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Microsoft, Sue Me First

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-meee dept.

Microsoft 349

corigo writes "Supporters of free and open source solutions have thrown down the gauntlet at Microsoft's feet. Christian Einfeldt of Digital Tipping Point says 'Sue Me First,' and he's not alone. More and more people are signing up and challenging Microsoft to put their lawyers where their mouth is. The open source community is far from running scared. Will Microsoft step up to the plate, or are they just continuing a scare campaign with no real ability to leverage the patents they claim open source is infringing?"

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349 comments

...hmm (5, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215041)

Microsoft: O.K.

Re:...hmm (3, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215099)

OOH! OOH! Sue me too!

Re:...hmm (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215319)

Dingo: You must sue her well, and after you are done with her, you may deal with her as you like... and then... sue me.
All: And me. And me too. And me.
Dingo: Yes. Yes, you must give us all a good suing.

Re:...hmm (5, Funny)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215451)

you must give us all a good suing.

I guess sudoing would be OK as well...

Oh, wait...

what happened to the interesting tags? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215383)

Slashdot now moderates tags? and gets rid of tags like: whocares, yes, no, flaimbait ?

let me be the first to say: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215047)

as an open source software user, i back christian einfeldt completely.

sue him first, pls.

fp btw!

Re:let me be the first to say: (5, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215171)

as an open source software user, i back christian einfeldt completely.

sue him first, pls.

Spoken like a true Anonymous Coward!

- RG>

Re:let me be the first to say: (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215659)

fp btw!

Whatever value your post may have had has just been completely negated.

Piss off the bear enough. (1, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215053)

He just might eat you.

Dangerous game we are playing, calling their bluff. The stakes are pretty damned high.

Not really. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215109)

If MS had strong infringement claims, they would have named them years ago. The fact they're pulling a SCO-esque FUD campaign means that these supposed infringements are questionable at best, and can be challenged, at which point prior art will probably be found. If not, they can be coded around. In all cases, MS is pretty much spent once it's named these supposed infringements, which is why they won't do so publically. Their strategy is a combination of public FUD and private protection-money shakedowns. Calling their bluff is exactly the right thing to do.

Re:Not really. (5, Insightful)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215169)

Microsoft isn't going to sue some open source hobbyist that doesn't really have much to sue for. They will sue if anyone, with open or closed source products, poses an actual threat to their monopoly. It would be impossible to build any type of new software without infringing on some of Microsoft patents. Whether or not they would be upheld in court is a different matter, but it would be enough to prevent a small group of programmers from threatening their cash flow.

Re:Not really. (4, Interesting)

killjoe (766577) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215333)

"Whether or not they would be upheld in court is a different matter, but it would be enough to prevent a small group of programmers from threatening their cash flow."

Apparently not because the small developers are daring MS to sue them.

I see this going the way of lindows. Ms sues Lindows. Lindows challenges Ms trademark. Ms knows they are going to lose. Ms pays lindows a bunch of money to withdraw their suit.

The way I see it Ms will sue and then pay the people they are suing in exchange for dropping their challenge to Ms patents.

This could be a good money making scheme and I think Ms is stupid enough to actually take these people up on their dare.

Re:Not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215497)

Suppose that Microsoft does hold some legit patents that are being infringed, this will force the supposed patent violations out into the open, and they will be coded around. No more of this oh-yeah-we're-talking-to-the-distributors secrecy BS, call their bluff, and if they aren't lying, at least we know how to beat em next time.

High? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215245)

You mean rewrite or drop infringing projects? Sounds like cleaning house to me. Someone said something about the likelihood that Samba would hit in this and how that would actually be beneficial. I'm kind of seeing these developments like that now myself. Samba is awesome because it lets us play with our Windows systems nicer. But the Windows technology we are trying to play with is pretty crumby really, maybe Linux *and* Windows users would benefit from someone getting an itch to scratch?

What I think is a little funny is how close on the heels of the SCO debacle this is. I mean, they bankrolled that, personally I'd at least wait a year or something.

Re:Piss off the bear enough. (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215375)

Not particularly dangerous. It depends on how deep your pockets are.

My net worth is very negative and I'm unemployed (but a full time student) at the moment. Have fun getting your judgement which I'll never pay.

Re:Piss off the bear enough. (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215585)

Have fun with having any possible income you may ever in the future make secured automatically for Microsoft. Doesn't that sound like fun, being permanently poor with little to no chance to ever get out of it?

Re:Piss off the bear enough. (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215699)

Whew, good thing that isn't legally possible, or he might actually have to worry.

Re:Piss off the bear enough. (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215709)

having any possible income you may ever in the future make secured automatically for Microsoft.

well, not if he lives (now, or in the future) in Florida, California, overseas, or a few others.

If I did it [wikipedia.org]
Legal experts theorized that Simpson might be able to avoid paying the Goldmans or Browns any money. "I think it's going to be difficult if [Simpson] arranges to have [book profits] deposited abroad," said lawyer Tom Mesereau, who successfully defended Michael Jackson in his child molestation trial in 2005. "It's one thing to enforce a judgment in America, and another to enforce it overseas."

I am not so sure (was:Piss off the bear enough) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215417)

Piss off the bear enough... He just might eat you.
I am not so sure if I want a blow job from a bear.

Re:Piss off the bear enough. (1)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215605)

Are you an MS employee paid to post on sites like this to try to "improve" their image? Seriously? I would like to know. How are the "stakes pretty damned high"? If MS had any real, tangible claims they would have not made this FUD release. Instead we would have heard in the news that MS sues x,y and z.

MS is the lousiest poker player in the world, no bluff what so ever.

Re:Piss off the bear enough. (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215695)

1 - no im not
2 - regardless of who wins, the stakes ARE high. We are talking about basic freedoms here. Not just some IP thing. Think outside the box here.
3 - time will tell who wins i dont think its going to blow over this time. Microsoft on one side trying to screw us, RIAA on the other. Its going to get ugly before it gets better.

Re:Piss off the bear enough. (1)

rozz (766975) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215669)

Piss off the bear enough. He just might eat you.
or he may die trying ... looks to me the stakes are higher for the big bear.
and anyway .. nowadays, there is quite a scarcity of causes worth fighting for .. the fight against software patents sounds like a worthy one to me.

so .. to quote the Chief Idiot Officer ... Bring Them On!

So it begins (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215061)

Begun, the patent war has.

Sue me, sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215063)

But for God's sake, spare me the slashdotting.

The answer is... (4, Funny)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215069)

A: Will Microsoft step up to the plate...

B: or are they just continuing a scare campaign with no real ability to leverage the patents they claim open source is infringing?

I'll take B for all the money in the world, Bob.

Re:The answer is... (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215309)

I'll take B for all the money in the world, Bob.

ARE YOU CRAZY??? MS lawyers I can handle, but don't tempt them to bring out Bob.

Re:The answer is... (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215323)

or are they just continuing a scare campaign with no real ability to leverage the patents they claim open source is infringing?

I see no reason to think they don't have (legally) valid patents that open software infringes, or that they wouldn't be able to defend them in court.

Re:The answer is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215459)

I'd pick B, because it's got reconstituted onions.
I've been working on the tomato, myself. Got 'em shrunk down to the size of a garden pea. I've got three or four hundred of them right here in my pocket...

The official first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215081)

Um...uh...down with Microsoft! Am I modded up yet?

Re:The official first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215151)

Crap! I wasn't the first post after all! I just got schooled in the world wide typing race. Oh well, maybe next article...

Does this "challenge" have any legal significance? (4, Interesting)

Palmyst (1065142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215091)

I remember stories about McDonalds and Disney taking aggressive action to defend their exclusive rights even against small-time infringers with the justification that refraining to sue could have been construed as abandoning their trademark. So, if microsoft does not sue these people, would it be tantamount to abandoning their right to sue later, or is it all just a bunch of meaningless hot air?

Re:Does this "challenge" have any legal significan (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215139)

It's fud vs bca (bravery, certainty and assurance). This is about bed patents rather than good trademarks, so you're just a little off base here. These guys are essentially talking big in the hopes that their big brother (FSF) will step in and cover the checks their asses can't cash. It's kinda childish, but Microsoft has that effect on otherwise normal people.

Re:Does this "challenge" have any legal significan (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215161)

This is about bed patents rather than ...

sorry, should be "BAD patents". As far as I know none of them are in the bedding industry.

Re:Does this "challenge" have any legal significan (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215155)

I remember stories about McDonalds and Disney taking aggressive action to defend their exclusive rights even against small-time infringers with the justification that refraining to sue could have been construed as abandoning their trademark. So, if microsoft does not sue these people, would it be tantamount to abandoning their right to sue later, or is it all just a bunch of meaningless hot air?


IANAL, and you shouldn't rely on this as legal advice, YMMV, etc.:

It might affect their ability to sue the particular people for reasons unrelated to abandonment (statutes of limitations, laches, and various estoppel theories), especially if it can be shown that Microsoft knew about the particular facts that it would allege are violations by the particular users early on and didn't act.

It probably won't affect their ability to sue other people, though.

But trademarks are very different from copyrights, and there is nothing in copyright similar to abandoning a trademark. Trademarks are protected based largely on use, copyrights are not.

Re:Does this "challenge" have any legal significan (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215533)

And Microsoft's claims are about patents, not copyright or trademarks. Remember, the term "intellectual property" is nothing more than a fiction designed to confuse people about the patent/copyright/trademark trio.

Re:Does this "challenge" have any legal significan (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215741)

When it comes to patents Ms has an obligation to inform the infringer and give them a chance to either license or work around the problem. They have to duty to try and minimize damage to them.

Re:Does this "challenge" have any legal significan (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215215)

Patents don't have to be enforced vigorously to be lost. In fact, the ActiveX interactive patent holder has gone on record as saying he will not pursue cases against Mozilla or Opera, only Microsoft.

Copyright is, more or less, the same.

Trademarks, however, are simply a word or two that is up to the company to promote. There's plenty of cases were trademarks have "expired" into the public lexicon, like escalator.

Re:Does this "challenge" have any legal significan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215421)

You remember that hamas mickey mouse knockoff video that was making the rounds a few weeks ago? The one with a mickey-mouse like character encouraging kids to kill the jews? Disney knew about it and didn't sue. They said it was to avoid bringing attention to it, but it might be because they hate jews too.

Re:Does this "challenge" have any legal significan (2, Interesting)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215611)

would you want to sue an organisation that routinely blows people up?

i'd think its a bloody smart idea to leave dealing with those guys to those with the protection of governement (cops, armed forces etc) if you value your life.

They snooze they lose (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215641)

The doctrine of laches says you lose the right to sue if you don't do so promptly. In terms of patents, you can't delay suing just to wait until you can extract maximum damages. You will probably be left with nothing.

"Laches is an equitable defense, or doctrine, in an action at law. The person invoking laches is asserting that an opposing party has "slept on its rights", and that, as a result of this delay, that other party is no longer entitled to its original claim. Put another way, failure to assert one's rights in a timely manner can result in claims being barred by laches. Laches is a form of estoppel for delay. In Latin,

        Vigilantibus non dormientibus æquitas subvenit.
        Equity aids the vigilant, not the negligent (that is, those who sleep on their rights). "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laches_(equity) [wikipedia.org]

easiest ways to get Microsoft to sue you.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215105)

Start posting Windows serials on your blog.

Re:easiest ways to get Microsoft to sue you.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215509)

Serials are for kiddies. This [rapidshare.com] will mark as genuine any copied Windows XP or 2003. It's reliable (no additional programs, no cracks) and it's permanent.

To MS Lawyers: no, I didn't uplod it. It's a widely known trick everybody can find on the net. Just google for mgadiag+keyfinder and it'll give hundreds of pages all related to this trick.

Why would they bother? (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215119)

They're getting one hell of a cartload of free publicity, just after the release of their new OS, and projects like the One Laptop Per Child (which runs Linux but does not run Windows) are dependent for survival on orders that have not yet been placed. Intel's legally-questionable pressure on OLPC at the same time as this FUD may be part of a cooperative effort to destroy serious competition in new markets. It wouldn't be the first Wintel effort to crush rivals with anti-competitive actions, if that is what it is.

(I'm looking at OLTP, because that's a worldwide non-Microsoft venture that could seriously dent Microsoft revenue in growing markets and because it's the biggest event due any time soon. Microsoft's FUD is generally not random but very purposeful and has a specific goal in mind. There simply isn't another goal on a comparable scale on any kind of near-term timeframe.)

There are a few other avenues that Linux could be doing well in, but Microsoft is growing faster in the server market despite inferior performance, reliability or security, and that's the only other area Linux and Microsoft have any serious rivalry at this time. Linux could be doing well on the desktop, but not while it is playing catch-up. It would have to invent a whole new metaphor before it could seriously threaten Microsoft in the home market.

Can you force someone to sue you? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215123)

Is there actually a legal way to tell them to "put up or shut up"?

Re:Can you force someone to sue you? (5, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215277)

Is there actually a legal way to tell them to "put up or shut up"?


Sort of: someone who would be guilty of infringement if the patent claims Microsoft is asserting were true and has reasonable apprehension of a lawsuit could themselves bring suit for declaratory judgement.

It also may be possible that a suit could be brought for defamation by someone adversely affected by the claims; that would be a harder case to advance, but carries the possibility of actual damages.

Pretty much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215501)

I was going to post that, but it looks about right to me. Of course, IANAL.

Of course, getting a declaratory judgment may be hard because they later said they wouldn't sue. They're just going to go around to companies and quietly hit them up for cash / make them avoid Linux. Shouldn't be too hard because they'll likely have other deals with them (e.g. volume license agreements) they can rake them over the coals with. The patents themselves are just a scare tactic. If you have a clever enough lawyer, they might very well be able to get you out of all this, especially given that software patents should be a lot weaker thanks to the Teleflex ruling.

That said, suing customers just isn't good business (think SCO) and any competitors they might want to tangle with would be able to fight back thanks to OIN and other patent trusts defending Linux. Yeah, they could tie us up with decades of litigation, but it wouldn't do them much good. If they want to do that for shock value, they'd use intermediaries like SCO, I think. And we know how well that's working out...

At least, that's my take on it, but I can't claim any special knowledge.

Do not want! (3, Insightful)

DuranDuran (252246) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215129)

Microsoft doesn't want to step up the plate - they don't want to solidify their claims. They want to create in the midns of existing and potential Microsoft products that Linux and assorted alternatives are too risky to switch towards. Patents this week, usability next week, compatability the week after. This is not a game about patents, this is a game of unobservable quality and obfuscating the quality determination process. "What if there really are problems with Linux? Maybe it isn't the good solution I've heard it is? Best to stick with Microsoft, the lemon/devil I know".

This may sound like a troll, but it really is not: in my opinion, Linux enthusiasts crying, "sue me first!" creates in the mind of traditional business people the idea that such enthusiasts are risk-seeking. Not everyone wants to be associated with a risk-seeker.

Re:Do not want! (5, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215381)

This may sound like a troll, but it really is not: in my opinion, Linux enthusiasts crying, "sue me first!" creates in the mind of traditional business people the idea that such enthusiasts are risk-seeking. Not everyone wants to be associated with a risk-seeker.

On the other hand, if Linux just sat back and let Microsoft dish out the patent threats, companies might not want to be associated with the threat of lawsuits. Damned if they do, damned if they don't, basically.

At least this way, Linux is trying to head the FUD off at the pass, before real damage can be done. And if I was a decision maker, I'd view it as a mark of confidence in a product if they're willing to stand up to Microsoft.

MS is really going after the end user (1)

aalobode (758863) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215387)

While admiring the spirit of opposition to MSFT, it's worth remembering that MSFT' s strategy is to go to the end user and cut a deal involving royalties. By sowing enough fear in the minds of corporate consumers of FOSS, MSFT will get them to come to the table. The producers of open source code are not the target -- they don't buy much, if anything, of what MSFT has to sell. But, such producers would react very similarly to MSFT if someone violated the GPL. Would that not be copyright enforcement?

Just because the lawsuits are frivolous... (1)

Gogl (125883) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215149)

...doesn't mean Microsoft won't go through with them, and doesn't mean they won't be a major PITA for whoever ends up being the target. "Sue me first" is cute but an unwise idea. That said, I doubt it'll make any difference, as I'm sure their lawyers will line up whatever targets are strategically optimal (e.g. highest payoff with best chance of success), not random people on blogs who are asking for lawsuits.

Re:Just because the lawsuits are frivolous... (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215391)

Just because the lawsuits are frivolous...
I don't recall anyone, well anyone apart from the odd slashdotter, chuckling when Microsoft got their clock cleaned in the Eolas suit, despite the silliness of the suit, all the prior art and all the support they received from the industry. For a small to medium sized company a patent decision against you could well be the end. So I would say there is very little frivolity involved in facing a patent action.

If Microsoft DID have a case... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215157)

Wouldn't it have been pointed out in the Lindows case? I mean if Lindows is stealing patents AND your trademark, wouldn't it be an open and shut case?

Obligatory quote... (4, Insightful)

Vexler (127353) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215159)

"I AM SPARTACUS!!!"

Let's see whether Microsoft runs out of cruciforms first or the Open Source community runs out of people first.

It's on.

Whoa! (1)

Balinares (316703) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215473)

Let's see whether Microsoft runs out of cruciforms first...

You know, that's both the most insightful and the most disturbing metaphor I've ever heard about this issue thus far.

Re:Obligatory quote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215653)

I'm Spartacus and so's my wife!

Waste of Money (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215201)

Should use the money to buy Sealand [sealandgov.org], where there is no copyright, trademark or patent law.

copyright, trademark or patent law (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215275)

And eventually, no network conection to the rest of the world.

They CAN be cut off. So unless you actually live there, the lack of IP 'rights' wont mean much.

I For One, Welcome Our New Linux Overlords! (5, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215221)

Actually, I think this is great. People standing up and telling Microsoft to shove it.

For too long Microsoft has bullied and intimidated. They have monopolized, stolen code (remember the Stacker lawsuit?), and tried to dominate the entire world. Sadly, they did pretty well at it.

But now, Linux is, IMHO, ready for the general user and the common desktop. It doesn't require the skills that it once did thanks to Gnome and KDE. For most people, web browsing, reading e-mail, and processing word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, Linux looks and feels pretty damn close to Windows - but has added enhancements, has better security, and is far cheaper to own.

I'm sure these latest developments, with Dell offering Ubuntu, Vista being bad-mouthed by gamers and office users alike, and open sourcers far and wide mocking Microsoft and it's chair-throwing flunkie, Bill and company are just a wee tad worried.

Re:I For One, Welcome Our New Linux Overlords! (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215701)

I wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft sue Dell once the first Dellbuntu machine gets shipped.

Asshole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215223)

First anybody is going to do something like this, learn to write. Any CxO reading that is going to think we're all semi-literate morons and it's hard to out-moron the CxO crowd.

Secondly, I'm sure nobody asked this fool to poke the tiger on their behalf. If any individual wants to pick a fight they can't win alone, go to a freeway and pick a fight with a speeding truck instead of risking the hard work and livelihoods of others.

Pre-emptive Class Action Lawsuit (5, Interesting)

Timoteo47 (1080787) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215235)

The open source community should call Microsoft's bluff and file a pre-emptive class action lawsuit. The lawsuit would basically challenge the court to decide whether or not Linux and other open source projects violate Microsoft's patents. This has been done before when a company is under threat of lawsuit, they preemptively ask the court to decide if what they are doing is legal. This removes the cloud of a potential lawsuit so that the threatened company can conduct business. Of course you would want to file the lawsuit in Federal court in San Francisco.

Re:Pre-emptive Class Action Lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215671)

Who is going to pay the attorneys? You'd get no award by winning, so you can't go with a contingency based payment.

Microsoft Has To Sue (-1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215243)

Because if they don't protect their copyrights, they lose the ability to enforce them.

I do believe them there are the rules.

Re:Microsoft Has To Sue (-1, Offtopic)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215267)

Er, I meant patents. ...sigh...

But seriously - if Microsoft does not try to enforce their patent claims and protect them, they lose the ability.

Re:Microsoft Has To Sue (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215317)

You do not lose patents by not enforcing them , that's trademarkls. Really, how difficult is it to educate yourself a little bit about intellectual property, even just a little bit? Most of the stupid stories and subsequent comments would cease to exist if this would occur. Until then, please do us all a favor and stop posting on these stories until you've become more familiar with the issue. You can do your small part to make the dream of intelligent Slashmoneky posts a reality.

Re:Microsoft Has To Sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215379)

"Most of the stupid stories and subsequent comments would cease to exist if this would occur."

As would all the ad impressions. Your id# suggests you've been around a while; you still havent figured out what slashdot is all about?

Re:Microsoft Has To Sue (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215721)

So you are saying that people do not educate themselves and make idiotic comments so that /. gets more ad impressions?

Re:Microsoft Has To Sue (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215427)

you're just a little confused. Patents don't have that restriction, it's time based. You're thinking of trademarks and calling them copyright. A trademark is a brand, a copyright is something written, and a patent covers an invention. The question is "Is software more invention or more of a written work?". As someone that has written software I believe it is something written or authored.

Why sue when you can Deny Service? (3, Funny)

lpq (583377) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215263)

Seems the site is a bit swamped...must be all the people signing up to be sued...

MS - I dare you to sue IBM first.... (1)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215297)

MS is just jealous that IBM's stock price almost caught up to MS's. Those evil people at IBM, turning OpenSource into a business model! The Battle Royale will be MS vs. IBM. The good news is that IBM is good at this game and has already played it with SCO. Hmmmm.. what shape SCO is in these days.... can you say "DELISTED"? I knew that you could... :)

Re:MS - I dare you to sue IBM first.... (2, Informative)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215515)

MS is just jealous that IBM's stock price almost caught up to MS's

At close of market today, IBM's market capitalization was 158.94 billion Dollars. Microsoft's was 297.05 billion. Your definition of "almost" is rather loose.

Re:MS - I dare you to sue IBM first.... (2, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215743)

How does it feel to be fringe?

MS doesn't have an open source business model. They have a "we'll give you almost anything if you pay us" business model.

You also should know that back in the 70s and 80s IBM had a multistory building full of lawyers for the sole purpose of fighting the US government. SCO is nothing.

BTW. IBM's market cap (source) [yahoo.com] is $159 US billion. Microsoft's is $297 US billion. Neither company could possibly litigate until their opponent went out of business.

Mark Shuttleworth take on the MS Linux lawsuit (5, Interesting)

f0dder (570496) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215325)

from digg.. Much has been written about Microsoft's allegation of patent infringements in Linux (by which I'm sure they mean GNU/Linux ;-) ). I don't think Microsoft is the real threat, and in fact, I think Microsoft and the Linux community will actually end up fighting on the same side of this issue. .... And I'm pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents. Why? Because Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity. They can't sit on the sidelines of the software game - they actually have to ship new products. And every time they do that, they risk stepping on a patent landmine. They are a perfect target - they have deep pockets, and they have no option but to negotiate a settlement, or go to court, when confronted with a patent suit... Read the rest here. http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/118 [markshuttleworth.com]

The memory comment was by Ken Olsen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215349)

It was Ken Olsen of Digital Equipment who back in my day said 512kb (I think he said 512) was more memory than would ever be needed, to parahprase. Bill Gates was never noted as saying any such thing as far as I recall. I'm shocked the article author didn't know this as it's pretty well known.

Re:The memory comment was by Ken Olsen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215547)

really fucking shocking!!!11111

First they came for the ... (3, Insightful)

Fox_1 (128616) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215419)

First they came for the Hackers, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Hacker. Then they came for Novell, and I didn't speak up, because I don't use Novell. Then they came for the Linux Users, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Windows user. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.

Poker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215429)

When you play poker, you can have a Full House, bluff or buy the pot.
M$ doesn't have to have a Full House nor do they have to bluff. With their money, you can pay them or the attorneys. Which do you think would be cheaper in the long run?
Until someone can afford to give them a bloody nose, M$ and the rest of the school yard bullies will rule.

Re:Poker (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215625)

It may be true that Microsoft can run any individual open source company into the ground, but if every company that uses linux were to contribute to the legal fund it would be a real fight. Think of Microsoft against Google (who uses TONS of open source and is developing products that could fall under MS patents), Novell, IBM, Sun, MySQL, Redhat, Mozilla, etc. Add to that the open source developers not associated with the above companies (maybe they couldn't do the money, but that's a lot of eyes and hands for manipulating code).

If the open source community's smart about it, and if a competent first opponent is chosen (ie someone that will ask for help and put up a good defense), this could be the first catastrophic blow to the Windows monopoly.

RE: jakshamesh! (2, Interesting)

LaurieDash (983898) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215461)

Microsoft may well step up but that does not mean they want to. I believe they are intending to scare the open source community, which will in turn (however subconsciously) affect the future open source development. Not insulting the open source community's intelligence in any way, i'm just saying when a developer is working on a new feature they're gonna have this threat in the back of their mind and may choose to make less inovative choices due to this threat, no matter how "fuck you" they think they are. I find this all the more interesting after the article about who really owns linuz trademarks [slashdot.org] and mozilla's financial success [slashdot.org]. I mean who really gets sued?

This could be a dangerous bluff (2, Interesting)

DukeLinux (644551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215481)

Remember, that in America at least, court cases are generally won by money not truth. On television, people win court cases on merit. Frankly, Micro$oft can throw in a few attorney's to fud things up and confuse the judge, then throw in a bribe or two to close the deal. It really is not relevant if M$ has any patents or not. They have money...like O.J. did.

Just ignore this (5, Funny)

dgun (1056422) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215485)

How many SUSE using Susie's could Microsoft sue If Microsoft could sue SUSE using Susie's who sell sea shells down by the sea shore?

Answer: None. I think.

Hey, is it just me... (1)

SmoothTom (455688) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215517)

Hey, is it just me or did we manage to /. the "Sue me first" site? Their server seems to be curled up fetal on the bottom of the rack right now. Good job guys.

--Tomas

Sparticus (2, Funny)

rgravina (520410) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215613)

I'm Sparticus! No, I'm Sparticus!

(OK, so they aren't searching for someone in particular but close enough).

Open Source is covered under fair use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19215705)

All of open source is a satire of M$ work. The fact that it happens to do the job is secondary to the commentary inherent in the fact that it often does the job better than a multibillion dollar corporation.

Of course, that's copyright fair use... I don't know what the rule is for satirical patent violators...

Public Record? (1)

ScaryMonkey (886119) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215745)

I could be dead wrong about this, but aren't patents a matter of public record? Couldn't someone just look up all the patents held by Microsoft and try to identify which ones are being "infringed" upon?

Honorary 'Stig' (2, Informative)

MrCreosote (34188) | more than 6 years ago | (#19215775)

I suggest that anyone who takes up Microsoft's offer of a patent license, henceforth be labeled a 'Stig', in honor of Stig O'Tracy from Monty Pythons 'Piranha Brothers' Sketch

Presenter Another man who had his head nailed to the floor was Stig O' Tracey.
        Cut to another younger more cheerful man on sofa.
Interviewer Stig, I've been told Dinsdale Piranha nailed your head to the floor.
Stig No, no. Never, never. He was a smashing bloke. He used to give his mother flowers and that. He was like a brother to me.
Interviewer But the police have film of Dinsdale actually nailing your head to the floor.
Stig Oh yeah, well - he did that, yeah.
Interviewer Why?
Stig Well he had to, didn't he? I mean, be fair, there was nothing else he could do. I mean, I had transgressed the unwritten law.
Interviewer What had you done?
Stig Er... Well he never told me that. But he gave me his word that it was the case, and that's good enough for me with old Dinsy. I mean, he didn't want to nail my head to the floor. I had to insist. He wanted to let me off. There's nothing Dinsdale wouldn't do for you.
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