Here it comes...
The One Laptop Per Child foundation is being sued over its XO laptop keyboard design by the Nigerian-owned, Massachusetts-based firm, Lagos Analysis Corp. Lagos claims the non-profit illegally reverse-engineered their software drivers to make the OLPC keypad more accent mark friendly to foreign fingers. The initial copyright …
I am pleased to write to you. I came about your keyboard on the internet search yesterday. I am the chairman of Lagos Analysis Corp. My collegues and I have uncovered an amount of USD$150,000,000 (one hundred fifty milion United States Dollars) owing to me. This money has already been approved for payment by the Government United States America due to the beneficiary of your keyboard deisign.
We will accept your offer of 25% of the total sum in order to facilitate the compensation. Me and friends in Nigeria feel this sufficent for coverage of damages.
Please send urgent response including:
NAME OF THE BANK,
ADDRESS OF THE BANK,
ACCOUNT HOLDER'S NAME ADDRESS
YOUR PERSONAL PHONE AND FAX NUMBERS
I am awaiting your reply.
Adé G. Oyegbọla
because the OLPC keyboard looks just like a normal keyboard layout to me !
As as for having more than one 'modifier' key, that's also been standard for years - us Mac users have been used to having an 'Alt' (or 'Option') key for some 23 years now that gave easy access to an extended character set.
I could understand the OLPC project having bought a local keyboard to see how the locals are used to typing - but unless the vendor has a patent on the method of operation then there's no problem. No copyright has been infringed by independently writing software that does something similar to another piece of software.
In a word - a non-profit organisation out to better the world and what do they think is a good idea? Suing them for the little money they have.
Not to mention that they're going to directly benefit from greater IT skills in the area as more people will want there keyboard.
Various PC operating systems have been had keyboard mappings which use alt gr for exactly this purpose for many years (probably including all of the symbols on both keyboards), I don't see how you can accuse someone of stealing your ideas when there's already tonnes of prior art, it's not patentable (or if it is, someone already owns it), and it's not covered under copyright.
The two shift2 keys and two alt keys (which presumably just map to the alt gr and alt keycodes respectively) would probably be patentable, but then that is not part of what he claims has been copied.
This is one of the dumbest IP cases I've heard of recently.
What a shameless rip-off! Imagine using Alt Gr (originally intended to shift into the alternative character set, back when that had meaning) to alter the appearance of characters generated by keystrokes! A stunning innovation such as a keyboard with four shifters (mine only has control, shift, alt and alt gr after all) surely needs to be protected. The term 'intellectual property' hardly seems adequate for such a revolutionary creation. Surely, this 'fourth shift key' is a gift from some sort of deity?
Hmm. Or perhaps not. Is the copyrighted magic fourth shift key *normally* connected up to the keyboard controller in a different way from Alt Gr? Or has the whole world been violating this piss-ant company's IP since before it was founded?
The may have reverse engineered a keyboard driver, or a shift key........
Grow up, they should be disgusted with themselves dragging OLPC into the courts.
What financial loss have they suffered, not as much as they will when people realise how petty they are being, standing in the way of this project.
PLEASE EXCUSE THIS EMAIL AS IT IS IN MUCH CONFIDENCE. I AM CEO ADE G. OYEGBOLA AND I WRITE TO YOU WITH URGENCY AS MY COMPANY HAS RECENTLY ONE SEVEN MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS (7,000,000) ONLY AS PART OF A LAW SUITS WITH AMERICAN BUSINESSES. HOWEVER, DUE TO CLIMATE IN LAGOS THE BANK DRAFT HAS NOT REACHED US AND I WISH TO ENLIST YOUR ASSISTANCE IN SUCCESSFULLY ACQUIRING THIS GREAT PROCEDURE FOR ALL BENEFIT.
wonder if they look they'll find some Micro$oft money behing the Lagos company as in SCO?
keyboard looks standard and not too similar. The extra characters are in the logical places (no originality) and only half of them are on the OLPC laptop anyway....
No way they'll be found guilty.
I guess they want to sue so they can get a piece of nothing. Some non-profit companies do make a profit. If OLPC makes nothing, then how could one sue for damages?
Even if some IP was stolen. Could they really claim damages? The OLPC is there to get computers in the hands of those that cannot afford them. They would never have been customers anyway.
This post has been deleted by its author
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this mail meets you in a perfect condition. I am using this opportunity to ask for your help in suing One Laptop per Child, a non-profit educational organization.
In return I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of 11,000,00 USD.
I'd just say screw the whole country... if you're going to do this to us... no laptops for you!!
But of course that wouldn't work would it as only the children would really suffer.
A perfect case of coporations only thinking about them selves. They had just better not win. If they do there is clearly something seroiusly wrong with the world....
... to steal local businesses' IP?
Methinks some people are being a bit too knee-jerk about this, particularly as there isn't enough information to make a judgement one way or another.
If it's a fuss about nothing, they'll be laughed out of court. If a paternalistic Western charity is inadvertantly screwing-up the local economy, then with any luck justice will be done.
Y'all don't understand. The Nigerian 419 scammers are suing to stop OLPC because they are *AFRAID* of the competition! Think of all the children who could learn to compete in their "business". Nothing personal against OLPC--it's the kids they need to nail.
Actually, I think Wirth should sue the Nigerians for using his idea. They used to call them Bucky bits because "Bucky" was his nickname when he came up with the idea. Unfortunately, that was so long ago that any patents must have lapsed.
I hate to generalize, but from the parts of Africa that I've been in working with NGO's (including Nigeria), very many Africans view NGO's as a way to PERSONAL enrichment and the good life. The community aspect is less important than possibly getting a good job (where I can steal money and material!) for ME.
Going by what I found at:
"Originally, US PC keyboards (specifically: the US 101-key PC/AT keyboards) did not have an AltGr key, it being relevant to only non-US markets; they simply had "left" and "right" Alt keys."
It seems the Lagos lads took the shift keys and chopped them into 2 different buttons one being the "normal shift" and the other that essentially did what the "Alternate Graphic" button did on other keyboards (e.g. the US International Keyboard)
The only benefit I really see is that they made the key easier to access with either hand.
It appears that OLPC took the international standard keyboard layout with some extra keys for XO-specific functions, plain and simple. So, it appears the OLPC just used a feature that IBM computers were using over 20 years ago! They didn't even bother with making more than one AltGr button. I seriously doubt any reverse engineering was even needed.
Took me ten minutes on the web to find that, only going on the information provided in this article. Wonder how much time the Lagos lads spent researching before they fired off the lawsuit?
I used french keyboard this autumn. They got AZERTY layout with 2 shifts AND AlltGr. French told me they've got this layout for ages. I got a book about computers from 80s with a picture of a Japanese keyboard. There’re plenty of shifts. What about more Zillions from those freaky Asians, man? Just send’em email!
The OLPC XO is based on Redhat's Fedora Core 6 and uses the open-source SCIM (http://www.scim-im.org/) package to provide input methods for localisation - something most GNU/Linux distributions use.
The reported 'patent' may actually be a Nigerian Registered Design if the prefix "RD" is any indicator (RD8489). I'm awaiting a response from the Nigerian Industrial Property Office.
The Lagos Analysis Corp's KONYIN keyboard has an additional "Ng" shift key and, from the documentation, claims to deliver *two* Unicode key-scan codes to the PC not the usual single scan-code (Hence the custom driver for Windows).
The XO keyboard uses a standard PC keyboard controller and uses customised keypads for each locality.
Even the symbols on the Nigerian XO keypad have markedly different layouts to the KONYIN Nigerian layout.
As the stated intention is to go after the OLPC XO delivery agents in the destination countries this looks more like a power-play to put obstacles in the way of XO adoption.
Whether it is coincidental or orchestrated by another company with a vested interest in seeing the OLPC project fail is an interesting speculation.
There's Microsoft - the XO with FC6 will disrupt their aim to get students familiar with Windows as young as possible as it leads to purchasing decisions and preferences in later life - and Intel - their conventionally based Classmate was launched in response to the XO, since the XO uses an AMD CPU - or maybe another company?
Many readers have failed to notice that the O.L.P.C. keyboard bears a resemblance to the Lagos keyboard that simply couldn't be coincidental. Note the ordering of the keys (both begin Q,W,E,R,T,Y, statistically extremely unlikely if the keys have been randomly ordered), the oversized space key situated below the other keys, and the exaggerated 'Enter' key to the right.
Apart from the colour scheme, the two keyboards are strikingly similar. O.L.P.C. doesn't appear to have even tried to hide its reverse engineering of the Nigerian mechanism for interacting with a computer.
Is it just me, or are the two keyboards not even remotely similar, aside from the fact they are both QWERTY style keyboards? Are this other corporation going to claim they invented the QWERTY keyboard as well? If not then they should shut up, as they are stealing someone elses design just by using that layout.
Actually it's also an ATARI ST thing too, European keyboards use Alt-Gr to get to the Euro key, and it previously is used on Spanish keyboards to get to the @ symbol.
It dates back to 1980's European Atari ST, but probably a lot further back. (I recall the VT100 teletypes had multiple shifts in the photographs I've seen)
Here's a Japanese VT100 keyboard with multiple shifts.
This is bullshit... the proof is right in the article... this Mass, USA based Nigerian owned firm is suing Mass, USA based non-profit OLPC in, wait for it.... Nigeria?!? and plans to sue in other nations where the laptop is being sold.
My bullshit alarm went off immediately just after reading the headline of this story... please, at least make an effort to disguise your bullshit as something legit. i mean seriously, this is the united states of america, home of patient trolls, copyright thieves and the highly coveted Judicial Lottery (formerly known as a frivolous lawsuit).
Not only are these people scammers and bullshit artists, but their stupid too, folks, everybody knows, when playing the judicial lottery for technology, you buy your lottery ticket from the US district court building in and for the eastern district of Texas, them Texans stack the decks in favor of the lottery trolls.
Well surely the end of result of this whole thing is to give less developed countries the tools and skills to compete in the global economy.... and that is just what these guys are doing!
Expect more lawsuits as more people get access to a cheap laptop to learn how the west is based on suing people not innovation. Surely they will realise as so many of us have that is is alot easier to sue sue sue, and all you need to find a frivolous law suit is an interweb, and a US court.
This whole lawsuit is sick, and shows the level of depravity to which corporations will stoop in the name of earning money for their shareholders. I hope the judge throws the case out and awards costs to the OLPC project -- or, if the jurisdiction where the case is heard allows for expropriation of so-called "Intellectual Property", orders LANCOR's copyright to be forfeited.
At any rate, there was no need for Negroponte and co. to have reverse-engineered anything. The symbols generated by each key are displayed, logically enough, on the keys themselves; and the mapping was no doubt chosen to place symbols with ones having a similar shape or meaning, in order to make the best use of associative memory in human operators. For example, the letter N also produces a Spanish N with a tilda (associated by similarity of shape); A produces an "AE" ligature, and S produces the German "ss" character (similarity of sound). But then the mapping begins to diverge. Figure 4 on the OLPC keyboard can also produce the dollar and pound signs (both currencies), but on the Lagos keyboard it produces the Euro and dollar signs; figure 1 on the OLPC produces an exclamation mark and the Spanish inverted exclamation mark which precedes a sentence (obviously related), but on the Lagos keyboard it produces an exclamation mark and a "section" sign.
How can producing something so obviously so different be considered a violation of anyone's so-called "Intellectual Property"?
Best thing we could do with that whole country is to disconnect it from the global internet. This must be their latest thing... perhaps they are now bored of all the following:
- Ruining ebay auctions by bidding for items not available to them using hijacked UK ebay accounts, then specifying a nigerian mailing address
- Sending hoards and hoards of spam regarding some geezer who I have never met who's left me millions
- Spamming me with viagra adverts every 5 mins
- Informing me time and time again of the lottery that i've won which I never entered
- Spamming forum sites with messages full of links
- Spamming any 'comment' areas they can find with hoards of spam
- Sending out bots to create loads of false registrations that they then use to spam
You cant even escape the f**kers wen on holiday cause they are trying to flog you fake watches and sunglasses all the time.
Basically, the country is not fit to be a part of the global internet. Cut them off, I say!
Why do you reckon that, AC? It may be a publicity stunt (because they're not serving any actual writ) but it is to show publicly that there is a "cloud" over the OLPC.
Just take a look at S Ballmer's statements about the nebulous cloud of IP violations in the Linux kernel.
Someone on slashdot also did a little digging and found that the company owning LANCOR was a Microsoft subsidiary.
OLPC use Linux.
Join the dots.
The Asus eepc has the alternate language keys in the same location, why not sue them and not this?
It's pretty obvious to put the alternate symbols in that way, I'm in favour of a patent if it was hard work and cost someone millions to develop. That keyboard layout took 2 minutes to devise.
My name is Mbutu Mwezi, and I am the head of the Irish Football Association (IFA). As you will no doubt be aware from Sky News, several of our players were recently killed in a coach crash in Equitorial Guinea, whilst on their way to play against Guinea's reknowed international team. Despite missing our goalkeeper, full back, left winger, three strikers and a mascot, we still managed to triumph 11-0.
In honour of our fallen legends, the Equitorial Guinean Government agreed to pay compensation to their families, to the amount of USD$100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 [ONE HUNDRED MILLION BILLION BILLION BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS], or approximately EUR11.45 [ELEVEN EUROES FORTY FIVE CENTS]. Unfortunately it transpires that all seven tragic individuals were childless Dublin orphans, grown up in the squalor of the fifties with no shoes, and not so much as a piece of coal to their name. And also there are no beneficiaries to speak of.
The FUNDS now currently reside in a suspense account in Malabo, in a little bank just off the main square, next to a cafe and a shop which sells string.
It is in the strictest confidence THAT I now tell you my plan. Since you share a surname with one of the deceased (O'Doherty - that's you, right?), it may be possible to make a claim using your details to recover the lost amount. If you are willing to assist me with this plan, you will be rewarded with 30% of the total AMOUNT.
I implore you to help me, in the memory of these noble souls who died doing what they loved best - drinking whiskey on a bus.
I await your response with badger-baited breath.
MBUTU MWEZI (Mrs)
IRISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
Whoa there Nigel!
Not all of the stuff you have listed in your post is coming from Nigeria, and the bits that are are coming from a *very small* minority of the population.
I sure nobody would advocate cutting off the entirety of the US just because a few of the worst Spammers in the world have been based there!
And the following phrase:
"You cant even escape the f**kers wen on holiday cause they are trying to flog you fake watches and sunglasses all the time."
Just isn't a nice sentiment. I'd expect that kind of statement to come from a foaming at the mouth BNP voter, not an intelligent, reasoning member of the IT community.
It just seems so obvious to me. Nigerians don't _WANT_ the OLPC laptops. So why ship anything there? While at it, do the rest of the world a favour, and cut the landlines aswell (internet and telephone), and minelay the border. And please start shutting down ANY satellite phone found to be operating inside Nigeria's borders. It should reduce the amount of frauds and scams worldwide by an order of magnitude. If they don't want to get a chance to let the children learn somethin other than what the rest of the world considers illegal activities, then let them teach their activities and STAY INSIDE THEIR BORDERS!.
I know, I know. Getting my coat now.
It's to provide the Nigerian government with a "plausible" excuse for dropping the OLPC and going with the Intel Classmate solution instead... expect an annoucement from them shortly explaining that they can't go with the OLPC as it may infringe on someones "precioussss" IP...
Okay, so the OLPC uses the same key layout for some symbols. Is that stealing or simply common sense? After all if that keyboard layout is prevalent, or even defined by international standards then I see no issue.
As for having a couple of buttons to reach extra key combos - well duh. That is so obvious and has had such a long history of prior art that I fail to see anything that could be patented. For example my UK keyboard allows me to push Alt Gr + 4 to get a Euro symbol. I'm sure I could also hold down Alt + the octal code on the numeric keypad to do the same. There is nothing innovative whatsoever about a keyboard that maps a few more characters onto a button that is Alt Gr in all but name. Fact is that extra keys are not even a new phenomena. Even the humble ZX Spectrum keyboard was overloaded with special keys, and the Shift key is the granddaddy of them all.
This sounds like an absurd patent even as many patents go. Even assuming there is a patent. The OLPC should point out all this and let the complainant waste their money if they really must pursuing legal action.
If the OLPC were some form of Microsoftian enterprise bent on world-domination through capitalizing on revenue from sales....then maybe, just maybe this Nigerian firm would be justified in trying to swindle money out of the OLPC foundation...but this IS NOT the case! Maybe the rest of the decent folk out there should counter-sue the Nigerian company for a horrendous lack of ethics and just plain decency...but I guess it's too much to expect these day!
[quote]"One Laptop per Child, a non-profit educational organization, has hear that Lagos Analysis Corp. (LANCOR) has sued OLPC in Nigeria, but OLPC has not seen any legal papers related to the alleged suit at this time,"[/quote]
Sounds (i.e. reads), like the Author could use a free OLPC too.
No barring for any mis-understanding between Her Majesties English and the ~supposedly~ more common American English, but shouldn't that be read back as:
"One Laptop per Child, a non-profit educational organization, has hear**d** that Lagos Analysis Corp. (LANCOR) has sued OLPC in Nigeria, but OLPC has not seen any legal papers related to the alleged suit at this time,"
I mean thousands of Kids come here daily, and have to put up with bad gramer!!
THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!
And when we've given them water, what do we do for them? Educate them. That would be the supplies and textbooks. Supplies like "paper, pens" and educational books, yes?
Oh, that's what OLPC is FOR.
It's a damn good ebook, it has a calculator, text editor and a load of educational uses. Looks like it's all that stuff you asked for (apart from water).
Are you Paris Hilton?
My point is that the amount of educational supplies you can with $200 in the Third World is far more valuable and useful that a crappy wind-up computer that will get sold for food, stolen or broken. Not to say the educational supplies might not get stolen, as another poster pointed out, but a computer is a far more juicey target.
"If it's a fuss about nothing, they'll be laughed out of court."
If all courts were honest and more interested in justice than in personal gain for the judiciary, that would be true.
In the real world, however, and especially in savage tribal areas like Nigeria, whoever can bribe the judge most effectively will win.
Microsoft owns a large interest in LANCOR. LANCOR is suing OLPC, which does *not* use any Microsoft products. Microsoft has more money than the Catholic Church.
Connect the dots: Who can outbid the other party and buy the judge?
I can buy a hell of a lot of books, papers, pens, pencils using the same money it costs to buy a laptop. Ask any publisher of educational material and they will gladly eat the added profit margin of educational books for a little good PR.
But then I wouldn't have the chuckle of seeing the press release of some kid in a small hut pedal away in order to generate the electricity he needs to power his laptop. And who wants to miss a self-loving idealistic techie like Negoropante miss out on his Nobel prize.
This layout goes back way further than the Atari ST, to the European release of the IBM XT if not PC itself. Part of it is virtually identical to the British PC layout. I would be very surprised if a number of keyboard layouts 'historically' used in Nigeria itself were actually identical. Certainly there must have been keyboards featuring similar concepts in the country for decades if computers were used to produce or label anything for shipment to the neighboring French-speaking countries.
Perhaps the Lagos company is 'merely' looking for publicity. I wonder if OLPC ever will see any legal papers from it.