Microsoft prohibits GPLed work via licensing of CIFS standards

Alex Hudson home at
Wed Apr 10 13:01:11 UTC 2002

On Wed, 2002-04-10 at 13:42, Joerg Schilling wrote:
> >Because it's not in the art. The art is Computer Science, not writing
> >Sun's OS. The gain of knowledge to Computer Science from Sun having done
> >it is zero.
> Sorry, this is nonsense!

No, it's not. Prior art doesn't mean "an example of something having
been done before". The question to ask is, "Given the claim in this
patent, would it be obvious to a skilled software engineer how to
implement it?". "Obvious" is generally taken to mean that the idea, or
some close parallel, has been published. 

> The gain of knowledge to Computer Science from
> Linux is zero - most of the "ideas" have been copied from Sun.

No, you're not comparing like with like. Linux is Free Software. If you
accept that source code is speech (which is what makes this arguable),
having the code around is essentially equivilent to publishing. It's a
reference work, if you like. SunOS is proprietary software; it is most
definitely not a published work (not counting the current SCSL or
whatever release, since we're talking 1993). How it works internally is
a trade secret almost, you can't argue that it has contributed to the
art. Sun's implementation of raw network access will help no-one except
Sun engineers. 

> If you were right, then Linux hackers would not be able copy Sun's ideas.

Rubbish. We're not talking about copying ideas, we're talking about what
is obvious. Obvious means "yes, I know how to do that", not "give me 18
months of research and I should be able to do it". I would suggest that
many features "copied" from Sun, patented or not, would have taken
considerable time to research and implement, and would not have been

> In addition, you seem to regret the fact that there are many publically
> available white papers from Sun describing SunOS internals - as well
> as many RFC's posted by Sun.

I wasn't even aware of them, so it's unlikely that I regret the fact
that they are available. If you can find an RFC on raw network access
describing the internals of SunOS dated before 1993, then you probably
have prior art.

Don't turn this into a Sun vs. Linux argument again please, we've had
enough of that...



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