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Archive for October, 2007

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ACT – Protecting Small Business Innovation: Breaking News: A Corporation Competing With Microsoft is Concerned That It Can’t Use Microsoft’s Property Without Paying for It.

Microsoft has long said that they would like to do a patent-licensing deal with Red Hat, , but their overtures have been rebuffed, presumably because Red Hat views it to be best for their business not to do so. But it is disingenuous for Red Hat to complain that Microsoft does not give its competitors free use of its patents when Red Hat does the same. Will this issue be explored in the next installment of Truth Happens? Not bloody likely.

In fact, if you tune in on Friday, will post an interview with our formal General Counsel Mark Webbink on the subject of patents and the construction of the Red Hat Patent Promise.

Apparently, there is a more lot to learn.

Mark Webbink On: GPLv3

Download this video: [Ogg Theora]

This week Mark Webbink, former Red Hat General Counsel discusses the GPLv3 and talks about the limits of sharing, the mellowing out of Linus Torvalds, and issues with the LGPLv3.

And don’t miss Mark’s latest Walking With Elephants post, Half A Loaf, about the Microsoft settlement in the EU.

Mark Webbink On: Software Patents

Download this video: [Ogg Theora]

This week Mark Webbink, former Red Hat General Counsel discusses software patents, their absurdity and the business climate and “judicial activism” that helped create them.

Feel free to download and disseminate this interview so long as you give us some attributions and don’t remix it.

Nice round-up of recent patent issues.


Not all nations consider software to be patentable. The U.S., unfortunately, does, and that is where many software developers (both corporate and individual) reside. And it can be convincingly argued that U.S. patent law is not capable of properly covering software. In other words, it is obsolete.

And don’t forget, later today, we’re rolling out the first extended installment of the Mark Webbink (Former Red Hat General Counsel) Interview, and I think in today’s episode, he will be covering patents.

In good company.

Blogging Hyperic » Nobel Prize Implies Open Source is A Perfect Market

Open Source develops code out in the open, encouraging reuse and improvement. This is an open economy of ideas, development and invention. Customers typically test and use products and understand its value faster and more completely, shortening sales processes. Feedback, through contributions and forum discussions happen openly and in real-time, correcting and improving product direction. Competition also occurs openly, where the vendors backing projects have an open view of their competition’s activities and it is really up to the vendor to push themselves to “one-up” the rest of the market. This open competition spurs faster economics, which means better products at a better price.

Electronic Frontier Foundation stalks telcos. In a good way.

EFF Moving to Uncover Telco Immunity Lobbying on Threat Level

The Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Wednesday, alleging the agency is dragging its feet on producing documents the group requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

The group is asking a federal court to force Director Mike McConnell’s office to expeditiously produce documents “concerning briefings, discussions, or other exchanges” McConnell and other agency officials have had with telcos regarding “immunizing telecommunications companies or holding them otherwise unaccountable for their role in government surveillance activities.”

The lawsuit (.pdf), filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, comes as lawmakers are considering granting telcos immunity for participating in the government’s spy program. The EFF is suing AT&T on allegations it unlawfully granted the Bush administration access to its customers’ communications.

The patent office gets one right!

Peter Calveley requested a re-examination of’s one-click patent, often held up as an example of the type of ridiculous things that are getting patents and, by extension, the mess the US patent office has become.

The patent office got it right. The one-click patent has been rejected.

I had only requested the USPTO look at claims 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21 and 22 but the Office Action rejects claims 11-26 and claims 1-5 as well!

Amazon has the opportunity to respond to the Patent Office’s rejection, but third party requests for reexamination, like the one I filed, result in having the subject patent either modified or completely revoked about 2/3 of the time.

Read a little more about the background of the request.

Heck freezes over.

The announcement from the OSI:

OSI Approves Microsoft License Submissions | Open Source Initiative

Acting on the advice of the License Approval Chair, the OSI Board today approved the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) and the Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL). The decision to approve was informed by the overwhelming (though not unanimous) consensus from the open source community that these licenses satisfied the 10 criteria of the Open Source definition, and should therefore be approved.

With some opinion from Michael Tiemann:

So now the OSI has approved two Microsoft licenses. Is this the beginning of the end? Or is this the end of the beginning? I know that the eyes of the technology world will be on the OSI and on Microsoft to see what happens next. If, as some fear, the approval of these licenses ends up damaging open source, perhaps we will learn of some 11th condition or some change to the 10 that must be made to better preserve the integrity of what we call open source. Neither the First Amendment alone, nor the original 10 Amendments known as the Bill Of Rights were sufficient to establish a government truly of the people, by the people, for the people (and some would say we still have a ways to go), so why should we expect that after less than 10 years, the OSD will contain everything there is to know about promoting and protecting open source?

Crackpots assail M$’s Ballmer FUD* with mounting shrillocity.

Man, they really have to do something about those wide-eyed radicals at eWEEK getting all shrill and crazy on Steve Ballmer. It’s getting so bad you can’t tell the mainstream media from the Freetard bloggers anymore.

Why Ballmer’s Protection FUD Matters

As for new ideas, open source is the new idea of the 21st century. After decades of thinking that only way software can be valuable is if it’s hidden and proprietary, open source has shown that you can create new things faster and better. It’s an idea that’s so radical people are still trying to get their heads around the notion that you can make money by giving something away.

Nevertheless, we must continue to challenge Ballmer on both his explicit and implicit attacks on Linux and open source. If we don’t, we end up in a situation where his arguments that Linux and open-source software buyers should pay protection, excuse me, buy a Microsoft patent covenant begin to sound like the sensible, prudent thing to do. It’s not.

“So, with all due respect Steve, until you’re willing to start talking sense, and stop making empty threats, I won’t pay. I know too much about extortion.”

Yeah, I mean check out this moonbat’s BIO.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor of’s Linux & Open Source Center and Ziff Davis Channel Zone.
Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he’s focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

Obviously he’s a fringe element, a NASA-trained subversive.

*Ballmer Fud…get it?

Mark Webbink On: GPLv3

Download this video: [Ogg Theora]

Another short taste from our long interview with outgoing Red Hat General Counsel, Mark Webbink.

Check back next week for longer segments.

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