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Old 11-28-2006, 12:03 AM   #1
vtel57
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Protest the MS-Novell Patent Agreement


I searched, but didn't find this posted anywhere. Please read and sign the petition.

Thanks!

http://techp.org/petition/show/1
 
Old 11-28-2006, 03:52 PM   #2
MensaWater
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I'm all for protesting but there's no way I'd sign THAT letter.

In presumably defending open source it starts at by ceding the idea that patents which currently exist ARE enforceable and if enforceable and enforced would legally halt existing open source initiatives such as Linux. It would be dangerous indeed to cede such points. If I were a Suse/Microsoft lawyer I would love to have that letter with thousands of signatories brought into court.

Essentially it doesn't say "you have no right to enter such an agreement" (though it does imply that initially) but rather says "you shouldn't have entered into such an agreement for commercial purposes". The latter may be a nice sentiment but hardly the kind of thing a for profit business is likely to agree with.

It would be much better to have a plain statement that it is believed the Novell/MS agreement violates the GPL and other open source licenses at a fundamental level. There should be no concession as to the viability of software patents or even that valid relevant ones exist.
 
Old 11-28-2006, 03:59 PM   #3
vtel57
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That's the wonderful thing about freedom of choice, my friend.

Regards,

~Eric
 
Old 11-28-2006, 08:39 PM   #4
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Cool

The Petition letter, contrary to opinion, is not for Software Patent.

In fact one does not need to speculate if Software patent is enforceable; the action of Novell and Microsoft of paying for their customers is a testament to this (whether or not software patent is enforceable in your own country).

Microsoft has been hostile against FOSS developers and would want to apply software infringement, as much as, possible. The SCO case is a good example that there is indeed a legal infrastructure that is to examine this case.

The context of the Petition is to recall the mistake of the partnership deal wherein, one of them is determined to enforce their software IP claims against FOSS modules. And, as the deal stands today, it is a FUD of making people believe that GNU/Linux have an "undisclosed liability sheet" to Microsoft. Moreover, Microsoft want to undermine the philosphy of FOSS Developers to mean "Unpaid and not able to create income stream from their contributions."

So what should Microsoft do:

1) Make a public statement declaring that they will not enforce software patent against any FOSS projects; because these modules are always available under any GNU/Linux systems; Microsoft need not single-out Novell.

2) Take away this "pay to protect customers" context. A customer of Novell is Novell's customer. A customer of Microsoft is Microsoft's customer. A customer of any GNU/Linux vendor is that GNU/Linux vendor's customer. This is just Microsoft and Novell's mambo-jambo marketing stuff. The one paying is, in fact, the customer, taken a part from the software's price tag. (Microsoft think that they can own customers. If they want to sue, they sue each other and leave the customers alone.)

3) Make a public statement "apologizing to FOSS developers" of restricting what they can do to their contributed code. Microsoft have not even a millimetre of right to define to us what a FOSS developer is and what it is not.

The Fight against Software Patent would be another issue and another petition we at FOSS community have to deal with.

By signing the petition, Novell may yet withdraw their deal with Microsoft or make a deal that is compatible with the Spirit of FOSS and Licenses; particularly the GPL. With that, our action could save the ecology of FOSS and, if possible, a fine distro openSuse/Suse.

 
Old 11-28-2006, 09:59 PM   #5
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Thank you, nbjayme. That was a much better explanation of the import of this situation than I could have ever come up with.

Regards,

~Eric
 
Old 12-01-2006, 01:31 PM   #6
MensaWater
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Well one can characterize how they wish. My comments were based not on characterizations by others but on actually reading the petition.

The way to hurt this deal is by voting with your wallet and your feet - if they saw a sudden drop in the use of Suse Linux they might be inclined to rethink.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 02:06 PM   #7
rickh
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Quote:
In presumably defending open source it starts at by ceding the idea that patents which currently exist ARE enforceable and if enforceable and enforced would legally halt existing open source initiatives such as Linux.
It makes no such concession. What is does is state that Novell has forsaken the standard , agreed upon, defense against attacks based on patent claims. Bruce Perens certainly understands the ramifications of patent law related to software. There is no question that software patents threaten the Open Source community, as well as any programming group which does not have millions of dollars to defend itself in court.

This story is typical of the dangers we all face.

I signed that petition, #1809, and I think that the name of anyone who believes in freedom at any level, and most certainly anyone who has an interest in FOSS should be there.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 02:20 PM   #8
MensaWater
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Well you can read it how you wish. As I said my comments were based on my reading it rather than characterizations by other people. He does make statements about the validity of software pattents that in my read are concessionary.
Specifically the following can be found in link originally posted here:
Quote:
Let's be truthful about software patents: there can be no non-trivial computer program, either proprietary or Free, that does not use methods that are claimed in software patents currently in force and unlicensed for use in that program. There are simply enough patents, on enough fundamental principles, to make this so. If all software patents were enforced fully, the software industry would grind to a halt.
Certainly it would behoove anyone that contemplates signing it to base their signature on their own read rather than the characterization by any other person including my characterization.

However I'm certainly not going to let other characterizations go unchallenged if I disagree with them. This is after all a discussion forum.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 04:16 PM   #9
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As it is today, there are Software Patents that one have to deal with in the U.S.

"If all software patents were enforced fully, the software industry would grind to a halt."
- Bruce Perens

"Software patent stiffles innovation." <--- the same essense of what FOSS believes.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 05:26 PM   #10
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@jlightner

So you don't have to be the cheese standing alone, I concur with your opinion. This is probably not what is intended, to concede that every program in existence infringes on one or more patents. And that is, in a nutshell, what that paragraph says. However, Mr. Perens doesn't concede that any of those patents have merit.

Unfortunately, "I stole that shop-vac from Bill's basement, but he stole it from John's last week" doesn't make me any less guilty of home invasion and larceny. I would consider revising that paragraph if it were my open letter.

Of course, the whole debate of whether patents and copyrights are legal or ethical is hundreds of years old. Neither are likely to go away in our lifetimes. You'd need a Constitutional amendment in the U.S. to get rid of patents and other IP protections.
 
Old 12-02-2006, 07:49 AM   #11
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Bruce Perens: "Let's be truthful about software patents: there can be no non-trivial computer program, either proprietary or Free, that does not use methods that are claimed in software patents currently in force and unlicensed for use in that program."

Layman's explanation: Fact is Software Patent exists in the U.S. There have already been numerous applications. It would not be a surprise that any program whether proprietary or Free implement a subset of those ideas that have been patented.


Bruce Perens: There are simply enough patents, on enough fundamental principles, to make this so.

Layman's explanation: There are too many software patents already that it would be inevitable violating one of those software patents. In example, "one click" purchase transaction of Amazon. A FOSS developer creating a new software could already be violating a software patent without knowing it.

Bruce Perens:If all software patents were enforced fully, the software industry would grind to a halt.

Layman's explanation: If we were to enforce all Software Patents it would stiffle innovation.

Bruce Perens is stating the reality that they face in the U.S. where software patent have been given legal grounds. Here, Bruce perens showed us how broken the Software Patent is.

Nothing to revise in the Open Letter Document.

I hope this helps.

http://techp.org/petition/show/1
 
Old 12-02-2006, 08:21 AM   #12
MensaWater
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You're restating what was actually in the letter. It is what is actually in the letter that I challenge. Again what you wrote is YOUR characterization of it. It may in fact be what the author intended but is NOT the only way to read it and is certainly not th e way I read it.

Again I would urge people to read the document itself and base whether to sign it on their read rather than other people's interpretation.
 
Old 12-02-2006, 09:03 AM   #13
nbjayme
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Yes, I am very much delighted that people go over the Open Letter of Bruce Perens.

Is not your claim that the Open Letter is pro-Software Patent not a characterization?

We all have our interpretation and as members of LQ, we assist each other of having the right perspective on issues involved.

At best the Open Letter simply express that Bruce Perens believed that the U.S. Software Patent is Broken. It does not state he is against Software Patent nor does it state he is for software patent. It's just broken.

But let's check his other article:
http://technocrat.net/d/2006/6/30/5032
http://www.linuxtoday.com/infrastruc...1050300720OPCY

I hope this helps us in properly characterizing Bruce Perens thought on Software Patents.

Best regards.
 
Old 12-02-2006, 12:27 PM   #14
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Being somewhat a casual observer, I found the letter to be insightful. Maybe Bruce Perens (and similar minded people) might want to consider boycotting Novell? As a petition (from how I see it) will just give them (the execs) information to assimilate and forget/discard, while a boycott hits them where they feel it the most, in the wallet. Apperantly, money seems to float there boat if you will.

Now, I haven't followed the Novel-Microsoft Deal thoroughly so I might have gotten the wrong end of the stick but I'm in the same vein as most of you, I hope anyway .
 
Old 12-04-2006, 09:26 AM   #15
MensaWater
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Yes my opinion is a characterization and I called it such in an earlier post.

Quote:
Certainly it would behoove anyone that contemplates signing it to base their signature on their own read rather than the characterization by any other person including my characterization.
However in your post you don't just make that point but again try to put your own characterization on it. I'll again state that isn't how I read the letter. To me my earlier quote is rather salient in pointing out the dangerous concession that I first mentioned.

Last edited by MensaWater; 12-04-2006 at 10:14 AM.
 
  


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