back to article Ubuntu daddy in patent class of its own

Ubuntu creator Canonical has upgraded its membership in a Linux patent protection group – without any clear reason for the change. Canonical has become the Open Invention Network's first – and so far only – associate member, a newly created category of OIN membership. Previously, Canonical was just an OIN licensee. But it's …


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  1. The First Dave


    The idea of the DPL seems somewhat flawed as it has been explained in that link - the concept of a FAir Troll seems to rely on people registering patents precisely so that they can go after existing companies, which seems to be pretty much the definition of 'Prior Art'

  2. westlake

    Getting your foot in the door

    "The company licenses the royalty-encumbered H.264 media codec, backed by an MPEG-LA patent pool that includes Microsoft, Apple, and others."

    832 others, to be precise:

    Including just about every brand name in consumer electronics with a significant - global - market share.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Hmm, dual boot, eh ?

    I wonder who owns the MBR on a hard-disk ? If it's Microsoft, is it copyrighted or patented ? Who has the right to modify/replace it ? Just my 2/100 CAD!

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      MBR is just a bootstrap

      plenty of prior art there, so I doubt it is patented, at least not by Microsoft. PDP/11's used second-stage bootstraps in the 1970's, before the PC was invented, and I'm sure they weren't the first.

      What is more important is the disk label which dictates the partitioning. I believe that Microsoft invented this, although there are other partitioning formats out there. Probably about time it was re-worked. 4 primary partitions, one of which can be a kludge to make it a container for extended partitions is lame.

      I presume that 2/100 CAD is 2 Canadian cents. Never seen it written like this, but then I am a Brit.

  4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


    If we interpret every patent issue as black and white, we run the risk of loosing sight of what Linux has to do to become accepted.

    Now I don't like software patents, and I do understand the licensing constraints on H.264, but it is currently not clear that the Google WebM codec will become accepted. Canonical have just covered all of the bases, which should allow Ubuntu to play in all parts of the media world. They have done this at their own expense (if any money a commercial company spends can be regarded as their own), and probably won't see the money recouped from the people who are most likely benefit.

    What the Linux community have to accept is that an ordinary user (by this I mean someone who wants to buy a system, open the box, plug it in and use it) just will not use a Linux distro if every time they go to a web page it is a lottery as to whether their system will allow them to see and hear the media there. This is such a fundamental requirement that I sometimes wonder what many of the of the commenters are thinking.

    If they are expecting the Open Source movement to really be able to overcome the might of Microsoft, Apple, et. al. with sweeping changes by just being there with a small share of the market, they are deluding themselves. Lets get a successful distro out there, and then use that as a lever to change the world. The bigger we can make it, the more likely we are to have an effect.

  5. agricola
    IT Angle

    Perhaps Canonical sees handwriting on the wall?

    I sent this to Xandros the other day, after being made to jump through hoops to communicate with them ( the only way is through tech support, and they generate a "ticket"). Needless to say, I haven't heard from anyone at Xandros; I thought you might be interested in my reaction to the tactics of the Redmond Trolls:

    "(c) 2010, Jon Colt

    Dear Customer Service:

    Please ensure that this message is sent to your upper management, as it will get there, one way or another.


    Dear Xandros Upper Management:

    I would like to thank you for making my job so much easier: by caving in to Microsoft's spurious and specious claims and entering into a "collaboration" (aren't euphemisms simply WONDERFUL?) in order to protect yourself against implied litigation due to implied patent infringement on implied AND unspecified intellectual property, you have reduced--by one--the number of options with which I provide my customers when I design and provide support for a Linux system.

    Of course (upon further consideration) there is one condition under which I will still consider using Xandros: you provide me with all those patents which Microsoft told you your Linux distribution were infringing, and I'll make my own decisions (Microsoft DID specify what patents of theirs that your Linux was infringing upon, didn't they?). You just simply pass that information along to the rest of us, and I'm more than certain that you'll be rewarded with all Linux consumers flocking to you as their distro of choice,

    Until then, best of luck in your efforts against all your competitors who have the guts to have told, and will tell, Microsoft to stuff it.

    Warmest regards,

    Jon Colt."


    I can, somewhat, understand a small fish like Xandros doing this, but what absolutely amazes me is that what I considered--up until now--a high-quality organization (Amazon) giving in to Microsoft's blatant patent-trolling, blackmail techniques.

    Vote with your feet, your dollars/pounds/euros, and communication.

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