Why Microsoft Won’t ID Patent Violations…

Earlier today, Microsoft announced it will begin actively seeking reparations for patent infringement by Linux and the Open Source Community in general. Larry Augustin posted his thoughts on the matter, expressing his opinion that it’s fear of having these IP-infringement claims debunked or challenged that’s keeping Microsoft from publishing these 235 alleged infringements to the public – and instead waiting until the OS community comes to the bargaining table. But let’s be realistic, shall we?

If Microsoft Corporation doesn’t have the biggest and baddest team of lawyers law firms, who does? It’s probably safe to assume that more than half of these patent infringements really are just that. Put aside the legitimacy of software patents in the first place and just look at the facts as they stand. Open source software gets its code from millions of developers and no amount of auditing or quadruple-checking will ensure clean-code. Despite Microsoft’s claims of “openly and knowingly” engaging in patent-violations, that’s most probably not the case.

But the real reason Microsoft does fear revealing the actual numbers and patents behind the IP-violation claims is that they can be worked around. 235 patents. 235 different issues, components, technologies, programs, and ideas. Most likely somewhere between 30-50% are extremely vague and fringe-cases that can disputed either way from here to kingdom-come and as such aren’t of any real significance.

But the remaining 150 or so issues – they’re the real meat, and that’s where Microsoft is afraid – most rightly so. US patent laws – despite all their ridiculous demands and restrictions – do provide for time to rectify errors/transgressions assuming they weren’t knowingly committed. Now if you told every single open-source contributor, every avid Linux programmer, every commercial entity whose entire existence depends on the free availability of open source software exactly what was wrong, to what extent, and how it needed to be changed to no longer be an issue – how long do you think it would take for all these violations to vanish into thin air?

It is much more in Microsoft’s benefit to have the open source community in “its debt,” so to speak, paying “royalty fees” and constantly under fear of being shut-down than it is for Linux and other open source projects to be 100% clean and out of legal quagmires. It makes too, in a twisted sort of way. If you can’t get everyone to buy your products, why not make money off of those that don’t as well?

The fact of the matter is, no matter how serious these patent violations are, any patent clearly-worded and not vague in purpose is addressable. It may take some time, effort, and tons of money to make it work; but chances are, it’s doable. So long as Microsoft hasn’t patented the right-mouse context menus, the concept of a desktop, or the word “Office,” the open source can – if the need arises – clear all these issues up and move on ahead.

74 thoughts on “Why Microsoft Won’t ID Patent Violations…

  1. Dude, Opensource is screwed. Microsoft is going to be the clear winner here.

  2. Opensource won’t win, but it isn’t screwed for sure. Not at all, i think it’ll become more and more popular.

    And it’ll succeed, because there is more behind it then just money…

  3. Tell me just how will Microsoft be the clear winner? How is it even possible? You’re talking about Free Software or Open Source as if it was one company that is being threatened by lawsuits, while it is in fact a community spread all around the world including everyone from basement hackers to the biggest corporations in the world (IBM and Google for example). You think Microsoft can really face off with this so effectively and win?

     I don’t think so guys. MS is merely doing the only thing it can do at this point other than letting go and joining the Free Software revolution. It is spreading FUD hoping to slow down the progress of Free Software as they try to come up with a way to beat it, which they have been trying for years without much success. They may have made a deal with Novell and Dell, but they wont be able to make a deal with everyone, and certainly not the whole community.

     It is Microsoft who is losing here, and what we are seeing them do these days just proves it.

  4. “So long as Microsoft hasn?t patented the right-mouse context menus, the concept of a desktop, or the word ?Office,? the open source can – if the need arises – clear all these issues up and move on ahead.”

    I suspect that’s exactly what Microsoft has done.  The ones that can be worked around aren’t as much of a threat as the “prior art” ones that need to be litigated.  And who has the throng of lawyers?

  5. Problem is, it isn’t that simple.  Can you implement a non-infringing implementation of the FAT32 file system?  No, because FAT32 (the specification) is patented.  If you can read and write FAT32 file systems, it infringes.  Period.

    Can you implement a non-infringing technique of moving a cursor in a text input field in a GUI?  Maybe, it is going to depend a lot on the patent and anyone trying to “work around” it is going to have to have a clear description of what is and what is not covered by the patent.  This is not something that a basement dwelling 17-year-old is going to have available.

    Can you implement a non-infringing technique for memory management?  Of course.  Probably with little or no guidance.

    So it is going to depend a lot on what level the patents are at.  I suspect a bunch are at the FAT32 level.  A lot more are going to be at the “memory management” level.  The real trouble is going to come from the middle where it is going to require departing from an expected look-and-feel to avoid infinging on a patent.  That has the potential to turn GNC/Linux/X/GTK/KDE into something that no user would find comprehensible, even though it could be “worked around”.

  6. using a website that has a Linux server? At least 60% of the servers on the net are Linux.

    Guess what Microsoft users… this is gonna hurt you in the pocketbook too!

    If you ISP’s email server is Linux, guess what…. pony up! They aren’t going to just ABSORB

    Mr. Ballmer’s tax on Linux — it’s going right back to the end user. You.

  7. Perhaps the real reason MS doesn’t want to list the claimed infringments is that they can be traced back to MS agents putting such code into linux. This would expose personel that would then have a ruined career in the computer industry. And the question of whether or not such intentional injection of such code would be seen as a participation in the GPL licensing terms. Making the code not infringing.

    MS has proven its felony status with the endless anti-trust suits around the world against it,

    At any rate there needs to be laws that prevent such eventual libel, as there is in florida laws against eventual left turns (people driving with their left turn signal going but to prevent others from passing).

    Eveyone know its wrong to do this sort of intentional harm to others.
    MS is going to only hurt their reputation more. Linux doesn’t have to beat MS, as MS is beating itself.

  8. Long live open source!! I have only been an open source convert for a little over a year and I have even managed to learn to code. Mr Ballmer will have to pry this from my cold dead hands. Come get some!!!!

  9. Microsoft did not get the “Evil Empire” name by accident.  They have not entered into dozen of business partnerships, then “totally by mistake” rape, pillage, and bankrupt those companies.  Most recent example, Microsoft “Play For Sure” integration of Windows with music players, so they could forceably extract from those “partners” their proprietary pricing, channels, manufacturing expertise, and all the other business info necessary to create that brown Zune monstrosity.

    Heck, I’m surprised they have patented their “embrace, extend, extinguish” business model.

    If someone did not know of their previous attempts at software creation (miracles such as Windows 95, Win/ME, and “Bob”) you might think the company exists for the sole purpose of licensing and litigation.  Sure “one computer per desktop”, but only if accompanied by “one lawsuit per license”.  There is no question that Microsoft is single-handedly responsible for a dramatic increase in the quantity and scope of lawsuits.  Oh, they lead the way in “serious flaws allowing any user to take control of the system” errors, too; but I don’t think that’s part of their core metrics.

    But what will be the impact on Linux?  Until now, Steve Ballmer has been kept on a leash by the influence of Bill Gates and (occasionally) reality.  Without Gates “good bully, bad bully” teamwork, Ballmer can run roughshod over his own executives and legal council to pursue a will’o the wisp like “Linux”.

    I mean really — like there is *one* Linux to chase?  Pardon me, Mr. Ballmer — just who are you attempting to threaten?!?   You can’t threaten to darken the sky with lawyers because there’s no corporation to sue.  With IBM, Oracle, Dell, and every major computer company supporting Linux, and no “big pile of cash” (or revenue) to jeopardize, it is as stupid as attempting to threaten the American flag (or apple pie, or any other popular non-profit concept).

    This actually sounds more like the end of Microsoft.  We’ve gotten hints of their demise before, but with Vista’s and Zune’s incredibly loud sucking sound, drownding out all their market-speak, I’m thinking that Microsoft has finally jumped the shark.

  10. Why does this who scenario remind me of the “War on Terror”?

  11. i have one word for Microsofton…

    LOSTFU – Litigate Or Shut The Fork Up!

  12. ^^^ That’s more than one word dude. And “Period.” is not a sentence!

     

  13. Hey, does MS even know that software patents are not legal worldwilde ?

    Even if they *really* can prove that patents are actually violated regarding US (stupid) patents law AND the community fails to provide workarounds, then they just have to host their project in Europa or Asia.

    Will there be a debian/non-US again ? Only US users will be harmed thanks to MS and US patents laws…

  14. I’m not afraid of Ballmer’s gang. The open-source community is so huge and tremendous that successfully suing the community would take longer than Microsoft’s bankruptcy process that is just underway. Their violation screams and behaviors just have proven that recently.

  15. As software evolves, the patent system which bounds software will need to evolve also. It can’t be held to the same rigid rule systems that dictate typical machine patents.

    For example, it’s not possible to patent the way you use the tools in your garage. However, you can take your tools and construct build wooden truck that DOES violate a patent:
    http://www.google.com/patents?id=Z-hzAAAAEBAJ

    And that’s the problem with software. Is software analogous to the tools? Or is it the truck?

    You can’t patent a simple “while…do” statement. But why not? Back in the 50’s the “while… do” statement would have been a non-trivial collection of machine commands. Shouldn’t that have been patentable? What happened of course is that programming language evolved into a higher-level form, and nowadays something that was once complicated is now considered trivial, and free from patent scrutiny.

    It’s logical to assume that in the future we’ll have continued evolution. It’s not so hard to imagine you will issue the command: “Create_GUI_Space”. It will create an input area, define size, input methods, mouse control, etc etc, in the same manner you define the limits for your “while…do” statement. Similarly trivial, and similarly free from patent control.

    It’s my understanding that THIS is the basis behind the free-software movement. While you can patent a toy truck, you can’t patent the *knowledge* for how to create that truck. Software code is not an “invention”, it is pure knowledge. And knowledge should be shared, not hidden. (This allows future evolution and improvement) Otherwise instead of patenting your toy truck, why not patent cutting and shaping wood?

    How would it have affected the software community if IBM would have moved to patent that once-complex “while… do” method? It’s fortunate that in software’s early days patents were for something seen as concrete, tangible. If patents weren’t that way Microsoft never would have been able to launch their Windows product since they’d be paying hefty royalties to Xerox.

    It’s a gray area without a good answer yet. It’s easy to see that “while…do” shouldn’t be a valid patent. But at the same time it’s hard to argue for a completely free world. Would Google have been able to rise to power, fame, and success if they would have been forced to release their search algorithm from day 1? Or if companies knew EXACTLY how the ranking system worked how much could you trust your search results?

    So the real problem is how to protect the sharing of knowledge, without limiting companies from having the ability to actually be successful and turn a profit.

    Either way, I’m of the opinion that MS is now committing the same mistake IBM made in the 80’s. Instead of trying to PROGRESS, they’re taking protectionary measures to prevent the future from eliminating their market. It didn’t work very well for IBM, and I doubt it’ll work for MS.

  16. My years of experience dealing with people who lie is that they withhold evidence when they know they don’t have a case.

  17. Funny thing.. 

    All I have seen from the open source side is defiance. No huddling in a corner muttering OMG lawsuits.. No rushing to search the patent lists for  MS for patents they might infringe.. nothing. Even legal examinations of the matter has shown that there os nothing to fear from MS patents. They can’t sue a tiny software project with no money, because they would get nothing back from them, they can’t sue non American projects because the American patent laws don’t extend outside America, and they can’t wait too long, as they will come up against GPL3 and the changes to American patent laws that are due any day now as a result of some influential cases being overturned.

    A few years ago British Telecom decided that they had a patent on hyperlinks. They lost. MS has been doing a patent drive the last few years to try and patent everything it can before someone else does, or before the patent requirements are tightened up to cut out the junk filings. How many of these patents are of this kind?

    If MS, who has been gunning for Linux way before others realized it was a threat to them had these patents and they were good enough to cause anything other than mild inconvinence, they would have used them long ago. Not held on to them waiting for the day when Linux was strong enough and advanced enough to  take business away from them.

  18. The funny thing is, just last week Microsoft was up against AT&T in the Supreme Court over some ridiculous patents (AT&T suing MS) and celebrated when the Supreme Court found the US Patent Laws to be ridiculous and the AT&T patents vague.

    Today they’re doing the same thing that they were up against last week…

  19. Microsoft is furious and angry, and even afraid of the OSS community and it’s heavy weight supporters (IBM, Google, etc.). So, in their great pain, they come up with stupid and unfunded ideas on how to stop or at least slow down this OSS movement in the world. They can play that game for a while, and maybe even have some successes too, but if they continue this way, things WILL change…

    At some point people (I mean normal, everyday people, who don’t even care which kind software is running on their computer as long as they can do what they want or need to) will REALLY understand that Microsoft IS an evil empire, and slowly will turn away from Microsoft just because in almost every person, burried deep inside there is a basic sense of, and need for justice. It will probably come a time when people will choose different paths to walk on, and leave the Microsoft’s path just because it is an evil empire who’s single interest is in making money by whichever means, and because there is an alternative path which every day becomes better and better – the OSS software solutions.

    Soner or later Microsoft will play out all their cards, and the world will realise that they were bluffing in most of the times, and their real intentions will come to sunlight for everybody to see.

    I know that people like you guys, who read and write blogs know what really Microsoft is like, but I’m speaking about ordinary people here: grandmas, grandpas, neighbours and so on.

  20. SCO attacked the Open Source community in a similar way (claims of patent infringements, hiding evidence etc.) and they already practically lost at court.

    M$ is doing the exact same thing and is going to lose just the same way. Their lawyers probably know this, which makes this whole fuss about the patents a FUD. If they don’t know it, then they are plain stupid.

    I wonder how long m$ can last with this kind of attitude, and with the sucky & insecure products they keep rolling out, and with the trend to shift from desktop apps to Internet-based apps and all…

     

    For now, I think it’s just a chair-throwing monkey ventillating his steaming rage about the feared Linux that they can’t seem to overcome… 

  21. Microsoft is in trouble because people who use Windows don’t care about their operating system, and people who care about their operating system don’t use Windows. They do not have a passionate user base.

     

    I am still hanging on to enough idealism to hope that passion will win out. 

  22. when the population of India and the population of China and the population of Africa start writing Open Source software en masse there will be so many developers working 24/7 that Microsoft can stuff Windows where the sun never shines. Remember, living in those places you still have to pay for Windows and even $3 for a poor chinese is a lot of money. Linux can be had for $0. I’m calmly waiting :o)

  23. So, Microsoft has many lawyers. Oogitty Boogitty.  Having watched the RIAA turn themselves into monsters, pusrusing this is largely impossible – as said above.  Much better to have a culture ‘in its debt’, or  easy to paint as thieves and liars.  Provides them with some more leverage when its time to clean up their public failings.

  24. How is free software screwed?
    Speaking for myself (IT admin for a large national research lab) Will MS force me to uninstall Linux on our local 3 (200, 120 and 80 CPU) Beowulf clusters? (not to mention the national ones at our other labs)

    Is MS going to force us to:
    – install Vista on our ~4000 Linux and FreeBSD desktops?
    – uninstall Postfix and set up Exchange?
    – delete OpenOffice and install Office on the forementioned 4000 Vista installs?

    Pffff.. smoke and mirrors. MS has no target to sue Linux and other FOSS out of existence. It’s pure FUD.

  25. Ahem… those who live long enough will see who gets screwed.
    It’s MS against us other 6.5 billion people around here. Say a billion or so may have been sucessfully brainwashed by American culture, that leaves the rest of us with a choice. How many of us think American products are indispensable? How many may have second thoughts about USA due to any number of political issues. These things may influence a potential customer. remember ‘us’ are China, India, Africa, all islamic countries etc. Me, I’ve been brainwashed by the Penguin, I’m already lost in the *nix-land… haha.. they’re coming to take me away, those nice young men in their clean white coats..

  26. “Dude, Opensource is screwed. Microsoft is going to be the clear winner here.”

    Yeah, that’s what you people said last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. And the year…

  27. Paramount to open source is the idea of a community building it’s tools. It is time for that community to defend itself. Time for the Programers to call on the assistance of the lawyers they know… and for that matter, the ones that use firefox everyday, to contribute to our project. While we’re at it, I’d like the advertisers, business strategists, user interface designers, etc to join in. If the whole community decides it’s not worth standing up for transparant programing… We sign ourselves to our own fate.

  28. This is just the second to last phase in an overall victory by free software…That great sucking sound you hear is closed source software circling the drain.

    First they ignore you.

    Then they laugh at you.

    Then they fight you. (<—You are here)

    Then you win.

    -Mahatma Ghandhi 

  29. I am all for paying dues to someone who invented something which benefits me.

    I can safely say that I owe my career in high tech to that ‘obtained’ copy of Turbo C running on a PC-AT with MS DOS4.0 ages ago in India. However, things have changed today. Microsoft is no longer focussed on creating tools which help me do just what I want to do. For example, Microsoft Visual C++ was a really cool tool for Windows apps. Now they have a smorgassboard of .NET .THIS .THAT and .GODKNOWSWHAT which serves nothing in particular. Microsoft has stopped being an innovative company and has become just a ‘I will sue you or burn you to the ground if you dont follow my diktats’. Case in point – Netscape.

    As for OSS free software, I would rather that Microsoft invested in creating a very secure and reliable Windows server which compares to Linux. They have the money to do this. Then why not? As a personal choice I would use Linux and all other OSS, but at my job, where a lot is at stake I would still use a product from a vendor who I can call for a quick fix if needed. Instead of improving their products, taking care of security holes, they are into this nonsense of suing the OSS community. I would say to MS, instead of burning bridges, why not come up with compelling tool kits and software development suites which bridge the gap between Linux and offer something more than what OSS can offer. I wont mind paying you to use these tools if I can develop a better product in the bargain.

    Stop this nonsense MS and focus on better, secure and realiable products

  30. As for patents, I would like software patents to be time limited or invention limited. What I mean is that once a thing, say the while … do loop becomes common place for others to implement, then the original patent should not apply. I dont know if I am making myself clear, but its like riding a bicycle. You may ride your bike and choose to not teach others to how you learnt to ride. But if others find their own way to ride it, and if enough folks learn this, then your original patent on how to ride a bike should become obsolete. Sorry, I am not a patent expert but I feel that patents should be there to allow ‘for profit’ innovation but something needs to be chaned so that we dont have silly patents like the Amazon 1-Click patent.

  31. In all fairness, echarcha, Windows Server 2003 is a very secure and reliable server… It has less vulnerabilities (taking into account components like IIS vs. Apache, Exchange vs. Hula, etc.) than the OSS versions – you’re probably still thinking of Windows 2000. But other than that, spot on.

  32. Computer Guru, You are right. I meant Windows 2000. I have spent many sleepless nights fixing some issues in our product which were actualy Win2K server issues. 🙂

    I am always amazed when some folks are either complete Microsofties or OSS. I believe in no tech-religion. I use whatever is suitable for the task at hand and what the customer wants.  Folks who make statements at tech fairs and exhibitions like ‘*nix rocks. Its the best’ or ‘MS .NET is the real next gen invention’ etc. (these are actual comments I have heard in person) amuse me no end.

    Currently I am using only OSS for developing a web front end to our product. The product uses some MS and some other technologies and platforms in the ‘backend’. Yet, the market segement we serve is happy at what we have and so no complains. For example, we prefer to use Informix or Oracle as the database component as customers want to feel secure that their data can be recovered in case of a crash by calling Oracle. Also they have inhouse Oracle/Informix expertise. For web front end all they care is whether this works in IE and Firefox is a nice additional bonus. They dont care if we used .NET .ASP or Ajax or JSF for the web UI.  In an earlier version of the product we had used everything MS – the browser, the programming language flavour and  the database.

    I believe in providing what my customer wants and feels comfortable with. 🙂

  33. “Open source software gets its code from millions of developers and no amount of auditing or quadruple-checking will ensure clean-code”

    Ehi, this is not copyright violation, is not code stolen! Someone (M$) patented lots of ideas implemented in software, something that should be forbidden, and is trying to stole FOSS work claiming “patent infringement”. There is no “audit” you can do against the huge software/business method software patent base in US (> 300.000, almost very vague). You can write code on your own, in your garage with your pc and skill, and be infringing hundreds of software patents. That’s why software patents are evil and stop innovation. You don’t have to look at other people code, nor programs, just you have to implement the solution of a problem on your own, and sure someone else has already patented the “idea” behind the solution, and you are doomed!

  34. The one thing that might be a PITA though is if they try to enforce patents through litigation with the end user like the RIAA is doing to college students who share music. If they somehow can track who is using linux and then for either a settlement or legal battle.

    One of my buddies got slammed for USD $3000 in the RIAA settlement. Otherwise it was a legal battle with a possible $750 per song…

    Not sure if M$ could do this, but it would affect a lot of people.

  35. Quoting PC:

    Problem is, it isn?t that simple.  Can you implement a non-infringing implementation of the FAT32 file system?  No, because FAT32 (the specification) is patented.  If you can read and write FAT32 file systems, it infringes.  Period.

    Can you implement a non-infringing technique of moving a cursor in a text input field in a GUI?  Maybe, it is going to depend a lot on the patent and anyone trying to ?work around? it is going to have to have a clear description of what is and what is not covered by the patent.  This is not something that a basement dwelling 17-year-old is going to have available.

    Can you implement a non-infringing technique for memory management?  Of course.  Probably with little or no guidance.

    So it is going to depend a lot on what level the patents are at.  I suspect a bunch are at the FAT32 level.  A lot more are going to be at the ?memory management? level.  The real trouble is going to come from the middle where it is going to require departing from an expected look-and-feel to avoid infinging on a patent.  That has the potential to turn GNC/Linux/X/GTK/KDE into something that no user would find comprehensible, even though it could be ?worked around?.

    M$ owns a patent on an implementation of FAT, not FAT itself.  It is perfectly legal for Linux and other OS’s to read and write FAT using a separate implementation.  The act of moving a cursor into a text input field?  Prior art (see Xerox PARC).  Memory management?  Prior art (see Multics, UNIX).  GUI?  Prior art (see Xerox PARC) and implementation-specific (precedence set by Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp).  This assumes that software patents are even that enforcible–in reality, software is just an implementation of mathematical formulas and algorithms, both of which cannot be patented in the US already; the question as to whether or not software can or cannot be patented will almost certainly be reassessed if M$ makes this a big legal issue.  It’s already illegal in Europe and Asia, IIRC.

    Besides, if M$ thinks they can nickel-and-dime the rest of the world over undisclosed patents and the mere threat of legal action which they publicly admitted is NOT going to happen, they’ve got another thing coming.  Linux is too important to business today to be stopped with only 235 potential patent infringement cases.  That’s how M$ got away with taking Apple’s GUI–it would have done more damage to force M$ to come clean and destroy the up-and-coming OS (if you can even call it that) that was becoming more and more important to businesses than to let M$ continue to develop Windoze.

  36. Why do we even have these discussions?  Open source isn’t going anywhere, Microsoft isn’t going anywhere.  Who cares what operating system someone uses, just as long as the file formats are compatible and free of royalties.  If you are smart, you will learn and use open-source, cross-platform programs.  (Firefox. OpenOffice, Gaim, Gimp, etc…)  That’s the future.  Linux is also the most cross-platform OS, so Linux would probably be a good choice also.

    Enough said

  37. http://www.techworld.com/opsys/news/index.cfm?NewsID=4766

     It’s going to be patent vs. patent – in a fight between IBM & Microsoft, I’d bet on IBM 🙂

     This was a long foreseen event – it’s no surprise Microsoft moved in this direction.

    ============ 

    In January, IBM opened 500 of its software patents to open-source developers. Two weeks later, Sun followed the lead by releasing 1,670 patents, many related to Solaris. In August, Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) launched its Patent Commons initiative that seeks to collect software licences and patents pledged to the open-source community in a central repository.

  38. Anonymous Coward forgot one important FLOSS program: Videolan/VLC to watch videos.

    After spending decades playing the ‘do I have the latest codec’ and having to keep a few copies of different programs to make sure I can view all latest video files, I have totally forgotten about this annoying problem since I’ve installed VLC.

    It just plays everything.

  39. You all should realize that a company in Japan patented the “What’s this?” button and functionality found in many products and even in some MS Office Versions…  Yet the courts said that you can’t patent a “concept” only the specific implementation…  Still this delayed the release of a new version of a major software vendor’s package in Japan a few years ago…  at least until it was settled…

    In order to patent something like a “window” concept or even the code to do it, you would have to show that you actually invented it.  And since MS STOLE it from Apple, who STOLE it from Xerox they would have a hard time patenting the window interface…  besides the GUI uses very different code…

    MS will NOT succeed because they are trying something as stupid as me trying to patent some of the things I “invented” after they were made by other people…  True, I invented, in concept, several things when I was younger, but lacking the funds to develop an actual device failed to do anything with them, only to see someone else, a few years later come up with the same thing…

    The patents also have to be enforcible in more then just the USA for MS to get anything done, and since many OpenSource projects are NOT USA based, including the contributors, MS might as well sue the world all at once…  but 40+ courts will NOT side with MS…

    Bite me MicroSucks…

  40. It’s nice to see you saying something nice about FLOSS for once, Enderle 🙂

  41. M$ is full of hot air — think Steve — Monkey Boy — Bummer. M$ is going to try to scare people but just as soon as they smell the coffee they’ll give M$ “THE FINGER” !!! Why?? BECAUSE JUST AS SOON AS M$ SUES, THEY WILL BE HIT WITH A MASSIVE PATENT LAWSUIT FROM IBM et al. for violating THEIR patents — and you can bet that M$ is violating at least several IBM patents. Indeed once they sue even *1* entity, M$ will be FORCED to reveal EXACTLY WHAT PATENTS were violated, which is the LAST thing M$ wants to do.  

    CONCLUSION: Monkey Boy will jump up and down, cry, throw chairs around — just like a spoiled brat that does not get their way, but at the end of the day M$ can’t AFFORD to carry through on their threat, because it would unleash a massive PATENT WAR from which M$ would not come away from unscathed. It is all bark with no bite.  SCO was stupid; I’m sure M$ is at least smart enough not to make the same blunders as SCO. My advice: just give M$ THE FINGER and tell them to crawl back under the rock from which they came — that or go annoy IBM. 

  42. Can you implement a non-infringing technique of moving a cursor in
    a text input field in a GUI? Maybe, it is going to depend a lot
    on the patent and anyone trying to “work around” it is going to
    have to have a clear description of what is and what is not
    covered by the patent. This is not something that a basement
    dwelling 17-year-old is going to have available.
    >
    >
    Hello? Have you heard of the Amiga or Atari ST computers, or the *Graphical Interfaces* for the 8-bit Atari and Commodore computers? Don’t forget the GUI’s for the Unix mainframes that were created during the 60’s,70’s and 80’s. If anything Microsoft is infringing on those techniques within Windows.

  43. Do you guys think that if Microsoft sues Linux distros they are going to submit immediately? First, it is not that easy to sue for patent infringement and win especially now after the Supreme Court made it much easier to invalidate patents based on prior art and obviousness.  MS has been sued many times for patent infringement and in almost every instance they decided to settle because it wasd obvious they couldn’t win. Now do you guys think that MS is not infringing patent held by Open Source projects like Linux and Open Office.

    Have you heard about Open Invention Network? An organization that have collected many significant patents in all kinds of software issues and that will make available to any of their members to use against any company that initiates a patent lawsuit. Who has more to loose. MS or open source projects? it will only take a successful patent infringement loss for a court to order an injunction against MS (remember RIM and Vonage?) MS has not initiate a lawsuit because they are afraid of a countersuit that might end up shutting the company down until they find a work around.

     
    Anyone think that IBM, Oracle, Sun and HP are going to sit on the sidelines and not defend Linux and other Open Source projects when they make billions of dollars out of it? (IBM and HP alone each make over $3 billion a year, Sun is the main contributor to OpenOffice and now Oracle have their own distro called Unbreakable Linux based on Red Hat). And if thet is not enough, MS deal with Novel will provide an exit. Why? MS is selling coupons to Novel SUSE as part of their agreement with Novell. what does that mean? ESTOPEL in legal terms. By distribting a product that contains their so called IP (patents), they have provided KNOWINGLY to everyone the technology they are complaining about. I think Novell, after being critisized by open source developers, at the end ambushed MS into that agreement. what MS is trying to collect some more money from distributors of Open Source before their door is closed once projects switch to GPL3. Both linus and Alan Cox have warmed up to GPL3 last revision and this incident might be the last push for them to accept it and move Linux to GPL3.

  44. Basically Microsoft should put up or shut up. 235 patent violations? What are they?

    If MS remains this vague about it then the OS community should just make counter claims.

    Windows XP and Vista violates x number of open source patents (and there probably are hidden away in the mountains of MS code.)

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