Posted by: 2stepsback | October 15, 2007

Does Linux actually need your help?

First, see these:
1. Groklaw.net

Patent Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Red Hat & Novell – Just Like Ballmer Predicted
Thursday, October 11 2007 @ 09:41 PM EDT
IP Innovation LLC has just filed a patent infringement claim against Red Hat and Novell. It was filed October 9, case no. 2:2007cv00447, IP Innovation, LLC et al v. Red Hat Inc. et al, in Texas. Where else? The patent troll magnet state.
The first ever patent infringement litigation involving Linux. Here’s the patent, for those who can look at it without risk. If in doubt, don’t. Here’s the complaint [PDF].

2. news.zdnet.com

October 11th, 2007
First patent suit against Linux has a Kevin Bacon-esque connection to Microsoft
Posted by David Berlind @ 9:14 pm Categories: General, Legal, Open Source, Software Infrastructure Tags: Novell Inc., Patent, Connection, Microsoft Corp., Blogosphere, Jones, Linux, Open Source, UNIX, Operating Systems, Software, David Berlind
icn_balloon_154x48
+43
75 votes Worthwhile?

It appears as though the first patent suit against Linux — targeting Red Hat and Novell — is now official. According to Groklaw’s Pamela Jones….

These people know what it is all about and how to handle the issue in courts.

digitaltippingpoint.com is the other place to find good information on the same subject.

My own opinion is that is sad to see how an experienced industry veteran like Microsoft has stooped to this level. In my eyes, they have lost any credibility that they had left. They had announced interoperability with Novell’s SUSE and openSUSE, and the Mono guys were probably happy about the peaceful resolution of last year’s conflict. I was really optimistic about interoperability and a peaceful future.
No, they want a confrontation and they want it now and they want to make it painful for FLOSS and Linux.
They are actually attempting to make an example out of RedHat and choke Linux and strangle it to death. As if that is not enough, they are also trying to prove that software patents is the way to go when every other company is trying its best to get software patents, as such, out of the normal business procedure.

I always thought that the FSF took too extreme a stand. They are now vindicated. I surely did not expect this. So from now on, I’ll be giving my best shot to help Linux in any way I can.

If you think this issue needs your help also (trust me, it does, even though the legal standing is pretty strongly in favor of Linux and RedHat) I will simply ask you to write a blog expressing your view.

[Side note:
No need to fear anything. I’ve tried every step myself, no need to worry in any way. But of course, don’t be stupid and write a blog if you work with a Microsoft partner. They are now desperate and will do just about anything. Some might say that you should write for precisely that reason.]

Sign petitions like the one FSF asks you to. They generally ask you to read before signing and they inform you well enough that you can verify those facts.
Visit and sign the petition at digitaltippingpoint.com if you fell that is relevant.
If you are using Linux yourself, need I tell you to do that?

If you are using any free/libre open-source software, you are at least aware of it and you should know that this is probably the first time the most popular FLOSS project – GNU/Linux is being victimized by Patent litigation. Patent laws give near-unlimited power to anybody. If the court rules that the plaintiff has to be rewarded damages, the amounts could go into millions or even hundreds of millions of US dollars.

As payback to the FLOSS community, I ask of you to just write down the following sentence 5 times on a paper (not PC, copy-paste), with a pen or a pencil and read it out softly 5 times:

“FLOSS programmers may face a tough time for having written top quality code that is free for all to use in any constructive way.”

Do not ever do anything more than that thereafter.
Do not ever donate a single dollar, I am perfectly fine with that.
Do not ever thank any author or any FLOSS program you use, I am fine with that as well.
Do not ever read up anything about the project and the authors behind the program, no problem.

But I ask only one thing as a fellow FLOSS user and programmer:
Write the above sentence five times.
Read it out, softly, five times, to yourself.
That is all I personally ask from you.

If you think that you should act, act swiftly. Contact FSF/GNU, Linux Foundation, http://www.linux.org, your neighborhood geek, your local Linux User Group, the OpenOffice project, digitaltippingpoint.com, linuxquestions.org, linuxhq.org, kernel.org, any of the famous unix “hackers”.
Get X-Chat or any other free and open-source IRC chat program and join IRC on ##linux or the linux channel of a user-group in your area or language.

Also, I would like to start writing up any new ideas that I think of for any and all FLOSS programs or any fresh ideas, here, publicly so that they stay on record as prior art. I also ask you to do the same.
I must tell you that innovating is a fun thing because you get to be better than the existing thing just by finding some faults.
In the posts to follow, I shall be explaining a bti about my guess of how the highly-qualified extremely successful “scholars” working at high-profile laboratories get their ideas. Specifically, those that they convert into popular applications like MySpace, Facebook, Google Labs projects and so on.
If you want a decent source (rather than a self-taught, raw, country-bumpkin excuse for an inventor) go to http://ocw.mit.edu
Very very impressive. And extensive as well.

In the rare event of some of my ideas being actually new, I hereby state that I make them free for everyone, for any use, including philosophically controversial, without expectation of any money, payment or favor of any kind. Mainly it will serve as prior-art. Legal experts from the FLOSS world are more than welcome to correct me, but there is great fun in keeping everything from the core rules, meta(structure) to the use-casesor samples, all, in simple, easy-to-understand language for the layman.

It is an unreported and unhighlighted scam of gigantic proportions that law and technical documents and natural science are taught using dense terminology when simpler words could always be used.
The “commoners” among us will note that some technically brilliant minds become dull and stupid after years of using sophisticated terminology.

“Technical terms” are often a purposeful “obfuscation” or confusion created to keep knowledge in the hands of few and away from the masses. Countless inventions have died unborn when all that was needed was that someone point out to the smart “commoner” that such a thing is possible even in events in his daily life.
“How come I did not think of this so far?”
Because you were kept from the thinking techniques taught “exclusively” inj “higher schools or learning”.

Remember, all brains are made up of the same stuff.
How much you activate those chemicals and apply them actively (“be alert”), decides whether you improvize well or not.

Finally, I have always wanted to keep my blog available only to those who actually are interested in it. Rather than using it as a publicity tool like everyone does. But now, I shall be reversing that stance. In the process, I might try to make some money in the process as well. After all, bills need to be paid. Might be Google/Yahoo ads as well. Might be banner ads as well.

My other request is this:
If you like the idea, start a blog of your own, and put up what you think could help Linux in the lawsuit or as a technology, preferably both.

No holds barred.

Proprietary software is marketed using marketing teams.
Proprietary code is made using coding teams.

Linux was made by everyone’s effort.
Linux should be marketed by everyone’s effort.

Think a bit, what everyone does at myspace, facebook, digg, del.icio.us, and a whole lot of other sites is just that – open-sourced building knowledge-base. I think “crowdsourcing” is the correct term.

Keep reading. It’s going to be fun.

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