FSFE Newsletter

Rui Miguel Silva Seabra rms at 1407.org
Tue Jan 8 09:37:48 UTC 2008

On Mon, Jan 07, 2008 at 10:39:08PM -0500, simo wrote:
> > On Mon, Jan 07, 2008 at 03:22:35PM +0000, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> > > Rui Miguel Silva Seabra <rms at 1407.org> writes:
> > > > On Mon, Jan 07, 2008 at 12:40:18PM +0000, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> > > >> Sure.  What project/initiative/activity do you think FSFE and FFII should
> > > >> coordinate on?
> > > >
> > > > The main issue, of course, software patents.
> > > 
> > > I was hoping for something a lot more specific.
> > 
> > It's impossible to be more specific, since the fact that there has been
> > little coordination has resulted in *no* critic about the result of the
> > case in terms of software patents from FSF Europe.
> You can't really seriously argue about (anti)patents in an anti-trust
> case.

Sure, we should just cave in to the «if there are patents involved,
forget anti-trust» mantra that EC has shoved upon us.

> > Even Samba (Jeremy) is now using a foundation (made up by SFLC) on the US
> > to get to the documents in an NDA fashion. NDA development is bad enough
> > on hardware drivers. On formats and protocols it is a poison pill.
> Actually, this is not right.
> Having the docs is definitely better than having none, even under NDA.

Having OOXML as it is must be definitly better then.

> Remember that the source code will be available, everybody can read it
> and even write documentation reading the source code.

Under NDA development it is frequent that you can't reveal information
through "readable" function names or variables, or even comments
explaining the limits of certain values, etc...

> > The EU is happy-happy joy-joy[1] about the whole charade where it
> > has granted Microsoft the right to demand royalties for it's software
> > patents to Free Software users.
> The EU has no such granting power, patent law allows Microsoft to ask
> for royalties.

And EC recognises software patents, Q.E.D.

> You should remember that before the conclusion of the
> case MS had much stricter terms to access the documentation and a patent
> license with per unit royalties was unavoidable. Now we get a flat fee
> for the docs and we are not required to sign any patent license.

Of course not, its at your own risk to be prossecuted or not, because
there's nothing protecting you or your customers from that.

EC case is only reasonably acceptable considering USA laws.

> True the EC could have gone as far as imposing MS to provide even the
> patent license for a flat fee, or, in theory even oblige MS to grant a
> license to anybody for free. But we couldn't get that far this time.

Totally beyond the point. They should not have recognises Microsoft's
software patents.

> I can't see this big patent problem you see, the fact that a certain
> part of the establishment is ok with software patents is not new at all,
> we all know that.
> I honestly don't think this case changes any balance in that respect.

Of course not, other than EC recognising software patents, its virtually
unfelt by Microsoft.


Today is Pungenday, the 8th day of Chaos in the YOLD 3174
+ No matter how much you do, you never do enough -- unknown
+ Whatever you do will be insignificant,
| but it is very important that you do it -- Gandhi
+ So let's do it...?

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