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Re: IBM asserts patents against open source software

 
 
David Goodwin
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      04-07-2010
On 7 Apr, 11:56, "impossible" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> It's no secret that IBM has the largest patent portfolio of any software (or
> hardware) maker in the world. And for 15 years running it has amassed more
> new patents than any company.


IBM is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, as long as they
are hanging around Linux I doubt Microsoft (or anyone else who isn't
either stupid or desperate) will openly attack the platform for fear
of those very patents. On the other hand, the open source community
isn't entirely immune to them either. I think long as its in IBMs best
interests to continue pushing alternatives to Windows and Office they
don't pose a major threat. Of course IBM might attack a project or two
but right now Microsoft is a larger problem.

> But COLA trolls have turned a blind eye to that fact, only to discover now
> that IBM isn't quite the friend to open source they'd imagined.
>
> "IBM has sent a nastygram to the company TurboHercules, with a
> 'non-exhaustive' list of US patents that it believes 'will be infringed' by
> TurboHercules' code....To add insult to injury, the list of patents with
> which IBM tries to intimidate the Hercules project even includes two of the
> 500 patents IBM originally 'pledged' to the open source community."
>
> http://www.computerworlduk.com/commu...m?entryid=2891...
>
> Cue the Larry D'Loserite excuse train in....one, two......


Of course, the product we are talking about (a mainframe emulator) is
not really in IBMs best interests. Its not terribly surprising that
they would do something to stop it. Thats what they have the patents
for.

While its not a nice thing that they've done I wouldn't consider them
any more of a threat now that they've done it. They have no reason to
start suing random projects - it would be very bad PR and they have
nothing to gain by it.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      04-07-2010
In message
<(E-Mail Removed)>, David
Goodwin wrote:

> Of course, the product we are talking about (a mainframe emulator) is
> not really in IBMs best interests.


Why wouldn’t it be? It makes it much easier to develop and test software for
IBM’s mainframes without actually spending precious time on one. With more
software, wouldn’t they sell more mainframes?

IBM did something quite strange with regard to Hercules: at one time they
had a manual which had lots of descriptions of using it precisely for this
sort of testing purpose. Then one day they quietly released an updated
version of the manual, without changing its product code in any way
(contrary to normal practice), from which all mentions of Hercules had been
removed.
 
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victor
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      04-07-2010
On 7/04/2010 1:13 p.m., David Goodwin wrote:

>
> Of course, the product we are talking about (a mainframe emulator) is
> not really in IBMs best interests. Its not terribly surprising that
> they would do something to stop it. Thats what they have the patents
> for.
>
> While its not a nice thing that they've done I wouldn't consider them
> any more of a threat now that they've done it. They have no reason to
> start suing random projects - it would be very bad PR and they have
> nothing to gain by it.




The pool of patents which OIN has from Sun IBM Redhat Novell etc
provides more protection to open source solutions than closed source
vendors not covered by the OIN agreements, which is a good incentive for
projects to choose the open source path, but the non assertion of those
patents is voluntary. If software is patented then this situation can
happen no matter what the source code license is.
The only thing which restrains it is the payoff where IBM gets to use
the patents of the other patent holders in the pool along with their
source code contributions.
Tit for tat reciprocal altruism.
Its not about being a "friend to open source".
The patents disputed in this case wouldn't be available to a closed
source vendor either.

 
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David Goodwin
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      04-07-2010
On 7 Apr, 14:48, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> In message
> <(E-Mail Removed)>, David
>
> Goodwin wrote:
> > Of course, the product we are talking about (a mainframe emulator) is
> > not really in IBMs best interests.

>
> Why wouldnt it be? It makes it much easier to develop and test software for
> IBMs mainframes without actually spending precious time on one. With more
> software, wouldnt they sell more mainframes?


because people could just use the emulator instead? I'm sure the
emulator is a whole lot cheaper to obtain than a real mainframe.

> IBM did something quite strange with regard to Hercules: at one time they
> had a manual which had lots of descriptions of using it precisely for this
> sort of testing purpose. Then one day they quietly released an updated
> version of the manual, without changing its product code in any way
> (contrary to normal practice), from which all mentions of Hercules had been
> removed.


That did seem odd to me. Perhaps they decided it was eating into their
business? Or maybe it got in there without management noticing for a
while.
 
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David Goodwin
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      04-07-2010
On 7 Apr, 15:23, "impossible" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> "David Goodwin" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>
>
>
> > On 7 Apr, 11:56, "impossible" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >> It's no secret that IBM has the largest patent portfolio of any software
> >> (or
> >> hardware) maker in the world. And for 15 years running it has amassed
> >> more
> >> new patents than any company.

>
> > IBM is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, as long as they
> > are hanging around Linux I doubt Microsoft (or anyone else who isn't
> > either stupid or desperate) will openly attack the platform for fear
> > of those very patents. On the other hand, the open source community
> > isn't entirely immune to them either. I think long as its in IBMs best
> > interests to continue pushing alternatives to Windows and Office they
> > don't pose a major threat. Of course IBM might attack a project or two
> > but right now Microsoft is a larger problem.

>
> Not that you have any actual basis now for making that claim. But ok, I get
> it -- given a choice, you'd prefer to see an open source competitor ruined
> by IBM instead of Microsoft. That makes perfect sense (?)


No no no. Thats just silly and, as your question mark implies, makes
no sense.

I was referring to IBM as a deterrent. At this stage IBM makes money
from Linux - if someone tries to interfere with that I doubt IBM would
just stand back and watch.

You yourself said "IBM has the largest patent portfolio of any
software (or hardware) maker in the world" - only a fool would try to
fight a patent war against them. Microsoft would have to be fairly
desperate to try it.

> >> But COLA trolls have turned a blind eye to that fact, only to discover
> >> now
> >> that IBM isn't quite the friend to open source they'd imagined.

>
> >> "IBM has sent a nastygram to the company TurboHercules, with a
> >> 'non-exhaustive' list of US patents that it believes 'will be infringed'
> >> by
> >> TurboHercules' code....To add insult to injury, the list of patents with
> >> which IBM tries to intimidate the Hercules project even includes two of
> >> the
> >> 500 patents IBM originally 'pledged' to the open source community."

>
> >>http://www.computerworlduk.com/commu...m?entryid=2891...

>
> >> Cue the Larry D'Loserite excuse train in....one, two......

>
> > Of course, the product we are talking about (a mainframe emulator) is
> > not really in IBMs best interests. Its not terribly surprising that
> > they would do something to stop it. Thats what they have the patents
> > for.

>
> Exactly. But let me get this stright: So long as a company that is waging a
> patent war against open source competitors is defending its vital interests,
> that's ok with you?


No. Its not ok with me. As I said straight after it "its not a very
nice thing they've done". I'm just saying I'm not surprised they've
done it - thats what they have the patents for.

> > While its not a nice thing that they've done I wouldn't consider them
> > any more of a threat now that they've done it. They have no reason to
> > start suing random projects - it would be very bad PR and they have
> > nothing to gain by it.

>
> And yet that is exactly what IBM has done. Go figure!


No. They haven't really. I doubt they just searched for an open source
project that was infringing on their patents - if they were there are
probably many more obvious choices. They've sued one group that was
writing an emulator for one of their mainframe platforms. Its not like
they are secretly plotting to destroy Gnome, GCC, the Linux Kernel or
Qt next.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-07-2010
In message
<(E-Mail Removed)>, David
Goodwin wrote:

> On 7 Apr, 14:48, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <(E-Mail Removed)_zealand>
> wrote:
>
>> In message
>> <(E-Mail Removed)>,
>> David Goodwin wrote:
>>
>>> Of course, the product we are talking about (a mainframe emulator) is
>>> not really in IBMs best interests.

>>
>> Why wouldn’t it be? It makes it much easier to develop and test software
>> for IBM’s mainframes without actually spending precious time on one. With
>> more software, wouldn’t they sell more mainframes?

>
> because people could just use the emulator instead? I'm sure the
> emulator is a whole lot cheaper to obtain than a real mainframe.


But it’s not a mainframe. It doesn’t offer any of the characteristics that
people buy mainframes for.

 
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peterwn
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      04-07-2010
On Apr 7, 3:47*pm, David Goodwin <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
> No. They haven't really. I doubt they just searched for an open source
> project that was infringing on their patents - if they were there are
> probably many more obvious choices. They've sued one group that was
> writing an emulator for one of their mainframe platforms. Its not like
> they are secretly plotting to destroy Gnome, GCC, the Linux Kernel or
> Qt next.


Microsoft dished out fairly similar treatment to one of its 'partners'
a few years ago.

Microsoft offered a 'lite' version of some software with an intended
'deficiency'. The partner recognising a 'deficiency' produced a plug-
in to overcome the deficiency and got stomped on by Microsoft.
 
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victor
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      04-07-2010
On 07/04/10 17:22, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
> In message
> <(E-Mail Removed)>, David
> Goodwin wrote:
>
>> On 7 Apr, 14:48, Lawrence D'Oliveiro<(E-Mail Removed)_zealand>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> In message
>>> <(E-Mail Removed)>,
>>> David Goodwin wrote:
>>>
>>>> Of course, the product we are talking about (a mainframe emulator) is
>>>> not really in IBMs best interests.
>>>
>>> Why wouldn’t it be? It makes it much easier to develop and test software
>>> for IBM’s mainframes without actually spending precious time on one. With
>>> more software, wouldn’t they sell more mainframes?

>>
>> because people could just use the emulator instead? I'm sure the
>> emulator is a whole lot cheaper to obtain than a real mainframe.

>
> But it’s not a mainframe. It doesn’t offer any of the characteristics that
> people buy mainframes for.
>




The Ars Technica article is informative
http://arstechnica.com/open-source/n...e-emulator.ars

So is the Reg
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03...ules_response/
 
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peterwn
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      04-08-2010
On Apr 8, 12:32*am, Collector_NZ <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> impossible wrote:
>
> > "David Goodwin" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> >news:(E-Mail Removed)....
> >> On 7 Apr, 15:23, "impossible" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >>> "David Goodwin" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message

>
> > Isn't the point of holding the largest software patent portfolio in the
> > world to put the fear of god in all would-be competitors?

>
> Well my view is that most of its portfolio of patents describe abstract
> ideas rather than actual developed and proven things.
>
> I support protection of real things not just abstract ideas that might
> become real when the technology exists to make it possible.


Patenting abstract ideas makes a mockery of the whole patent system.
It was set up to patent *real* inventions such as the steam engine,
not the collective brain farts of think tanks.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      04-08-2010
In message
<(E-Mail Removed)>, peterwn
wrote:

> Patenting abstract ideas makes a mockery of the whole patent system.
> It was set up to patent *real* inventions such as the steam engine,
> not the collective brain farts of think tanks.


So who do you think deserved the patent on the steam engine? Newcomen, who
was the first to exploit the power of steam on an industrial scale? The
brewers who developed the high-pressure boilers that he copied? Darby, who
was able to make cylinders for Newcomen that were cheaper than brass ones?
Watt, who improved the efficiency by adding a cooling cylinder? Wilkinson,
whose technique for accurately machining cannon barrels was adapted to
improve the efficiency of the engine even more?

Which of these was the crucial step that makes you say “he deserves the
patent on the steam engine”?
 
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