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Old 08-26-2003, 08:09 PM   #1
yocompia
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Lightbulb software patents and corporate lies


ok, so we all know something about the SCO vs IBM case, but how much is really known? it seems to me that there is a need for a location of consolidated reliable information (unless i'm retarded and can't find it) concerning this topic, and that it should come up near the top of a relevant google search.

i'm saying this because i was going to visit kerneli.org for some documentation to flip through, and then i was redirected to a page talking about european software patents (http://swpat.ffii.org/). reading all the things bill gates was saying about cross-licensing, the way europe wants more restrictive software patenting and the wholly corporate-weasel overtone of all these articles made me fume with anger. to have a piece of the pie is insufficient for these jerks, who've already scalped the average computer user for billions (i daresay trillions) of dollars, and it's time to do something.

exactly what that something is, well... that's just it, i'm not sure. i was thinking an interesting way of backing linux/IBM could be to develop a unified front that would in some way utilize the ideas already present in the open source community to give legal advantage. on the basis of this past invasion of iraq (whether or not you agreed with it), i don't see simple protest as being sufficient to raise awareness or stop the gears of the corporate machine from grinding people down. maybe there's some way that we, as linux users/developers, can assist in the fight against tyrannical software laws.

although unity is not the usual way in linux (hey, i'm posting in a specific distro forum), maybe developing a large central authority on the issue that's run with collaboration from the linux/IBM legal team could assist in distributing information that's not muddled with media nonsense. it's just an idea....

input, criticism, passionate ranting, and feedback are all welcomed.

vive la resistance,
y-p
 
Old 08-26-2003, 08:24 PM   #2
zsejk
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Ehh... yes!!!



I actually agree. And to say "Oh, that's pointless, it'll never work, public outcries never have any effect" I think would be against everything Linux users stand for. I *do* think something needs to be done about this, and I think starting this thread is a good starting point to get at least ourselves started, if nothing else. On that note, I'm sure this thread'll be moved somewhere else soon, but oh well...



Anyway... I'd love to stay and rant (I'm quite the rant-addict in fact), but I'll just leave it to others to leave some input as well. But always remember that silly quote from Edmund Burke that is not actually a quote but instead a summary of something he wrote that was sorta kinda similar, but still...:

Quote:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Edmund Burke (1729–1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. (Attributed.)
For the confused among us: the "good men" would be us.

-zsejk
 
Old 08-26-2003, 09:51 PM   #3
exodist
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perhapse rahter than creating a whole new place for everything a new keypoint, we should simply take the ones that are there already, the different distro's different supportimng companies, etc. and ask each one to contribute to a linux consolidation group/site/whatever not unified linux as that is something sco's caldera was part of and an existing thing, but sort of a linux council, each ?firm? ?group? whatever that deals with linux can hae a representative (not like a bunch of people who meet every year, but people able tp post information and have easy access to eachother, then other things, specifics can be worked out later (actually I have an idea and will post in next msg) but basically rather than re-invent the wheel we make the wheel that we have round.
 
Old 08-26-2003, 10:05 PM   #4
exodist
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basically in a government clas I created an idea for a cool governemnt, it might not work as a government, but here is how it can work as a linux group or something:

there are lots and lots of linux users and companies. this would be split into 3 groups:
developer: people that develop linux not on a corperate level (kernel.org, gnu, etc)

corperate: large companies using linux

Legal: lawyers judges and others that know law somewhere that use linux

each group has a structure, basically 20 users (company and corperate are 1 user) make up a "clan" or lug who is in what lug and so on is deturmined at that level, as well what there lug does is there choice, (corperations will split into groups of however many in same field) (legals will split into specialties) then each of these bring up a representative to a higher ouncil, then these to another until eventually each of the 3 groups has 5 representatives. when something of importance happens in an area of linux (example sco suite) the appropreate group takes care of it (legal in this case) a mail is sent to every user in that area, they meet with there lugs and try to find a solution or option, they vote and winning vote goes to next level, there representatives vote (rules to avoid deadlock like 2 days to respond at each level) until it gets to the top of the chain, then final vote decides on path of action, then lawyers can be assigned etc to work on the situation, as well corperations work on corperate things (do corperations that make linux software develop a new e-mail or excel clone?) then developers will have general things, (currently programs like winex and a few others allow there members to vote on what gets supported next, there vote would then be transfered here and so on if they joined in) and so fourth. but there is a top level, see here corperations, developers, legal are all seperate, then there are also 3 main people in charge, they are not simply 1 rep from each of the groups, they are a third group
the user. 3 linux users neather development, corperate or legal will had the thing, and every 4 years they step down, the next person is chosen by a forum of sorts liek this one (maybe even this one recycling :-P) where everyone has a vote option, if someone helps you can add a point to there name and do so as much as they help, 3 people with most point that havn't been at top before are chosen (reset every year to ensure they are activly helping?)

anyway I think the point is made.

all it takes is some cooperation (that blows the hole bit there.)
 
Old 08-26-2003, 10:34 PM   #5
Azmeen
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Way off-topic boardwise (perhaps this post should be in General?), but nevertheless interesting.

My opinion is that if anything that's free somehow got attached to a corporate entity, the first victim will be the freedom... and patents my friends, is a corporate tool which can only stifle the freedoms of the individual.

Corporations push their own agenda... no matter what it seems now, the end result will always be profits. Profit does not necessarily have to be measured in terms of money, but also other non-financial aspects such as time and technology gains.

I know the current SCO-IBM fiasco is somehow at the back of the minds of many informed and concerned Linux users, but can you totally write off the possibility that somehow, sometime in the future IBM itself my be pulling a SCO on Linux?

What about pressure stiffle support for a competitor's product within the kernel? Sure Linux (I'm referring to the kernel mostly) is open source, but how many of us actually knows that much of programming (or any of it at all) to modify the kernel to our advantage? And out of those who can, how many are even bothered to share this info with others? And out of that last category, how many have the resources (hosting, bandwidth, etc) to actually share it?

The current direction of the kernel is commendable, Linus is keeping a very close watch at what goes in his tree. So does many of the more reknowned kernel hackers (eg. Alan Cox and gang). This is what I like about Linux as compared to other GPL'd projects.

In case of some problems (most likely legal ones), and say Linus' tree was deemed illegal due to code "stolen" from SCO (to zealots: this is an example!)... we can still move on to someone else's tree, without actually forking the codebase and doing duplicate work.
 
Old 08-26-2003, 10:56 PM   #6
yocompia
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yeah, apologies about the off-topicity (haha) of my post, but i felt it might not receive the same attention as i knew it would in the slack forum. that said, i think it's high time that anyone who uses GPLed software to shake their fists.

i understand that economic contraints definitely limit what could be done for an online presence of any sort, but you have to pay to win, be it with energy or dollars. perhaps we could brainstorm a good way to raise money for the cause? i have a feeling that the greenpeace method of gaining donations by continual harrassment won't work, but c'mon we all have computer skills. maybe there's a way to make that work for us...

my main goal with the post was to stir up some dissent against what i view as morally and socially perilous to persue. i feel like freedoms just keep evaporating here in the states, not to mention everywhere else, and that's double + bad. i believe there are strong social messages sent by computers and their related cost, as a high economic entry barrier only serves to further scalp the consumer and repress those without the economic means to pay for a $300 suite of software (like me).

that said, i think the only socially just thing to do is be active against the success of microsloth anyone have to pay for an OS. if the world's not free to have things for free, then what is free?

y-p
 
Old 08-27-2003, 12:53 AM   #7
Azmeen
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Actually software patents is in general very bad. Patents are suitable for some intellectual property, but in software engineering/programming it should be globally banned. Here are my reasons for this argument:

Not all software is open source, and hence source code will rarely be patented. The patent will mostly be on the procedure to do some functions within a particular software.

eg. I patent a functionality in my closed source software which downloads headlines from news sites all over the net and display it on your desktop. Imagine that I patented this in 1995 for example. Since this is relatively new at that time (add to the fact that the USPTO is seemingly clueless when it comes to IT patents), the patent was approved.

Then in 1997, a company called Userland Software came up with RSS which does something similar to my particular software, but using totally different functions and procedures. And this technology became so popular, it was adopted by a gigantic software company, Netscape and its popularity grew. RSS is then replaced by RDF, but still the functionality is similar.

I then sue everyone who has got anything at all to do with RSS and RDF, and news backend publications for patent infringement... and because my patent only describes the procedure/method of grabbing headlines, and I won the cases.

Everyone else is scared to actually do more innovation on exchanges of news headlines over the internet.

On previous posts in this thread, I saw many statements making connections on the evil of software patents on companies like Microsoft... and somehow relating this to the SCO-IBM fiasco.

Well, here are some interesting links

Microsoft has their own patent problems

IBM has more software patents than Microsoft does

I'm not pro-MS in any way, but I believe the problems with software patents is that it is totally detructive to innovation in computing technologies.
 
Old 08-27-2003, 11:02 AM   #8
yocompia
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i completely agree that microsoft has patent problems of its own, but they also have much more exposure to the public and stacks of loose capital. it's this that i feel gives them a really unfair advantage in the patent wars.

i checked out the links you posted, and the patents that were filed were fucking hilarious. here's one that i thought was particularly funny (it came up under microsoft)

"System and method for providing trustworthy network security concern communication in an active security management environment"

last time i checked, this is just a matter of passing validation keys and checking them in a PGP-style fashion (i.e. this is MATHEMATICAL IP, not software IP). it's absolute crap that things like encryption routines can be "patented."

all this seems very much unlike the role of usual patents, in that everyone wants a piece of everyone else, and not to just have their own slice of the pie. i'm certain that when someone files a patent for a high-output, short-duration engine, they can't just claim, by merit of similar functionality, that someone else is infringing on their patent unless the engine in question is of uncommonly similar design. that's the major distinction i see here: you can't make a product that does the same thing a different way.

to limit the number of ways you can do a given task definitely limits the future advancement of software development. the most ridiculous part about all this is that these companies that file suit don't see what they're doing to the community. that's why i was thinking organizing something might be productive: we could give all these closed-source assholes a swift open-source kick in the nuts.
 
Old 08-27-2003, 12:07 PM   #9
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intellectual property patents

I've been thinking about patenting "2 + 2 = 4" because this is a very useful result and probably nobody has a patent on it already. The hardware and the software to perform this operation might also be patentable. If that's considered a public domain result and not patentable, how about "2 + 2 = 5"? If I owned that result, right or wrong, I could collect every time someone uses it (in print for satiric purposes, for example).

Newton and Leibniz both invented calculus, and the effort to get the honor of invention eventually honored them both, but they at least could have patented calculus so nobody else would have to bother with the stuff!

The question of how much innovation it takes to make something patentable or copyrightable is rather arbitrary and can descend into silliness. Nobody questions that if you write "War and Peace", you've got an intellectual property. If you coin a trademark phrase like "fair and balanced"(Fox News vs. Al Franken), that's stretching the meaning of intellectual property in my opinion. You might as well get the rights to "squeaky clean" or "dirt cheap".

In software, what are the standards for what's intellectual property? It seems a hard and arbitrary call.

When you put code into the GPL, how can you then pull it back inside the doors of your business and call it proprietary? The memory management code that's been publicized is very old code, circa 1974. It was introduced in the 2.4.19 kernel--- when was that released? When was the MS antitrust settlement completed? Was MS using Linux to hold up as an example of OS competition during antitrust disputes, with intentions of trying to crush Linux with a dirty trick after the antitrust proceedings were out of the way? In handing some code to the open-source community and later saying, "We hold the patent on that code, you're breaking the law", SCO and its apparent backer MS are trying to practice horrible business ethics and deserve to be thrown out of court like Fox News was in its lawsuit against Al Franken.
 
Old 08-27-2003, 12:28 PM   #10
Looking_Lost
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They already have these software patent laws in the US it's Europe catching up if they allow it to go through.

Ironically MS have found themselves the victim of a $250 million patent suit which they are in the process of appealing against.
 
Old 08-27-2003, 05:18 PM   #11
emilryge
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www.slackware.com is redirected to :/

- Emil
 
Old 08-27-2003, 05:28 PM   #12
exodist
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This is terrible!
 
Old 08-27-2003, 05:35 PM   #13
trickykid
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This post has been reported and should be moved shortly as it is not directly related to Slackware. Regards.
 
Old 08-27-2003, 05:41 PM   #14
emilryge
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Guess your right. Just noticed the slackware part and looked for the right place to post it

- Emil
 
Old 08-27-2003, 05:45 PM   #15
zsejk
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Uhmm....



What is not related to Slackware? This thread? 'Cause with that redirect it seems it is. Or emilryge's post? 'Cause that seems even more directly related to Slackware.

Hmm.



-zsejk
 
  


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