Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Microsoft Says Free Software Violates 235 Patents

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the rut-roh-raggy dept.

Microsoft 1217

prostoalex writes "Microsoft told Fortune magazine that various free software products violate at least 235 patents, and it's time to expect users of this software to pay up patent licensing royalties: 'Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez sat down with Fortune recently to map out their strategy for getting FOSS users to pay royalties. Revealing the precise figure for the first time, they state that FOSS infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The big fight LIVE! (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107601)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have tonight a bout between two of the worlds greatest software idealogists.

In the Blue corner weighing in at 289 pounds we have Monkey Boy Ballmer, his speciality move: The chair.
In the Red corner, weighing in at 432 pounds we have the one and only R.M.S, speciality move, being R.M.S.

Who will win this epic battle?

Re:The big fight LIVE! (5, Insightful)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107621)

That's real cute, but to me, the more interesting question is, will IBM wade in? They are heavy supporters of FOSS.

I would guess that Microsoft probably infringes on some number of IBM patents - but then, pretty much everyone does. The thing I don't know is, does Microsoft already hve some patent license agreement (presumably some sort of blanket agreement) with IBM to cover them?

The big problem is that... (5, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107915)

MS violates a goodly portion of the Open Innovation Network patent pool. Sue Linux or a batch of participating FOSS projects and get a goodly portion of their server and other products shut down but good. They flatly don't want to do this. In all honesty they really don't want to be doing this sabre rattling either, but they're being stupid because Vista's NOT doing well for them and costing them dearly.

and still M$ has yet to learn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107889)

the tighter they hold on, the more that will slip free.

Let me be the first to say... (5, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107605)

Microsoft, fuck you!

Re:Let me be the first to say... (-1, Troll)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107623)

This is what happens when you found a movement based on the idea that other people's intellectual property is yours to take as you wish. Welcome to the roost, chickens. Make yourself at home.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (5, Insightful)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107669)

No, this is what happens when you base your economy on the ownership of ideas, and obvious ones at that, and on a ridiculous unlimited growth model that demands a constant push toward monopoly to ensure that unrealistic and otherwise unattainable growth.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107677)

Which side are you talking about, Microsoft or FOSS?

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107725)

Both, actually. I'm just commenting on the situation, not expressing any opinions about who is right.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (4, Insightful)

Tomy (34647) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107799)

You must be talking about Microsoft, because the movement I belong to is about not letting others take my intellectual property and restricting others free use of it in the way in which I intended.

Microsoft patents that Linux infringes on almost certainly include their patent of file system symlinks, which have been in Unix systems since the seventies, as well as a slew of other very obvious inventions, none of which have been tested in court. Getting a patent granted, as denizens of Slashdot are all too well aware [freepatentsonline.com] , seems to be the easy part. Validating those patents in a court of law may be a little more difficult, especially when one of the supporters [ibm.com] of linux, might have a patent portfolio that would push Balmer from chair throwing to crying uncle.

I assume... (1)

Kythe (4779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107829)

...that you're talking to Microsoft, as open source software is the intellectual property of its authors, and they have every right to license it to others to use as they wish.

On the other hand, Microsoft has a long history of appropriating others' ideas.

Whether or not you agree with the idea of limiting intellectual property rights, open source advocates aren't the ones pushing the appropriation of others' intellectual property, here.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (2, Insightful)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107855)

This is what happens when the idea of "Intellectual Property" is taken seriously. It means you can't do something someone else is doing because they have more lawyers than you. It's patently ridiculous.

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107609)

Frist post

No problem. What are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107615)

Let us know and we'll just remove them. Should have replacements in no time at all... well... at least less than 5 years from the last major release.

Re:No problem. What are they? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107723)

what if it isn't just implementation but the very idea. you can't replace an entire idea- you just have it or you don't.

Software patents (4, Insightful)

gumbright (574609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107625)

Doesn't this just serve to show how screwed up the idea of software patents are?

Re:Software patents (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107797)

Indeed. If patents are supposed to patent non-obvious ideas, then how do you explain the number of software patent violations when software developers dont look at patents?

Re:Software patents (5, Interesting)

spykemail (983593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107843)

Absolutely, and ultimately Microsoft is screwed either way. Either they attack FOSS and lose, or they don't attack and FOSS they lose anyway. There's no way they can win this fight - no matter how many lawsuits they file and how many open source projects they try to attack.

If FOSS were somehow limited to the US, maybe they could hire enough lawyers to mount an offensive. But with the extremely strong chunks of the community around the world they literally have no chance. At best they can just fuck things up and make themselves look even more "evil" than they already do.

Re:Software patents (1)

The_Sledge (1049070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107913)

At the end of the day, the lawyers will win because win or lose, they get to pay off that next condo or BMW.
My guess is this storm-in-a-teacup is just another way for MS to justify padding the pockets of some of their lawyer cronies and poke sticks at the hornets nest.

Watch out for the swarm, MS.

Poison Ivy (2, Funny)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107627)

I once has 235 itches too. Remember: DON'T SCRATCH!

Go ahead, make my day. (4, Interesting)

The Monster (227884) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107629)

Moglen contends that software is a mathematical algorithm and, as such, not patentable. (The Supreme Court has never expressly ruled on the question.)
If MS has the cajones to file any patent suits, maybe Moglen or his successor can raise that issue.

cAjones != cOjones (5, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107743)

If MS has the cajones to file any patent suits


A cajón is a big box (the aumentative of caja). A cojón is a testicle. Maybe that's the word you were looking for?

Re:Go ahead, make my day. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107755)

Moglen contends that software is a mathematical algorithm and, as such, not patentable. (The Supreme Court has never expressly ruled on the question.)
If MS has the cajones to file any patent suits, maybe Moglen or his successor can raise that issue.
He's still counsel of the SFLC, just not on the board anymore.

Stupidity.... (1)

bubulubugoth (896803) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107631)

And does microsoft know how many patents from, Sun, IBM, HP, Novell and a lot of others companies IP violates?

We'll see...

It's the Global Thermopatentular War! (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107905)

It's the Global Thermopatentular War! Let the shooting begin!

I'm a big fan of MAD, so we shall see how Microsoft, IBM and other big companies will mutually destroy themselves with patent lawsuits.

Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107633)

... to pay your $699 licensing fee you coke drinking ice-tea making ... oh wait, nevermind.

This was expected (1)

DollyTheSheep (576243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107637)

This was expected sooner or later from MS and now the real fight between FOSS and MS begins.

since when do users pay royalties? (4, Interesting)

ecklesweb (713901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107639)

If I'm a licensee of a software package, particularly under the GPL, since when do I pay royalties and not the licensor?

Re:since when do users pay royalties? (4, Interesting)

CRC'99 (96526) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107661)

If I'm a licensee of a software package, particularly under the GPL, since when do I pay royalties and not the licensor?


And an even more interesting connection, how do they intend to collect these said royalties?

Re:since when do users pay royalties? (2, Insightful)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107713)

By paying off the governments of the world to impose a $699/year flat tax on every citizen, to be paid directly to microsoft, for a copy of the current version of windows?

Re:since when do users pay royalties? (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107769)

>And an even more interesting connection, how do they intend to collect these said royalties?

They same way they collect them now... by taking over the world! Er... I mean, by charging anytime you buy a complete computer system.

Ryan Fenton

Re:since when do users pay royalties? (5, Insightful)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107711)

In the article, it explains why Microsoft chose this route: Since FOSS is (nominally, if not practically) written by a loose band of volunteers, and because they don't really sell the software (with some exceptions, but generally mostly they give the software away and sell the support), it is extremely difficult to track them all down and make them pay royalties. It is much easier to just threaten the major corporate users (who are extremely risk averse). To quote Neal Stephenson, "Microsoft is ten times smarter than your average government, a hundred times more aggressive, and bound by no particular rules."

In the old days, we called this extortion.

Re:since when do users pay royalties? (1)

Naruki (601680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107919)

It's just the RIAA business model applied to software, isn't it?

Yeah right... (1, Funny)

Jordan (jman) (212384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107641)

Now that will be a cold day in hell when they get that money out of me.

ROTFLMAO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107643)

it's time to expect users of this software to pay up patent licensing royalties:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I believe this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107645)

I'll probably get modded down by the torrent of Linux slaves here, but as someone who has worked in the patent litigation side of things in the past, I've always been curious of why Microsoft has not pursued things that, in MHO, are slam dunks in patent infringement. I'm not going to go into specifics because that would violated attorney ethics, but there are many clear cut cases of patent infringement in several high profile Linux applications. I'm not talking about some small tool used by 0.001% of the users, we're talking 60%+ of desktops.

Now, Linux users might hate to hear this, but I think it's a good thing (tm) for this to happen. Otherwise it is mayhem and eventually Linux will be treated by the courts as some kind of "pirate" operating system. Best to cut the illegal parts out earlier than later.

- JRO II

Re:I believe this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107657)

Good luck. Linux and FOSS is so entrenched that it would be suicide to try anything.

If they're slam-dunks... (1, Redundant)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107881)

...why in the hell have they been prattling on and on about the infringements and NOT telling us with specificity what's infringing?

For that matter, what specific patents are these applications you're alluding to being infringed in what applications?

You HAVE TO do that, or if you don't pony up an infringement, you're guilty of trade libel.

Re:If they're slam-dunks... (2, Informative)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107927)

US Patents are a matter of public record. USPTO even has a web search feature.

no patents (4, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107653)

free software violates 235 MS patents?

Ok just get rid of software patents. Software should've never been permitted to be patented in the first place.

Re:no patents == anarchy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107893)

> get rid of software patents

So is it finally time to rise up and tear down the gov't patent office? Man, I've been waiting ages for a good 'ol revolution like this.

tally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107659)

All those who did not know this was going to happen, signify so here.

Can you really exercise a patent rights like this? (0, Redundant)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107673)

Is it really possible to exercise ones patent rights on a free product? Is this a joke?

Very strange...I thought April Fools day was last month.

--
we do da thizzle dance [wi-fizzle.com]

Not relevent (4, Insightful)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107923)

First, free here means free as in freedom, not free as in beer. Many companies have made money from "free software" (e.g., Red Hat), and it's considered perfectly kosher to do so provided you keep to the terms of the licenses.

Second, patents apply to almost all use, not just to things that are bought and sold - you can't undercut someone else's patents by giving away their inventions for free.

Third, every company that uses free software (and who doesn't?) does so presumably for commercial advantage.

MS' pseudopatents - WW III (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107675)

Microsoft declares full scale war, with much territory already occupied in Europe, the Americas and Asia. It's the BuGs or your favorite Linux.

Microsoft is silly (4, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107679)

Of course, it was fairly obvious that free software would infridge on some MS patents: there's so much code from so many people, including people who have no clue what they're doing (don't get me wrong, also a lot from totally brilliant people!), and I doubt maintainers check the source at every checkin to be sure no patent is being messed with...

However, I always saw it as a way for Microsoft to loosen its illegal monopoly status: by letting free software use some of its patents, its leveling the playing field.

And now they screwed it up. Countdown before more anti-thrust lawsuits start, 5...4...3...2....

Re:Microsoft is silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107891)

Not only that, much of the FOSS in the world is written in places where software can't be patented in this manner, or at all.

This is going to be a US thing from start to finish I think.

And have they publicized a list of where these infringements take place and what the patents are? Or are they pulling a SCO (again)?

Deja Vu? (5, Funny)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107681)

Tell Mr. Balmer he is welcome to a portion of the $699 Linux IP license I paid SCO. I hear they sold lots and lots of them.

Preposterous! (1)

Supreme Dragon (1071194) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107691)

Software patents are nonsensical. MS is worried people will flee their authoritarian software tyranny, and switch to Linux. Their dubious patent threats will not stop people from seeking freedom.

"strategy for getting FOSS users to pay royalties" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107693)

Just like how, on opposite day, when Ford violates a patent that GM holds, the users of Ford cars pay GM (Ford does not have to pay). In other words, prior case law supports going after the open source authors. Prior case law does not support going after the open source users.

where is the list of patents? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107697)

Here's what the interview should have been:

Microsoft: It's a fact that Linux and free software infringe hundreds of our patents.

Journalist: Which ones?

Microsoft: Well, the kernel violates 60, the GUI violates...

Journalist (interrupting): which 60? Where is the list?

Microsoft: I'm not prepared to disclose that at this time.

Journalist: Well this is a big fucking waste of my time, isn't it?

Journalist: I went through this same dance with Darl McBride. Call me when you have something to say, bye

Re:where is the list of patents? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107727)

He couldn't list them because IBM owns the patent on listing patents.

So then (5, Insightful)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107699)

Start litigating Microsoft, you're not working in the shareholder's favor by sitting idle and letting these blatant IP violations go unpunished.

Re:So then (4, Insightful)

visualight (468005) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107839)

Seriously, I hope that someone of note DARES microsoft to file a suit against some project. If they had any intention of doing so, they would have, and they wouldn't be giving people this "heads up". Clearly a bluff.

I am sure they are right... (3, Insightful)

avdp (22065) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107703)

I am sure they are right that a Linux distribution violates at least that many patents from microsoft. The better question is how many of those patent are worth the paper they're printed on. With so many computer companies like Microsoft and IBM patenting every trivialities under the sun, it's near impossible to NOT violate one of their patents. The good news: the supreme just had a ruling that's gonna make it a lot harder for MS to win a patent fight. The bad news: it's gonna take a lot of time and money to go through that battle, and the open source community is going to have to endure a lot of FUD during that time. The one mitigating factor: linux is going through a similar situation right now thanks to SCO, and so open source is now somewhat familiar with the process.

Show it. (5, Insightful)

christurkel (520220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107705)

If you have evidence, show it. If it's infringing, it'll be removed. But you don't want to. You want to spread FUD to generate $$$.

How many patents does the Linux kernel violate? (0)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107717)

42 !!

Re:How many patents does the Linux kernel violate? (1)

robogun (466062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107801)

More like 13,256,278,887,989,457,651,018,865,901,401,704,640

Too late (4, Insightful)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107721)

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the courts don't get to pretend that patents on obvious things are valid. It is unlikely that /any/ of these 235 patents will hold up in court. Microsoft is just using them to create FUD; they know they won't get any judgements.

Re:Too late (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107827)

Seeing as you don't know what any of the 235 patents are, or what any of the free software that allegedly violates them is, it looks like you're just posting to create FUD. You have no idea whether or not these patents are obvious, invalid, or will not hold up in court. You may have like open source software better than Microsoft, but your baseless opinion doesn't magically invalidate all of Microsoft's patents in the eyes of the law.

Re:Too late (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107907)

Yes it does.

Re:Too late (1)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107901)

Agree. Microsoft hasn't even done 235 novel things in it's lifetime, let alone patentable.

Re:Too late (2, Interesting)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107909)

As M$ so frequently points out, linux just isn't professional software. If it's in linux, it must be obvious. DON'T SCRATCH!

Shows you the fear (4, Interesting)

microsoft_hater (1101657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107729)

This shows how fearful Microsoft is really starting to get paranoid about the linux desktop revolution. 2007 is *the* year, I don't care what anyone else thinks--I know this to be true because this is the first year I've actually got friends to honestly convert over to free software/OSS software. And they're even talking shit about MS now that they've seen the light! With all the linux populatization going on these days--microsoft is shaking in its boots... The days are quickly approaching when microsoft is bound to become an even more dreary version of GM. A question for those more knowledgeable than me on this subject--was microsoft not behind the whole SCO debacle? Perhaps they've now taken their proxy war public. They're pathetic.

I hope that microsoft.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107735)

...can see this, because I'm doing it as hard as I can: mlm

Wait until patents get renewed (2, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107737)

And when the software idea land grab completely owns every possible idea, the laws will be changed like copyrights to extend length of ownership 100, 200, 500, 1000 years after the author's death.

Support your Innovator!

I'm willing to bet (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107745)

that most of these 'patents' that MS owns are general in scope and probably would make all other OS's infringing on their patents anyway, not just free software. I believe it's time to work on making process/software patents unacceptable, especially when they are so broad that no other company could work in the same space. Patents on things like "integrating email client functionality into office apps" is just too broad, and as such can only serve to hamper innovation and business in general.

When MS can claim to have 235 patents that are violated by F/OSS we need to look closely at why they have that many that can be infringed upon by people so easily... perhaps they are not unobvious at all or too broadly stated to be of use other than to be an offensive tool to use against competitors.

Easy solution (1)

TheUni (1007895) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107747)

Let's just look at Microsoft's code and compare that to the opensource code.

Oh... Right.

Only 235? (1)

Sodki (621717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107749)

Seriously, Microsoft's patent portfolio is not that small. I really doubt that Free Software applications only infringe 235 of it's patents. And Microsoft also infringes patents owned my Free Software companies and advocates. What else is new? The patent system is flawed and everyone know it - they just pretend not to.

Or is it the other way around? (1)

drwhite (456200) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107751)

How do we know if M$ violates the GPL? There code is closed so we can't tell....I smell a rat!

Discovery! (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107785)

I think that the discovery period should reveal that. REMEBER DON'T SCRATCH!

Bring it on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107759)

It's about time this software patent crap was given a proper workout. Let's hope MS handles its global invasion with the same finesse as G.W. Bush. Let's see: a) Evil US based company, b) US has recently burned its bridges around the world c) "IP" law is a drain on most countries, apart from the US. d) A significant portion of computers run free software.

The most likely result seems to be the rest of the world ditching software patents (or paying them lip service) while the US chokes on its own vomit. The reason being the US's gag reflex (democracy) has been disabled.

Microsoft is, as usual, full of... (1)

Anarchysoft (1100393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107761)

"There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed."
This is simple, old fashioned scare-tactics. Have we forgotted SCO's patent suits and how, for all the saber-rattling, weak their actual case was. Bringing it to court, Microsoft, because you can't beat free software professionally?

Linux kernel - the deepest layer of the free operating system, which interacts most directly with the computer hardware - violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux graphical user interfaces - essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up - run afoul of another 65, he claims. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68.
So, a typical GNU/Linux desktop distribution includes software from a couple thosand projects, with probably upwards of 10,000 actual contributors. And, they're going to sue the users? BULLSHIT. Microsoft, you're doomed and you know it.

Re:Microsoft is, as usual, full of... (1)

microsoft_hater (1101657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107871)

This is a really good point... there is no one to sue, right? Even if they did sue, how the hell do they expect to shutdown GNU/Linux? I mean, they can't stop massive illegal pirating of their own shitty software, let alone shutdown an invigorated, highly motivated, and passionate group of computer users, aka the GNU/Linux *COMMUNITY*. This is why I really do think RMS is right. GNU/Linux should be stressed, *along* with "free software" (as in freedom, as we all know by now--but not many others outside the computing world do...) It is imperative that people understand that it's not simply about open source, but about philosophical principles which microsoft obviously lacks being a corporate behemoth that cares little about "philosophy" or "community" but only about the next quarters stock price. Let me reiterate an earlier statement: Fuck you Microsoft... and as george carlin once said, I believe while invoking mickey mouse--Fuck you with a big rubber cock and then break it off and beat you bloody with the rest of it! Agh, microsoft is EVIL.

Linux is just a kernel (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107765)

be specific microsoft, is this "so-called" infringement in the Linux kernel? or some other piece of software that make up the average GNU/Linux disto...

so far it seems like a generalization or FUD spewing, unless specific infringement is shown & proved i call it FUD...

as predicted. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107773)

MS tested the waters with SCO, saw that copyright attacks failed now they are using frivilous patents, which we predicted years ago.

so (1)

Frank Grimes (211860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107775)

sue me

Thank you Microsoft. (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107777)

So if free software voilates patents, Microsoft has to ask Windows users to pay for using free software on their OS too.

I'm happy to see people's favourite free messenger or browser becoming non-free. I mean; it will be easier for Microsoft to monitor software usage on Windows machines; they must be charged first.

If they succeed, people will become aware of the sickness that is Microsoft.

Re:Thank you Microsoft. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107853)

So if free software voilates patents, Microsoft has to ask Windows users to pay for using free software on their OS too.
No, they don't. Holders of patents and copyrights are permitted to not pursue action against any violators they choose, and they may change their mind at any time.

And like always... (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107781)

the user has to pay. Because a $50 license for 1,000,000 users is worth more than a company's $20,000,000 settlement. Bulling of the user, as far as I can tell. The old monopoly bug got them again pretty badly.

And the strategy comes through (4, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107789)

It seems that this is going to be the final "slow bleed" for Microsoft. People aren't buying Vista (in fact, Dell is reoffering XP on systems just to shut up annoyed users). But hey - they have the lawsuits, and they'll be more than happy to pull a SCO and threaten to sue the pants off of people who don't pay off their protection racket.

Odds are, they'll be smarter about it than SCO - rather then go right for IBM (with tons of dollars to pay lawyers), they'll make "deals" with places like Novell and others so insure that PC tax continues no matter whom the likes of Dell and Gateway and others finally go through.

The sad thing is, there still isn't a great competitor to Windows. Linux is nice and Ubuntu and other distros have come far, but it seems they lack that final step (like "How do I change my screen resolution?" or other bits that only techies would know). OS X is my preferred OS as a security analyst, but it only runs on one system (I know - Apple sells hardware, blah, blah, blah, but damn - if they make Leopard for *all* X86 systems, they might take over the desktops - I've met plenty of CIO's who want that).

Either way, Microsoft's plan is to continue to be the "gasoline" of computers: they don't make the computers, but they get paid for every one that's made. Through their threats and strategic lawsuits/threatening of lawsuit, they'll ensure their money for a long time to come.

Unless, of course, there's enough people who stand up and say "No" and pool together *their* money to help companies fight back....

Re:And the strategy comes through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107903)

In Ubuntu, to change screen resolution you'd use the control panel in System -> Preferences -> Screen Resolution .. :)
If you couldn't do that, you probably couldn't do it on a Mac either.

The next round (2, Insightful)

PBPanther (47660) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107791)

SCO failed with their patent suit so this is just the next round. Watch for tactics like SCO's where they refused to specify what was infringing.

Gah! (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107805)

I don't care how big of a chair Ballmar rests his fat-ass on...this is ridiculous. What's next? "Open Office mentions and can save in the .doc file, an Excluse Extension (tm) of the Microsoft Extension Registration (tm) program."

The Monster Awakens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107807)

Confused and angry, The Redmond Monster makes it way to the Town and the Bazaar, lurking in the shadows, waiting to attack...

/me thinks that this will be The Great Patent War and, hopefully, the beginning of the end of software patents and The Redmond Monster. I wonder how many patents IBM and allies will fire at the Monster.

Users file suit against Microsoft for .... (4, Funny)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107811)

...infringment on 1) use of numbers 2) use of words, punctuation, sentences... 3) use of algebra sum(A1:A22) 4) excessive problems with operating systems and applications -- I can prove my mental condition is much worse having used MS products and so on...

And our lawyers will work pro bono because so many of them hate MS too.

It's war (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107813)

Them's fighting words.

235 infringements is fixable. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107815)

If Microsoft actually invented the things that they say Linux and other OSS are infringing on, I expect that it will be entirely possible to patch these packages and rerelease them without infringement. If they didn't invent it, I have very little doubt that prior art can be found.

Of course, I've been saying to people for almost 20 years now that software patents are a bad idea.

Implications for SCO vs IBM (1)

Pensacola Tiger (538962) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107835)

Could this move on Microsoft's part be an indication that the hammer is about to fall on SCO, and it's time to dust off Plan B?

If it is, it's really poor timing, given the recent rulings on software patents.

The line has been drawn in the sand - Microsoft delenda est!

i'm willing to bet (1)

darth_linux (778182) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107849)

at least some of those patents are general ideas like right-click or allowing the user to access the desktop using a username/password pair. i am against the patenting of ideas. only implementations of ideas should be allowed patents. but then software owners would have to publish code to at least the patent office and then the (wonderful and efficient) patent office would have to have reviews who can evaluate the code. i have to agree with "fsck you, M$!" this whole patent thing goes with my thoughts on Microvell. M$ wants us to think (because they firmly believe) they are the alpha and omega of computing. they evented software. any software vendor (free or otherwise) who does not partner with them and suckle from M$'s teat is in obvious violation of the idea(R) they are life(c) itself. I hope their board take a hard look at SCO's stock performance before moving on.

Dell? (2, Interesting)

no-body (127863) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107861)

This may have to do that Dell is selling Linux loaded boxes.


Pushed M$ into a corner and they get the itch to stand up and to what they were internally talking about for years and collecting nonsense patents up to the wazoo...

Maybe another SCO show coming?

The most telling quote... (1)

Chops (168851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107863)

At the same time, Smith was having Microsoft's lawyers figure out how many of its patents were being infringed by free and open-source software. Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they're being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them.

IOW, we've learned from the SCO lawsuit how to handle these situations. Make a big stink in the press, share as few of the details as possible, and ride the wave of FUD to the promised land.

sco anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107867)

Because this stance worked sooooo well for SCO...

The last step is near (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107869)

Congrats, Linux.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

- Mohandas K. Gandhi

Real hardball (4, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107873)

We've been joking about world domination and the evil empire for years here. But despite the kidding around, despite our biases, we've never been motivated to go all-out. We can ruin Microsoft. In the terrain of the Internet we hold much of the high ground - the servers, as well as not a few firewall-routers and other essential equipment. Microsoft for years has had no qualms about breaking competitors' functionality. We can cripple Microsoft's functionality in a wide variety of real-time environments - and stay a hair's breath within the law just as they've (almost) done.

Building stuff that can replace Microsoft's products is one thing - honest competition really. But we've never stooped to Microsoft's own favored methods of dishonest competition. Is Redmond really stupid enough to motivate us to take that step?

Note to Microsoft (1)

Kythe (4779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107883)

SCO's tried this, and it hasn't worked out too well for them. Go for it, if you want. But the history of those who can't learn from mistakes isn't a very good one.

It won't only be the little people (4, Informative)

tqft (619476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107885)


Last paragraph
"
If push comes to shove, would Microsoft sue its customers for royalties, the way the record industry has?

"That's not a bridge we've crossed," says CEO Ballmer, "and not a bridge I want to cross today on the phone with you."
"

Tech company sue it's own customers?

WTF? (4, Insightful)

mormop (415983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107897)

FTA:

"Microsoft counters that it is a matter of principle. "We live in a world where we honor, and support the honoring of, intellectual property," says Ballmer in an interview. FOSS patrons are going to have to "play by the same rules as the rest of the business," he insists. "What's fair is fair."

Since when? Of all the corporations that have trampled small businesses IP rights Microsoft have to be the biggest shower of shits in existence. Most of their product range is based on other people's ideas and much of that, e.g. IE was ripped from small business with minimal reward to the innovator.

Basically, name them. Yep, name the infringements. Don't hide behind lawyers and withhold information, BE SPECIFIC!! Many of the IP claims that Microsoft put forward to the EU were minor extensions to existing Open Source software and are no "innovative" enough to justify the high fees requested, equivalent to making an add on to a car and claiming IP over the entire car. If accidental infringment has occured then it's reasonable to allow the FOSS authors the chance to remedy the situation by rewriting code but it's also reasonable to give them access to the information required to perform the task.

It's a constant embarrassment to me that the toadying twat that runs my country saw fit to give a convicted monopolist and proven unfair player like Gates a knighthood and until Microsoft starts behaving in a reasonable and honest manner Gates, Ballmer and Co. can stick their royalties up their arses where their heads have been for the last twenty years.

To reiterate, STATE YOUR CLAIMS IN FULL. Stop hiding behind misinformation, partial information and the pathetic, sad bullshit that has for so long been a trademark for Microsoft business practice.

  There, I feel a bit better now.

So, anyone still think... (1)

Kythe (4779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19107917)

...that Vista is surpassing all sales expectations?

This doesn't sound like the words of a company that thinks it's doing really well.

GUIs: Why only Linux? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19107925)

The Linux graphical user interfaces - essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up - run afoul of another 65, he claims. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68.
If all these FOSS programs "violate innovation," then it's very likely they're sharing common traits that we consider standard. In order words, if the GUI itself violates patents, then why in the hell have they not sued Apple, or Apple sued the FOSS first?

Maybe, because Apple and MS have made special a deal. MS protected Apple at the time of its near demise. Apple's OS X is partly based on public support with the incorporation of software that was open source, so the PR in crying foul to FOSS (like MS just did,) would be negative to their unprecedented move to Unix back in 2000. On that last point, since I remember the Apple ads promoting their new *UNIX* roots, Apple didn't get sued on similar grounds by Sun --do they pay SUN? I thought mentioning UNIX when you use a BSD release, instead of Solaris, would have some kind of "lie label" attached. To our dismay, "Linux" was expressly ignored in their ads for OS X, btw.

Anyway, when a company flat out comes for patent infringement claims on OpenOffice, which has been out for years, and uncontested by other companies, you know there's a claim to be BS'ed somewhere. It's not like they had foresight to let the SCO thing die down, and already know they were going to do the same patent-suits in 2007. Is it?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?