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IBM Grants Universal and Perpetual Access To IP

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the free-at-last dept.

IBM 118

StonyandCher writes "IBM is making it easier to utilize its patented intellectual property to implement nearly 200 standards in the SOA, Web services, security and other spaces. Under a pledge issued by the company Wednesday, IBM is granting universal and perpetual access to intellectual property that might be necessary to implement standards designed to make software interoperable. IBM will not assert any patent rights to its technologies featured in these standards. The company believes its move in this space is the largest of its kind."

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Good first step... (0, Troll)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835631)

The logical second step would be to Open Source their offerings, so developers can enhance them without fear. Will Lotus Notes on Linux be open sourced? What about Websphere? Mere lifting of patent threats on XML, SOAP etc. is only a half-hearted measure.

Still, it is quite a big step in the right direction though, kudos to IBM for that!

Re:Good first step... (5, Insightful)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835673)

Yes, because Open Source is the answer to everything!

How is it "logical" that IBM needs to open up their commercial products to entrench service standards? The standards should stand on their own. Open source products can embrace them regardless if commercial software remains closed.

Re:Good first step... (5, Insightful)

tutwabee (758134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835683)

I agree. It is a big enough step for a large IT corporation such as IBM to freely open up so much of their intellectual property. These standards can be used by open source applications now. That is what really matters when it comes to open source and this issue.

Re:Good first step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837293)

Strange. When Jon Schwartz argued this years ago back when he was still CTO at Sun, arguing that its about open standards, he was flamed to death.

Re:Good first step... (5, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835715)

The standards should stand on their own. Open source products can embrace them regardless if commercial software remains closed.

The biggest and most commonly used 'product' to develop SOA-compliant applications is the JBoss stack - JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite, JEMS for short. It is open source, and uses the Rosetta ESB for building SOA apps.

Despite it's open source nature, RedHat is making a pile of money on JBoss - from training, certifications, consulting, site implementations etc. In fact RedHat makes over a billion dollars a year, based purely on Open Source offerings. Commercial success and Open Source offerings aren't mutually exclusive - if IBM really believes in the Open Source philosophy, they ought to make their offerings Open Source, else they risk dwindling mindshare.... and unltimately marketshare as well.

Re:Good first step... (4, Insightful)

suzerain (245705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835779)

Please how explain how open source automatically translates to "mindshare". I don't really see the link, but I'm interested in hearing your thoughts behind that assertion.

IMO, there are certainly advantages (as well as disadvantages) to being open source (depending on the project), but either way I think mindshare has a whole hell of a lot more to do with marketing than the open/closed nature of your product.

Re:Good first step... (4, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835821)

Please how explain how open source automatically translates to "mindshare". I don't really see the link, but I'm interested in hearing your thoughts behind that assertion.

I thought it was obvious. Why is Microsoft finding it difficult to retain "Devleopers, Developers and Developers"? Because their philosophy is Closed Source, and developers like to control their entire development environment - from the IDE to the compiler, to the authentication mechanism, the security model, the protocols, port numbers etc. Merely unencumbering a standard from patemts is only half the battle won - people will flock to an implementation of said standard that is patent unencumbered AND Open source at the same time.

Open sourcing a platform like Websphere or a collabarative suite like Lotus Notes will not be a commercial disaster, like the bloke who modded my original post 'Troll' seems to believe.

Re:Good first step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835943)

Heh, the first time I heard the term "mindshare" was at an IBM employee roadshow where the presenter was extoling the wonders of seibel but seemingly clueless as to what seibel was. It took our programming team six months to cut through the bullshit spamming our inboxes and find out it was mearly a set of tools looking for a problem to solve.

OTOH: I laughed 10yrs ago when Lou Gerstner said: "All code has been written, it just needs to be managed".

Re:Good first step... (2, Insightful)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836581)

"Because their philosophy is Closed Source, and developers like to control their entire development environment..."

Don't think so. I believe it's because MS produces crappy products, closed or otherwise. Open source is littered with the bodies of crappy products. Being open source, shouldn't they have garnered "mind share"?

"Open sourcing a platform like Websphere or a collabarative suite like Lotus Notes will not be a commercial disaster, like the bloke who modded my original post 'Troll' seems to believe."

Nor will not open sourcing them.

Re:Good first step... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837227)

WebSphere might be salvageable by stripping out some of those proprietary add-ons. Lotus Notes however would have 0 developers.

Re:Good first step... (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837921)

Why is Microsoft finding it difficult to retain "Devleopers, Developers and Developers"? Because their philosophy is Closed Source, and developers like to control their entire development environment
Speak for yourself. I left because I didn't like having to may MS Press to get decent documentation.

Re:Good first step... (4, Funny)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835787)

So your position is that ultimately these companies need to completely open source all their current products, release all new products as F/OSS, and move over to the certification, consulting, and training for income model, or risk extinction? Companies have to be either entirely closed or entirely open? You can't mix-and-match based on market and product? I'll let IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft know they are ultimately doomed right away! F/OSS will overcome!

Re:Good first step... (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835837)

So your position is that ultimately these companies need to completely open source all their current products, release all new products as F/OSS, and move over to the certification, consulting, and training for income model, or risk extinction? Companies have to be either entirely closed or entirely open? You can't mix-and-match based on market and product? I'll let IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft know they are ultimately doomed right away! F/OSS will overcome!
Neither Oracle nor Microsoft seem to believe in the commercial prospects of Open source code. IBM have demonstrated in their support for the Linux kernel, and their defence in the SCO case, that they believe in Open Source being a big factor to their long term commercial success.

The threat of patents is only one of many risks facing open source developers, if it wants a major market share, IBM should take more similar steps - that is my position. I would not advocate a similar approach to enemies of Open Source like Oracle and Microsoft - if more companies like IBM adopt the Open source approach, the rest will be forgotten in less than a decade.

Re:Good first step... (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836469)

If you really think that then you are simply not paying attention. Oracle is very strongly getting behind open source as a platform to host it's applications both at the OS level and at the (java) application server level. Oracle makes it's money off of support rather than license fees (although those also cost an arm and a leg). So putting the Oracle RDBMS under the GPL would not be such a dire move for Oracle Corp as such a move would be for Microsoft.

There are also a number of key support pieces for the RDBMS that are supported as open source projects.

Re:Good first step... (2)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836711)

Oracle is very strongly getting behind open source as a platform to host it's applications both at the OS level and at the (java) application server level. Oracle makes it's money off of support rather than license fees (although those also cost an arm and a leg).

Oracle going open source? Colour me shocked, then! DB2, MS-SQL and Oracle are the only major closed source database blokes out there... and Oracle is the biggest of the bunch.

Some Oracle chap tried to speak about "Free Software" offerings from Oracle in a conference in Belfast... he was shouted down and asked to describe it as 'cost-less' instead. Oracle will get behind Open Source AFTER Duke Nukem gets released, AFTER hell freezes over, AFTER Ballmer stops distributing chairs. Not anytime soon.

Re:Good first step... (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838485)

Some Oracle chap tried to speak about "Free Software" offerings from Oracle in a conference in Belfast... he was shouted down and asked to describe it as 'cost-less' instead. Oracle will get behind Open Source AFTER Duke Nukem gets released, AFTER hell freezes over, AFTER Ballmer stops distributing chairs. Not anytime soon.
Or AFTER they lose their dominant market position.
And that could happen before Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:Good first step... (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836753)

Open source is cutting off their oxygen supply. It's just a matter of time really. How much do you think the profitability of the SQL server product fell when they started offering a basic version for free?

Like Photoshop (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837553)

Their free offering is like the pirated copies of Photoshop. It's there to get users who could never buy their products become familiar with it. The big guys didn't drop the commercial version for the free one and when the small shops become big ones, they'll hopefully move to the expensive offering.

Re:Good first step... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835811)

In fact RedHat makes over a billion dollars a year
Nope, only $400M total revenue in their most recent year, and only $60M net income. Why make up exaggerated numbers when the real numbers still prove your point?

Re:Good first step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19836313)

The real numbers don't prove his point.

Re:Good first step... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835877)

Why the hell is the parent modded Troll? Looks like the mods are on crack these days.

Re:Good first step... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835883)

Note to mods: The 'Troll' modifier is not there to be used in lieu of '-1 Disagree'.

Re:Good first step... (-1, Offtopic)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836035)

note to anonymous cowards... moderation is not supposed to be whether you agree or not with the post... it's supposed to be whether the post actually contributes to the discussion and merits modding up. You're only supposed to mod posts down that are trolls, flamebait, offtopic, redundant (ie effectively repeats of earlier posts in the topic) or else you consider to be overrated because the previous mod was pushing their agenda. See the proper guidance notes here [slashdot.org]

Re:Good first step... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19836097)

moderation is not supposed to be whether you agree or not with the post...You're only supposed to mod posts down that are trolls, flamebait, offtopic, redundant (ie effectively repeats of earlier posts in the topic) or else you consider to be overrated because the previous mod was pushing their agenda.

Speaking of redundant...

Re:Good first step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19836415)

Speaking of redundant...
(Score:-1, Redundant)

Yeah, speaking of redundant. This would be funny, but if it was funny, it wouldn't be funny. Darn. Should've written "Speaking of funny...".

Re:Good first step... (1)

Stalus (646102) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836773)

In fact RedHat makes over a billion dollars a year, based purely on Open Source offerings.

That's nice and all, but a billion dollars is a small deal for IBM. Given their positions today, comparing IBM and RedHat's business models is amusing bar talk at best. Services are a low margin business and software sales are a high margin business. If there's no legal or strategic reason, and people are buying the product, there's no business reason to open source software. RedHat lives on an open source model because they legally have to.

Re:Good first step... (2, Informative)

Mark Imbriaco (133740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837329)

I'm sorry, but you're mistaken about how much revenue Redhat generates. The following quote is taken directly from the reported earnings from their most recent quarter:

"Total revenue for the quarter was $118.9 million, an increase of 42% from the year ago quarter and 7% from the prior quarter. Subscription revenue was $103.0 million, up 44% year-over-year and 7% sequentially." Net income for the quarter was $16.2 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, compared with $13.8 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, in the year ago quarter. Non-GAAP adjusted net income for the quarter was $33.7 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, after adjusting for stock compensation and tax expense as detailed in the tables below. This compares to non-GAAP adjusted net income of $28.0 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, in the year ago period.
(From: http://www.redhat.com/about/news/prarchive/2007/fi rstquarter.html [redhat.com] )

Re:Good first step... (2, Interesting)

beheaderaswp (549877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836311)

"How is it "logical" that IBM needs to open up their commercial products to entrench service standards? The standards should stand on their own. Open source products can embrace them regardless if commercial software remains closed."

It depends on your perspective.

On one hand, maintaining control over closed code creates a monopoly over the ability to *support* the product in question. While opensourcing the code creates competition in the support market.

So the question people should be asking relates to where you want the competition to be?

In other words, Redhat is successful because they support their product as well as or better than their competition, who also have access to the same source code as all other people who support the code. Microsoft, on the other hand, has the best support for their products, and all of the companies that support Microsoft products are reliant on Microsoft for technical information and patches. So there is limited competition in the market for support of Microsoft products, because support of Microsoft products, as a product, is controlled by Microsoft.

Just my opinion. The FOSS model is universally better.

Re:Good first step... (4, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835691)

If you live in a country with no IP protection, your point of view might make some sense, but IBM still makes plenty of money on software, so going fully open-source is unlikely, even if you believe it's the right thing to do. I think no other company but perhaps Sun has done as much for Linux and open-source as IBM, at least if you discount the Linux distro publishers. For some reason, Big Blue seems to have decided to side with the public good rather than fear open-source as most corporations do. I don't fully understand how a monster company like IBM can act like this, while virtually every other huge corporation out there seems to be guided by Dilbert's boss.

I agree with the kudos! Let's hope Big Blue can keep on proving that large corporations don't have to be evil!

Re:Good first step... (2, Insightful)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835749)

I'd go as far as saying that due to IBM's somewhat brave stance against the SCO bullshit, there might well of been no Linux had SCO decided to set up its case law on a less financial target.

Re:Good first step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835753)

Actually. IBM has done little for open source, other than being vocal and self-promoting. Sun on the other hand has earned a open source bad-boy reputation for doing good things; probably because of the gigant IBM PR submarine. I think Sun is on top with Novell second and Red Hat third. IBM was 6th?

Re:Good first step... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836515)

Sun is fickle. That's all there is to it.

As much as Sun might want to be our friend, it has the habit of changing it's mind far too frequently.

IBM doesn't have that problem. Generally you know where it stands and why.

Many of us have firsthand experience with the fruits of Sun's indecision.

Re:Good first step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19836637)

So it is OK for IBM to keep their important apps proprietary and still be praised for being "friends" of FOSS?
When they open source DB2, Lotus Notes, AIX may be I will take them seriously otherwise they are no different from Microsoft and Oracle.

Re:Good first step... (2, Informative)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837821)

So it is OK for IBM to keep their important apps proprietary and still be praised for being "friends" of FOSS?


Sure, unless you're Stallman or a Stallman disciple who think that all proprietary software is evil by nature and should be
eradicated from the face of the Earth. And even then, there's no good reason to not praise the contributions IBM have made to the F/L/OSS world, despite whatever objections you may have to their proprietary offerings.


When they open source DB2, Lotus Notes, AIX may be I will take them seriously otherwise they are no different from Microsoft and Oracle.


Except IBM have contributed thousands - if not millions - of lines of code, and hundreds of patents to the F/L/OSS world, unlike Microsoft or Oracle?

Re:Good first step... (4, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835765)

For some reason, Big Blue seems to have decided to side with the public good rather than fear open-source as most corporations do.

They're doing it because I'm guessing they're able to think big picture. IBM have been in existence for nearly 120 years now. The only way you get to last that long, especially while staying as big as they still are, is by being able to ride the rapids of consumer demand and desire.

They're still going to want to make money, of course...but they're smart enough to realise that a company doesn't really control either half of the supply and demand equation. The consumer declares their demand, and a company that wants to make money and last a long time supplies that demand, rather than trying to change or control what the consumer's demand is.

It is deeply appropriate that the animal most often associated with IBM is an elephant, I think. As well as being large, an elephant is a long lived and very intelligent animal. Also, although its' huge size means that things that shouldn't might get inadvertently stepped on occasionally, being herbivorous, an elephant is usually a fundamentally benevolent animal, as well.

Re:Good first step... (2, Interesting)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836185)

You should probably read The Innovator's Dilemma [businessweek.com] .
Or maybe just read about the concepts [wikipedia.org] presented in the book.

Re:Good first step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838725)

"Low-end disruption" occurs when the rate at which products improve exceeds the rate at which customers can adopt the new performance. Therefore, at some point the performance of the product overshoots the needs of certain customer segments. At this point, a disruptive technology may enter the market and provide a product which has lower performance than the incumbent but which exceeds the requirements of certain segments, thereby gaining a foothold in the market.

That reads like an explanation of the PS3/Wii debacle. /me wonders who the disruptor will be on the PC front. A cheap integrated computer running Linux on an embedded processor? An iPhone with bluetooth I/O and TV out?

Re:Good first step... (0)

soapthgr8 (949548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836357)

Would you think an elephant was a "fundamentally benevolent animal" if you were a plant?

I call ES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837513)

As well as being large, an elephant is a long lived and very intelligent animal.
I call ElephantShit ! Do you any have proof ? http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=A2y_LEbdEVE [youtube.com]



...sorry guys, just had to...

Re: the IBM elephant (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838093)

You must be referring to the newer IBM, the one that "lost" the PC wars, lost the x86 war, and then lost a huge segment of their mainframe market to hardware commoditization, and yet not only survives, but thrives -- because they finally got that captured market share is only worth so much and that a completely reliable and powerful application stack that they are better at implementing than just about anyone else is where the money is.


Let me put it plainly -- if I had the pure skills to implement the full stack which underpin IBM's web-related solutions at an extremely high level, I would be making well into the six digits in terms of income (in USD), and IBM's markup on me would push the cost to client companies to around double or triple that amount. Multiple "me" by around ten thousand bodies or more and you can see how it makes sense for IBM to be on the forefront of interoperability technology because that is where the $$ is at.

Dilbert's boss. (-1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835981)

Oddly enough Dilbert's creator [wikipedia.org] spent some 17yrs inside an IBM cube.

Re:Dilbert's boss. (1, Offtopic)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836209)

According to your link, he spend 17 years at Crocker National Bank and Pacific Bell (around 9 years each). They don't seem to have ever been part of Big Blue (at least according to their wiki pages), so thanks for the irrelevant link.

Re:Dilbert's boss. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837249)

Ouch.

I must admit I was working from memory and I didn't check my own sources. Not sure where I got it from, a google search only gets a few dozen hits.

Re:Good first step... (5, Interesting)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836269)

How can a monster company like IBM act like this? It's not mostly out of altruism, although I am sure they have some. IBM invented FUD, as any old-time mainframer can tell you.

Why, then, do they do it? The number one reason IBM supports open standards, supports open source, has opened its patents, and has contributed so much code to Linux is that IBM believes it can compete more effectively on a more level playing field. Compete against whom? Microsoft, mostly. When there is an entrenched de facto monopoly that fully dominates one area of your business (the dekstop) and is trying to muscle in on your turf (higher end servers, databases, web services, hosted services) and has already muscled in very successfully on your groupware turf, how do you fight back?

You try to level the playing field by commoditizing the thing your opponent sells. Microsoft is a software company; IBM sells a lot of software, but their primary business is hardware and services. If they can commoditize the software that runs on their hardware and on which they provide value-added services, it gives them a competitive advantage against software companies (and against hardware companies that don't use open source, too). The revenue stream of the software company goes down, while the revenue they make on service and on hardware sales increases as a result of reduced software costs.

While Sun also has some altruism (maybe more than IBM, because Sun's roots are in BSD; IBM's roots are firmly in proprietary software), I think it's a pretty good bet that the main reason for open-sourcing Solaris and Java is that they weren't making a lot of money on those things anyway (Solaris used to cost hundreds of dollars a copy, then it became essentially free as in beer) and Microsoft has done a pretty good job of fighting off Java on a lot of fronts, so if they open-source Java and Solaris they get:

-Commoditization pressure on Microsoft
-The same benefits of that pressure that IBM reaps, because like IBM, Sun is a hardware and consulting company that also sells software
-Probably more Java mindshare and marketshare
-Some respect from the FOSS community; what accountants call good will
-Linux might stop eating Solaris' lunch a little bit on the lower end of Sun's market

Why do they hope HP will do this too? Because of HP is the same kind of company Sun and IBM are, although HP is more purely a hardware play than either Sun or IBM. If they follow suit and start opening their patent portolio and maybe even open source HP/UX, that puts even more commoditization pressure on Microsoft. Of course, Sun, IBM, and HP all compete against each other - they're selling into the same markets - but each of them views Microsoft as more of a threat. If they all act to substantially level the playing field by opening up lots of their IP, that will make a significant counterweight to Microsoft's dominant position.

Fast forward five to ten years into the future and envision one possible scenario: the successor to Vista has just been released, or maybe hasn't even made it yet. Some places are still running XP. Linux has continued it's slow push onto the desktop and has pushed even farther into the server market. IBM, Sun, and HP all sell servers with either Linux or Solaris, AIX, or HP/UX. Same price either way; the lot have been open-sourced.

On the desktop side, Dell is still selling Linux machines, and they've been joined by Gateway, Lenovo, maybe even Sony (OK, that last one is crazy talk :p). Linux has a 5-10% desktop market share, and Apple has risen to 10% also. Google has 1/4 of the office suite market, and is competing very effectively with Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services for spam filtering, email archiving, and IM & web security.

Microsoft is still a formidable company, with a huge warchest of cash and a lot of highly successful product lines, but the combined weight of its competitors has not only checked its market share gains, but reversed a number of them.

Linux and Mac continue to gain in desktop market share, and Linux running on hardware from IBM, Sun, and HP continues to reclaim marketshare from Windows 20XX server in data centers. Exchange, however remains firmly entrenched b/c no one has *still* come up with an Exchange killer in 2012.

This scenario may sound a bit far-fetched to some people. Some people might ask me where I buy my drugs :-) Some might ask me if I work for Sun, IBM, or HP (I don't, and never have).

However, if you think that 5 - 10 year scenario sounds crazy, look back a few years. I started using Linux in 1997 and back then a lot of things in Linux were *hard* (but fun). You pretty much had to go shopping with a hardware compatibility list and even if you did, you'd still have to do a lot of manual config to make most hardware work. Knowing a bit about XFree86 modelines was often helpful. Being able to edit /etc/printcap was a valuable skill, and you were probably going to have to learn at least a little bit about sendmail.cf, too. And you'll want to learn how to build software from source b/c that's the only way a lot of it will come. And when people send you MS Office files, you might have to ask them to sent it in some other format. Like plain text. Lots of people had printers or other peripherals that either worked poorly compared to how well they worked on Windows, or maybe they couldn't even make them work at all.

Still, back then in the late 1990s, people were talking about "world domination now" in a ha-ha-funny-but-serious sort of way. Nobody really doubted that Linux and other open source software would overtake Windows and proprietary software. It's taking a bit longer than many people expected. Microsoft and other proprietary vendors aren't going to just walk away and quit the field without a fight, and they did have a very large leg up in desktop usability. Still, everybody thought we'd get here. The Gandhi quote was common:

"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." Linux/FOSS is moving through the "then they fight you" stage and on towards the "then you win" stage.

And the patent threats Microsoft claims it has against Linux? Maybe they really have some, maybe not. Doesn't matter. If they do in fact have something that will stick, and they try to use it, IBM will start digging through its patent portfolio, which yields nothing to Microsoft on size. Collectively, IBM, Sun, and HP hold *more* patents than Microsoft, so it wouldn't be hard for them to find something in their portfolios that Microsoft is infringing. Then they have a standoff and Linux goes on its way.

In summary, then, IBM and Sun have come to like FOSS so much because it's a club they can pound Microsoft over the head with.

Re:Good first step... (2, Insightful)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836759)

You gotta love it when you actually learn a lot from a reply. Thanks! I'm not so sure Linux is headed fast for the "Then you win" stage, unless we redefine "winning". If "winning" means that the big PC vendors all support Linux desktops, peripherals come with Linux drivers, and we no longer have to pay the Windows tax, then I think Linux is headed for a win. If "winning" means becoming the single most popular desktop OS, I doubt Linux will ever win. But why should I care what Joe Sixpack has installed?

Re:Good first step... (1)

vmcto (833771) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837191)

What a cogent, informative post. Very nicely done!

Re:Good first step... (1)

dan the person (93490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836335)

For some reason, Big Blue seems to have decided to side with the public good rather than fear open-source as most corporations do

I don't think they are siding with the public good. More a case of enlightened self interest.

What's good for the industry is good for IBM. What's good for IBMs customers, is good for IBM.

Open standards make IT easier to implement and 'grow' the industry. If IBM is at the forefront of that movement, then they can grab a larger share of a large pie.

In addition to this, adopting opensource can lower their development costs. Witness the replacement of their own IBMHttpd server in Websphere with apache.

Therefore opensource and openstandards == more $$$ for IBM.

Re:Good first step... (1)

fjanss (897687) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836689)

For some reason, Big Blue seems to have decided to side with the public good rather than fear open-source as most corporations do. I don't fully understand how a monster company like IBM can act like this, while virtually every other huge corporation out there seems to be guided by Dilbert's boss.

After the divorce with Microsoft (post OS/2 debacle) IBM tried to regain control of PC OS and hardware. It consistently failed. The last real opportunity was : PPC + OS/2 as RISC based alternative to x86 + Windows (alliance with Apple and Motorola) : beaten by Intel P6 (hardware emulation of x86 on RISC).

When IBM took the Linux road, it was in part because it figured there was no chance of replacing the Microsoft monopoly with a renewed IBM monopoly. No allies to reach that goal, nobody interested. IBM wants to be the main 'integrated service provider', and now thinks it's interests are best served with one big 'level play field'. The Microsoft monopoly is the main obstacle to that 'level play field'. And Linux is the means to achieve it. IBM is very careful not to 'own' Linux : if it does, it would not be a 'level play field' anymore, and all other actors would cease to support it, and so it would be unable to beat Microsoft.

So : no 'good', no 'bad'; just a (sound) long term business plan. Which has the happy consequence, for us, of a heavyweight support for Linux.

Why? Simple! (1)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836757)

For some reason, Big Blue seems to have decided to side with the public good rather than fear open-source as most corporations do. I don't fully understand how a monster company like IBM can act like this, while virtually every other huge corporation out there seems to be guided by Dilbert's boss.
IBM is still a corporation, and is therefore legally bound to maximize shareholder value. So you can bet that they see benefits for their own business, although the "public good" may be a nice side effect.

So what might the benefits befor IBM? Well, IBM probably realizes that, unlike Microsoft, they are not is a position to shove proprietary formats and "standards" down people's throat. If they were to introduce "standards" with patent-protected components, then the industry would just simply develop alternative solutions, thereby creating new standards that IBM would most likely end up having to adopt eventually. Making their IP available is nothing more than IBM's attempt to get their own formats accepted as the de-facto standards in the industry, which gives IBM a nice head-start over everybody else.

So with this, and the PR they get over this move, it seems like IBM does gain quite a bit from this step. That doesn't mean it isn't a good move for all of us (it is), but there you go.

Re:Good first step... (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837123)

Very simple. When MS, Sun, HP, Dell, whoever the hell else goes the way of the dodo IBM will still be there. IBM got huge, abused their power, others caught up, IBM being a rather old company that has spanned many generations of technology has learned how to survive the march of technology.

This is one of those things I fail to understand about modern American business. Everyone is so concerned with the immediate right here right now next quarter earnings infinite growth model. It is stupid at best, it leads to all kinds of scandal, and otherwise destroys a company. Arthur Anderson (the enron accountants) started with "Our loyalties are to the auditors not to our customers" and they got freaking huge...good business is far more profitable in the long run...they cook some books and the entire company gets disolved. IBM isn't actually the only one to have figured this out, just the only one geeks usually talk about. Warren Buffets stuff tends to behave this way as well. He talks like the whole thing is a game, its not about getting rich to him, so much as he likes the economic game and $ is how you keep score. He has done a ton to help others get into the game as well rather than shutting the little guy out (now, it still requires the motivation and the risk taking to play, but its not his job to give everyone gobs of cash)

Re:Good first step... (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837367)

For some reason, Big Blue seems to have decided to side with the public good rather than fear open-source as most corporations do. I don't fully understand how a monster company like IBM can act like this, while virtually every other huge corporation out there seems to be guided by Dilbert's boss.

Back in the mid nineties, Big Blue was having some extremely big blues. They were laying people off left, right and center and their stock lost more than half it's value. Basically, they were going down the tubes.

At that point they reinvented themselves as a service organization. Now almost everything they do is geared towards service. Even if they sell a product, they are doing it in order to sell a service. That's one of the reasons they got out of the PC business.

IMHO, one of their biggest successes was in their mainframe group. Instead of trying to sell people mainframes, they decided to try to help people save money in their server farms with virtualized linux clients on a mainframe. Yes, they sold mainframes. But the focus was subtly changed -- they were selling solutions to problems, not products.

Other big companies (notably MS) are just now starting to realize that the big money is *not* in retail. The vast amount of software being written is in house development. You think there's money in operating systems? It doesn't even begin to compare to the amount of money being spent on custom development. Not only that, but retail channels are extremely expensive to set up (and keep set up). In fact, you sometimes have to *pay* people to take your product (which you hope you will make back on "upgrades").

IBM realized quite early on that they can make a lot more money selling solutions into enterprise business than they could selling shrink-wrapped software. And this is where open source software comes in. It may appear that open source software hurts your ability to compete (you give your competitors the same software you have). But in reality, the benefits always go to the maintainer -- especially if the maintainer is big and trusted.

An excellent example of this is Rational. These guys work on Eclipse. But they don't have to sell Eclipse, because Rational sells RUP -- a process. They go into your big, top heavy, traditional enterprise company and promise to "fix" your software development process. They get paid absolute crap-loads of money to do this. The marketing spin is that you get a real, honest-to-god, "doin' it right" process *and* a whole bunch of tools that (thanks to their open source nature) comprise the most popular IDE on the planet (even more popular than Visual Studio apparantly).

Compare that to MS and Visual Studio. The only people who actually buy this thing are individuals and small businesses. There is absolutely no way on earth that MS makes *any* money from it. Instead they use it as a tool for vendor lock-in. You become a MS-partner and you get "free" copies of MSDN (which includes visual studio). Very little money changes hands. In exchange for your "free" copies, you agree to do things the way MS wants you to -- so they can maintain their monopoly on the OS.

So on the one hand, IBM makes oodles and oodles of money. And on the other MS entrenches their monopoly position with their OS. Gee... in the long run, who is going to do better I wonder?

Make no mistake -- IBM is not on the side of good here. They are in it to make money. It just so happens that open source development suits their method of making money. I personally believe that almost all software development will eventually go this route. There's just too much money out there. And as far as I'm concerned, it's a good thing.

The one thing I really can't understand is why SAP doesn't jump into the fray. If someone wanted to make oodles and oodles of money, I think that undercutting them with a similar open source product, and again selling it as "process improvement" would work really well. All you would need would be a large accounting firm to front you...

Re:Good first step... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837933)

"Make no mistake -- IBM is not on the side of good here."

It appears that IBM, amongst other companies, has found a way to make money _while_ doing good, which is better than being just one of those two properties.

Re:Good first step... (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838677)

Yes. That's a good way of putting it. And there's nothing wrong with making money. So the current situation is ideal. But I guess my point is that just because someone does something good doesn't mean that they are oriented towards doing good things.

Or to be more specific, just because IBM is in the business of writing and supporting open source software, does not mean that they are wed to the idea. A good contrast is RedHat whose entire business is built around free software. They have a corporate mandate (or did at one point) not to engage in proprietary software. So they have chosen a side. IBM has not.

On reflection, my choice of nomenclature (i.e., "good") was really poor. I have a friend that constantly warns me of the dangers of bipolarizing the situation (especially using terms like "good" or "evil"). In reality, I believe that IBM has a better business plan than RedHat. Their open source business operates in a way that I think is more likely to succeed. However I agree more with RedHat's stance.

The choices that IBM has made lately are encouraging and I hope at some point that the vast majority of their business is open source (or ideally free) software. In a perfect world, they would share RedHat's stance of being free software only. But they aren't there yet, and that's all I was referring to.

But thanks for calling me out on that statement. It made me think :-)

Re:Good first step... (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838605)

I don't fully understand how a monster company like IBM can act like this, while virtually every other huge corporation out there seems to be guided by Dilbert's boss.
Don't let him fool you. Dilbert would be as bad as his boss if he could make any decision, after all, he endorses the BSA!!

Re:Good first step... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835797)

The logical second step would be to Open Source their offerings, so developers can enhance them without fear.
While I can agree on some gentle pressure over time, keep in mind that being overly pushy can be self-defeating.
The river erodes the mountain a particle at a time.
You can come through with a tidal wave, if you want results by the next election, but there will be side effects.
Keep working at it, but mind the side-effects.

Re:Good first step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835903)

Will Lotus Notes on Linux be open sourced?
Will 2007 be the year of Linux on the desktop?

Re:Good first step... (-1, Troll)

Crizp (216129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836005)

No. And who would want Notes' source available? It must be even worse than the code that makes up Vista.

Oh God! Why is parent modded troll??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837231)

The thread has got lots of decent responses, and now it's marked Troll! The moderation system here stinks to high heavens, it's rubbish.

Re:Good first step... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838931)

It's merely an attempt to tranquilize the angry mobs, of which I'm a proud member, who want to see the abolishment of patents and copyright. They(IBM) are very afraid that their vast portfolio would turn into a useful pile of paper merely taking up space. Microsoft doesn't seem so worried about it.

Putting the cart in front of the donkey? (4, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835663)

In most other industries and in fact in other parts of the IT industry you are mandated to do that as a part of the standards process. At the very least you have to guarantee that you will offer your IP on non-discriminatory terms.

It is entertaining to see SOA getting to its supposedly standard and uberinteroperable status without anyone paying attention to this minute IP detail. Entertaining, but not surprising. If you actually can read a SOA spec, comprehend it entirety and have some functioning brain cells left after that you are mad anyway. Every time I have to read Xpath or god forbid one of the WS security or addressing space specs I remember Dijkstra. He was absolutely right:

b> The problems of business administration in general and data base management in particular are much too difficult for people that think in IBMerese, compounded with sloppy English. Still right today. Just change data base management for interoperability and you got a description of WS/SOAP and the rest of that standard ilk.

Re:Putting the cart in front of the donkey? (1)

jnowlan (618290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838135)

lmao. That is something I've always thought, but never heard anyone else articulate.

My head hurts from even reading your reply, though.

Oblig.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835713)

May I be the first to welcome our Robot Overlords(tm)?

1) invent thing
2) Patent it
3) Release patent for general use
4) Profit..????

Imagine a beowulf cluster of patent officers!!!

Re:Oblig.... (0)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835745)

They've been our overlords for years, you insensitive clod.

Re:Oblig.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835885)

But they hadn't thought of patenting the idea, had they?

ooops..., oh shit.....

A bad thing? (2, Interesting)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835729)

This may be a bad thing, as the IP/patent system is becoming so broken that a fix will be required. But acts like this may prolong the status quo as supporters of the current system can point to this example and say "Look, the system balances itself." Personally, I wouldn't rely too much on the kindness of large corporations (or small ones).

Re:A bad thing? (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836309)

In fact the IBM move clearly indicates how useful the software patent system is. It is time to put the kibosh on it. The problem is not to eliminate trivial patents as all software patents are trivial.

The United States Patent System is very smart. All public reform discussions are transformed into harmless "novelty" and "obviousness" discussions where professionals think they knew the purpose of these criteria. The system will implode once a powerful force will raise the issue of subject matter.

Software patents on standards are a pain. I see absolutely no role for patents in standardisation. The only advantage of rand licensing is money, the disadvantage control, exclusion of GPL products and bureaucracy for enterprises.

It would be better to stop granting of software patents.

all software patents are trivial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837007)

which implies all software is trivial

unless you are believe that noteworthy software advances are not patented

or that only trivial software innovation occurs

Re:all software patents are trivial (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837673)

No. Read software patents. Software patents cover the trivial aspects. A mars landing is complicated, rocket science, but it is easy to describe the process as it is done in patent writings: rocket device equipped With oxygen supply unit magically sent to Moon, interaction between the fuel supply unit associated with the engine device, not to forget a rocket engine steering unit.. Is a mars landing trivial. No. But a patent on a mars landing would cover all the stuff you know when I say "Mars landing". http://eupat.ffii.org/analysis/trivial/index.en.ht ml [ffii.org]

Re:A bad thing? (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837677)

The problem is not to eliminate trivial patents as all software patents are trivial.

As the core of your argument, this is a statement that you need to back up in order for your assertion to be meaningful. I've seen some extremely innovative software inventions. To me, there is no practical difference between "building" something in a software world and building it in real life, and making an artificial distinction between these two types of inventions will hobble the industry down the line.

Quite simply, the bar for "obviousness" has been set far too low, and needs to be raised. Little other practical change is necessary for the patent system to work pretty well for software, IMHO.

Re:A bad thing? (2, Interesting)

delt0r (999393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836367)

While I don't think its a bad thing, words like kindness and corporations don't belong together either. It pays to remember that the "evil" corporation in the 70's was IBM. So in 20+ years I have high hopes for M$.

Better Windoze? (-1, Offtopic)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835771)

Maybe now MS can fix their broken Windows? Two hundred patches next patch Tuesday...

Enlighten me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835927)

How is it that IBM patents have stood in the way of Microsoft quixotic attempts at security?

Re:Enlighten me. (2, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836145)

They have a patent on interfacing Javelin.Tilt() with Landscape.Windmill

Maybe...maybe not (2, Interesting)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835793)

"The company believes its move in this space is the largest of its kind."

If the definition of 'move' and 'space' mean that certain baseline/root information was made available in a manner that meant both easier access and freedom to use it, with the expectation that such a move would foster more information and more giving, etc. etc, I contend that when the printing press was unleashed, a much larger move occurred, in a similar place.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not chipping on IBM, but if you are doing good for goods' sake, then do it, but please try to leave out the part where you paint yourself up as all warm and fuzzy and giving :)

Re:Maybe...maybe not (1)

miro f (944325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836247)

Don't get me wrong - I'm not chipping on IBM, but if you are doing good for goods' sake, then do it, but please try to leave out the part where you paint yourself up as all warm and fuzzy and giving :)


sorry, since when has any company ever done anything good for good's sake? Even Google says "Don't be evil" with a rarely quoted "because being evil for short-term profits means less mind-share and therefore less profits in the long-term."

Re:Maybe...maybe not (1)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836695)

sorry, since when has any company ever done anything good for good's sake? Even Google says "Don't be evil" with a rarely quoted "because being evil for short-term profits means less mind-share and therefore less profits in the long-term."
Very true. But you should also consider that when a company "does good", this "good" must be good in the most general way, thus including the company itself. If they do "good for good's sake" in such as way that it's bad for the company itself, then this "good" is only a partial good, for in some way it's a "bad" for its shareholders, for its founders, for its employees etc.

I think your occult premise that for one to do good he must sacrifice himself in some way isn't generally true. It might be true in some cases, but surely not in all cases, nor even in the majority of the cases. For a company to choose, among the goods it can do, those that don't negatively impact itself, is as much common sense as you doing the exact same thing in your own personal or professional lives.

It's a start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835923)

Is the truth about Imaginary Property finally beating the hype? IBM are at once acutely aware of the problems and the company most responsible for the current situation with software patents, they can obviously see the writing on the wall.

In light of recent rulings, I'd like to see other companies do to do the right thing and lay down their arms.

DRM? Servers? Codec stuff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19835925)

The summary is a bit light on details so I can't figure out what tech they are providing to Universal and Perpetual. Uh, wait..

Motivation (4, Interesting)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835985)

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this is the payback for the "User Product" language in part 6 of GPL3 ( http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html [gnu.org] ) - which seems to be aimed at making GPL software cooptable for purely business purposes.

The more rational side of me observes that IBM probably sees itself writing the business logic side of the web services architecture in the future, and doesn't really care much who wrote the middleware so long as it just works. Letting people write middleware without fear of IP lawsuits would tend to facilitate this.

Re:Motivation (1)

weffew... (954080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836191)

I can't agree with this. Last year, 37% of IBM's profit came from software, with the majority of that coming from middleware. IBM clearly cares who writes that.... it's one of the most profitable parts of the business. W

Re:Motivation (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836277)

IBM clearly cares who writes that.... it's one of the most profitable parts of the business.
I expect that they foresee that this will no longer be the case in the future. As the open source movement has shown, it is very efficient at creating infrastructure software and this will inevitably extend into middleware with full force in the near future. Both Apache and JBoss are harbingers of this development.

I expect that IBM is positioning itself as the integrator and customizer that will take whatever middleware is opportune, stitch together whatever general system the customer desires, and finally develop whatever custom adaptations the customer needs. IBM's expertise then boils down to knowing what sort of software is out there to be used, being able to divine what the customer actually needs (rather than what he thinks he needs), and designing a professional strength system out of all of this. The more of this that can be built from commodity components, the better.

In management speak, IBM wants to be an integrator and farm out most of the programming activities.

Governance Included ? (1)

axonis (640949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19835991)

To make SOA and web services workable, governance is a neccessary evil allowing for SLA's to be 'stapled' to a service, especially true when the service gets a new version and breaks exisiting consuming applications ...

Too slow! (4, Funny)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836027)

BitTorrent has already been providing universal access to IP since 2001. Nice try, IBM!

*n*x (1)

rw63phi (1016782) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836163)

/me is glad to see this.  It might mean better driver functionality for older IBMs and maybe some Lenovo machines.

Maybe add another clause? (3, Insightful)

dysfunct (940221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836199)

As far as I understand the article, there already was a royalty-free way to license their IP for those standards, only that as of now people don't have to explicitly fill out forms to be granted a license.

Making standards easier to apply is always a good thing, but IMHO for a standard to make sense it's even more important to force people to actually implement it properly and in a conforming way. Which brings me to the licensing terms of Adobe's PDF stuff, which can be freely implemented as long as the implementation strictly follows the standard. In the same vein, it might have been a good idea to add a constraint to the license that makes the free use of IBM's IP only available to people who strictly adhere to the standard. Everybody else who thinks they have a good reason for adding their own "extensions" would have to fill out forms like it used to be and maybe have to make any documentation and patent portfolio regarding their changes freely available.

As a result, people would either have to follow the standard or at least provide documentation and patent licenses to guarantee some degree of interoperability, in order to prevent things like Microsoft's bastardization of Kerberos.

But I'm neither a patent lawyer nor do I have any special insight into licensing deals, so if this idea is stupid then please feel free to point out any potential issues you might see.

Re:Maybe add another clause? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19836253)

Oh, fuck off with that shit already.

OK, Microsoft, it's your turn ... (1)

Jerry (6400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836249)

put your IP where your mouth is and make "interoperability" a fact and not a PR campaign.

This is about M$ (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19836389)

FTFA:

"IBM has provided a non-assertion statement that says people are free to use any of its patents needed to implement the standards, provided they do not sue IBM or anyone else over use of their own patents involved in implementing the standards." The important part is "provided they do not sue IBM or anyone else..." - think about it - MS get free use of IBM patents UNTIL they sue someone over the use of their patents cover the same technology (OOXML, anyone?). Then the jig is up, no more free ride. Its an economic incentive for MS to not sue. Nice job IBM!!!!

Re:This is about M$ (1)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837257)

(Confession: I was an IBMer for a few years in the early 90s, around the time Lou Gerstner took over. The difference between behavior in that era, when the new mindset had yet to percolate to the lower ranks, astonishes me. I still have bad memories of Not Invented Here syndrome, Who Needs Consumer Marketing disease, and the Grow Your Team Solely For Management Esteem epidemic.)

I agree: let's not confuse this move with sheer altruism. IBM is simply smart enough to realize that advancing market trends makes more sense these days than vendor lock-in.

But, having said that, I think it's sweet that they've refused to categorically indemnify anyone who uses their liberated IP. Very slick move indeed.

My question would be... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836577)

Is this "pledge" a PR release, or is it legally binding?

If new management comes into power at IBM can they suddenly just decide to rescind the pledge and nail people for IP infringement and demand royalties?

No, it's pretty much legally binding... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836639)

You can't take it back when it's an official statement like this. Any attempt to enforce
at this point will go down in flames as it was done deliberately and with intent. Witness
what happened with SCO v. IBM when SCO ran that line of thought up the flagpole. AT&T had
sent out a similarly natured release stating the actual licensing intent- which was NOT the
interpretation SCO was trying to run up the flagpole and try to see if the Court saluted it.

Re:No, it's pretty much legally binding... (1)

Pofy (471469) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837131)

But there is a difference in granting someone the right/license to use what you have patented and just promise you won't take action (I would say you still infringe for example). It doesn't for example prevent someone else to take action. What if IBM should sell their patents to someone else? You then have no protection. There is also an increasing trent to turn almost every infringement of various "ip" rights into criminal offense. What if this would apply to patent infringement, then you have the goverment that could take action against your crime since you really have not got the license or to the patent, just a promise IBM will not do anything. Just some examples of problems I would say.

Awesome (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19836807)

As a child of I've Been Moved, I just have to say how nice this is. IBM is a wonderful company with a grand history. Like all successful companies, they have had their bad days. This is a great day for them.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19836881)

Where do we download the source code tar balls?

Big Corp likes FOSS model (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837261)

This is the most significant development I've seen in IP practice for years. This is the largest of the corporate entities saying that IP-sharing is a good idea; they don't go full FOSS because that has them making costly products and giving them away for free, which doesn't work under capitalism. But they're approving the idea, and that will inspire others to follow their line of thinking.

Waste of their money (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837303)

Why not just let the patent's slip then into the public domain? It costs a good bit, almost doubling each year that you renew a patent. So if they're allowing universal access the patents are then pretty much public domain except they can still say they are the owners. Sounds like they virtually GPL'd their patents :)

Re:Waste of their money (1)

slashbart (316113) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837623)

They keep the patents for defensive use. If someone sues them for any patent violation they can sue them back

conversation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838951)

Everyone: Ok IBM, I guess then you'll be signing those patents over to the FSF?

IBM: Oh uh wait a minute, not we uh...well... this is a gesture and we want to retain our patents just in case we uh need to exercise our rights and uh but everyone is safe you know...IBM couldn't say one thing and then do another cause that would just be a bad thing for our image that would take days for people to forget.

I call bullshit.
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