back to article OSI fears for Linux if Novell patents land with Apple, Oracle

In buying up a stash of Novell patents, Apple and Oracle could choke rivals in the virtualization, middleware, mobile, and media markets, according to the Open Source Initiative. German regulators are looking into the proposed sale of 882 Novell patents to CPTN Holdings, Microsoft-led group that also includes Apple, Oracle, …


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  1. Tom 7

    Florian Mueller has rightly

    that'll be a first.

  2. Number6

    Software Patents?

    If these are software patents then surely the answer is for the rest of the world that doesn't recognise software patents to fork from whatever is in the US and carry on developing, just make sure you don't authorise any code release back to the US.

    Think of what happened with PGP - the rest of the world carried on, unencumbered by US restrictions, to the point where the US was suffering.

    Patents are supposed to encourage innovation, not stifle it. If they're holding things back then they've outlived their usefulness in their current form.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Steve Jobs has threatened to "go after" Ogg Theora? Citation needed.

    Because the link that you've provided does not support such a claim. It says that Steve Jobs has claimed that persons unknown are threatening to "go after" Ogg. It does not say that Steve Jobs himself was threatening to do so.

    Unless you're accusing him of some mafia-style "nice-codec-you've-got-there-shame-if-it-was-to-burn-down" kind of veiled threat. But then that would still need a citation over the more straightforward interpretation that he was just referring to the MPEG-LA's potential plans.

    1. Schultz


      Sounds just like the usual FUD policy.

      Nothing to se here, please move on!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reading comprehension

      Direct quote: "a patent pool is being put together to go after theora"

      jobs' apple being part of mpegla the implication is that any such patent pool will include apple patents. if you cant understand that when a board member of the mpegla says that.. What did you want? Jobs to after Larry Page with an axe?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    I think that the "patent system" should be changed to include the following clause.

    "A patent shall cease to be enforced once the title of such patent passes from the original applicant to any other entity."

    That would kill the patent commodity market at one go, especially the destructive use of patents.

    I was under the impression that the "patent system" was there to protect the inventor and not to render a negotiable commodity.

    1. proto-robbie

      Right on...

      Exactly what I was going to suggest - that patents be non-transferable. However, this is maybe not enforceable where a company takes over all assets of another one, without actually killing it off.

      The patent system is showing itself particularly ill-suited to computing, where developments tend to be incremental rather than major innovations. We could all end up hamstrung by shysters who know or care nothing for what we do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      And one of the ways that an inventor is allowed to exploit his invention is to sell the rights to someone else. No different from copyright there. Patents are there to give the inventors a temporary monopoly on their inventions as a means of monetizing their work. This is because most human artifacts are far easier to reverse engineer than they are to actually invent.

      Some people are good at inventing things, others are good at producing them, still others are good at distributing them, not too many are good at everything. If you insisted that the same "entity" perform all the relevant roles, then that will remove almost all of the individual inventors from the market, leaving only those companies big enough to do the invention, development, production, distribution, marketing, etc.

      Personally, I suspect the founding fathers did not foresee the coming of megacorps, many larger than national governments. If they had, they would probably have had the same reservations about CEOs as they did kings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Exactly. So the originator "licenses" the use of the patent to the implimentor but retains title to it.

        Again, this stops the patent trolls dead in their tracks as they cannot "control" patents that they didn't apply for.

      2. Tom 35


        I don't think anyone expects the same "entity" to perform all roles. If you can't sell a patent outright you could still licence it non-exclusively. Right now an individual inventor has little choice but to sell a patent.

        In days gone by you patented a complete product, now you patent little bits of it, how the bits connect, and the method of pushing the on button. You can't build something like a cell phone without licensing patents from others. So you have already removed all of the individual inventors and small startups as the big companies have all bought up big pools of patents and setup cross licence deals (including large numbers of crap patents) so that any innovative / upstart / disruptive new player is excluded.

  5. Andus McCoatover

    Datong, anyone?

    Leeds-based company. Was effectively silenced for the innovative way they pioneered direction-finding (D/F) with (IIRC) 8 antennas, and phase-shifting the gain of the antennas with FET's.

    Of course this in the annals of history, (1975?).

    They were almost bankrupted by Her Insidious Majestic Muppets because the MOD wanted exclusivity on the project.

    Took the company a year to clear it. It was an Amateur Radio design/project.

    PGP? Similar. However, they (Dr D.A Tong & co.) seem to have done quite well out of the debacle.

    So did Wood and Douglas for whom I (G4GKB) and Robin Scadden - G3TFM (sk) tested their prototype 2M synthesized transceiver.

    (Citations very welcome)

    1. Tanuki
      Thumb Up


      I still use a Datong RF speech-processor - nothing finer [it generates SSB at 60KHz, clips it, then down-converts it again to audio - so leaving all the nasty clipping-induced harmonics behind].

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Horse bolts, cops called

    What happens in the USof A has 3 fifths of stuff all to do with the rest of the global community, and even less to do with The Open Source lot. This is just people with more lawyers than sense ensuring said lawyers retirement fund, and stroking some egos somewhere.

    Burning cash is as much an American hobby as creating very large explosive devices to drop on other countries.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Connect the dots

    "Unless you're accusing him of some mafia-style "nice-codec-you've-got-there-shame-if-it-was-to-burn-down" kind of veiled threat"

    Yes, that's exactly what he's doing.

    "But then that would still need a citation over the more straightforward interpretation that he was just referring to the MPEG-LA's potential plans."

    Well, he is sponsoring MPEG-LA's work. Isn't that good enough?

  8. Andus McCoatover

    @Horse bolts, cops called


    Having trouble to climb back onto chair....

    Wish I could write like that....Nice one, sunshine!


  9. Castro

    Linux needs to grow up

    Patent owners should not be forced to give Linux a free ride.

    I think it's fine if Linux splits its technologies off and doesn't share them with others. That's not a threat, that's Linux finally standing on its own two feet.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Castro re. Linux needs to grow up

      I think you're making the HUGE mistake that Linux is one thing (person, corporation or whatever).

      Linux cannot, by the terms of the open source license(s), "splits its technologies off and doesn't share them with others".

      I'm a big supporter of patents to protect original thought and the effort required to research new technologies, but software patents don't seem to be serving the technology industry very well at all; the only people getting rich seem to be lawyers and traders (same shit different game eh?).

  10. Flybert

    here's an idea

    US citizens should push our Congress hard to restrict software patents to a 5 year length .. retroactively

    IT changes too fast, and is one of the few areas left where there can be lots of future innovation and invention

    Bio based / genetic and drug patents should be similarly short lived

    Mechanical - Electrical REAL inventions should be cut to 10-12 year length

    Copyright should be life of original author or 20 years if a corporate copyright

  11. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Whatever the reasons ...

    ... there must be a lot to play for if such an astute coming together of interested parties is worth setting up and putting in corporate dollars to keep going.

    There must be a margin of sorts worthy of such an alliance of interested parties.

  12. David 141

    Prior art

    There is nothing new in visualization on x86 systems. If anyone has patents around this that are worth anything it would be IBM. Assuming that IBM still has an interest in running Linux on its z series machines, Oracle and others want to be careful who they pick fights with.

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