, patent and copyright monopolies DESTROY free market capitalism. Microsoft, like most large software corporations, are absolutely terrified of a true free market in software."

Bingo. A point I have been trying to make for what seems like ages.

There are no free markets when it comes to goods protected by copyrights or patents. With copyleft you can perhaps get close to a free market in those goods.

all the best,

drew
http://www.ourmedia.org/node/262954 [ourmedia.org]
Sayings - Deterred Bahamian Novel

You got it backwards. (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800854)

Unfortunately, you've got it backwards. Microsoft has said that they're not going to enforce those patents. On the other hand, VA Software (the owner of Slashdot) has said publically that they will aggressively prosecute people who violate their patents. [edgar-online.com]

Pretty sneaky, huh? Maybe you (and the other lemmings in your group) should try to do some reading once in a while. Your knees have got to be getting tired from all of that jerking.

Re:You got it backwards. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16801034)

Microsoft has said that they're not going to enforce those patents.

Against non-commercial coders. Which is the point - they're using the market-distorting power of patents to eliminate the more efficient competition from the COMMERCIAL open-source coders that have been mopping the floor with closed source lame ducks lately.

On the other hand, VA Software (the owner of Slashdot) has said publically that they will aggressively prosecute people who violate their patents.

That's a "we're better than North Korea" argument. Both companies are in the wrong, but ultimately the legal system is in the wrong.

Maybe you

Fuck off if you don't like it. Actually, looking at your posting history, I'd guess slashdot is the only social interaction you get; so I shouldn't even be replying to you, it'll only encourage you.

Re:No kidding (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16800178)

>Remember, patent and copyright monopolies DESTROY free market capitalism

Huh? when? where? In Antarctica? On Mars?

Is that why those places don't have free market capitalism?

Remember, extremist hyperbole is only taken seriously by 13 year olds and terrorists.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16800420)

Huh? when? where? In Antarctica? On Mars?

Anywhere patent or copyright monopolies exist, you moron. By definition. Most places claiming to be capitalist free markets are no more capitalist than china is really communist.

Re:No kidding (2, Insightful)

Emperor Cezar (106515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800912)

Free market mean FREE. When someone says "you can't" then it's not FREE. Patent and copyright are LAWS which means they say "you can't".
Free market isn't defined as whatever the Republican's spout. Just like Communism isn't whatever the USSR spouted.

Re:No kidding (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800248)

You're right...

...we need more hippy coders!

Surprised? (2, Insightful)

insecuritiez (606865) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798126)

I doubt anyone here is actually surprised by this. Since when has Microsoft ever done anything truly for the good of OSS?

Re:Surprised? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798220)

Unfortunately, a whole lot of people have been writing code and assigning copyright over to Novell, which is now basically no better than writing and assigning copyright over to Microsoft...

Re:Surprised? (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798956)

Unfortunately, a whole lot of people have been writing code and assigning copyright over to Novell

Who, how much, for which projects? Not saying you are wrong, just curious.

Re:Surprised? (3, Informative)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799018)

Unfortunately, a whole lot of people have been writing code and assigning copyright over to Novell, which is now basically no better than writing and assigning copyright over to Microsoft...

But if Novell released said code under the GPL, then the genie is out of the bottle. Stick with the code that pre-dates the agreement between MS and Novell, and I think you're okay.

Oh, and stop contributing code to Novell.

Re:Surprised? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800284)

I wanna see Novell's reaction when people stop giving them code.

Microsoft will rape them and then they will be excluded by everyone else.
A very quick and messy death for Novell.

Re:Surprised? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16801400)

Hence why Microsoft wants other companies.

Re:Surprised? (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800008)

Can you provide details?

Or are you talkig about Novell's employees?

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798298)

Since when has Microsoft ever done anything truly for the good of OSS?
Since the release of their last bug-ridden, closed-source OS?

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798558)

So, basically, just a few days go?

Re:Surprised? (4, Insightful)

thebdj (768618) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798354)

I doubt anyone here is actually surprised by this. Since when has Microsoft ever done anything truly for the good of OSS?

They created ME and Vista. I would consider the users that left Windows because of ME or the ones who might leave because of Vista, something truly good for OSS.

Re:Surprised? (1)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799878)

if they didn't create windows at all, it would have been better for FOSS (AND for the people, because they wouldn't have been dragged into this crappy os in the first place)

Re:Surprised? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16801252)

Unlikely. Without Windows being around, there would likely be a much better proprietary OS in dominance, and a lot more competition in the commercial OS market. So, Linux wouldn't have had as great a chance to get a foothold, without the dominant OS being so crappy.

Re:Surprised? (1)

Monsuco (998964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800426)

I doubt anyone here is actually surprised by this. Since when has Microsoft ever done anything truly for the good of OSS?
The have done something that accedentally ended up good for OSS. If they had become a Hardware/Software company such as Amiga or Apple, Linux could never have had a standardized processor to evolve on.

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16800548)

Your signature fucking sucks. It's "lose" not "loose" you dumb bastard. Lose = no longer possessing something. Loose = a good way to describe your mama's pussy, but she won't mind, since she's probably semi-literate with no attention to detail just like her son.

Why should they? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799518)

All 'evil empire' stuff aside, why should they even want to be nice to OSS? They are out to make money and any competition stands in the way.

Re:Why should they? (2, Insightful)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800286)

Ya know, believe it or not, the "we're just out to make money" mentality, is not one shared by all businesses in all countries of the world. There are many countries in which a business's first priority is to their employees, then their community, and only thirdly to themselves (many businesses in Japan, for instance). Unfortunately, American's have convinced themselves that the only way to survive in the business world is to forsake all ethicality... and so they've made that true. It's very sad.

Re:Why should they? (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800448)

The difference is here in america the goal is not to just 'survive' its to obliterate the competition.

Because we all know... (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798138)

Because we all know how Microsoft treats those it writes contracts with... I seriously have to wonder why Novel thought that was a good idea. Are they so lacking in cash that they felt it was worth dealing with Bill G.?

Re:Because we all know... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798232)

Seriously...if, as CEO of a major company, Microsoft were to offer me $400 million ...I would take it. If I didn't my shareholders would lynch me.
The long term consequences don't matter here... all that matters is that for the next couple of years, profits go up
Welcome to corporation-think
This has nothing to do with feel-good, Microsoft is teh EVIL, I hug bunnies world.
A corporation exists to make money for its owners
period
too bad about SuSE Linux... it will be seen as a victim of collateral damage

Re:Because we all know... (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798776)

A corporation exists to make money for its owners
period


Agreed. But there is a difference between short-term money and long-term money.
One doesn't guarantee the other, and it takes a good CEO to tell the difference.
It also takes intelligent shareholders to avoid lynching him in the meantime.
I think in a lot of cases, bad business decisions can be attributed to shareholders will very short-term vision.

Re:Because we all know... (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800074)

Agreed. But there is a difference between short-term money and long-term money.

Not as far as most fund managers are concerned, and they have the most power in real investment world.
They want short term ROI, or they sell.

Re:Because we all know... (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800342)

This is why I'm a fan of businesses going private, which, thankfully, seems to be an increasing trend these days. Even ClearChannel (Oooh, they are Teh Evil!) is trying to find buyers in order to go private. I can understand the stock market being good for some things, but in some ways, it's been the worst thing to happen to the free market ecconomy... it encourages all investments to be made for short term gains, and forsakes long term planning. Many companies have lost their way after going public. I'm really happy that ClearChannel is looking for a way out, because they SUCK (I know, I work for them!)

Re:Because we all know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16799000)

If you sleep with dogs you get fleas.
Of course we all know that. Which is why SuSe is now consigned to the dustbin of history.

Perhaps we can make the death of SuSe so spectacular it serves as a warning for others who
consider selling out to the devil.

Anyway, fuck Microsoft. Within 10 years they will be irrelevant. I take great pride
in own little contribution to burying them.

Re:Because we all know... (1)

causality (777677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800474)

What's the saying? "If you get in bed with Microsoft, you're going to get fucked."

duh. (1)

audj (980103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798140)

duh. in fact, double duh. because if microsoft can make money by making up patents for things everyone uses and sneaking it by our USPO, they will.

Re:duh. (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798960)

duh. in fact, double duh.

Do you think that's enough? I think this is at least a triple duh. I might even go so far as to skip right over quadruple duh and put it into the pentupal duh category.

I wouldn't call it a sextuple duh, though. That's just being silly.

Boycott Novell (2, Interesting)

10scjed (695280) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798146)

http://edu-nix.org/shanecoyle/?p=8 [edu-nix.org] / www.boycottnovell.com

Re:Boycott Novell (4, Interesting)

Kennon (683628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799052)

This is some amazing shit. No one has any idea what the ramifications, if ANY are going to be from this deal and everyone is so quick to run and lynch a company who has dedicated millions of lines of code to open source projects that they make zero dollars from. This is the same Novell who along with IBM took a stand AGAINST SCO and cost those bastards millions in legal fees. This is the same Novell who is activly sueing M$ for patent violations in the MSOffice product. Shane, how many lines of code have you contributed to any open source projects? What have you done for the community that can come close to comparing to even a little of what Novell has done for Linux in the last few years. Is it really so boring up there in New York that you have nothing better to do other than sit around and stew about some shit that none of us will probably ever even be affected by? All of you armchair lawyers need to STFU and wait until something bad actually happens to the community before you start trying to crucify a fairly benevolent company, relatively speaking, who dedicates themselves daily to the Linux community. WHEN/IF something like that does happen I will be more than happy to join in the ripping of Novell's spine from their body and showing it to them, but until then can we please move on?

Re:Boycott Novell (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799806)

On the other hand, most positive contributions can be ascribed to the previous management. Hovsepian, the guy behind the deal, is the CEO now. The current 'Novell' may not at all be the same as the last one.

And with Novells long, proprietary, history it has quite some legacy to overcome.

Re:Boycott Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16800096)

So Novell is just a big charity and we should sit and wait for the shit to hit the fan before we react? Real bright.

Ok... (5, Funny)

Exsam (768226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798170)

Now, people who keep tagging every article "itsatrap" This would be a proper usage of that tag.

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798236)

Meme droids as a variety of troll are forbidden by the secret troll pledge to avoid making relevant comment on stories, hence the lack of an 'itsatrap' tag.

Re:Ok... (1)

Ankur Dave (929048) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798242)

There is no proper usage of the itsatrap tag. Just as there is no proper usage of the yes, no, fud, and !fud tags. They don't describe the story content, but rather serve as a summary of the all the Slashdot comments -- a waste of the advantages of the tagging system.

Re:Ok... (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798344)

Yeah, well, if there was any real intent of having the tags be descriptive of the story content they would support more than one word tags. When you are restricted to one word it is hard to place anything useful other than a minor comment such as 'FUD' or "itsatrap'. Somehow I doubt anyone is ever going to search the tags for 'awellthoughtoutarticalonmicrosoftspatentpledge'.

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798844)

WTF are these tag things people are ranting about anyway? Are people looking at hidden HTML tags the editors embed with "view source" or something? 'Cos, I don't see 'em ?!

Re:Ok... (2, Insightful)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798442)

I disagree. I enjoy reading tags that don't really help categorize the article because it's kind of like looking into the general /. consensus of the issue without diving into the comments, and they're occasionally funny as well.

Besides, it's not like the "yes" tag could ever be used to categorize an article, so it's not really "wasting" any of the tagging system's potential, if you search for, say, "Halo" articles, the "no" tag applied to "Was Halo 2 Great?" isn't going to stop it from showing up in your search (sorry for the flamebaitish example, I know a lot of people like it). IMO Proper tags and "opinion" tags can co-exist peacefully.

And I hope tagging is applied to the comment moderation system soon.

Re:Ok... (1)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798672)

From a cynic's point of view, "itsatrap" is proper for more situations than you might think. Any story even somewhat related to a government action, social program, corporation's product, or "press release" by anyone could get the "itsatrap" tag. That covers a lot of stories.

Re:Ok... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800310)

You forgot to mention any research involving robots should get itsatrap too.

DUH (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798174)

...and snow is white and Tom Cruise is a closeted homosexual. Tell us something we don't know.

Re:DUH (1)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798264)

Snow White a lesbian? You, sir, have just brought my fantasies with her and the delectable Miss Piggy to life! I knew reading about Linux had a benefit, but I just hadn't found it. In my dreams, I will be saluting you.

Re:DUH (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798334)

Linux fulfills all your dreams silly man. :)

Re:DUH (CNN Edit) (3, Funny)

jmyers (208878) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798474)

..and snow is white. Tell us something we don't know.

Re:DUH (CNN Edit) (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798574)

It's not white where the huskys go.

Not the Novell Deal (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798194)

Note, this article is not talking about the deal with Novell as almost every post thus far has assumed. It mentions that deal, as something still being researched. This is about MS's recent promise/contract to not sue hobbyists for patent violations.

Re:Not the Novell Deal (3, Interesting)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799102)

"The patent covenant only applies to software that you develop at home and keep for yourself;"

Meaning the stuff they would never know about to sue for in the first place. Gee they won't sue you for stuff they don't know you did, how generous ;)

Re:Not the Novell Deal (1)

AVee (557523) | more than 7 years ago | (#16801068)

Note, this article is not talking about the deal with Novell as almost every post thus far has assumed. It mentions that deal, as something still being researched. This is about MS's recent promise/contract to not sue hobbyists for patent violations.

Who cares, we are all way to busy bashing MS and Novell to stop and read properly. Geez, next thing you know you'll be asking us to think before we post...

Ya' know... (1)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798200)

I'm starting to think Microoft might not have my best interest at heart?

Enough (0, Troll)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798224)

This is getting worse than Zune news.

No one writing about this knows any more of the details than what was released to the press. At best all of this is blind supposition and wasted mental bandwidth.

If all of the effort that went into these various prognostications of impending doom had been spent on coding we'd all be a lot better off.

Re:Enough (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798340)

This is getting worse than Zune news. No one writing about this knows any more of the details than what was released to the press.

I know it is not normal to RTFA, but if you did you'd see it was a press release about the license MS released with regard to their promise not to sue open source hobbyists over patent violations. It is not about the Novell deal, despite the fact that every comment thus far (except my previous one) seems to be assuming otherwise. So people do know more than was published in the press release, just not about what you seem to have thought this article was about.

Re:Enough (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798410)

See, I'm right, we are getting so much of this crap it is all muddled up in my head.

Actually I did attempt to read the article but saw the word Novell in the first sentence and decided that I'd had my fill of reading about the sky falling.

But maybe I'll go read it now. Or maybe I'll just wait a few minutes for the next actual "Microsoft/Novell Deal" submission to pop up and recycle my original comment.

Re:Enough (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799180)

I know it is not normal to RTFA

Who cares? This is normal as well.

CC.

Actually, it IS part of the Novell deal (2, Informative)

SpammersAreScum (697628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800662)

In this case, R(ing)TFA may have been a mistake, as I can see where you could get your misunderstanding from it. If you go to the source [softwarefreedom.org] , though, you'll see this is part of the Novell deal. The actual letter starts:
Last Thursday, Novell and Microsoft announced a new collaborative effort involving both licensing and technology. The Software Freedom Law Center has been following the situation, and as its CTO, I've held a particular interest in how it will impact Free Software developers. One result of the agreement, Microsoft's patent pledge to developers, has received significant interest from the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) development community. A careful examination of Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Non-Compensated Developers reveals that it has little value.
(Emphasis mine)

Re:Enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798970)

> At best all of this is blind supposition and wasted mental bandwidth.

Welcome to Slashdot.

Patent Pledge for Hobbyist Contributors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798262)

For additional information on obtaining rights under Microsoft patents to contribute Your Original Work to an open source project, please see Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Hobbyist Contributors.


I can't seem to find this pledge for hobbyist contributors.

There's already a (correct) way to open a patent. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798316)

It's called 'dedicating' it. No restrictions.

It shows people people that your patent was only filed to prevent other people from patenting the idea and causing trouble. People tend to look very favorably on dedications.

For isolated, uncompensated, unimportant developer (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798320)

From the Bradley M. Kuhn's Letter [softwarefreedom.org] :

Microsoft has used this patent pledge to indicate that, in their view, the only good Free Software developer is an isolated, uncompensated, unimportant Free Software developer.

Groklaw also raised questions about Novell's deal [groklaw.net] :

Novell here is stepping outside the line of fire and agreeing with Microsoft that *end users* are the ones that you must go after in any patent infringement dispute. Shades of SCOsource. Thanks for nothing, Novell. More questions: When were Novell SUSE customers asked if they wished Novell to negotiate a agreement with Microsoft on their behalf? When were Novell SUSE customers asked about the terms of said agreement? What consideration does Microsoft get from Novell's customers? Does negotiating this agreement on Novell's customers' behalf indicate that Novell assumed Power of Attorney for their customers in this matter? Did Novell truly represent the best interest of their customers using Power of Attorney? Can Novell legally assume Power of Attorney for their customers without a written grant? Do Novell customers have the ability to "opt-out" of this agreement? Is this agreement binding on customers?

Re:For isolated, uncompensated, unimportant develo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16799470)

Speaking of SCO... Does Novell have any kind of claim to the allegedly stolen code that SCO said IBM put into Linux?

Re:For isolated, uncompensated, unimportant develo (1)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799856)

Can Novell legally assume Power of Attorney for their customers without a written grant? Do Novell customers have the ability to "opt-out" of this agreement? Is this agreement binding on customers?


To be fair, these are all stupid questions. The answers are obviously no, irrelevant, and no. A contract is not binding on you if any of the following are true:

  • you do not receive any benefits ("consideration") from it
  • you were not able to negotiate the terms in it
  • you never agreed to it

Re:For isolated, uncompensated, unimportant develo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16801208)

To be fair, these are all stupid questions.

No, not really. Novell is acting as if its Suse customers have granted Novell the Power of Attorney when, obviously, that never happened. The questions simply draw the attention to that fact.

Something of intrest and my $0.02 (1)

kaddeh (993301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798470)

I found that this blog [technet.com] was kind of interesting in the sense that it clears up a bunch of things that people are worried about. However, I think that at the same time, there are a lot of people going 'where the heck is the PROOF of the patients!?' I'd like to have SM give some of the patients that they claim are being infringed upon and then I might be willing to loosen up on the whole idea. At the same time however, I think that there is something that people have to realize, and that is, like it or not, there is going to be some changes in Novell, and I know that people are going to think that that would then mean that they are in Microsoft's pocket, there is nothing that can really support that as of now. I am going to take this whole thing with an open mind and at the same time, a dash of skepticism and a hint of hope that it is going to be different than before with other companies.

Re:Something of intrest and my $0.02 (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798506)

there is going to be some changes in Novell, and I know that people are going to think that that would then mean that they are in Microsoft's pocket
Yeah. Once upon a time people said the same about Macs though, in the pre-OSX days... It took a while, but look at what Apple did after that. I'm not a Mac user myself, but from the little I know, it looks like they did pretty well. Maybe thats what will happen here too.

huge number of patents (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798476)

here's some other information on MS patents http://www.s5h.net/linux_news_reader_article_5505. html [s5h.net] . MS seem to be getting patents in huge swarms right now. it's quite sickening. i think there should be new ammendments to prevent ms from applying for more patents. they are taking the piss, literally.

Re:huge number of patents (2, Insightful)

kie (30381) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798568)

> they are taking the piss, literally

no they are not literally taking the piss,
they are however patenting methods and means of urine extraction.

ignore all comments above, i should be sleeping

Re:huge number of patents (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799104)

from the link: "and the United States has made more leaps forward in information technology and biology [bushorchimp.com] because of a strong patent regime that rewarded ideas"

Yes, retrofitting. Dear poor relatives!

CC-

Patents don't protect that anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798528)

I thought that Patent Law did not apply to anything you produced yourself for yourself anyway. To my understanding it can only apply to what you give to others, i.e. it is the *transaction* that patent law protects against, not the base existence.

So, in other words, this "Patent Protection" clause is not only useless, but possibly fraud in trying to claim that without it they could sue you for work you did for yourself.

Erich Boleyn

You are stand correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798606)

You are stand correct. Useless story. Welcome to the Hellmouth, Slashdot U.S.A.

Re:Patents don't protect that anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16799152)

Alas, you are wrong. If you create something independently and use it only in your home, you could still be infringing. I doubt that any patent owner would sue you for that because they would not have much to gain if they cannot prove that they are being harm by your private usage of their patent, but in theory they could. They could claim that they have lost revenues because you didn't license their stuff.

Re:Patents don't protect that anyway - wrong (2, Insightful)

dmeranda (120061) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799500)

No. US Patent Law does not make any such distinction or exception for private home use. You can be infringing if you mass produce 100 billion copies to sell, or if you just "practice" the art in the privacy of you own home. Granted, the likelihood of any bad consequences for infringing (or even anyone finding out you're infringing) are not at all equal.

But I think this commonly held misconception might be one reason why the general public sees nothing wrong with patents...they think it only applies if you're trying to make money off the idea or running a company, e.g., it doesn't apply to them so why care. But a patent is an absolute abridgment of freedom, and really has nothing to do with money or intent at all, nor does it have anything to do with stealing (like copyright or trade secrets) as you can unknowingly infringe even if you thought up the idea all by yourself. Of course any legal remidies, actions, rewards, etc may be based on money and scale, but not the determination if you're guilty of infringement or not.

IANAL applies, but I have read through the US Law as best as I could understand it. If somebody more knowing than me knows something else, please be kind and point out exactly where in the law such distrinction is made because I can't find it.

The good news is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798594)

Hell is thawing.

Itsatrap AGAIN?! (0, Offtopic)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798652)

Can we mod down tags? This is getting ridiculous.

Patent Pledge for Hobbyist Contributors missing? (3, Interesting)

vojtech (565680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798702)

I, too, have been reading through the pledges at the Microsoft website, to figure out the exact wording and implications.

The "Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Non-Compensated Developers" is indeed rather useless, because it only covers creation and local use, and specifically excludes distribution.

The "Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to openSUSE.org" is also not interesting, since it covers the transfer of code from an author to SUSE, and only that and nothing else.

The "Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Hobbyist Contributors" is referenced from the above one. This should be the one that is covering the community distribution part. But is missing on the Microsoft website: Either it doesn't exist at all and the reference is a mistake, or there is a reason why it was left out from the web.

Has anyone managed to find it? Why Bradley Kuhn doesn't mention it?

Re:Patent Pledge for Hobbyist Contributors missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16798952)

I think it's clear that they meant to use "Non-Compensated Developers" instead of "Hobbyist Contributors" in that sentence, based on the pattern for describing the "Individual Contributors to openSUSE.org" provision they expect those developers to use. Although they bungled it again by referring elsewhere to "Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer" right before that. :) I bet they went through several revisions of that "pledge" and never bothered cleaning it up. But since the "Hobbyist" pledge doesn't exist, it can't be binding...hmmm.

Re:Patent Pledge for Hobbyist Contributors missing (0, Troll)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799494)

Haven't the fanbois here continually told us that MS would never sue anybody for patents and that they patents were for defensive purposes only? Where are those shills and astro turfers now?

Re:Patent Pledge for Hobbyist Contributors missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16800142)

How the bloody hell is this a troll??? (Except for the idiotic 1337 spelling of "fanboy".)

Re:Patent Pledge for Hobbyist Contributors missing (1)

Keeper (56691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800196)

It's a troll because the implication is that there are lawsuits when, in fact, there are not.

One question comes to mind, (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798930)

Is there a leper colony available to send bad/sick/naughty Linux companies to?

People need to vote with their pocketbook and put Novell out of business, ASAFP.

Re:One question comes to mind, (1)

LinuxIsRetarded (995083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799398)

Is there a leper colony available to send bad/sick/naughty Linux companies to?
How about your parents' basement? Or will that cramp your style?

Fixed headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16799040)

Microsoft "Worse Than Useless"

IANAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16799158)

Just out of curiousity, anyone have any real proof, like legal proof, of microsoft hurting open source developers? Or is this the typical fear mongering, conspiracy theory stuff that is normal slashdot?

By what right... (1)

Skiron (735617) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799192)

...does Microsoft determine if YOU are allowed to code at home/bedroom/cellar/tent/train ~ whatever and decide that what you code is theirs to make a judgement on and assume ownership?

What terrible arrogance.

So... (1)

a_karbon_devel_005 (733886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799610)

This seems rather much ado about nothing, from my uneducated glances over the wording.

Basically, this agreement is saying that Microsoft won't wield patents against those contributing software to OpenSuSE until after the Microsoft-Novell deal runs out or you try to wield patents against MS themselves.

But, really, what was the situation before? Either you wrote software that DIDN'T violate MS patents, or you DID and just hoped like hell that they wouldn't use their patents to sue you. There is a false sense of security in violating MS patents because there is a perceived "MAD" policy of MS's patent farms versus IBM/Novell/etc.'s patents, but, realistically, there's no saying they'd come to your rescue if you contributed something to an open source project.

So really, how does this change the strategy of contributing to linux through open source projects or the kernel itself? Either don't violate patents or hope they won't wield them against you. Either route you choose hasn't been closed by this agreement between Microsoft and Novell.

Trying to trap people into getting sued (1)

News Is Good For Me! (896325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799724)

If M$ wanted to help, they would deregister the patents. You will get sued, period.

I've said it befoe and I'll say it again (1)

jbertling1960 (982188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799792)

Please name one company, group, organization, or institution which has partnered with Microsoft which did not end up getting screwed. Among the losers, IBM, Stac and Sybase come immediately to mind.

This is why software patents are stupid (1)

NullProg (70833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16799862)

According to Kuhn: 'The patent covenant only applies to software that you develop at home and keep for yourself; the promises don't extend to others when you distribute.

You know, I can build anything damn thing I want to with my Craftsman tool set and sell it. Sears has never had to promise that they won't sue me. I can even build, sell, and distribute competing products as long as its done under a different brand name.

Microsoft seems to be forgetting all those nice shareware programs built for Windows that added value to the platform (Paintshop, Pkzip, TextPad etc). I wonder if those applications would have been written if the Programmers thought they were going be sued by distributing them.

Enjoy,

Re:This is why software patents are stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16800856)

Not if you build something that is covered by someone else's patent... then you are only allowed to build it for yourself. Craftsman sells a couple of unique adjustable wrenches - try and manufacture and sell copies of them under your own name and see what happens.

Doesn't matter about the tools you used to make the infringing product. MS is going to claim that the very features inherent in a Unix-like O/S (and any significant applications) infringe on it's patents.

Hmmm, why do this now? (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800090)

Why now, at this point in time are Linux developers being threatened in this way? Why not last year? Why not two, five years ago?

I reckon they are terrified about Vista... They're terrified it'll be a dead loss with millions jumping ship to Linux. They're trying to fence of Linux from their ex-customers in advance of it's release.

 

Has Microsoft Ever Sued Someone Over a Patent? (1)

RappinTonyG (697324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800302)

I know MS lawyers have claimed that Microsoft has never sued someone over Patent infringement unless it was a counter suit. In other words, I believe it is MS policy to use patents as a defense. The only reason they even need to use it as a defense is they are a huge target due to their large bank accounts. This is not to say they don't license patents if someone wishes to license them, and it's not to say their policy will never change. In fact Bill Gates however has spoken out for patent reform to reduce the patent trolling. While MS certainly seems to love the DMCA and Copyright law, I don't believe they love patents as much as everyone seems to think they do.
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