Linux and Patents: Just Patently Wrong
So I read the news Novell and Red Hat are being sued for patent infringement. This is all about multiple workspaces that can hold various graphical user elements, a Xerox Parc patent which dates to the early 1990’s. Xerox Palo Alto Research center invented the graphical user interface in the 1980’s, only to been, licensed and used by Steve Jobs in Mac OS Classic. Now IP Innovation, a submarine patent troll, who make no products and bought the patent want their payday. The logical step is to go after the biggest infringer to set a precedent for your patent, and then make your way to all the smaller companies who infringe. Well logically of course that would be Apple or Microsoft. Apple has already paid them a reported 20 million dollars, and well no-one knows what Microsoft has done, but this fish is smelly. From the Register Article:
The complaint, available here as a pdf, says “the Red Hat Linux system, the Novell Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop and the Novell Suse Linux Enterprise Server all breach held patents. The companies seek increased damages for the willful infringements of their patents and an injunction to prevent further infringements”.
So we already know they bought a patent thats years old, are patent trolls, they extorted money from Apple and Microsoft appears to have no dealings with them. But wait! We see Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO) saying recently Linux should have to pay like Microsoft does in the “IP Regime”. Regime always seemed a rather nasty word to me, something your forced to put up with - like Robert Mugabes regime in Zimbabwe; come to think of it Steve, I would have said that exact same thing - a dirty rotten evil patent regime - but thats not what you meant. You meant you wanted a cut for every Linux support contract and if its free like Ubuntu - well though, you want money anyway. Steve you claim innovation Microsoft produced is in Linux, but refuse to show any evidence. Your bold statements which could be considered illegal under Sarbanes-Oxley in the United States hasn’t stopped you. But a patent lawsuit has, you know it will destroy Microsoft and can never kill Linux- maybe Linux business but you’d settle for that (If we can’t make money off it, no one can!). Now we have a patent troll, and Open Source legal resources Groklaw has exposed it to employ Microsoft employees who specialise in patents. We are well aware as a community you have a hand in this - how much remains to be seen. The community warned you through the Open Invention network ( a patent clearinghouse which vows to protect open source through pooled patents by Sony, HP, IBM, Google, Phillips, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat and others) and a petition of thousands of people to put up or shut up about patents. Now you have released SCO II when we are done killing off the first one
- through copyrights - now its patents. Well we are not going to stand for this any more; I am hoping Red Hat and Novell stand strong and fight this; and I hope the lawyers at the Open Invention Network and the Software Freedom Law center seriously consider a pre-emptive attack on you. We’re all peace loving hippies in open source right? Wrong, wrong and now I think it is time we make YOU pay…..