Is Microsoft Targeting Linux Through Tom Tom? Oh Please

Rob Enderle

Watching litigation is often like watching a messy divorce. People will often say things they don't actually believe are true just to get the response they want from the audience. If you want to determine who is right, you have to step back and look at the behavior from the parties outside court to determine who is at fault and what the real issues are.

 

This latest case between Microsoft and TomTom, which has some Linux leaders speaking out, is to point and it may showcase how others are likely to try to manipulate us during these difficult times.

 

Cause

Linux leaders have a problem. Ever since Microsoft adopted the "let's get along" strategy of licensing and interoperating, it has been hard to get people to volunteer their time for the platform, and interest seems to be waning. I could argue that the current market conditions likely are contributing to this greatly, as companies that once volunteered their people's time are finding it harder to do that due to layoffs, budget cuts and a renewed focus on that magic word "revenue."

 

Linux has always seemed strongest when being attacked by Microsoft, and it clearly is missing that strength this year.

 


TomTom, which hasn't exactly been an open source poster child, has a problem, too. Unlike other companies in this space that have licensed navigation technology from Microsoft, it chose not to. That can be a dangerous path with any Fortune 50 technology company. Tom Tom really doesn't have the resources to defend against an IP infringement attack during what is likely to be an ugly revenue year. It recently warned that it probably won't be able to repay creditors -- it took a 989 million euro fourth-quarter loss -- and doesn't appear to have the money to pay anyone at the moment. (How it will rigorously defend itself against Microsoft with no money will be interesting to watch).

 

Microsoft has a problem. It has been in the navigation business for more than a decade and makes money by licensing technology to others. It can't allow anyone to simply take the technology without paying. On the other hand, its cooperation strategy with Linux and open source appears to be working well, and its server and tools division, as a result, is the highest performing in the company. It certainly would not sacrifice the success of the Server and Tools division for a little incremental licensing revenue from TomTom.

 

Effect

It appears, to address the open source and Linux problems, the Linux leaders -- or those who seem to play that role -- are becoming outspoken on Microsoft leveling a FUD attack on Linux, or that people need to look at this Microsoft behavior and "prepare for the worst." Granted, this last warning, given the current economic conditions, would appear prudent even if you took Microsoft out of this statement.

 

It seems the motivation is less what Microsoft has done and what these folks need to have happen. They want Microsoft to become the rallying cry again and drive back the kind of interest and effort that they had five or so years ago. Given the economic conditions, even if Microsoft were a real threat, I doubt this would happen. No one is seeing the kind of interest in anything, except perhaps commodities and home safes, that existed five years ago. Linux is safe from Microsoft for now; it has other things it needs to be concerned about.

 

On the TomTom side, getting the open source community to apply pressure on Microsoft could prevent expensive litigation and a possible judgment it can't afford. It is an interesting and creative strategy, but it probably won't change the outcome. A better path might have been to try to get this arbitrated so it could focus back on the market and its real competitors. This is one of the problems with litigation: It provides false hope because you are often told what you want to hear, not what you need to know.

 

Microsoft needs to defend its intellectual property, much like gpl-violations.org did, and has a new head of intellectual property who has to show value. However, getting blood out of a stone probably won't work. With the kind of losses TomTom is taking, my guess is it probably won't survive the year. That's a shame, because it makes nice products.

 

Recommended Outcome:

The Linux folks need to move on. The open source folks in Microsoft have taken positions of power and it is unlikely Microsoft will intentionally attack open source or Linux again unless the status quo changes dramatically away from Microsoft, and Microsoft starts to fail. Neither seems likely in the next five years.

 

The Open Source leaders need to find some other way to motivate the troops. Maybe, I don't know, some kind of revenue model would work here.

 

For Microsoft and TomTom, the litigation path is a waste of money and probably terminal for TomTom. Microsoft would rather have a live licensee than a big legal bill. Both sides could come to the table and perhaps work this out.

 

This is probably a long way of saying "there is nothing to see here, move on," but it also suggests that folks will, in this economy, likely be trying to manipulate us a lot. Spending the time to look under the statement before reacting could save us all a lot of grief.



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Mar 4, 2009 4:25 AM Kenclarity2 Kenclarity2  says:

Hey, Rob -- I wanted to ask: To what degree do you think what you describe as a decline in enthusiasm in the Linux development community may be attributable to basic maturity of the product? Do you think it's the nature of community development that when code gets fairly ripe, the community is less likely to code? Would Windows Vista have been turned out by a community dev culture, as opposed to just a light-weight XP SP4, if even that was needed?

Just curious, Ken

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Mar 4, 2009 8:51 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Kenclarity2

The "why" is an interesting question.  (Sorry this took awhile, Jury duty today).  Open Source was a fringe element for most of the 90s.  Then Microsoft brought out Windows NT and a series of other products that were over promised and took a pricing action that was designed to make things simpler for IT but instead surprised a lot of folks with huge unplanned increases.   

As a result trust cratered for the company and people suddenly wanted to see the fine print.   Open Source became the "fine print" for code and the more Microsoft took shots at Open Source the tighter and larger the supporters became with huge numbers volunteering their free time to the effort.   It felt to me more like a political rally or religious event at the time.   This effort was strengthened by SCO who appeared to be trying to charge for stuff the Open Source believed strongly SCO didn't own. 

SCO imploded several years ago and ceased to be any more than a bad joke, and Microsoft switched tactics wisely realizing that fighting any effort that was customer driven was suicidal.    This removed the two large threats to Open Source and a lot of the engine driving people to volunteer their time. 

The economy worsened and this forced people and companies who were donating to the effort to reconsider their investments and focus their falling resources on projects that would increase their bottom lines.  Open Source projects increasingly didn't make that cut.  

Finally, initially a lot of code was new and fun and recently most is old and requires maintenance which isn't nearly as fun.   When you volunteer for something like an Open Source project it is at least partially because you enjoy it but fixing someone else's code (hell I never used to like to fix my own) is true work and that too has contributed to the slide. 

So I think it is a combination of things the fire that was driving the effort has fizzled, the economy is forcing some hard choices based on income, and supporting this stuff has turned from fun to work.   All contribute to the trend.   Open Source and Linux aren't going away, they just aren't what they were and the future of Linux, at least the high volume future, may be Android

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Mar 4, 2009 11:17 AM steve kent steve kent  says:

Curious how Microsoft has painted a radioactive "wall of patents" around its Windows' customers without their even realizing it.  You want to send me a file on a USB stick?  Please, don't waste your time - I can't read it without infringing Microsoft's Intellectual Property rights.  That's according to Horacio Gutierrez.  Yes, there are better file systems that don't tread on Microsoft's rights, but will MS support them out-of-the-box?  Right.

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Mar 5, 2009 1:14 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to obvio capitao

Even though I think the writer may be an agent (perhaps unwitting) or employee of Tom Tom I think this post is actually to point. It is a personal attack in an attempt to fuel a war that should have never been, and now largely appears to be over. There are clearly people very concerned that interest in OSS is waning but it seems unlikely that manufacturing a war is going to fix that.

I think you only need to apply Occam's razor to this. The choice is that Microsoft is somehow using Tom Tom as a proxy for Open Source in an attempt to FUD Open Source in general, or they are simply protecting their IP. The simpler path, and thus meeting the Occam's razor test, is the second.

The reason I think the two sides should settle is because Tom Tom doesn't have the money to make it through the year even without the additional cost of expensive litigation (which doesn't help even if they win), and Microsoft probably won't get a penny out of Tom Tom after incurring legal expenses. For both sides this path seems foolish.

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Mar 5, 2009 1:15 AM Ken Zahorec Ken Zahorec  says:

Hi Rob,

What if Microsoft's "intellectual property" in this case turns out to just another pile of worthless invalid patents? The precedent has been set and many of these business process and software patents are coming under much closer scrutiny as of lately. I believe that it will only get worse for them as I suspect that their intellectual portfolio may contain a significant amount of hot air. People and businesses don't like to get pushed around, bullied, and fleeced--they get mad and fight back.

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Mar 5, 2009 1:35 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

I think you'll find that most companies harbor "antipathy" for their competitors.   You should see what the Intel and AMD folks think of each other.   Taking any large multi-national on is probably suicidal for most small companies.   However, in this case, Tom Tom was running out of cash already and clearly has bigger issues than this one. 

The second paragraph only makes sense in context if you consider this a fight between Microsoft and OSS.   I don't.  Out of context, I think you should look at each case on its own merits.   Agree that ignoring history isn't wise, but neither is making assumptions without looking at the facts of the current case.   This appears no more than two largely proprietary companies fighting over who owns what. 

As far as right and wrong, if I'm correct and people are trying to manipulate this into appearing to be something it isn't to further their own ends, then regardless of whether those folks are OSS, Tom Tom, or Microsoft they would be, in my book, in the wrong.   Believe what you want, I just think it foolish to be manipulated into that belief. 

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Mar 5, 2009 1:55 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

I don't mean to defend Tom Tom, but the reaction by the Open Source community is not without justification. Any angle of legal precedent that can be wheedled out of this to benefit Microsoft will be and that is likely to come at a high cost for the rest of the world. If Microsoft wasn't trying to milk this, they could have just waited for Tom Tom to go belly up, if your analysis is correct.

Microsoft has, in fact, been a key player in popularizing predatory business practices in the modern marketplace, though they are by no means lonely in such affectations. The legacy of that movement can be found abundantly in our current economy. So, "everybody does it", really doesn't wash, anymore.

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Mar 5, 2009 2:25 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

A little paranoia, particularly when it comes to large companies, is probably a healthy thing.   The action against Tom Tom began before Tom Tom started to run out of cash and probably was triggered by Tom Tom telling Microsoft to take a hike.   I would think, had Tom Tom's finances been known, that Microsoft would have approached this problem differently.   But I can't be sure. 

It does likely mean Microsoft is getting more aggressive with their IP based revenue efforts.  You may recall that many companies have gone down this path including HP and IBM.  Generally, in a market downturn, executives start aggressively looking for additional revenue and IP is a nice place to mine.  Unfortunately the costs for this path in both hard cash and litigation expense seem to seldom justify an extended effort.   One of the reasons, probably the biggest, for broad cross licensing efforts is so the technology industry doesn't commit litigation suicide. 

But there is a difference between targeting OSS and individual companies.  Tom Tom really isn't much of an OSS company, yes they use Open Source but they initially weren't in compliance with that license either.  This would suggest an endemic problem with them and IP.   In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't currently in default of GPL.

It is interesting to note that companies become big largely by using predatory business practices.  I'd love to have an example of a large firm that doesn't exhibit this behavior.  Even charities can be incredibly predatory.    In Tom Tom's industry Garmin was chewing them up for instance.   There is a difference between predatory and illegal, or strategically stupid, and the financial industry shows more of the latter two than the former at the moment. 

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Mar 5, 2009 2:30 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

@Enderle: "Microsoft has a problem. It has been in the navigation business for more than a decade and makes money by licensing technology to others. It can't allow anyone to simply take the technology without paying."

Microsoft sells licenses.

If TomTom wanted to use Windows Mobile, which is protected by copyright, they would buy a license and ship the software with their products.

But TomTom didn't choose that way. Nor the mobile industry, which relegated Microsoft to a distant third place. TomTom uses Linux, and doesn't have to pay the Microsoft tax.

But Microsoft demands payment; if not because of software licenses, because of ideas.

The FAT patent is frivolous. FAT was a poorly designed filesystem, used by Microsoft since DOS, and largely adopted by the mobile industry because it interoperates with Windows.

The patent itself is trivial: a method to allow filenames longer than 8.3 characters.

By suing TomTom, Microsoft is telling the industry: you should better use Windows. But the industry don't want Windows.

Microsoft wants to tax open source and block interoperability.

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Mar 5, 2009 2:44 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to obvio capitao

You are basically saying that because FAT sucks but people need it to work with Windows they have a right to steal it.   They don't have to use FAT, Apple uses FUSE and they seem to be doing just fine at the moment.  Granted they generally cross license with Microsoft anyway.   In IP litigation you generally list all of the offending products.   I doubt FAT was what got them focused on Tom Tom, look at the first 5 of the 8. 

There are 8 US Patents in the action:

1.      Vehicle computer system with open platform architecture

2.     Method and system for generating driving directions

3.     Methods and arrangements for interacting with controllable objects within a graphical user interface environment using various input mechanisms. 

4.     Portable computing device-integrated appliance

5.     Vehicle computer system with wireless internet connectivity

6.     Common name space for long and short filenames

7.     Common name space for long and short filenames (second patent)

8.     Method and system for file system management using flash-erasable, programmable, read-only memory.  

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Mar 5, 2009 3:07 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

IP-based revenue? Oh. like that famous success story, SCO.

Predatory practices in the financial industry began to gather steam late in the post-WWII era. The Bank of America started small and humble. You paid in the '80s to keep them afloat, now you're doing it again. They have long since become the tail which wags the dog. Such is the legacy of turning a blind eye on predation.

So if the proponents of open standards and open software cry "wolf" at seeing a bared fang, I think it excusable, even if in the end it turns out to be but a posturing jackal which snarls.

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Mar 5, 2009 3:08 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Ken Zahorec

Then they'll look foolish.  Would seem a risky play for someone just promoted into the job though.   In any case, given Tom Tom is warning they can't pay their creditors it would seem unlikely that this will acutally make it to court. 

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Mar 5, 2009 3:32 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

Seriously SCO?  That's where you want to go with this?  You can't think of a single other company (IBM, HP, Qualcomm...) who makes money and defends IP licenses?

You may want to read up on BofA.   en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_America

Regardless I don't think "crying wolf" will fix the OSS problem. 

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Mar 5, 2009 4:12 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

I mentioned SCO because you didn't and such a facile oversight deserved note, not because it was an exclusive example. And, do I wish to address the ills of overly-broad patent claims and spurious litigation, regardless of their origin? Why, yes, yes I do, but not here, today.

If you mean to imply that there are fine, wholesome uses of IP suits, take that up with Richard Stallman, not me. My concerns are for open standards. While going FAT-free would probably be a benefit to all our digital arteries, it has value in data interchange, if little else. Microsoft has encouraged its use for such and pulling the plug might be legal, but remember the "predatory" thing?

I find nothing in the Wikipedia article any surprise or at all contradictory to my invocation of BofA's example. The article is, in fact, rather superficial. For example, I have personal knowledge of events in the 1980's not mentioned in the article. Events involving the FDIC assuming solvent a institution to roll into BofA and help prop it up, (a court later established the FDIC's action as wrongful, but the deed was 20 years done before the verdict came in).

Don't worry over much in regard to FOSS's problems. Open Source as a movement has proven remarkably good at solving problems. Perhaps the occasional "wolf" cry is more productive than you imagine.

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Mar 5, 2009 6:40 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

On BofA your dates were well off.  Second World War started in 1939, BofA started to ramp strongly in 1920.  But the example you cite isn't to point, because it doesn't showcase a predatory practice just a potentially illegal one.   And one you can't showcase with actual evidence either.   If you are going to cite a company's history you likely should read up on it first regardless of what you think you know. 

It appears you agree that the SCO reference wasn't to point either.   As far as talking to Richard, he is hardly mainstream even in the OSS community, Torvalds is more mainstream in my opinion (nicer guy too).  As far as an obsolete file system having value to data interchange, I sincerely doubt it in today's world where transcoding is both cheap and easy.  But FAT isn't at the core of this action in any case so it too is largely off topic, more of a strawman. 

We'll have to check back in the future to see if crying "wolf" works this time.  Going back to your SCO example, it didn't seem to work for them but if you think FOSS should emulate SCO, well good luck with that. 

One thing to remember that while far from perfect Microsoft can't spell subtle and tends to be very direct.   They would probably be scarier if they fixed that.  Beyond Occam's Razor this supports that what they are doing is simply going after Tom Tom.   Now if they went after Red Hat things might be different. 

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Mar 5, 2009 7:29 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

You seem to interpret me as having implied that any growth of an organization is necessarily predatory, or that BofA's growth was in all cases predatory. Quite the contrary is the case. Further, having witnessed it first-hand, I will stick by my assessment as to when commercial predation came into vogue, in the modern context. Prior to the late post-War period such conduct was seen, at best, as disreputable.

Now, predation seems accepted as the lingua franca du jour. Trust-busting is out of style along with other forms of social responsibility.

The invocation of Occam's Razor in regard to legal action is curious. Nowhere are the proverbial smoke and mirrors used to more obfuscating effect than in the legal arena. To accept such doings on face value seems an almost calculated naivety.

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Mar 5, 2009 7:45 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says: in response to Rob Enderle

@Enderle: "You are basically saying that because FAT sucks but people need it to work with Windows they have a right to steal it. "

No, I'm saying that people need to interoperate with Windows and Microsoft is using its monopoly to avoid competition.

"In IP litigation you generally list all of the offending products.   I doubt FAT was what got them focused on Tom Tom, look at the first 5 of the 8."

That doesn't change the fact that 3 of the 8 patent claims affect directly Linux and Open Source.

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Mar 5, 2009 7:50 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

It would certainly help if you gave solid examples.   The Great Depression, which a younger BofA survived, had corporate behavior far worse than we are seeing today because the majority of controls we now have were created subsequent to it.  I'm assuming you mean predation as it applies to business behavior:  "living by or given to victimizing others for personal gain".  Certainly this is very evident in our financial market problems at the moment but difficult to apply to Microsoft in this instance because the actual behaviors of BofA and Microsoft, right or wrong, are vastly different.  I think you need to bridge the behavior if you want to use one as an example to showcase the bad behavior of the other.  Otherwise you just have another strawman. 

Regardless of, or perhaps because of, the very convoluted aspects of litigation Occam's Razor should apply because, in theory, you are trying not to be misled.  That is the very purpose for the concept, to cut through the smoke and mirrors and get to the truth.   Why else would you use Occam's Razor? 

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Mar 5, 2009 8:29 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to obvio capitao

I'm sorry; I disagree strongly with that premise.  You don't need FAT this decade to interoperate with Windows.  Even Windows doesn't use FAT anymore.   

Now if you could show that normal practice in an action against a company like Tom Tom would not include anything but the 5 patents that you don't care about I could follow your argument.  But it is common to use the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach in actions like this and it does appear that all 8 patents may be violated by Tom Tom.  

Now if you were to argue that they are sneaking the 3 patents in figuring the likely easy win will establish their ownership of all 8 and thus opening up a huge exposure for OSS on the critical 3, I'd follow that but such an action is subtle and Microsoft doesn't do subtle.  In addition, even if they did, FAT would hardly be an OSS killer.  You'd only get away with this once so you'd want to pick something that would cripple the other side, FAT isn't that something.    Finally, and even if FAT were a killing blow, you'd want to pick a firm that at least could survive until judgment.  Tom Tom isn't that firm unless they get one hell of a lot of capital in the next few months.  

So this fails on three points.  Microsoft doesn't practice the subtlety (primarily because they leak like a sieve)  that would be required, FAT isn't that critical to OSS or Microsoft this decade, and Tom Tom can't stay in the fight long enough at the moment to create the foundation that would make all of this worth it. 

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Mar 5, 2009 9:20 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

Occam's Razor was devised to test hypothetical constructs used to explain physical phenomenon. Its primary application is in the investigative fields of science; it is not of much use if the fundamental facts cannot be exposed. As a result, human conduct often falls outside the easy application of the razor's concepts.

I doubt that the goal of exposing the facts in this case can be fully realized outside the court's proceedings. Applying the razor to the various spin-doctored press releases and such is likely to produce a false impression of what is and what isn't fact.

Much legislation to address corporate malfeasance did come out of the Depression and the post-War era. And much of that legislation has been dismantled or neutered in more recent decades. Indeed, the loosening of restrictions on financial derivatives is at the heart of the current financial crises. While you assert those were the bad ol' days, there was nothing quite like Enron in 1932.

By the way, RMS is one hell of a nice man. No one, not even the estimable Mr. Torvalds, has given more of himself to the human cause. Now I'm not saying I'd want to be his roommate. His personality is hard to take. But the bottom line is, when it comes to giving, he walks the walk.

Microsoft may not do subtlety, but they are masters at sneaky. Or haven't you noticed such things as MS products phoning home without notification?

The real issue is whether your characterization of OSS leaders as something akin to drama queens is fair in this context. I hold that it is not. Reacting to a threat is reasonable. Some may overestimate the threat, or not; some may overreact, or not. But to demean them for reacting, simply because it is in a manner not to your satisfaction, and at the same time making the backhanded accusation that they are trying to manipulate us is an argument troublingly tinged in demagoguery.

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Mar 5, 2009 9:52 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

On Occam's Razor I clearly disagree.  If you were to take two unnamed companies, one that was in the navigation business and licensing navigation software and had successfully done so in the past, and another who appeared to be infringing and refused to license a similar type of litigation would result.   Open Source would have no bearing unless it somehow compromised the related patents.   That is the simplest path.  OSS is the unnecessary complexity that Occam's Razor removes.   I maintain that even if OSS did not exist Microsoft would still have taken Tom Tom to court with an identical action.   

I'm an ex-internal auditor and I'll give you that many of the controls that were put in place to prevent things like Enron and massive Ponzi Schemes were dismantled.  But, before the crash, much of the market was working like a pyramid scheme and the reason why it won't be as bad this time is many of those old controls are still working.   But I have a hard time connecting any of this back to my post.

With regard to Drama queens.  The OSS leaders, at least some of them, are drama queens.   You do read what folks like Richard and Bruce write right?  Some of these guys should be listed as part of the definition for drama queen.  Fortunately they no longer represent the majority (I'm not sure they really ever did).  I get the whole controversy thing, hell I live it, but sometimes folks need to take a breath.  

Don't get me wrong Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has drifted into this drama queen space in the past as well (but has been behaving much better lately).  On this last, I know there are entire departments of people in Microsoft that dive under their desks when they start to hear the words "Steve Ballmer just announced".   But every piece of evidence suggests Microsoft is on a different, and vastly preferential, path with OSS currently.  Driving a message of fear, without any real evidence, appears to be intended only to mislead. 

Seriously Microsoft is filled with OSS types and leaks like a sieve, they aren't subtle, and even if none of that were true, FAT and Tom Tom would hardly represent much of a threat to OSS.  It's kind of like arguing Russia was declaring war as a result of their tossing a bunch of drunk army guys into jail because they were attacking the US military.  Sometimes stuff actually is what it appears to be.   In fact, I've found that much of the time, even though I like conspiracies myself, they are simply a figment of someone imagination. 

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Mar 5, 2009 10:12 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

Okay, let's drop the razor. I don't think there is much to be gained by its further dissection.

I'm sure you're right, Microsoft would have likely pursued the suit regardless of the OS issues. That doesn't diminish those issues, however. Microsoft's rise has been far more driven by litigation than innovation. All the more reason to treat them as suspect.

Yes, FOSS has its drama queens. But I put an important qualifier in my statement, "in this context". To categorize a strident reaction to a perceived threat as such pushes the drama queen label to its limits and, hence, I feel you have been unfair. Again, only within this context.

You may well be right about Microsoft's intentions. But history does not particularly favor your conclusions, nor detract from the appropriateness of the reactions in the FOSS community.

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Mar 5, 2009 11:56 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

If Rob Enderle is saying Microsoft is not targeting open source, that's because Microsoft probably is.

First, because Enderle is usually wrong.He predicted the demise of Apple several times (which has grown 200% since then) and the victory of SCO against IBM (SCO is now bankrupt). 

Seconde, because Enderle always defends Microsoft's point of view.

Now, let's examine some of his claims.

CAUSE

"Linux leaders have a problem.Ever since Microsoft adopted the "let's get along" strategy of licensing and interoperating, it has been hard to get people to volunteer their time for the platform, and interest seems to be waning."

Interest seems to be waning?Tell that to Google, who released Android, and Asus, who introduced Linux in the first netbooks, or Dell, Sony, NEC, Samsung...

"I could argue that the current market conditions likely are contributing to this greatly, as companies that once volunteered their people's time are finding it harder to do that due to layoffs, budget cuts and a renewed focus on that magic word "revenue.""

On the contrary -- as the market moves to lower costs, Linux becomes the most natural option.That's why Linux market share is increasing in the netbook segment, and that's why Microsoft was forced to lower their prices.

Microsoft knows that their cash cows are dying, and want to tax Linux users, so they a) make Linux more expensive;and b) make some revenue.

"Linux has always seemed strongest when being attacked by Microsoft, and it clearly is missing that strength this year."

If Microsoft will start to sue Linux users, Linux won't miss Microsoft's (and Enderle's) attacks too soon.

"TomTom, which hasn't exactly been an open source poster child, has a problem, too.Unlike other companies in this space that have licensed navigation technology from Microsoft, it chose not to."

Let me remember you that software patents are not recognized in most countries outside the US.TomTom is a Dutch company, and Microsoft patents are mostly trivial.

"Microsoft has a problem.It has been in the navigation business for more than a decade and makes money by licensing technology to others.It can't allow anyone to simply take the technology without paying."

Not surprisingly, Rob Enderle is taking Microsoft's side, saying that Microsoft's problem is that they have a right, and TomTom is "taking their technology without paying".

But nobody is using Microsoft technology.Microsoft have some trivial patents and feels like they deserve tribute.TomTom, and the Open Source community don't think so.

EFFECT

"It seems the motivation is less what Microsoft has done and what these folks need to have happen.They want Microsoft to become the rallying cry again and drive back the kind of interest and effort that they had five or so years ago."

I'm sorry to point out the obvious, but that's simply stupid.

Linux development is very well, thank you.Microsoft is feeling the heat.

Now Microsoft want to slow Linux adoption, via litigation.

"Microsoft needs to defend its intellectual property, much like gpl-violations.org did, and has a new head of intellectual property who has to show value."

Microsoft intellectual property can be easily challenged, and will be. Reply

Mar 5, 2009 11:56 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:
Their claims are not better than SCO's claims against IBM, but they are a large company against a small company with no cash.That doesn't make Microsoft claims right.

RECOMMENDED OUTCOME

"For Microsoft and TomTom, the litigation path is a waste of money and probably terminal for TomTom.Microsoft would rather have a live licensee than a big legal bill.Both sides could come to the table and perhaps work this out."

In other words, Rob Enderle wants TomTom to capitulate and accept Microsoft "intellectual property" claims.

That's how Microsoft is trying to slow the adoption of Open Source and tax all the players that don't use Windows.

That's another attack against Open Source, and Rob Enderle is just playing Microsoft's game.

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Mar 5, 2009 12:44 PM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says:

Underestimating the pernicious, endemic antipathy harbored institutionally at Microsoft for any competitor, Open Source or otherwise, may be but argumentative fodder for pundits, but it is certain suicide for any such competitor.

Should your skepticism of a proven commercial malefactor match that you hold for the established benefactor to society, Open Source, perhaps you might find a more balanced pen.

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Mar 6, 2009 1:03 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

To Mr. Enderle: Most appropriate, I think, is the old quote, "Things may not be as rosy as what they appear to be on the surface."

To Anonymous-Insider: Any public figure is subject to examination. Mr. Enderle is certainly entitled to question the actions and the motives of anyone taking a public position. Calling someone a "drama queen" does neither. It simply employs a slur to advance an argument on other than its intrinsic merits. Calling an open community a "cult" is but another, more egregious example of such puerile behavior.

I might expect better from Mr. Enderle; unfortunately, A-I, your case leaves us little hope.

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Mar 6, 2009 1:18 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Anonymous Insider
Mar 6, 2009 1:21 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

I'm clearly starting to mix up some of these responses.  Always an issue when folks post anonymously.   (I have trouble with names, numbers are clearly giving me some additional difficulty). 

I pulled my last two responses because I was miss-reading what I was responding to.  Sorry for any confusion.  

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Mar 6, 2009 1:29 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

There are entities such as Drupal, WordPress, Open-Realty and Joomla that are indeed great examples of open source values and results.

Unfortunately, there are individuals within the community that do act as cult members and erode the values of open source and free software.

A factually based claim against one of these cult senior members is simply labeled as a troll and widely attacked by lower rank cult members.

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Mar 6, 2009 1:45 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Ah Pamela Jones; FOSS's not so secret and nearly obsolete weapon.   Fascinating and somewhat unique in the market.  Secret revenue sources, safe houses, shadow organizations.   She is a conspiracy nut's dream or nightmare depending on which side you live on or how much of a fantasy world you live in.   She'll make an interesting subject for a book someday and the number of people who have done investigations on her that I've spoken with are legion.  I'm actually thinking of roughly basing a book of fiction on her, the underlying concept would make a fascinating story line.  

I actually think she did, and likely continues to do, more damage to FOSS than SCO did largely by writing long winded excessively cryptic pieces that read like legal pleadings but only serve to scare non-Fanboys away from the platform.   I've often wondered if that is in truth her actual goal.  Her fight with SCO made everything SCO did vastly more visible and had she taken a fraction of the time she took arguing the other side to simply disprove the foundation of SCO's claims simply (which SCO itself did in an eventually leaked internal memo) SCO's credibility would have vanished long before it did.  She didn't seem to really want the fight to end, but to prolong it and that may have had to do with the need to extend her funding source.

Compare the note you reference she writes about me to what I wrote.  I'm saying Microsoft is not attacking OSS or Linux so there is no additional risk to the platform.  She is saying Microsoft is about to start taking people to court and that there is a huge risk with Linux.  This is in a cash strapped market that is scared to death about risk at the moment.  Which one of our pieces is more likely to FUD Linux and favor Windows; one that says don't worry or one that says to worry a lot?

In this instance Microsoft isn't using FUD against Linux, Pamela Jones is.   I think it would be incredibly ironic if it turned out that all this time she was funded by a firm that actually was trying to hurt Linux.  Now that would be a story.  But applying Occam's Razor again I would say she probably is funded by a Linux supporter who, and they are hardly alone, likes that quantity of her work but doesn't understand the quality or the adverse impact it does.   It is likely she is FUDing Linux to make sure the drama continues and apparent relevancy provides a foundation for her continued employment.  

Other than as an interesting idea for a book I have yet to start, I don't find her as interesting as I once did.   Microsoft does, I believe, more damage to itself than any competitor can.  That's true of a lot of companies.  It is fascinating to me that it also seems to be true of FOSS.   The real threat to both is internal.   But that is a subject for another time.  Thanks for posting, it was an interesting read. 

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Mar 6, 2009 1:53 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Mr. Enderle: I hope you realize my tone is one of chiding, not contempt. I realize I first used the "drama queen" term and I did not mean to bait you over a term, but rather its implications. The point I wish to make it that denigrating or ridiculing one's adversary, common practice in today's political and media circles, is at the root of much political and social dysfunction on the planet.

I, for one, would be much pleased to see a renewed civility in discourse and conduct. The current situation is dragging on our very civilization. Nothing of value gets accomplished, no productivity gained and much time and energy is spent in litigation-like rhetoric.

A-I: I take it back; your further explanation does give hope. But your definition of "cult" casts a distressingly large net. Are we to label any passionate, protective and idealistic group a cult? Are the Mother's Against Drunk Driving a cult?

Jim Jones led a cult; Bruce Perens, not so much.

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Mar 6, 2009 2:02 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Rob Enderle

Probably web.archive.org/web/20030728164440/http://www.medabiliti.com/about-management.html">everyone at MedAbiliti made their money when XM Network became a property of Exemplar International, Inc.

Everyone except Pamela Jones.

When MedAbiliti closed doors after selling services to Exemplar International, PJ was without financial help.

Enter the FOSS community and the various firms with interests on Linux.

Pamela Jones had already told linux.org in July 2003 www.linux.org/people/pj_groklaw.html">www.linux.org/people/pj_groklaw.html :

"I didn't think too many people would ever read it, except I thought maybe IBM might find my research and it'd help them. Or someone out there would read it and realize he or she had meaningful evidence and would contact IBM or FSF. I know material I have put up can help them, if they didn't already know about it. Because of my training, I recognize what matters as far as this case is concerned. Companies like IBM typically hire folks to comb the Internet for them and find anything that mentions the company, so I assumed they'd notice me. That's all I was expecting."

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Mar 6, 2009 2:11 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

As additional information, XM Network is already copyrighted:

www.exintl.com/web-archive/documents/2006-01-03.htm

A patent is also pending:

www.exintl.com/web-archive/documents/2004-04-19.htm

There's another copyright for Veracity:

www.exintl.com/web-archive/documents/2006-01-03-1.htm

More info at:

www.exintl.com/web-archive/documents/index.html

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Mar 6, 2009 2:15 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

Let's take a different angle on this.    What is the impact of the FOSS leaders jumping up and down and screaming "wolf" regardless of whether there is an actual wolf?

What is FUD?  Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt right?   So are they creating FUD about Microsoft's products or FOSS products by doing this?   FOSS right?  If they are correct then Microsoft is going on the warpath and now instead of just threatening litigation they are actually taking folks to court and Microsoft remains the most powerful software company in the world.   What IT shop wants to be seen as incurring legal expenses in this market?   If they are incorrect they are scaring people for nothing with the common element being fear, uncertainty, and doubt.   But, this time, not Microsoft sourced but FOSS sourced. 

At the very least it appears counterproductive if you want folks to use OSS.  Now what is the direct result;  do OSS supporters all run out and buy Tom Tom GPS systems?   The FOSS leaders don't seem (though I may have missed it) to be recommending this and given Tom Tom is losing around $1B a quarter it will take a lot of GPS systems over a long period of time to save that company.  How about send donations to Tom Tom?  Haven't seen that recommendation either but wouldn't the result get Tom Tom to judgment and run the very real risk that Microsoft actually gets a judgment as opposed to right now where Tom Tom is likely to go bankrupt first?   And once again at the current cash burn rate we are talking the kind of money that could create an impressive software startup which probably would  do more for unemployed FOSS workers than Tom Tom ever will.  

Or, put another way, if Microsoft really wants to FUD Linux how much more effective, and vastly more credible, it would be if they got FOSS leaders to FUD it for them. 

I think the concept is fascinating, hope you do as well. 

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Mar 6, 2009 2:34 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

Let's define a 'cult' first:

1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.

2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult. 3. the object of such devotion.

4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

5. Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.

6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

7. the members of such a religion or sect.

8. any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.

Source: dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult?qsrc=2888

I'll let you pick the definition of 'cult' that better suits the comments from above.

Based on some of the definitions, Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond, Pamela Jones might fit as senior cult members. Bruce Perens has a softer manner to lead legions but nevertheless might also be described as a senior cult member.

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Mar 6, 2009 2:43 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

And again, Drupal, WordPress, Open-Realty and Joomla are great examples of entities that illustrate the best of open source values and results.

If you look closely, the members of these entities don't get involved so much in 'cult' practices. Those entities simply devote their efforts to write great code.

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Mar 6, 2009 2:56 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

I would think the second definition would best suit your argument, but it suffers the distinction of permitting application to almost any organized group with a prominent leader. A definition that encompasses everything from the Roman Catholic Church to a Tupperware party doesn't really tell us much, rather than that, perhaps, someone should find some new vocabulary.

Those in cults exhibit human social behavior. That doesn't make human social behavior cultist. Can you find instances in Revolution OS of behavior common in cults? Of course you can. You can also find those behaviors at pep rallies, board meetings, motivational conferences and CeBIT. Cults every one, I'm sure.

You seem adamant to classify those you seek to criticize as cultist, but in so doing you have diluted your definition to near meaninglessness.

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Mar 6, 2009 3:20 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

Well, make no mistake, there is an actual wolf. Whether said wolf has designs on FOSS in this suit would seem the only real question, in that regard.

While you make a persuasive argument that an overreaction might be deleterious, you fail to address the potential consequences of an under-reaction. Until a full vetting of the issues and circumstances can occur, any judgment is rushed. Your angle seems now to be one I thought you decried, an assault on the personalities.

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Mar 6, 2009 3:44 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

Back to Microsoft v Tom Tom, it seems as Groklaw has began another crusade on the defendant's side.

If the case ends up in the hands of a judge, will Groklaw try to influence the judge's decision as it try to do on SCO v IBM?

Will Tom Tom get it as easy with a judge making a decision based just on the testimony of 2 lawyers on the defendant's side.

This new crusade will be a lot more difficult for Groklaw as there's big difference between Microsoft and SCO: court room experience.

Microsoft was able to defeat Apple in Apple v Microsoft. Even in US v Microsoft, Microsoft was able to defeat the hardcore advocates that wanted to split the company in two.

Is Pamela Jones mentally or physically fit to go in a new crusade against Microsoft?

Needless to say, it'll be fun to watch.

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Mar 6, 2009 4:08 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Well she actually had no real impact on the case. She was focused on the IBM case and it was Novell's retention of ownship that ended the SCO effort. I think she probably scared more people away from Linux than Microsoft, SCO, and Sun combined times 4.

The Judge may assume she is connected to Tom Tom and violating his or her rulings which could cause damage to Tom Tom. She is one of those folks, were I still in litigation, that I'd definitly want on the other side. She is simply too big a wild card.

But agree, it will be fun to watch, from a distance....

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Mar 6, 2009 4:19 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

Watching a train wreck is fun? Do you both secretly work for the ABA? How does any of this help?

So, who are you betting on, gladiators or lions?

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Mar 6, 2009 4:33 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

It doesn't but its more fun than watching my 401K drop to zero.   I'm actually betting Tom Tom goes under before the court date.  Thier cash burn rate isn't sustainable. 

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Mar 6, 2009 4:53 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Rob Enderle

"I think she probably scared more people away from Linux than Microsoft, SCO..."

Pamela Jones didn't scare Exemplar International Inc / Examinetics from embracing XM Network. So she was successful on that first PR crusade.

By the way, I don't call Pamela Jones a drama queen, I call her a public relations queen. However, I do see some erosion on her PR skills lately...

Also, I never bought the "shyness" excuse for her hidden identity.

I think she didn't want Exemplar International to relate Groklaw to MedAbiliti.

I also think Pamela Jones didn't want the FOSS people to know about her relation to XM Network and the fact XM Network was written on open source software and it was never shared back to the community (probably not even a single line of code).

User1679788, what's ABA?

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Mar 6, 2009 5:02 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

ABA = American Bar Association a.k.a. Train Wreck Lovers International.

I will grant you that this adoption of Tom Tom as FOSS a cause celebre is twisting toward the cartoonish.

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Mar 6, 2009 5:04 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

American Bar Association, nothing to do with beer I'm afraid. 

PR, Marketing, but yes Jones is "interesting".  

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Mar 6, 2009 5:18 AM Rambo Tribble Rambo Tribble  says: in response to Rob Enderle

Beer? Finally, a concept I can swallow! I'm outta here.

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Mar 6, 2009 5:35 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

Pamela Jones wrote about this article:

"Rob Enderle stands up to defend Microsoft, whom he assumes must have valid patents being asserted in Microsoft's patent litigation lawsuit against TomTom. He therefore wants TomTom to just pay up, and he'd like Linux folks to quit being a drama queen about it all.

So, I guess that means Enderle still doesn't understand the GPL? You think?

Linux folks are not going to be moving on. This TomTom litigation is an attack on Linux, and it will be vigorously treated as such. Period."

I entirelly agree with her.

Microsoft couldn't care less about TomTom, except for the fact that TomTom adopted Linux instead of Windows, and this is a huge trend in the mobile industry.

Some time ago Steve Ballmer spoke about "hundreds" of patents infringed by Linux. Now they are starting to attack.

TomTom is an easy prey, and Microsoft will use it to give a strong message to the market: "use Windows, or else..."

Rob Enderle is playing Microsoft game by pretending this is not an attack against open source.

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Mar 6, 2009 5:38 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says: in response to Rob Enderle

Ah Rob Enderle; Microsoft's not so secret and nearly obsolete weapon.   Fascinating and somewhat unique in the market.

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Mar 6, 2009 5:45 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

Is Pamela Jones being funded by TomTom now?

In 2003-2004, the money came from MedAbiliti.

In 2004, the money came from OSRM.

2005-2008 is kind of a mistery, as said before "...secret revenue sources, safe houses, shadow organizations."

Is Tom Tom paying the bills now?

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Mar 6, 2009 6:22 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Wouldn't surprise me.   But given Tom Tom doesn't have much money I figure whatever she is getting won't last for long.

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Mar 6, 2009 6:34 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Rob Enderle

Well, maybe when Tom Tom runs out of money, Pamela Jones might still do her Tom Tom crusade as a pure contribution to the FOSS community as she helped MedAbiliti to market XM Network and XM Network ended up as a proprietary Web application.

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Mar 6, 2009 7:54 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

"Is Pamela Jones mentally or physically fit to go in a new crusade against Microsoft?"

You judge:

***********

Enderle on TomTom - Here We Go Again - Updated 2Xs

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 03:49 PM EST

PJ says, "If Microsoft doesn't mean to target Linux, let them drop those two patents. If they don't drop them, don't pretend that Microsoft isn't attacking Linux. It is."

If GPL folks don't mean to attack proprietary software, let them drop the GPL. Don't pretend that GPL folks aren't out to destroy proprietary software. Just read Richard Stallman's speech at the 4th international GPLv3 conference where he states, "I hope to see all proprietary software wiped out. That's what I aim for. That would be a World in which our freedom is respected."

Why in Heaven's name would *any* proprietary company drop a lawsuit against a tool whose stated goal is to destroy them? Hypocrisy abounds methinks.

***********

Enderle on TomTom - Here We Go Again - Updated 2Xs

Authored by: PJ on Friday, March 06 2009 @ 05:42 PM EST

First, the GPL isn't trying to destroy Microsoft or any other proprietary company. It's defensive in nature. And its purpose is to create an alternative to proprietary software. It has zero effect on Microsoft or any other proprietary company if they don't distribute it, which they don't. Well. They could lose market share if people prefer it, but that's the thing about open markets. People get to choose. The solution to that openness is not to destroy the competition, so people have no choice. Particularly not if you are a monopoly.

Don't post stuff like this on Groklaw any more. It's too stupid. Or if you do, you have to tell us who you represent. If you don't, I'll block you.

As I mentioned yesterday, from now on, I've had it with shills and trolls. We have a zero tolerance policy and this IP address has a long history of stuff like this.

I don't care if you comment honestly. But I know who you are, and if you comment again without telling, I'll tell on you. Fair warning.

**********

www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&;sid=20090304114657350&type=article&title=Enderle+on+TomTom+-+Here+We+Go+Again+-+Updated+2Xs&pid=746604">Link

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Mar 6, 2009 8:03 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

She appears to be having a bad day. 

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Mar 6, 2009 8:15 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Rob Enderle

There's been a few bad days for Pamela indeed, www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&;sid=20090226070041454&type=article&title=Bilski+is+a+BUSINESS+METHOD&pid=746043">link.

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Mar 6, 2009 12:03 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

OK so what happens if they under react.  

Right now odds are that Tom Tom goes under and all Microsoft is left with are a bunch of court costs and attorneys fees.  There is no trial and thus no case law.   If Tom Tom does last long enough for a judgment Microsoft either wins or loses.  If they win they are more likely to win on the Navigation patents than the FAT patents and, if that is the case, again no impact on Foss.  Now if they win the entire case which is possible but I think unlikely, FOSS supporters now know they need to move off of an obsolete file system (and recall that it isn't FAT that is at risk it is the modification that used long file names) for many like Tom Tom, they probably don't have to use that long file name capability anyway so it could result in either better products that don't use an obsolete File system or better products that don't use an obsolete file system inefficiently.   

In short, odds are there is no impact.  In the extreme case that Microsoft wins everything people are forced to do what they likely should have already done and make better products using current generation technology.  

Put another way, if I'm Microsoft and you are competing with me I want you to use obsolete inefficient code especially if it is mine because it gives me two competitive advantages.  I know the code better than you likely do, and I can prove my more advanced code is better. 

How's that?

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Mar 6, 2009 12:35 PM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says:

Hello Rob.

As always, Groklaw is trying to obscure your perspective at www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090304114657350 .

Let me bring some light into Pamela Jones' background:

The first anti-SCO article was published by Pamela Jones on May 17, 2003 and was titled "SCO Falls Downstairs, Hitting Its Head On Every Step".

A few days later, she published "Speaking of HIPAA, Do MS's EULAs Violate It?". The original version of this document is still found at radio.weblogs.com/0120124/2003/05/22.html .

"Speaking of HIPAA, Do MS's EULAs Violate It?" helped relate Pamela Jones of Groklaw to a company named MedAbiliti.

One month earlier, in February 2003, MedAbiliti announced "Exemplar International Chooses MedAbiliti for HIPAA Compliance". A press release mentioned Pamela Jones as director for public affairs at MedAbiliti.

What product was sold by MedAbiliti?

MedAbiliti sold its major product named XM Network to Exemplar International, Inc. XM Network run on Linux and was written on open source software. Exemplar International is known today as Examinetics.

The business relation between MedAbiliti and Exemplar International, Inc. was announced on February 18, 2003. About 2 weeks after, SCO filed its lawsuit against IBM.

Did Exemplar International questioned MedAbiliti about XM Network and the implications of the SCO lawsuit?

Enter Pamela Jones, director for public affairs at MedAbiliti.

Groklaw constantly preaches about open source values, yet its parent company MedAbiliti in 2003-2004 didn't share XM Network with the community.

All documents related to the above are still available in their original sources of publications.

The Groklaw - Pamela Jones timeline at www.krsaborio.net/research/linux/related/groklaw.htm provides copies of all the documents to easily understand the facts.

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Mar 6, 2009 12:53 PM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Rambo Tribble

"Your angle seems now to be one I thought you decried, an assault on the personalities."

Your cult is indeed entitled to assault on personalilties.

However, if a non-cult person attacks a senior cult member that's a troll and it's non-acceptable.

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Mar 6, 2009 12:58 PM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

How does the article "Speaking of HIPAA, Do MS's EULAs Violate It?" found at radio.weblogs.com/0120124/2003/05/22.html relate Pamela Jones to MedAbiliti?

Look for the last paragraph "Meanwhile, back on Planet Reality, you can learn about what HIPAA all means here..." and find the link to www.medabiliti.com/hipaa.html on the word 'here'.

"Exemplar International Chooses MedAbiliti for HIPAA Compliance" was announced on April 2003, not February 2003.

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Mar 7, 2009 3:38 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

With deteriorating global economic conditions making their impact felt in the wireless industry, handset OEMs and mobile network operators are looking to Linux-based operating systems to cut costs and diversify their handset portfolios, reports IMS Research.

While Linux-based operating systems have had a presence in the mobile handset market for years, growth has been slow and steady until recently. However, recent announcements from Motorola, Vodafone, HTC, and Huawei, among others, all stating that Linux-based operating systems will figure in to their upcoming handset releases, clearly demonstrate that OEMs and operators are ready to embrace Linux software on a larger scale, according to IMS Research.

cp.gpsworld.com/gpscp/MassMarketOEM+News/Economic-Slowdown-Accelerates-Linux-Growth-in-Mobi/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/585151?contextCategoryId=39059

Because Microsoft cannot compete with free, Microsoft wants to tax Linux.

As you can see, this attack against TomTom -- the first against companies that ship Linux products -- is just another anti-competitive tactic by Microsoft.

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Mar 7, 2009 3:45 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

According to Computerworld:

    "When asked specifically if "there are companies using Linux and open-source software, which have signed FAT patent cross-licensing agreements, such as the ones, which TomTom has refused to agree to?" Gutierrez replied, "Yes, other companies have signed FAT patent licenses, both in the context of patent cross licensing agreements and other licensing arrangements."

Microsoft in earlier statements has insisted the case is not about Linux and Gutierrez denied this was the first step in a series of suits over a claimed 235 cases of Microsoft patents being violated by free and open-source software. It's worth noting that Gutierrez was one of the Microsoft legal eagles who claimed in 2007 that free and open-source software infringes those 200-plus patents. TomTom US has refused to comment on the case.

Contrary to what Microsoft may state about this not being about Linux, tying up companies that use Linux and open source in patent licensing agreements cuts to the very core of one of the things that's kept Linux and open-source alive: free distribution of the kernel and code.

www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/06/microsoft_tomtom_patent_licensing/

In other words, if companies that are shipping Linux needs to get permission from Microsoft (because of FAT or other patents), Linux is no longer free.

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Mar 7, 2009 3:47 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

Samba maintainer Jeremy Allison pointed out in a recent blog posting by writer Glyn Moody that companies who sign up to Microsoft's licensing cannot continue to distribute their code under GPLv2.

Section seven of GPLv2 - called the "Liberty or Death" clause - states that you cannot distribute code if outside restrictions have been imposed.

"What people are missing about this is the either/or choice that Microsoft is giving TomTom," Alison posted.

"It isn't a case of cross-license and everything is ok. If TomTom or any other company cross licenses patents then by section 7 of GPLv2 (for the Linux kernel). they lose the rights to redistribute the kernel at all."

In other words, Microsoft is eroding Linux and open source and slowing their development. A deal with Microsoft prevents GPL'd code from returning to the ecosystem whence it came, with any improvements or updates, as companies that do patent licensing deals with Microsoft must keep it in-house

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Mar 7, 2009 3:52 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

Because Microsoft cannot compete with free, Microsoft wants to tax Linux.

Ah, the 'free' argument strikes again...

That's a weak rationale to even try to argue these facts about Linux:

1. Hidden costs in support
2. Fragmentation
3. Fanatical element among users
4. Patent issues
5. Copyright issues

Most companies with a good business model now about these problems.

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Mar 7, 2009 4:09 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Before someone tries to invalidate problem number 1 with Linux, here are two arguments that validate the problem.

For the open-source movement:
www.intercom.co.cr/media/990400_linux.wma">Alan Cox - April 20, 1999 - [WMA]
(fast forward to minute 0:33 )

For the free software movement:
www.icr.co.cr/media/010201_revolution_os_2.wmv">Richard Stallman - 2001 - [WMV]
(fast forward to minute 1:08)

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Mar 7, 2009 4:20 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

Samba maintainer Jeremy Allison pointed out in a recent blog posting by writer Glyn Moody that companies who sign up to Microsoft's licensing...

Many people know about the anti-Microsoft position of the Samba guys Allison and Tridgell.

A better non-biased source might be more convenient indeed.

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Mar 7, 2009 6:46 AM Ken Zahorec Ken Zahorec  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Anonymous,

This blog is loaded with hollow misleading arguments and yours seem to rise above the rest in this regard.You really need to stop posting this garbage, or at least back your information up with an identity.I will respond to your baseless points about Linux only once so others can gain some understanding against your silly misleading comments:

You said that Linux has "Hidden costs in support."

All software, including proprietary, has "hidden costs".But they are hidden only to the point that you might not understand what you are getting into when you use the software.Ask anyone who purchases a Windows PC from Best Buy 3 years afterwards how they fared with "hidden" costs.Now ask a Linux user after using Linux for three years how they fared.Which of the two will still have money in their wallet after three years?Which one will be smarter and able to do more IT with less $$--far more IT with far less $$.It is common knowledge at this point that FOSS scales very well for the $$ but don't take my word for it....just ask Google.The best point is...

If you want Linux support you can get it from anyone or any business that can compete and win your business.You can also support it, or parts of it, YOURSELF if you have the experience and really want to--because the GPL let's you do this....

Linux provides the freedom to choose how you want to support it, including supporting it yourself.Unlike what happens typically with proprietary software, No one forces you into a support contract with Linux--you can just use it if you want to.

You said "Fragmentation" as if this is a negative point...

...Actually fragmentation can be an extremely positive point.Fragmentation allows competitive differences to exist and allows best-of-breed technologies to move forward in the marketplace.Fragmentation also allows for movement of technology to niche purposes that fulfill specialized tasks.Consider desktop, real-time constraints, super-computing, graphics intensive, visualization, and even embedded applications.One size, one solution does not fit all. Besides that;When you have the best process in place for a given market segment and are delivering the best solutions, then no one wants to fork.If you are incapable of providing what the market needs, then a fork needs to happen.The GPL provides, by design, the efficiencies that are so sorely lacking in the proprietary world.

You said that Linux has a "Fanatical element among users".How do you figure?Have you ever tried to take MS office away from a Windows user?How about telling a Windows user to start using Linux?You want to see fanatical, just try doing that.How about taking a MAC user and forcing him/her to stop using their MAC and start using Windows instead.You will experience even more fanatics trying that.Tell me, how fanatical is Microsoft about Windows?Have you ever seen Steve Balmer jump up and down on stage like a crazed maniac while promoting Vista?How fanatical is Apple about OS X?Have you ever been to an Apple product launch?

The point is that Linux users and promoters are not fanatical, they are just pragmatic and want to share their success with others.Ok, maybe some are quite enthusiastic also, because they see and experience unbelievable value in what they have discovered with Linux.

You said Linux has "Patent issues".What issues would those be?

You can correct me if I am wrong on this, but I do not believe there has been one dime collected successfully from a FOSS cause yet--even after all these years. Reply

Mar 7, 2009 6:46 AM Ken Zahorec Ken Zahorec  says: in response to Anonymous Insider
So where are these patent issues and when will they come home to roost?

...On the other hand what do you see in the proprietary software world?How many $BILLIONS have exchanged hands at the cause of what some people regard as "intellectual property" in the form of software patents.Do you think what happened to RIM was good for the market?How much has Microsoft had to pay out in the past 10 years ($Billions) and how much do they owe currently in EU fines levied against them for breaking established law?...oh, And yes, they were found by our US Federal Court system to be guilty as charged in 2001 and remain under close scrutiny--now that is fact. So tell me, where is the risk from this perspective?

You mentioned that Linux has "Copyright issues".Again, what are you talking about?Can you provide even a shred of specificity here?Any GPL code I have bothered to look at is marked as copyright.The author(s) remain in control of their works as they are posted in the clear for all to see.As long as others respect that work and follow the terms that go along with it there are no problems....

...Now tell me if you might reasonably suspect that there could be a few "proprietary" software companies out there that may have have illegitimately "borrowed" some of that copyright FOSS and are perhaps using it, and profiting, in a manner that is inconsistent with the original authors licensing provisions (i.e.GPL) for that property?You think this could happen?Of course it could, and it has happened many times over.So again, tell me where the risk is?

You said "Most companies with a good business model now about these problems"...

...I would hope that most smart people and businesses would be able to critically think and realize the benefits that Linux is capable of delivering to their homes and organizations.They would be foolish to ignore the advantages of FOSS and follow the foolish FUD that you present here.

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Mar 7, 2009 7:53 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Ken Zahorec

Facts, not FUD:

1. Hidden costs in support

www.intercom.co.cr/media/990400_linux.wma">Alan Cox - April 20, 1999 - [WMA]
(fast forward to minute 0:33 )

www.icr.co.cr/media/010201_revolution_os_2.wmv">Richard Stallman - 2001 - [WMV]
(fast forward to minute 1:08)

2. Fragmentation

distrowatch.com/">DistroWatch.com

3. Fanatical element among users

www.krsaborio.net/research/1990s/96/02_d.htm">Byte Magazine

4. Patent issues

www.icr.co.cr/media/040115_linux.wmv">Jeremy Malcolm Part 1 [WMV]
www.icr.co.cr/media/040115_linux_a.wmv">Jeremy Malcolm Part 2 [WMV]
www.icr.co.cr/media/040115_linux_b.wmv">Jeremy Malcolm Part 3 [WMV]
www.icr.co.cr/media/040115_linux.pdf">Jeremy Malcolm Slides [PDF]

5. Copyright issues (graphical user interface)

www.icr.co.cr/media/040117_linux.wmv">Havoc Pennington Introduction [WMV]
www.icr.co.cr/media/040117_linux_1a.wmv">Havoc Pennington Part 1 a [WMV]
www.icr.co.cr/media/040117_linux_1b.wmv">Havoc Pennington Part 1 b [WMV]
www.icr.co.cr/media/040117_linux_2a.wmv">Havoc Pennington Part 2 a [WMV]
www.icr.co.cr/media/040117_linux_2b.wmv">Havoc Pennington Part 2 b [WMV]
www.icr.co.cr/media/040117_linux.pdf">Havoc Pennington Slides [PDF]

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Mar 7, 2009 8:21 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

A practical illustration of the fragmentation issue is provided by just taking a look at the different versions of the Opera Web browser:

www.opera.com/browser/download/?custom=yes

See the versions for Opera 9.64 for Linux i386:

www.opera.com/browser/download/?os=linux-i386&;ver=9.64&local=y

Isn't this kind of a nightmare? Or is it just a Linux feature?

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Mar 7, 2009 12:51 PM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

The following is a bit off topic...

Groklaw has announced it:

SCO Files its Appeal Brief in SCO v. Novell - www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090306203022172">Link

The following videos from January 2004 show the mood in the Linux community before the Groklaw crusade began to influence decisions in SCO v IBM et al:

www.icr.co.cr/media/040115_linux.wmv">Video Part 1
www.icr.co.cr/media/040115_linux_a.wmv">Video Part 2
www.icr.co.cr/media/040115_linux_b.wmv">Video Part 3

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Mar 8, 2009 1:00 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

Patent issues

www.krsaborio.net/research/1980s/81/810304_a.htm">Supreme Court Backs Patent in Computer Process (March 3, 1981)
www.krsaborio.net/research/legal/early_years.htm">More legal information (January 6, 1964 thru June 28, 1978)
www.krsaborio.net/research/legal.htm">More legal information (January 16, 1980 thru September 17, 1990)
Fast fort forward to minute 1:38 of www.icr.co.cr/media/040117_linux_1a.wmv">this video

Copyright issues (graphical user interface)

There's a pretty strong precedent established by www.krsaborio.net/research/legal/apple-microsoft.htm">Apple v Microsoft.

Copyright issues in graphical user interfaces haven't been challenged yet in Linux. The more differentiated Linux remains from Microsoft Windows, the safer Linux will remain.

And no, you may not call me Rob Enderle. I'm Anonymous Insider. Thank you.

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Mar 8, 2009 1:13 AM paul gleason paul gleason  says:

@Rob,

I have a couple of questions that I would be interested to get your take on:

1.  Why would Microsoft target Tom Tom if as you say they are 1B in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy if not as an attack on Linux?   Even if they win, MS is bound to loose money and prestige in the process. 

2.  Isn't it too late for Tom Tom in any case?  Once the patent dispute went public didn't it become impossible for them to take a license on the MS patents because of the GPL? 

@anonymous-insider,

I followed 16 of the links in your above posts and found the only three of them had anything to do with the subject you suggest in their headings.  Of the three that were at all pertinent, one was 13 years old.  What was your purpose in including pictures of people at a restaurant party?

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Mar 8, 2009 1:34 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to paul gleason

Some of the links from above aren't that old. The oldest link is the Alan Cox speech from 1999. Nevertheless, that link clearly explains the profit model for open source: support.

Consequently, the 'free' rationale (regardless of its meaning and avoiding all possible bs connotations) is indeed misleading. Linux will always be taxed with support.

User1680116, "tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are..."

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Mar 8, 2009 5:42 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

Dear Annonymous who enters when Rob Enderle goes out,

Supreme Court Backs Patent in Computer Process (March 3, 1981)

More legal information (January 6, 1964 thru June 28, 1978)

More legal information (January 16, 1980 thru September 17, 1990)

How about Bilsky (October 2008)?

Bilski And Software Patents-Good News for FOSS

The Federal Circuit decided to abolish the 'useful, concrete, and tangible result' test that had been applied to allow dubious software patents. It substituted a new test: to be patentable, a process must be either 'tied to a particular machine or apparatus' or must 'transform a particular article into a different state or thing.' The discussion of 'transformation' indicates that this option probably will not cover typical kinds of software-based inventions. The question for future cases is whether 'tied to a particular machine' will be interpreted broadly to favor software patents based on the mere tie between software and a general purpose computer on which it is supposed to run.

If 'tied to a particular machine' is interpreted narrowly, many existing 'method' claims in software patents will be unenforceable. This possibility was recognized in the dissenting opinion in Bilski by Judge Newman, who said, 'For the thousands of inventors who obtained patents under the court's now-discarded criteria, their property rights are now vulnerable.'

There are good arguments against a broad interpretation of 'tied to a particular machine.' The Supreme Court's Benson decision, which was a primary authority for the Bilski court, involved claims covering an algorithm implemented in software running on a general purpose computer, and the Supreme Court concluded that the process claims were not directed to patentable subject matter. Moreover, a recent PTO Board of Patent Appeals decision, Ex parte Langemyr, found that a general purpose computer was not a 'particular machine' for purposes of determining whether a claimed process is patentable.

http://www.press.redhat.com/2008/11/03/bilski-and-software-patents-%E2%80%93-good-news-for-foss/

How in the world, you ask, could anyone think that you could patent an idea or software in the first place? I think a comment the other day on Groklaw captured well the geek point of view:

    Basically, we understand that programs are "speech", but the general public thinks of programs as "things". For the most part, the patent office and courts have suffered from the same sort of ignorance.

    Ask the man in the street about patenting a certain type of plot line in a book, and he'll laugh the idea away as silly, assuming he understands the difference between patents and copyright. For example, no one would think it reasonable if J.K. Rowling were able to demand royalties from anyone writing any story about witches and wizards. But if you ask the same person whether a patent on file locking should be allowed, he may think of a "file lock" as if it were a Master combination lock, and thus think a patent to be OK.

So part of it is that some simply don't understand the tech very well. There are two other elements, in my view: One is greed, of course. Some simply don't care about harm to others, if there is money to be made for them. And you can make a lot of money from patents.

And there is this simple truth: Folks in the world of patents genuinely believe that patents are a good thing, that they help the economy and benefit the public by encouraging innovation.

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20081103134949355

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Mar 8, 2009 5:43 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

Dear Annonymous who enters when Rob Enderle goes out,

Supreme Court Backs Patent in Computer Process (March 3, 1981)

More legal information (January 6, 1964 thru June 28, 1978)

More legal information (January 16, 1980 thru September 17, 1990)

How about Bilsky (October 2008)?

Bilski And Software Patents-Good News for FOSS

The Federal Circuit decided to abolish the "useful, concrete, and tangible result" test that had been applied to allow dubious software patents.It substituted a new test:to be patentable, a process must be either "tied to a particular machine or apparatus" or must "transform a particular article into a different state or thing." The discussion of "transformation" indicates that this option probably will not cover typical kinds of software-based inventions.The question for future cases is whether "tied to a particular machine" will be interpreted broadly to favor software patents based on the mere tie between software and a general purpose computer on which it is supposed to run.

If "tied to a particular machine" is interpreted narrowly, many existing "method" claims in software patents will be unenforceable.This possibility was recognized in the dissenting opinion in Bilski by Judge Newman, who said, "For the thousands of inventors who obtained patents under the court's now-discarded criteria, their property rights are now vulnerable."

There are good arguments against a broad interpretation of "tied to a particular machine." The Supreme Court's Benson decision, which was a primary authority for the Bilski court, involved claims covering an algorithm implemented in software running on a general purpose computer, and the Supreme Court concluded that the process claims were not directed to patentable subject matter.Moreover, a recent PTO Board of Patent Appeals decision, Ex parte Langemyr, found that a general purpose computer was not a "particular machine" for purposes of determining whether a claimed process is patentable.

www.press.redhat.com/2008/11/03/bilski-and-software-patents-%E2%80%93-good-news-for-foss/

How in the world, you ask, could anyone think that you could patent an idea or software in the first place?I think a comment the other day on Groklaw captured well the geek point of view:

   Basically, we understand that programs are "speech", but the general public thinks of programs as "things".For the most part, the patent office and courts have suffered from the same sort of ignorance.

   Ask the man in the street about patenting a certain type of plot line in a book, and he'll laugh the idea away as silly, assuming he understands the difference between patents and copyright.For example, no one would think it reasonable if J.K.Rowling were able to demand royalties from anyone writing any story about witches and wizards.But if you ask the same person whether a patent on file locking should be allowed, he may think of a "file lock" as if it were a Master combination lock, and thus think a patent to be OK.

So part of it is that some simply don't understand the tech very well.There are two other elements, in my view:One is greed, of course.Some simply don't care about harm to others, if there is money to be made for them. Reply

Mar 8, 2009 5:43 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:
And you can make a lot of money from patents.

And there is this simple truth:Folks in the world of patents genuinely believe that patents are a good thing, that they help the economy and benefit the public by encouraging innovation.

www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20081103134949355

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Mar 8, 2009 6:09 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

Dear User1679746:

Are you telling me Diamond v. Diehr. Supreme Court of the United States has been reversed?

See www.krsaborio.net/research/1980s/81/810303.htm

Summary at www.krsaborio.net/research/1980s/81/810304_a.htm

More at www.krsaborio.net/research/legal.htm

and www.krsaborio.net/research/legal/early_years.htm

It seems to me as opponents to software patents will have to get more busy at it.

Are you using a cryptic article by Pamela Jones to support your claims?

Do you know where Pamela Jones has been hanging around since 2003 to support her agendas? If not, go back to a few discussions from above. Otherwise here's a shortcut:

www.krsaborio.net/research/linux/related/groklaw.htm?

Are you also using a note published by Red Hat?

Don't you know Red Hat has been an active opponent to software patents because otherwise it can't implement important features to its products?

You may need to obtain an opinion from someone more neutral. Otherwise, you'll be very dissapointed in the very near future.

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Mar 8, 2009 7:51 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Rob, can you find out if SCO included in its list of firms that use Linux the health services company Examinetics, formerly known as Exemplar International Inc?

Please remember that XM Network uses Linux. XM Network is owned by Examinetics, formerly known as Exemplar International Inc.

If SCO didn't do it, SCO must indeed include Examinetics as a Linux user now that the appeal is in.

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Mar 8, 2009 7:52 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Do you still believe in SCO's case???

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Mar 8, 2009 9:26 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

Annonymous-Insider (or should I call you Rob Enderle?),

1. Hidden costs in support

2. Fragmentation

3. Fanatical element among users

4. Patent issues

5. Copyright issues

Let's see.

1. Hidden costs in support

Are you suggesting that changing to a new interface will generate more support costs?

Fact: Microsoft is making a lot of changes in Win7 interface. People will have to relearn what they know.

Now, most people don't worry about the operating system; they just want the applications.

Is Firefox any more difficult than Internet Explorer?

How about Thunderbird and Outlook Express? (Although more and more people will use webmail these days)

OpenOffice.org 3.0 has the look and feel of Office 2003. People don't have to spend much more time to become productive in this new interface, as compared to the "Ribbon".

2. Fragmentation

First of all, the right of fragmenting is what keep distributions honest: if they start doing a bad job, people will just go to another distro. That's also called "free" market.

Of course, you prefer a planned market, where a central entity makes all decisions on the production and consumption of goods and services. It may provide some stability, conformance to a grand design; but some could arguee that it is inneficient, can be dettached from the market reality, can suppress individual freedoms and the right of self-management.

And, of course, since there is no way to "fork", the planned market can become corrupt, and people will be locked to it.

That being said, you should remember that fragmentation is what permited that a south-african entrepreneur created the what is now one of the best Linux distros available, Ubuntu.

Fragmentation allowed Google to adopt Linux in their server farm, and Apple to adopt BSD as the core of their Mac OS X.

3. Fanatical element among users

Some people are radical defending their freedom.

4. Patent issues

Software patents do no exist. What does exist is a large corporation trying to use software patents transvested as "method patents" to avoid competition.

5. Copyright issues

What copyright issues? I saw the presentation slides, and couldn't see a single issue. Can you be a bit more specific on that?

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Mar 8, 2009 11:50 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to paul gleason

The process started before the financial release. Tom Tom was hit, as was many of the CE vendors, by the massive downturn. I think it was a timing issue.

Others have cross licensed or licensed from Microsoft. Nothing is impossible, recall that part of the deal is indemnification from Microsoft. May make this more interesting long term.

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Mar 8, 2009 11:53 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Probably beyond me at the moment.  I didn't see a reference in what I have, but I haven't been that close to anything SCO related for a number of years.

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Mar 9, 2009 1:35 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to Rob Enderle

Hello Rob.

Do you know someone at SCO I could contact to make sure they include Examinetics / Exemplar International, Inc on that list of companies that use Linux?

If so, could you please send me an e-mail with SCO contact info at anonymous-insider@live.com .

Thanks in advance.

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Mar 9, 2009 1:53 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

How about Bilsky (October 2008)?

It seems www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&;sid=20090304114657350&type=article&title=But+the+case+is+in+the+US&pid=746876">Pamela Jones has answered your question.

Opponents to software patents might have a long, long way to reverse www.krsaborio.net/research/1980s/81/810303.htm">Diamond v. Diehr. Supreme Court of the United States ( www.krsaborio.net/research/1980s/81/810304_a.htm">summary ).

Sorry, there are still patent issues with Linux.

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Mar 9, 2009 4:05 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says:

Sorry, there are still patent issues with Linux.

I'll repeat the argument posted by a Groklaw reader:

"Basically, we understand that programs are "speech", but the general public thinks of programs as "things". For the most part, the patent office and courts have suffered from the same sort of ignorance.

Ask the man in the street about patenting a certain type of plot line in a book, and he'll laugh the idea away as silly, assuming he understands the difference between patents and copyright. For example, no one would think it reasonable if J.K. Rowling were able to demand royalties from anyone writing any story about witches and wizards. But if you ask the same person whether a patent on file locking should be allowed, he may think of a "file lock" as if it were a Master combination lock, and thus think a patent to be OK."

The fact that some US judges thought, back in the 80's, that software patents were valid, doesn't make them valid worldwide. In fact, most countries reject the idea that software is patentable.

The same greed that brought the current economic debacle will make the US recognize that giving too much power to large corporations, against individuals' interest, was a really bad idea.

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Mar 9, 2009 12:16 PM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

"The fact that some US judges thought, back in the 80's, that software patents were valid..."

That's a respectful way to refer to the US Supreme Court:

"Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist, writing for the majority, said that, 'when a claim containing a mathematical formula implements or applies that formula in a structure or process, which, when considered as a whole, is performing a function which the patent laws were designed to protect (e.g., transforming or reducing an article to a different state or thing), then the claim satisfies the requirements of Section 101' of the patent law.":

While the decision was 5 to 4, it'll be nice to see the decision challenged in the near future. It'll be fun to watch.

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Mar 10, 2009 1:00 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

It's her site.  I tend to think that if you are screaming transparancy you should yourself be transparent because covering stuff like this will come back to bite you on the ass.  But it's her site and her rules.  I'm afraid I agree that a site owner should manage the content on their site, for most of the folks that visit Groklaw it does seem like she is doing what they want.  If that changes her audiance will wonder off.  It isn't what I'd do but this is her site so her call. 

As a side note I've posted an update to this discussion here:  tinyurl.com/djahbc

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Mar 10, 2009 1:53 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

"Software Patents: Justice Goes To The Deepest Pocket"

Something else!

Notice the date in which the www.krsaborio.net/research/1980s/81/810304_a.htm">US Supreme Court validated patents in computer processes:

March 3, 1981, yes March 3, 1981.

www.krsaborio.net/research/1980s/81/810812.htm">The IBM PC hadn't even been released!

Your arguments against Microsoft are weak because Microsoft didn't have an interest on patents at that time. Microsoft was indeed a pretty small company with not so deep pockets!

Microsoft was just lucky patents in computer processes were validated prior to the release of the IBM PC.

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Mar 10, 2009 4:05 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Software Patents:  Justice Goes To The Deepest Pocket

But will there be a case at all? TomTom's CEO mentioned in a 2008 speech strongly critical of software patenting (video) that in 2005, the company had spent more on patent litigation than all of their other activities combined. According to the patent lawyer's own professional organization, a single software patent infringement case could cost upwards of USD $5 Million to defend. That's what it costs even if you win the case. TomTom must now defend itself from eight patent infringement claims.

Smaller companies are often forced to license a patent that is likely to be invalid, rather than pay the terrible expense of proving themselves to be right. This means there is rarely justice for anyone but the very richest companies where software patents are concerned.

So, why do we have software patents at all? The general consensus in the industry is that they don't fulfill their constitutional purpose, to encourage innovation, but actually hinder it. They tend to work in favor of a few of the very largest companies, against the small and medium-sized enterprises that make up the vast majority of the tech economy. Thus, they don't make economic sense.

www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reports/6694/1/

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Mar 10, 2009 5:27 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Your arguments against Microsoft are weak because Microsoft

didn't have an interest on patents at that time. Microsoft was

indeed a pretty small company with not so deep pockets!

Indeed, that only makes my argument stronger: when Microsoft was a small company they didn't have interest on patents, confirming that software patents are for the deep pockets.

In a memo to his senior executives (in 1991), Bill Gates wrote:

"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today."

Mr. Gates worried that "some large company will patent some obvious thing" and use the patent to "take as much of our profits as they want."

Gates understood the risk that the patent system posed to software companies and he began to do something about it: apply for patents. Today, software companies engage in a battle of mutually assured destruction, patenting many "obvious things" as a defensive tactic as much as anything. I won't sue you if you won't sue me, is the tacit agreement among patent-wielding software companies.

government.zdnet.com/?p=3225

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Mar 10, 2009 5:58 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to obvio capitao

If you actually read what you posted, excuse me for jumping in here, Microsoft developed their patent portfolio for defense.  This is largely to keep folks from taking advantage of them.   

Iin this case they are very active in the GPS market, Tom Tom has with their latest products violated Microsoft's GPS patents.   They actually have 3 units working this market at the moment Streets and Trips, automotive, and MSN Direct.

This still comes back to the initial response, if OSS didn't exist would the filing from Microsoft be any different?  It is normal practice to file against every product you think was compromised and the new guy running the group clearly wanted to show he was doing his job.

So it seems like you FLOSS guys are living the old frog joke where the researcher cuts off one leg at time and concludes the result of the frog not jumping is the cut off leg until the last leg where he concludes the frog has clearly gone deaf. 

The evidence shows Tom Tom had issues even with FLOSS with regard to IP.  They refused to license GPS technology from Microsoft.  Microsoft took action against them.  You can see a strong cause and effect. 

For the alternative conclusion, what is the cause?   There is no evidence the  frog went deaf.    

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Mar 10, 2009 6:27 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

www.krsaborio.net/research/acrobat/1990s/910516_strategy.pdf">Challenges and Strategy [PDF] www.krsaborio.net/research/1990s/91/910516.htm">HTML Version

A memo by Bill Gates dated May 16, 1991.

The entire paragraph reads:

"This is a category of challenges we [Microsoft] face that I don't feel are widely recognized.

"Patents: If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. I feel certain that some large company will patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique. If we assume this company has no need of any of our patents then the have a 17-year right to take as much of our profits as they want. The solution to this is patent exchanges with large companies and patenting as much as we can. Amazingly we haven't done any patent exchanges that I am aware of. Amazingly we haven't found a way to use our licensing position to avoid having our own customers cause patent problems for us. I know these aren't simply problems but they deserve more effort by both Legal and other groups. For example we need to do a patent exchange with HP as part of our new relationship. In many application categories straightforward thinking ahead allows you to come up with patentable ideas. A recent paper from the League for Programming Freedom (available from the Legal department) explains some problems with the way patents are applied to software."

The Challenges and Strategy memo is a rich and concise description of the most important threats Microsoft faced in the early 1990s. The document doesn't focus entirely on patents. Indeed, patents represent just a small fraction of the whole document.

The memo was inspired on www.krsaborio.net/research/1990s/91/910401.htm" target="_blank">The Final Days by John Walker from Autodesk.

Could John Walker's memo be applied to OSS? What's OSS' nightmare scenario?

The support tax (hidden support costs) for Linux is a key nightmare scenario item. Other 4 key items were already mentioned in this discussion.

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Mar 10, 2009 8:21 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to obvio capitao

I think it is a huge stretch to assume Bruce speaks for the world of software.  IBM and HP, both Linux supporters, have massive portfolios of software patents and I doubt either would want them invalidated.  Increasingly the lines between hardware and software are bluring so, if you were to invalidate software patents couldn't you have situations where software was used inefficiently to get around a patent that was initially implemented in hardware?

Patents both enable and restrict innovation regardless of whether they are hardware or software based.  It is interesting that a part of the software industry thinks they are unique in this problem.  Apple just patented the iPhone and it is a blend of hardware and software. 

Laws aren't perfect but, before tossing one out, folks need to look hard at what might result.  There are consequences to everything, I don' t think the consequences of eliminating patent laws for one thing have been even close to fully vetted yet.

If Iraq taught us anything it is that sometimes you have to consider whether the outcome of something you want is actually better than the problem you had.

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Mar 10, 2009 12:35 PM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says: in response to obvio capitao

Pamela Jones won't be happy to see a patent invalidated:

www.krsaborio.net/research/2000s/04/0419_f.htm">Substance abuse management system and method

After all, everything points to the fact in the years 2003 and 2004 Pamela Jones was paid to protect MedAbiliti Software, Inc. from losing the www.exintl.com/web-archive/documents/index.html">Exemplar International, Inc. / Examinetics software and services businesses.

I challenge you to question her about this in her blog. Your comments will be ignored or deleted.

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Mar 11, 2009 4:05 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says: in response to Anonymous Insider

Thanks for posting the entire paragraph -- I didn't know it.

"Patents:  If people had understood how patents would be

granted when most of today's ideas were invented, and had

taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete

standstill today.

That doesn't look like a good defense for the current patent system.

I feel certain that some large company will patent some

obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm,

application extension or other crucial technique.

Note how Bill Gates was worried that some large company (Microsoft wasn't large at that time) could patent some obvious thing .

That's one of the current worries of the open source community, now that Microsoft became a large company, and started to patent their own share of obvious things.

If we assume this company has no need of any of our

patents then the have a 17-year right to take as much of

our profits as they want.

That's what Bill Gates wanted to avoid, when Microsoft was a small company, and what Microsoft wants do against Linux and Open Source Software.

The solution to this is patent exchanges with large

companies and patenting as much as we can.

Bill Gates saw that the solution was to enter the patent-as-much-as-you-can game.

In many application categories straightforward thinking

ahead allows you to come up with patentable ideas.

"What the hell... the Patent Office is accepting obvious patents, so, let's do some straightforward thinking ahead to come up with patentable ideas!"

A recent paper from the League for Programming Freedom

(available from the Legal department) explains some problems

with the way patents are applied to software."

He must be talking about a document called "Against Software Patents" (The League for Programming Freedom, February 28, 1991):

"Software patents threaten to devastate America's computer industry. Patents granted in the past decade are now being used to attack companies such as the Lotus Development Corporation for selling programs that they have independently developed. Soon new companies will often be barred from the software arena--most major programs will require licenses for dozens of patents, and this will make them infeasible. This problem has only one solution: software patents must be eliminated. "

Link: groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/projects/lpf/

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Mar 11, 2009 4:23 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to obvio capitao

Microsft (and most tech firms) hate the current patent system.  Two words "Patent Trolls".  No good defense has been created for them and the "mutual assured destruction" thing doesn't work. 

But this goes to most all tech firms.  The portfolios and strategy are defensive in nature (though every once in awhile a new IP manager decides to mine the portfolio, it seldom ends well as litigation costs and distractions chew up the benefits).  

But all will defend it.  

Conclusions should follow evidence not lead it.  In this case you are forming a conclusion and then doing a mash up to try to prove it. 

For what you allege Tom Tom is a very poor target (they are hardly an OSS poster child and they are bandrupt on paper). And, if OSS did not exist Microsoft would have filed the same case.  

Remeber evidence THEN conclusion, not conclusion then evidence.  

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Mar 12, 2009 5:28 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says: in response to Rob Enderle

@Rob Enderle:

Microsft (and most tech firms) hate the current patent

system.  Two words "Patent Trolls".  No good defense

has been created for them and the "mutual assured

destruction" thing doesn't work.

Microsoft and other large companies hate the "patent trolls", but they are acting like them against TomTom and Open Source.

But this goes to most all tech firms.  The portfolios and

strategy are defensive in nature

Patents shouldn't be "defensive in nature", but a way to foster innovation. Frivolous patents don't foster innovation, but can be used to stifle competition.

Machines can't be protected by copyright, so the concepts behind the machines are protected by patents. Software, music and books are protected by copyright; no need to protect the concepts behind them.

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Mar 12, 2009 5:39 AM obvio capitao obvio capitao  says: in response to Rob Enderle

For what you allege Tom Tom is a very poor target

(they are hardly an OSS poster child and they are

bandrupt on paper). And, if OSS did not exist

Microsoft would have filed the same case.

For what you allege, TomTom is a very poor target.

Why would Microsoft worry about them if they are almost bankrupt? Why now?

Easy: because TomTom uses embedded Linux, which is becoming a trend in the industry.

Being almost bankrupt, TomTom is an easy target. Destroying TomTom sends a strong message to the industry: "Linux breaks our patents, and we are going after you".

This way Microsoft can attack OSS without attacking an OSS poster child.

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Mar 12, 2009 11:07 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to obvio capitao

That's just silly.  People are smart enough to see that the vast majority of this case is GPS patents and that the others are either obsolete, easily bypassed, or both.  

The only folks fudding Linux at the moment are FLOSS folks. 

The action with Tom Tom clearly started before Tom Tom announced their financial difficulties and MSFT would have found those out the same time we all did.  

See the problem with starting with a conclusion and trying to force fit exidence to it?   You need causality and you don't have it. 

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Mar 12, 2009 12:39 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to obvio capitao

We are drifting way off topic, which is whether Microsoft is targeting Linux through Tom Tom.  To make this point you have to show causality.  So I can say, with credibility, that if FLOSS didn't exist that Microsoft would have filed the same identical action because this is, and I'm sure you know this, consistent with what other companies do when defending their intellectual property.  

Now we know what Microsoft has historically done when they wanted to attack OSS, they do things like "Get the Facts" they suggest that Linux is in broad violation of patents and they start looking like they are getting ready to sue everyone.   Not the case here is it?  

What is lacking is evidence of causality.

 

As far as patents, if you simply look above, you'll find that Bill Gates himself would agree with you that the Patent system is broken.   But if they didn't have these patents then Tom Tom would have been free to tall them to use all 8 identified technologies that Microsoft clearly owns without recourse.  While that is great for Tom Tom it would be a problem for anyone that has, as Microsoft has, invested millions in these collective patents.  He explains, correctly, why the current system requires large companies have to incur the high expense of defensive patent portfolios.  That's the world we live in; Microsoft has proven to be the most successful software company in history so far.  This just showcases to be successful you have to play in the world that exists not the one you'd like to exist.  

Finally, on Copyrights and hardware.  You could Copyright hardware if the rules surrounding Copyrights were changed.  Right now most current hardware exists in software as well, as an image, as a digitized plan, and increasingly in virtual environments (could you copyright a couch in Secondlife?).   Books that cover creation, maintenance, and destruction of hardware are all currently capable of being protected by copyright.  It is funny how folks look at things so incredibly myopically.   Just look at the iPhone patent.   You could also Patent Harry Potter, but I don't want to give folks ideas so we'll leave that for another time.  

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