Microsoft is not the real threat

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Much has been written about Microsoft’s allegation of patent infringements in Linux (by which I’m sure they mean GNU/Linux ;-)). I don’t think Microsoft is the real threat, and in fact, I think Microsoft and the Linux community will actually end up fighting on the same side of this issue.

I’m in favour of patents in general, but not software or business method patents. I’ll blog separately some day about why that’s the case, but for the moment I’ll just state for the record my view that software patents hinder, rather than help, innovation in the software industry.

And I’m pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents. Why? Because Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity. They can’t sit on the sidelines of the software game – they actually have to ship new products. And every time they do that, they risk stepping on a patent landmine.

They are a perfect target – they have deep pockets, and they have no option but to negotiate a settlement, or go to court, when confronted with a patent suit.

Microsoft already spends a huge amount of money on patent settlements (far, far more than they could hope to realise through patent licensing of their own portfolio). That number will creep upwards until it’s abundantly clear to them that they would be better off if software patents were history.

In short, Microsoft will lose a patent trench war if they start one, and I’m sure that cooler heads in Redmond know that.

But let’s step back from the coal-face for a second. I have high regard for Microsoft. They produce some amazing software, and they made software much cheaper than it ever was before they were around. Many people at Microsoft are motivated by a similar ideal to one we have in Ubuntu: to empower people for the digital era. Of course, we differ widely on many aspects of the implementation of that ideal, but my point is that Microsoft is actually committed to the same game that we free software people are committed to: building things which people use every day.

So, Microsoft is not the real patent threat to Linux. The real threat to Linux is the same as the real threat to Microsoft, and that is a patent suit from a person or company that is NOT actually building software, but has filed patents on ideas that the GNU project and Microsoft are equally likely to be implementing.

Yes, Nathan, I’m looking at you!

As they say in Hollywood, where there’s a hit there’s a writ. And Linux is a hit. We should expect a patent lawsuit against Linux, some time in the next decade.

There are three legs to IP law: copyright, trademark and patents. I expect a definitive suit associated with each of them. SCO stepped up on the copyright front, and that’s nearly dealt with now. A trademark-based suit is harder to envisage, because Linus and others did the smart thing and established clear ownership of the “Linux” trademark a while ago. The best-practice trademark framework for free software is still evolving, and there will probably be a suit or two, but none that could threaten the continued development of free software. And the third leg is patent law. I’m certain someone will sue somebody else about Linux on patent grounds, but it’s less likely to be Microsoft (starting a trench war) and more likely to be a litigant who only holds IP and doesn’t actually get involved in the business of software.

It will be a small company, possibly just a holding company, that has a single patent or small portfolio, and goes after people selling Linux-based devices.

Now, the wrong response to this problem is to label pure IP holders as “patent trolls”. While I dislike software patents, I deeply dislike the characterisation of pure IP holders as “patent trolls”. They are only following the rules laid out in law, and making the most of a bad system; they are not intrinsically bad themselves. Yes, Nathan, all is forgiven ;-). One of the high ideals of the patent system is to provide a way for eccentric genius inventors to have brilliant insights in industries where they don’t have any market power, but where their outsider-perspective leads them to some important innovation that escaped the insiders. Ask anyone on the street if they think patents are good, and they will say, in pretty much any language, “yes, inventors should be compensated for their insights”. The so-called “trolls” are nothing more than inventors with VC funding. Good for them. The people who call them trolls are usually large, incumbent players who cross-license their patent portfolios with other incumbents to form a nice, cosy oligopoly. “Trolling” is the practice of interrupting that comfortable and predictably profitable arrangement. It’s hard to feel any sympathy for the incumbents at all when you look at it that way.

So it’s not the patent-holders who are the problem, it’s the patent system.

What to do about it?

Well, there are lots of groups that are actively engaged in education and policy discussion around patent reform. Get involved! I recently joined the FFII: Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, which is doing excellent work in Europe in this regard. Canonical sponsored the EUPACO II conference, which brought together folks from across the spectrum to discuss patent reform. And Canonical also recently joined the Open Invention Network, which establishes a Linux patent pool as a defensive measure against an attack from an incumbent player. You can find a way to become part of the conversation, too. Help to build better understanding about the real dynamics of software innovation and competition. We need to get consensus from the industry – including Microsoft, though it may be a bit soon for them – that software patents are a bad thing for society.

133 comments:

  1. "Microsoft non è la minaccia reale" secondo Mark « iLLusion bloG says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    [...] “Microsoft non è la minaccia reale” secondo Mark 21 05 2007 Vi segnalo un nuovo articolo direttamente dal blog di Mark Shuttleworth in cui affronta il discorso emerso negli ultimi tempi, dove Microsoft riteneva violati in Linux alcuni brevetti. Vi rimandi all’articolo, non ho ancora finito di leggerlo, appena potrò vi farò sapere la mia opinione: Microsoft is not the real threat. [...]

  2. dront says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    What is really nice about patents is that to get the limited protection one has to bring forward his invention. It enables the others to learn from it and the principles behind it, which in turn supports making further inventions. Naturally, no obvious things or basic principles (ie. laws of physics) are really patentable. It is the applications of these principles that we are patenting. Or, at least are supposed to. That would futher support the big never ending cycle of inventions.

    Patent can give shelter for a new startup (or the huge evil empire, that made the invention – it shouldn’t really matter in this context) and enable leveraging it for a limited time. That is good because some inventions would have never been made without putting insane amounts of resources into the process that is full of uncertainities and work. What would really justify putting in something if you don’t get anything back? In business/real world, nothing.

    Furthermore, offering only limited time of protection (patents are not for forever) forces one to leverage the invention in optimal way. If an enterprise can’t get its reward and the invention to really shine in a reasonable time perhaps it IS better that the invention goes for free for everyone. Someone else might be able to pick it up and do something magnificent with it!

    The main problem I see with software patents is about what I mentioned in previous section. Limited time is the key. I have never been worried of many sort of abusers of the system – many can play the same game if required etc. The abuse is not that bad after all. What bothers me deeply in the software patents is the time frame they are valid for. 2-3 years is a long time in many areas of software, enabling already the inventor to gain huge advantage on markets. 5-10 years is a way too long time and more than that is more like an eternity. It is like if in the more traditional areas the patents were valid for 1000 years.

    As a result the inventions do not get leveraged efficiently (from the viewpoint of almost everyone) and no one can better on them! That slows the overall development cycle and does likely more damage than all the other problems usually associated with the patent system combined. I feel stellarly sad for it, and think that if one thing was to be fixed it would be the time the software related patents are valid for.

  3. node-0 » Blog Archiv » Microsoft und Software-Patente says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    [...] In einem – wie üblich – exzellenten Beitrag auf seinem Blog argumentiert Mark Shuttlewort, dass sich Microsoft innerhalb weniger Jahre von einem starken Befürworter zu einem scharfen Kritiker von Software-Patenten entwickeln wird. [...]

  4. Mark Shuttleworth: “Microsoft is not the real threat” » Technovia says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Microsoft is not the real threat I’m pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents. Why? Because Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity. They can’t sit on the sidelines of the software game – they actually have to ship new products. And every time they do that, they risk stepping on a patent landmine. [...]

  5. Chris says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    > They are a perfect target – they have deep pockets, and they have no option but to negotiate a settlement, or go to court, when confronted with a patent suit.

    I don’t think it works like that. I think Microsoft says “Oh, wow, you got a patent! That’s pretty cute. Now, see, your idea infringes on these 200 patents we have, so how about you give us your technology and we promise not to sue you to oblivion and we’ll call it even.”

    The idea that software patents are a defense for the small hobbyist/inventor against a company like Microsoft is an extremely dangerous myth.

    - Chris.

    Mark Shuttleworth says:

    A patent itself cannot infringe on another patent. It’s only when you put a patent into action, as a product, that you can infringe someone else’s patent. And this is exactly why pure-IP holders can approach existing players with a single patent and demand royalties. By contrast, two companies who are both shipping products will tend to negotiate to a settlement, usually cross-licensing. So the system has the effect of large companies forming an oligopoly, where none of the major players will sue each other, but also where a new player can’t start shipping new products.

  6. Manuel says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Mark, I’m a longtime Windows user. I’m not a really sophisticated computer user: what I need nowdays is a Firefox browser and some simple desktop applications, such as a terminal and a text editor. As for office apps, some weeks ago I finally unistalled Microsoft Office: I’m using Google Docs and I’m happy. Considering my basic computer needs a friend of mine suggests me to install Ubuntu in dual boot on my laptop. The install process went flawless and Ubuntu is, in my opinion, more user friendly that Windows XP or Vista. The community is simply fantastic. However there is a single point where Windows is clearly the best: font technology. They have invested a lot in this field, they own some key patents and have some beautiful proprietary fonts designed by legendary type designers such as Matthew Carter and Lucas de Groot. Reading text on a Windows screen is a joy. Since I spend my days in front of a computer screen reading text, this is not a secondary issue. Unfortunately Ubuntu font rendering is a mess. I applied a lot of hacks (libcairo2, libxft2 e libfreetype6) and customizations to improve font rendering but the only fonts really sharp in Ubuntu are the pre-installed TrueType fonts (Bitstream Vera, DejaVu, etc.) I’ve lost any hope to see a decent Arial, Helvetica, Consolas or Verdana in Ubuntu and especially in Firefox on Ubuntu (Firefox font rendering is perfect on Windows). As for modern OpenType fonts Ubuntu apps’ support is simply disappointing. Why Ubuntu font rendering is so poor? Are Microsoft patents the problem? Are Ubuntu/Gnome developers aware of the importance of font technology for a great user experience?

  7. Matt Lee says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Actually, I’m not sure if they *do* mean GNU/Linux… but yeah, another great example of why ‘Linux’ as an OS is a flawed term.

    Does Canonical have any patents yet?

  8. Russell McOrmond says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    I agree and disagree with you. I agree that the patent system is the problem, but we must put the blame on those lobbiest (IBM, Microsoft, etc) who pushed for software patentability. Governments can only react to information that they are given, and extremists from the legal community and BSA members are why software is patentable. Yes, we need to get political, but need to realize that the legal departments of companies like IBM and Microsoft are our opponents, not the government.

    BTW: I’m Canadian, and it is largely IBM lawyers who are pushing for software patentability in Canada.

    See: http://www.flora.ca/A-2004-00246/

    Mark Shuttleworth says:

    Yes, I do agree that it’s largely lobbying from the software industry itself which has created the mess. Hopefully, they are starting to see the extent to which this has made them vulnerable, and the lobbying will start to happen in the opposite direction.

  9. Marc Carson says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks Mark – I appreciate that you mentioned Intellectual Ventures. People really need to be made aware of what’s going on there. The behavior is legal but it is exactly like the troll under the bridge. Laws need to be changed.

  10. John T says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    There is a really good video in .ogg(theora+vorbis) format located here: http://audio-video.gnu.org/video/rms-speech-patents-calgary-20050518-320×240.ogg

    I learned a lot about software idea patents from this video, I recommend everyone watch/listen to it.

  11. Michael Neel says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    This is the first rational post I’ve seen to what really was a comment said by a lawyer – not a MS press release or actual court document. That lawyer probably regrets (or has been made to regret) said comment.

    It’s a nuclear arms race in patents right now. You better get some nukes before you get nuked. Though not always true (IBM sues Amazon over “online catalog” patent), most of the time the big vendors do little with the patents. The little guys, companies formed to buy a patent then sue a big guy, are the real threat – they have nothing to loose and nothing to fear in a counter strike.

    This is why the new “patent pools” are so dangerous – if a patent pool decided to attack, how would you fight back? No where to aim the nukes – the patent pool is just like one of those small patent companies in terms of defense (you have none). This leads to off hand comments by lawyers who don’t understand the mistake software patents are… because they make a huge pile of cash from them.

    To say Microsoft is not aware of the problem though is wrong. In Microsoft v. AT&T US Supreme court MS argued and won that software coupled with the device on which the software is installed cannot be considered patentable. Not going to fix everything, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

    Most of the open source patent pools are supported by IBM, Sun, etc who like to take shots from the cheap seats at Microsoft – recent EU fines and charges were brought by IBM and Sun. So I wouldn’t expect Microsoft to deal with or join these groups directly as they see them as cover groups for future attacks – which I can’t blame them, I would be nervous about it too.

    it’s going to take congress to fix this one – or at least someone to pay (read: lobby) them enough to fix it.

  12. frylock says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    Isn’t this an American thing? Your post reads as if software patents were a global issue?

  13. Weeber says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    @Matt Lee:

    Canonical hold the ubuntu trademarks and support the GNU/Linux distro of the same name. A GNU/Linux distro is “a member of the Linux family of Unix-like operating systems comprised of the Linux kernel, the non-kernel parts of the GNU operating system, and assorted other software” [Wikipedia.org] and all that software is patented by their developers, Canonical only package them.

  14. IP Holding Firms: The Real Threat « David’s Linux Blog says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    [...] IP Holding Firms: The Real Threat Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu Founder, Software Visionary, etc.) has posted an interesting piece on why Microsoft is not a threat to Linux.  He argues that the big threat to Linux (and Microsoft) are the IP holding firms, who essentially exploit the weak IP/patent system we have here in the US.  He makes a clear case why Intellectual Property and Patent Law reforms are necessary to the continued development of software and technology. [...]

  15. Non è Microsoft la minaccia. « Tecnologia e non solo says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    [...] Non è Microsoft la minaccia. Archiviato in: — telperion @ 8:45 pm Dopo tutti gli strilli (noiossimi) sull’accusa di brevetti violati da parte di Microsoft, un’analisi davvero eccellente della problematica “brevetti”. Autore nientepopodimeno che Mark Shuttleworth Non è Microsoft la minaccia. E’ il sistema di brevetti la minaccia. [...]

  16. chemicalscum says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    Sorry to carry on off topic but I must respond to Manuel and his font problem. On my Ubuntu system at home my font rendering is much better than my Win XP system at work. All the fonts both MS and free seem much better. I have configured my font preferences as:

    System:Preferences:Font -> Details set at Smoothing:Grayscale and Hinting:None. All the other possible setting look worse than Windows to me.

    Give it a try Manuel.

    Back to patents. I work for a in the generic pharmaceutical industry. Like Mark I considered software patents a bad thing and patents on physical things such as an active pharmaceutical ingredient at worst a necessary evil. It seemed we needed the patent protection to encourage the innovator drug companies to make the large investments to develop new drugs.

    The patent life time needed to be long enough for them to make a reasonable profit but short enough to persuade them to carry on innovating. Once the drugs came of patent generic companies like mine would be able to produce low cost versions that would stop the innovators from using long standing products as cash cows and force them back into the business of R&D.

    During the furor that MS caused with its latest patent FUD campaign as I was following the ensuing discussion someone had posted the following reference:

    http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/against.htm

    Where an David K. Leivine an economics prof. at WUSTL had posted his book “Against Intellectual Property” online in pdf format. Chapter 9 is on the Pharmaceutical Industry. I read it and his detailed historical arguments had me doubting the value of patents even there.

  17. Silenzio... parla Shuttleworth! « Pensieri sparsi says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    [...] Silenzio… parla Shuttleworth! 21 05 2007 Vi rimando al blog del “mitico” Mark “uomo-dello-spazio” Shuttleworth, su cui leggo un interessante post in risposta alle provocazioni di Micro$oft: “Microsoft non è la vera minaccia”. [...]

  18. Dankoozy says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    you make a good point, but at the end of the day MS is run by a lunatic (Ballmer) who appears to care more about his ideologies than making money. Crushing google seem to be pretty high on the list, linux probably is too. Maybe it is a relic from spending too many years running a monopoly. I for one hope he stays in charge for another few years and we will see him do some really stupid things.

    But if patents are so bad for Microsoft at the end of the day, why did they try so hard to get them enforced in Europe? do they not realise it? it is hard to imagine that a company that spends so much on marketing could fail to realise anything.

  19. anon says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    How can you possibly absolve ethical responsibility as long as the actor obeys the law? Law is not a basis for morality. Patent trolls are sociopaths and should, at the very least, be ostracized.

  20. Ian Woollard says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    I don’t think you’re right Mark. For large companies patents are a zero-sum game. They win as much money as they lose.

    In a lot of cases if they get sued they just dig through the pile of patents they have until they find one that the suing party is transgressing, and then they countersue and usually it gets settled based on a patent number count; I’ve got 10 patents, you’ve got 8 patents, you pay me $X*(12-10).

    So Microsoft don’t care; in fact Linux is in a worst state because it doesn’t have nearly as many patents.

  21. meneame.net says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Microsoft no es la auténtica amenaza…

    Mark Shuttleworth explica como, en la guerra de las patentes, Microsoft no es la auténtica amenaza. Prevé que Microsoft se acabará alineando con GNU/Linux, ya que es muchísimo más vulnerable a las patentes. La amenaza real, tanto para GNU/Linux co…

  22. arbulus says: (permalink)
    May 21st, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    >”The people who call them trolls are usually large, incumbent players who cross-license their patent portfolios with other incumbents to form a nice, cosy oligopoly. “Trolling” is the practice of interrupting that comfortable and predictably profitable arrangement. It’s hard to feel any sympathy for the incumbents at all when you look at it that way.”

    Please correct me if I’m interpreting this incorrectly, but I really think this sounds like a double standard. It’s sort of like saying “stealing from your neighbor across the street is bad, but if you steal from a big corporation, it’s ok because they’re big baddies with a lot of money and they deserve it.” I don’t think one can say that they disagree with software patents and then say that one might as well take advantage of the situation, since one can. If the software patent system ideologically objectionable, then it’s objectionable no matter what one does with it.

    I completely agree that the patent system is a terrible thing when it comes to software. But I have a really hard time believing that Microsoft would abandon their stance on software patents. Honestly, I feel like Microsoft will go the way of the RIAA: they can see their end coming; they see that free and open software are starting to make a real foot-hold in the marketplace, and since they are clinging to a failing and out-dated business model without the desire to change that model, they will start to sue every user they can get their hands on. They know that their products and their ideologies aren’t bringing the customers, so if they can’t get their money in the marketplace, they’ll take everyone to court.

    Mark Shuttleworth says:

    No, I’m not saying “it’s ok for one group to have patents, and not for another group”. I don’t condone stealing from anybody, large or small. What I’m pointing out is that “patent trolls” are only doing EXACTLY what an inventor does, however they have no plans to enter the industry itself with a real product. In most cases, that’s because the incumbents have so many patents that they CANNOT enter the industry. So pejorative term “patent troll” is used by large incumbents to describe people doing R&D and innovation in their industry. It’s the big players word for “new guy who wants to play the system we designed against us”. And it’s misleading. A patent troll is just an inventor, plain and simple, and if we want to fix the system we must fix it for everybody, not just the incumbent operators.

    If anything, it’s the incumbents who want double standards – they want to file patents that can be enforced, and they want to use those patents to keep new entrants out of their established markets, but they want to prevent people from using patent claims against them. No fair.

    To fix the system, we need to recognise that patents themselves serve no purpose to stimulate disclosure in the software industry, because software is implicitly disclosed when you ship it. Therefor, society should not be issuing monopolies to people who would have to tell us their secrets anyhow. Therefor, no software patents, no oligopolies, and no “trolls”.

  23. cantormath says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 12:10 am

    A Question to the Community……?

    Could microsoft be sued for slander of ANY kind for making claims about Open Source products without supporting evidence? I mean this with regards to the mention of 235 patents that are being infringed upon by Linux and/or other open source products.

    Slander:
    In law, defamation is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against criticism.

    I would think that these claims are hurting OSS, at least temporarily, or is an attempt to cause harm by creating fear in the public about OSS. Microsoft provides no support to these claims of infringement and they present them as fact. Could the EFF start a class action on behalf of the entire OSS Community?

    I would think if Microsoft was sued, they would have to say which patents are being infringed upon regardless of which way a law suite of this nature went for them.

  24. Boycott Novell » Novell/Microsoft Debate and Unwanted Consequences says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 12:26 am

    [...] This, in fact, is an interesting key point which, according to Moglen, has left Microsoft exoposed to nasty consequences. It almost makes Novell’s deal a beneficial one. And as far as risk goes, Ubuntu’s founder argues that patent trolls are the greatest threat, not predatory deals. He is also certain that Microsoft will have nothing by scare tactics to offer. In short, Microsoft will lose a patent trench war if they start one, and I’m sure that cooler heads in Redmond know that. [...]

  25. Anonymous says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 12:46 am

    This isn’t a hypothetical future thing. There is ongoing litigation right now where Microsoft is being sued for patent infringement alongside companies using a prominent open source product. Microsoft lawyers are in effect representing the open source developers involved in the case and it is very much a situation where Microsoft is on the same side against a patent holding company. I very much agree that this is the main threat. Any company that has technology of their own is likely infringing some patent somewhere, especially if they are up against Microsoft or IBM with their huge patent portfolios. But the companies that never produce anything real are insulated from that threat and have very little to use other than their legal fees.

  26. Some Dude says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 12:53 am

    Well said Mark. I knew you only by name as the founder of Ubuntu before I read this post. I saw you compliment your biggest competitor in the market, Microsoft, but it was a well deserved comment. If the top heads of the Linux community had your mentality I believe Linux would have progressed much further in respect to market share. You’re very wise and you keep everyone on a professional level. Keep it up — this attitude and mentality will take you to great heights.

    Sincerely,

    Someone important (though I won’t mention my name)

  27. Brian Sell says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 12:53 am

    One small step that would quell the Microsoft patent threats would be legislation limiting the time a company could bring litigation for alleged patent violations after discovering the alleged violations. For example, if legislation were enacted preventing a company from seeking damages after two years from the date of first knowledge about alleged infringements, then that company would not have recourse to litigation. Without the threat of legal action, there is no FUD.

  28. Chris says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 1:03 am

    Russell:
    > We must put the blame on those lobbiest (IBM, Microsoft, etc) who pushed for software patentability

    Actually, the pharmaceutical industry has been at least as responsible as the software industry, IMHO. They own the Congress attitude to IP law as much as Hollywood does, and they need it to expand as much as possible to defend against generics and to be able to claim that they “own” a particular molecule.

    Mark:
    > A patent itself cannot infringe on another patent. It’s only when you put a patent into action, as a product, that you can infringe someone else’s patent. And this is exactly why pure-IP holders can approach existing players with a single patent and demand royalties.

    I think this argument illustrates the main flaw in software patents, which is that software builds on other software, and a single program will almost never involve just one patent. Yes, you can take your patent to Microsoft as a garage programmer and demand that they do something, but the “something” that they do will involve informing you that your *program* infringes on many of their patents. Then they offer to cross-license with you, which is a code word for “we’re not going to give you any money”. Make sense?

    - Chris.

  29. Intellectable says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 1:08 am

    Linux = Indians and MSFT = the cowboys
    .

    Current state of patent system = the wild wild west.

    Ultimately I agree that MSFT isn’t Linux’s biggest threat. Similar to how Apple in the 80′s thought IBM was its biggest threat.

    I think a Thanksgiving so to speak will come one day; where the fruits from the intellect will be shared between all parties.
    To post the no trespassing Eulas, fencing in the rights of your users will disparage the users from adding their own intrinsic value.
    In the end IP privatized software will become gated community atolls and islands not worth paying the tax to access and commence in the dogmatic usage for thought.

    The frontier of internet has no borders and will eventually tear down the borders of IP as Information has become the wealthiest commodity (more precious than gold or oil or green paper). So with the liberty prevailing from the democracy of the net one has been afforded the choice to play with those who will share there intellect and those who do not.
    Trust will be built in the commons as the merits of contribution will be the new dharma or you could say web 3.something.

    Although I do see MSFT cowboys attempting to hand out there smallpox blankets and round the wagons up; can’t blame there just cowboys its in there nature to try and run the newcomer out of town.

    Open sources best course of action is to simply share our intellects — if not there would be too many secrets.

  30. BlogNerds.com | Tech Blog | Tech News » Microsoft is not the real threat (Mark Shuttleworth) says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 1:24 am

    [...] Source:   Mark Shuttleworth Author:   Mark Shuttleworth Link:   http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/118 Techmeme permalink [...]

  31. Intellectable says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 1:33 am

    in short form you can’t copyright, trademark or patent community this is where Open Source prevails.

  32. Webmink says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 1:40 am

    So, to be clear, you would not consider Kodak to have acted as a “troll” when it attacked the Java community[1] and gouged $92m out of Sun[2] but rather as “defender of the lone inventor”?

    [1] http://news.com.com/Kodak+wins+Java+patent+suit/2100-1014_3-5394765.html?part=rss&tag=5394765&subj=news.1014.5
    [2] http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/date/20041018

    Mark Shuttleworth says:

    Hi Simon. No, I don’t think Kodak can be described as trolls for that action, any more than SUN can be described as trolls on the occasions where they have litigated on the basis of software patents. Kodak, I’m sure, felt that they were “confronted by clear and well established transgressions”, to quote Jonathan, and a judge agreed with them. Both Kodak and SUN are playing the software patent game, and it would be wrong to call one action a “troll” and another action “fair”. They are one and the same.
    Now, the Kodak patents seem pretty universally derided by the community. So one counter to a Kodak-style attack would be to say that “the system would be improved if we had smarter judges” or “the system would be improved if we had smarter patent clerks”. But I don’t think the problem lies in either of those – they are both collections of people like you and me, and like you and I they will make mistakes. The real issue is that we allow people to receive a monopoly (a patent) in return for nothing. We need a better system.

  33. Mark Shuttlewoth: Microsoft y el software libre están del mismo lado « El metaverso de JL Revilla says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 2:23 am

    [...] y el software libre están del mismo lado 21 Mayo, 2007 Posted by jlrevilla in Tecnología. trackback Eso es lo que dice el motor detrás de Ubuntu en su últimopost. [...]

  34. glenn everhart says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 3:15 am

    The system is currently heavily biased against actual innovators. First, no search is required (and search for prior art is discouraged: an inventor is supposed to reveal any such he knows. No search ->maybe he doesn’t know.) So prior art is mostly ignored by inventors and unknown to patent examiners. Second, an obviousness test like “give the problem to 10 people and if any of them give the inventor’s solution, it was obvious” is not used. What is present is at best unclear. Third, if a patent is applied for a corrupt game can begin. The examiner’s objections can be dealt with (though they are often not the best such available). Should enough paperwork be filed to exhaust the examiner, and a notice of acceptance issues, some attorneys then begin filing continuations which attempt to extend the claims well beyond the initial ideas and quite possibly into areas where prior art exists. This is an intellectual land grab which has nothing to do with invention. There have been noises about USPTO limiting to one continuation to minimize this, but given the weak checking for prior art and almost nonexistent checks for obviousness, the practice invites corrupt use. There is very little downside to this either: people do not go to jail for trying to get patent claims allowed for techniques they know to be obvious and commonplace, save in very unusual cases where someone is heavily embarrassed (as the case where the Australian government prosecuted a reporter who got a patent on the wheel). If an applicant had to do a genuine and exhaustive search for prior art and if a decent obviousness test (such as the one I mentioned above) were used, patents would be few and worth while. As it is they are threats to those doing actual work. The observations about Microsoft are I suspect spot on. At the moment some of the archives of old free software are among the few defenses any of us have. They will not endure forever if allowed to die of the bit rot that harries most of them today. Yet current patents keep coming out covering ideas published in such places 20+ years ago. I wish at times I had more of my old 9tracks and could read them better…or old DECtapes or other media…for all that much of what I cared about got transcribed years ago.

  35. DBL says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 3:42 am

    I am sure that Microsoft, with the market weight to force favourable licensing deals as well as paying lawyers in perpetuity, would *much* rather use those advantages to navigate whatever patent minefields the future holds, than to give its opponents with far less of those advantages a free pass on its patents and therefore level the playing field.

    This seems obvious to me. Who on Earth could expect Microsoft to choose the level playing field in any realm as long as it still has the option of one tilted in its favour? What could possibly spur them to abandon this calculus? It certainly won’t be having to deal with the annoyances of navigating all those patent exchange deals or hiring more lawyers. Microsoft does those things for breakfast.

  36. Goyal says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 4:23 am

    Hi Mark,

    The blog design breaks in IE6 and the sidebar overlaps the text. I know I should be using Firefox, but still.

  37. Zaheer E N says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 4:40 am

    Microsoft has enough money power to buy out any company that has a patent it is interested in. Therefore it will do so and let itself be limited by patent restrictions.

  38. Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft is not the real threat « Technology Spot says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 5:19 am

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  39. Mark says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 5:58 am

    I think that to increase the value of patents to the public (i.e. encourage more innovation), the length of a patent should not be fixed as it is. If a company/person spends a lot of money researching something, any resulting patent(s) should last longer. I think the deciding factor for patent length should be, research cost divided by gross income during the period that research was carried out. So a huge company would spend millions (on research, testing, etc) to get the same amount of protection that a middle class person would get for several hundred or a thousand.

    Why? This will encourage large companies to focus on things that are extremely expensive to research (naturally, big companies are better at this than little ones), rather than little things they don’t really need (lots of insignificant patents). And small companies and sole proprietors get the encouragement they need to patent smaller things that are in their reach.

    If a company gets several patents from one research project, the research cost figure is split between the patents.

    My intent is a system that increases the amount of useful research that is done, as well as increasing product quality. I can see no downsides to that.

    Mark

  40. Paul says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 6:43 am

    Just something I picked up here. Someone said, and I quote:

    “In Microsoft v. AT&T US Supreme court MS argued and won that software coupled with the device on which the software is installed cannot be considered patentable.”

    How come that does not apply where: the software (Microsoft Windows) coupled with the device (i386/i486 processing device) on which the software is installed may not be considered patentable?

    Is it that software that forms part of Microsoft Windows is particularly more complex and inherently more patentable than other software?

  41. Funky Penguin News » Blog Archive » Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft is not the real threat says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 6:43 am

    [...] Link to Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft is not the real threat [...]

  42. Chicken chicken chicken « www.ubuntista.it says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 6:56 am

    [...] Infine, dulcis in fundo, quello che io già pensavo lo dice anche Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft non è il vero pericolo. Posted by ubuntista Filed in Free Software, Mark Shuttleworth, Feisty Fawn, Microsoft, Linux, dell, ubuntu, open source [...]

  43. Geekraver says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 7:12 am

    I think patents provide some valuable initial protectors for inventors, that trade secrets and NDAs cannot reliably guarantee. The real problems with software patents are that they are way too long lived, and that the inpection process is so flawed that many patents are spurious. In a fast-paced world like software, 12 months is probably the right length of time for patent protection.

    As you note, the big players cross license their portfolios, and that does lead to a lot of the spuriousness – the more patents a big company can get the easier it is to get others to cross license so they’ll patent almost anything they can. So the other area that needs to be addressed is the inspection process – the inspectors need to be able to recognise junk and self-evident “inventions” for what they are. Patented inventions need to be real, non-self evident inventions.

  44. links for 2007-05-22 | blog.forret.com says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 7:49 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Microsoft is not the real threat The real threat to Linux is the same as the real threat to Microsoft, and that is a patent suit from a person or company that is NOT actually building software, but has filed patents on ideas that the GNU project and Microsoft are equally likely to be imp (tags: patents copyright microsoft linux trolls) [...]

  45. Onno says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 7:59 am

    how do you think the law will change. Will it be able to change?

  46. TechTear :: T_T :: Blog Magazine de Tecnologia » Shuttleworth: “Microsoft no es la verdadera amenaza” says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 8:42 am

    [...] Pueden leer la entrada original aquí. Prohibida su copia total con o sin fines comerciales. Copias parciales deben citar la fuente. Sociable: Tags: linux mark shuttleworth microsoft patentes Categorías: Tech News Entradas relacionadas: [...]

  47. Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft is not the real threat says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 9:07 am

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  48. StormX’s Place » Ubuntu Founder praises Microsoft’s Innovation says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 9:48 am

    [...] There have been lots of responses to Microsoft allegations that open source software violates more than 200 of the company’s patents. Ubuntu’s founder may have written the most-thoughtful response, and in an odd way he sides with Microsoft. [...]

  49. Fabio Capela says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    > There are three legs to IP law: copyright, trademark and patents. I expect a definitive suit associated with each of them.

    > A trademark-based suit is harder to envisage, because Linus and others did the smart thing and established clear ownership of the “Linux” trademark a while ago.

    That trademark was established in 1997 as part of the settlement to a trademark-based attack against Linux, so for the three different things commonly called IP, two have already been used against Linux.

    It’s possible to find more by searching “Linux William R Della Croce”.

  50. Microsoft is not the real threat « Bob Morris says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    [...] Posted by Bob Morris on May 22nd, 2007 says Ubuntu founder [...]

  51. Danie Sharpe says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Yeah. I like you view on this. i have a sense that operating systems themselves may end up being broken up into smaller pieces and sold over the operating system boundaries. I read up on Singularity and it looks promising at this point.

    The term parent is one of those grouping terms people will assault rather than the underlying issues. Same with pretty much every other term!

  52. Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft is not the real threat « News Coctail says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft is not the real threat Filed under: Uncategorized — recar @ 1:52 pm Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft is not the real threat Much has been written about Microsoft ’s allegation of patent infringements in Linux (by which I’m sure they mean GNU/Linux ). I don’t think Microsoft is the real threat, and in fact, I think Microsoft and the Linux community will actually end up fighting on the same side of this issue.[technology] [news] [linux] [linux/unix] [...]

  53. Ed Daniel says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    @Mark: Thank you for posting a helpful article – it is very important to identify the cause and avoid excessive treatment of the symptoms – I am pleased to support Ubuntu/Canonical and look forward to you continuing the ‘right conversations’ and promoting positive advocacy – it is a superb perspective to think of the Microsoft/FOSS communities working together better in the future once we’ve navigated the present!

    @dront: In Lessig’s ‘The Future of Ideas’ one issue that is highlighted is the destructive nature of the current system in that companies can threaten litigation to stifle competition using patents.

    @Russel McOrmond: Blame is a necessary eventuality of history, that said if history repeats itself in the same way as the Radio and Telephone then it will be the politicians at fault for repeating previous mistakes hence the lobbying relating to spectrum: http://tinyurl.com/23o9ee

  54. Jeremy says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    I need to think more about this, but I get the impression that software should not be above patents. An algorithm, sure, like a mathematical proof, can’t be patentable. But if someone has done hard work and put original ideas into some work of software then there should be some method in place to see that he/she should be compensated for their work. If someone comes along and copies his/her work and sells it for a lower price then that should be not on. Perhaps not ideas (like when Apple sued Microsoft for copying their graphical user interface), but certainly code itself should be able to be patented if it is original work. If Dolby could patent his noise reduction circuit, then shouldn’t a software developer be able to patent his/her code?

  55. Better late then never « What I see says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    [...]  Microsoft is not the real threat [...]

  56. IT Freedom says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Microsoft is not the real threat Much has been written about Microsoft’s allegation of patent infringements in Linux (by which I’m sure they mean GNU/Linux ). I don’t think Microsoft is the real threat, and in fact, I think Microsoft and the Linux community will actually end up fighting on the same side of this issue. [...]

  57. » Antworten an Microsoft says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth schrieb in seinem Blog einen sehr langen Beitrag zum Thema. Auch er habe keine Angst vor den Androhungen von Klagen seitens Microsoft. Vielmehr sieht er eine Bedrohung im aktuellen System für Software-Patente. Er merkt an, dass Microsoft selbst sehr hohe Summen für Patentvergleiche aufwenden müsse. [...]

  58. LinuxRen » Blog Archive » Dell预装Ubuntu能给我们大家带来什么好处? says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    [...] 就如同这篇帖子中提到的一样,最终的结果会是Microsoft和Linux打成平手,各走各的路,希望能看到这一天的来临。 [...]

  59. Luiz Guilherme Amaral says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Well, I am still holding that thought: a computer program is an algorithm, and for being mathematics, it belongs to everyone and belongs to no one at the same time. Easy as that.

    Microsoft is the master when it comes to rip-off Apple’s ideas. Why can’t Linux use some of those ideas as well? It’s all about better computing, guys!

  60. Alexander Trauzzi says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Mark, that’s a really balanced and even summary of things. I’m glad you could be so nice to everyone with it, and indeed you do clearly highlight what the problem is.

    My only dispute is the behaviour of “patent trolls”, and their conscious nature to “[make] the most of a bad system”. This opportunistic behaviour vexes me and while I realize they’re playing by the rules, the uncounscious damage they inflict by promoting and supporting software patents is tremendous.

    The real core problem here is that a system exists and is backed by people who act without conscience. Is it too expensive to be otherwise considerate of the choking effect patents have on software?
    I suppose that just boils down to your values – personally, I wouldn’t damage innovation for a million dollars, this is the future we’re talking about here…

  61. arbulus says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    @Mark

    I stand corrected. I hope my comment didn’t come across offensively. If it did, I apologize. I just misunderstood your original statement.

    I definitely agree that the current system is stacked against the little guy and we definitely need to change the way it works. I really love the way open source software fosters an environment of innovation and growth. Someone can download an application or an OS, and if they want to make changes to it to increase it’s functionality or to make it better in some way, they can. And then they can share that revision with everyone. And then someone can take that revised app and make it even better. So you have potentially millions of people developing a piece of software, not just a handful, and everyone benefits from what each brings to the table. It should definitely be this way with all software. It just seems like it would be unlikely that Microsoft would cast it’s lot with the open source community, even though it would benefit them. Steve Balmer for example has made some pretty harsh statements about open source.

  62. Microsoft não é ameaça, diz criador do Ubuntu at WebSite Tech4pc says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth, fundador do projeto Ubuntu, afirmou que a Microsoft não é a maior ameaça ao Linux.No seu blog, Shuttleworth abordou a recente polémica de patentes que envolve a Microsoft e o Linux. Segundo ele, a Microsoft não é a maior ameaça. “Tenho certeza de que, em poucos anos, a Microsoft será contra as patentes de software”, disse. [...]

  63. jeny says: (permalink)
    May 22nd, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    sorry my bad english, and out of topic, but wy ubuntu is so slow? i have ubuntu 7.4 and slackware 11… slackware fly, ubuntu walk.

  64. anon says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 1:36 am

    *All* software patent holders are patent trolls. One-patent VCs are one-patent VC trolls. Cross-licensing patent oligopoly firms are patent oligopoly trolls. Anyone who uses software patents for any purpose other than to defend against attack by another patent holder is a patent troll.

    Mark Shuttleworth says:

    What about an inventor, who has a great idea for a better mousetrap, but cannot actually ship a mousetrap because the existing mousetrap  manufacturers all have patents on things that are essential to have a competitive product? What choice does that inventor have but to license his patent to the existing manufacturers? He could put the patent in the public domain, sure, but that would be a victory for the oligopolists and not for you and I. So, he offers to license the invention to the existing manufacturers, and if they refuse the license but still incorporate his patented invention, he takes them to court. Don’t label someone a troll just because they act in a way you dislike. Ask what the underlying problem is in the system. Ask what you would do, really, if you were in the shoes of each of the actors.

  65. Todd says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 2:25 am

    Quote:>> “So pejorative term “patent troll” is used by large incumbents to describe people doing R&D and innovation in their industry. It’s the big players word for “new guy who wants to play the system we designed against us”. And it’s misleading. A patent troll is just an inventor, plain and simple, and if we want to fix the system we must fix it for everybody, not just the incumbent operators.”

    No, No, NO. A “patent troll” is a person (or company) who registers a patent (ignoring prior art) SPECIFICALLY for the purpose of attempting to extract money from a company which is succeeding in their field.

  66. Marko Ulvila says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 5:02 am

    Very interesting essay, almost Gandhian I would say, for not demonising the ‘enemies’ but to point out to the system where people end up doing bad things, such as using software patents to prvent the spread of free software.

    One case I would like to record namely the Microsoft trade mark law suite against the Lindows, a Linux distro now called Linspire/Freespire and a recent partner of Ubuntu/Canonical. Microsoft challenged the trade mark in many countries, won in some but lost in most, but finally Lindows folks decided to change the name.

    Further, I would think that the way patents are currently used make them also inapropriate for innovations in public health and environmental technology. In both fronts access to technology for the majoirity of the people in this planet is seriously hampered. The Consumers Project on Technology cptech.org does very good work on these aspects of patent system.

  67. Byte Into It - Computing and new technology Byte Into It 23rd May 2007 « says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 8:01 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Microsoft is not the real threat Microsoft is not the real threat – Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents. Why? Because Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity. They can’t sit on the sidelines of the software game – they actually have to ship new products. And every time they do that, they risk stepping on a patent landmine. [...]

  68. Etienne Savard says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 9:53 am

    I agree with you: Software and Business processes should not be patentable. I don’t see the pertinence of software patents. Writing software is my day-to-day job and I can’t imagine patenting my code someday. Because I view my code as a kind of an amalgam of mathematic equations, nothing more. What is binary code anyway? It’s a group of “0″ and “1″ organized, by your compiler, in way a computer will understand. Patenting software is like patenting “PI”. As stupid as that.

    Here in Canada, we can’t patent software (yet) but we can copyright it. Legally, it’s like a book: you can’t copy the source code without author approval. I think patent law had to be reviewed because it don’t help the inventor anymore. If you don’t have the money to defend yourself when a big corporation sue you for patent infringement, you’re out of business. Even if the suing corporation never sold a single product. I think it has to stop somewhere. I hope Open source software is the solution.

  69. Microsoft não é ameaça. « [ vitor ] says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    [...] Em seu blog, Shuttleworth abordou a recente polêmica de patentes que envolve a Microsoft e o Linux. Segundo ele, a Microsoft não é a maior ameaça. “Tenho certeza de que, em poucos anos, a Microsoft será contra as patentes de software”, disse. [...]

  70. Super Mike says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Mark, you had mentioned USA trademarks among the other things you had mentioned. I wanted to just comment on that, if I may. I had an idea that the USA should come up with a better way to do trademarks. It costs around $500 per trademark request and takes about 6 months before you know anything. If one messes something up, it costs a series of annoying fees and more paperwork to fix it. Why is it so hard in the USA for them to get anything done faster and cheaper on this matter?

  71. Linuxchic.net - Because I Can says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    [...] “I’m pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents,” Shuttleworth wrote. “Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity.” [...]

  72. PCNiche » Ubuntu founder: Microsoft is our patent pal says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    [...] “I’m pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents,” Shuttleworth wrote on his blog. ”Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity.” [...]

  73. Trade Show Displays says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Is anyone worried that a suit like that would be successful???

  74. Paul Boddie says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    I think the people making the argument that “yes, inventors should be compensated for their insights” are a bit like the people making the argument that “yes, artists should be compensated for their efforts”: large corporations selling the myth that they’re helping the little guy as they profit hugely from his work, leaving him with virtually nothing for his efforts (in most cases).

    In software, what’s the barrier to “market power”? Is that even a meaningful question? Surely patents were supposed to reward people who supposedly had “brilliant insights” in industries where they would never be able to realise them without either tooling up to participate, at huge cost, or to become part of one of the existing players. Such a scenario is totally alien to the all but the most tightly regulated parts of the software industry, meaning that in most situations there is no barrier to participation for those “eccentric genius inventors” – if you can “invent” some nice way of doing something in software, there’s practically nothing to stop you from going ahead and producing a real product. Consequently, there are no outsiders: if you’re an outsider, you either don’t have anything of value to contribute, or you don’t wish to actually do anything with what you supposedly have to contribute; you can be legitimately labelled a “patent troll”.

    As for the legitimacy of the patents themselves, it has been widely argued that algorithms should not be patentable. With software there may be many different ways to express a solution to a problem, and these expressions may indeed be discovered independently by many people – remember that software development and other intellectual pursuits may be undertaken rapidly and without substantial effort spent on distractions like acquiring raw materials or observing inconvenient physical laws which might make experimentation tedious. It would be highly unethical for someone to be able to prosecute people who may have stumbled upon an expression of something which the prosecuting party claims to own, especially if those prosecuted had never seen the details of such a grant of “ownership”, and especially if most or all of the expressions of that thing in the real world could be reduced to something resembling that “owned” by the prosecuting party – remember that due to the nature of the field along with the number of participants able to experiment and to combine discoveries, the volume of such discoveries would be overwhelming, but that the repeated discovery of important, central or fundamental things would occur (and does occur) all the time.

    The granting of effective monopolies on algorithms is unethical in itself; the unethical practices that take place around them is almost a peripheral matter which only serves to document the excesses of particular business cultures. Moreover, dwelling on those practices will not eradicate this particular problem. We should not only seek to forbid software patents, but we should examine other areas where individuals and organisations are responsible for a “land grab” on the natural world and the sciences. Only by removing the cause of the problem, rather than trying to moderate the symptoms, will we be able to create a genuinely fair climate for innovation and sustainable, beneficial development in the realm of software, and hopefully in other areas of intellectual pursuit, too.

  75. Webmink says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for the reply[1], Mark. I think we broadly agree, but I suggest you look a little closer at the Kodak case – it’s not as clear cut as you suggest.

    Kodak was not defending a product; it was instead using a specious patent it acquired from Wang (and which they had previously successfully used to tax both Microsoft and IBM) to force Sun into a place where it was forced to settle to avoid an injunction against the Java platform. They show all the signs of a troll – acquired patent, no product being defended, no portfolio trades available, objective to raise funds for unrelated activity (they apparently used the funds to buy new premises to start a digital imaging business).

    Since Kodak was one of the original investors in Sun, this betrayal was doubly grevious. By contrast, Sun’s patent actions are limited to defensive ones and Sun regards software patents as an evil and is campaigning for reform.

    You and I agree that the system is in desperate need of that reform (I have a list of proposals in fact[2], being among those who think the chances of it being spontaneously swept away are minimal). I believe the fact it allows trolls to exist is one of those indicators. Pretending they don’t seems rash.

    [1] http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/118#comment-96367
    [2] http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2135483,00.asp

  76. FreeMySpace.info » Shuttleworth says MS isn’t the real threat to GNU/Linux says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    [...] Mark writes on his own blog, “I’m pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents. Why? Because Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity.” [...]

  77. Techzi » Blog Archive » Ubuntu founder: Microsoft is our patent pal says: (permalink)
    May 23rd, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    [...] “I’m pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents,” Shuttleworth wrote on his blog. ”Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity.” [...]

  78. Daniel Smith says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 2:35 am

    I would just like to make a point that i have not seen anywhere, and that is if microsoft were to lose thier patent claims, due to an overhauling of the patent system or an over ruling of the validity of the held patents, then M$ or any other patent holding company that this would effect, would be well out of pocket (patents cost $$$) and it would open up a can of worms culminating in companies like M$ taking legal action against the patents issuing office, somthing the US Gov, in charge of US patents, will be dead set against happening. We are talking about billions of $ paid out and ending up down the toilet, It does not matter which way this goes, someone will end up paying, and you can bet the US Gov won’t be the one, and M$ being as ruthless as they are won’t let it go. As much as i love Gnu/Linux, believe it is the greatest OS in the world, do not use anything else and believe in the freedoms it allows, the players with the say (US Gov, M$) will be looking for someone to foot the bill, and it is
    unfortunatly the case in todays society that it usually the little guy (Gnu/Linux) that ends up wounded!

  79. Apptility Blog » Blog Archive » How safe is your open source project says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 3:54 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth, pioneer who is shaking the Linux distro world with sweet Ubuntu, thinks challenge to open source will come from IP management companies. Companies which solely exist to trade in patent rights and IP instruments. They dont have to deal with customers so that they do have community pressure: So, Microsoft is not the real patent threat to Linux. The real threat to Linux is the same as the real threat to Microsoft, and that is a patent suit from a person or company that is NOT actually building software, but has filed patents on ideas that the GNU project and Microsoft are equally likely to be implementing. [...]

  80. Apptility Blog says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 3:55 am

    How safe is your open source project…

    Its getting crowded in open source thanks to its phenomenal success. Like the old saying “success has many fathers”, open source has its own set of owners. They come in the form of IP owners and patent ow…

  81. John Wells says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 4:59 am

    I agree that Ubuntu and Microsoft and Linux are subject to the same pressures in this regards — and would come down on the same side of the fence if we could.

    However, I don’t see how Microsoft can. They already shell out for idea patents whenever they are asserted. They can, because they just roll the cost into the Windows RRP. Also, they already license some of their patents to third parties. So in this sense, they are not particularly exposed at the moment — as they will (happily?) pay for patents (or, just perhaps, buy the patent holder, or make them irrelevant through other means).

    I can’t see what it would take for them to be able to unentangle themselves from this status quo.

    Just because we’re exposed to the same risks and industry drivers, doesn’t mean we will fall on the same side in this battle.

  82. tecosystems » links for 2007-05-24 says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 5:33 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Microsoft is not the real threat “Microsoft already spends a huge amount of money on patent settlements…That number will creep upwards until it’s abundantly clear to them that they would be better off if software patents were history.” – a point i tried to make at NXT (tags: NXT patents MarkShuttleworth Microsoft software) [...]

  83. Marcos says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 6:54 am

    claro que não é uma ameaça para o Ubuntu, pois recentemente instalei o Ubuntu em meu laptop, tive que mudar as configurações de vídeo (800X600 (16) ) para que o Ubuntu funcionasse em live CD, sem falar que não consigo fazer a internet sem fio funcionar, os arquivos .doc, .pps. .xls demoram muito para abrir, quanto que pelo WINDOWS nada disto acontece tudo funciona perfeitamente!! Acho que o Ubuntu ou Linux está anos-luz atrás do WINDOWS.

  84. Marcus Cake » Could Microsoft kill humanity’s opportunity to become wealthier? says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 9:05 am

    [...] I recommend Mark Shuttleworth’s article “Microsoft is not the real threat“. [...]

  85. says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Esse tal de Marcos só fala merda. Quer perda de tempo vir aqui falar besteira. Se você é burro o suficiente pra não conseguir fazer algo simples, não diga que não é possível. Morra, nasça de novo e torça pra que na próxima vida venha menos burro. Animal imbecil…

  86. Honestas says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    I can say with authority that Shuttleworth is 100% wrong. He would do better to predict that the EU will eventually adopt software patents. Expect Microsoft to backpedle on software patents on the same day that the RIAA lobbies congress to backpedal the copyright term to 28 years.

    http://duecourse.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!6F0E3B425E91BE0C!1247.entry

  87. Microsoft não é ameaça, diz criador do Ubuntu « For Geeks! says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    [...] Em seu blog, Shuttleworth abordou a recente polêmica de patentes que envolve a Microsoft e o Linux. Segundo ele, a Microsoft não é a maior ameaça. “Tenho certeza de que, em poucos anos, a Microsoft será contra as patentes de software”, disse. [...]

  88. Sun’s Schwartz Pledges to Use Patents to Protect Red Hat and Ubuntu | says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth says a few words about Microsoft and patents today too: They are a perfect target – they have deep pockets, and they have no option but to negotiate a settlement, or go to court, when confronted with a patent suit. [...]

  89. Dr. Bill: The Computer Curmudgeon » Blog Archive » Ubuntu Founder Does Not See Microsoft as a Patent Treat:: Dr. Bill Bailey ruminates on computers, the web, life, the universe... and everything! says: (permalink)
    May 24th, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    [...] Microsoft is not the real threat [...]

  90. Skydiamond says: (permalink)
    May 25th, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft non è la vera minaccia…

    molte software house iniziano a brevettare idee in forma di software e investono il 90% del loro tempo proprio su questo, tralasciando lo sviluppo. In futuro queste stesse aziende potrebbero rappresentare delle mine vaganti anche per la stessa Microsof…

  91. DeadlyDud says: (permalink)
    May 25th, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Mark, you are so right. As a level 7 thinker (ok, forget about the NLP manipulation), you’ve hit the nail on the head. Patents (the sideband message of MS info), is a dangerous thing in the hands of the amateur. I hope MS realizes in time the irony of them being sued by Apple many moons ago about their desktop, is like someone stealing a car, and then having the arrogance of reporting “their” car being stolen many years later when somebody creates “generic” car. You deserver you billions of Rands (just hope you invest some of it in my own creativity ;) ) …. be well dude. I am sure your message will ripple through the universe

  92. Jeff May says: (permalink)
    May 25th, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Mark -

    That was the most cogent analysis of this issue I have seen. There are only so many practical ways to design a lightbulb base – after which nobody else can produce a new lightbulb technology without stepping on a patent for the darned base. The same rules apply to Microsoft as to open-source. Certainly there is plenty of animosity out there for Redmond – some of it deserved – but in the end there is a place for Windows (and its support model) just as there is a place for open source (and its support model). Both can coexist, just as both Kubuntu and XP coexist on my computer. The threat, as you so eloquently point out, is those who collect patents on intellectual property without having any real stake in the growth and development of the technology supported by those patents.

    I’m always impressed when I see people respond creatively to possibilities rather than recoil in fear of a “competitor”.

    Thanks for all you do!

  93. Doc David says: (permalink)
    May 25th, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    My biggest gripe about patents is based on old knowledge(could be different now) of DNA patents. I do not believe DNA should be patentable. WE all have it, why should my sister have to pay a company holding the patent to the breast cancer gnome in order to have her DNA tested to see if it’s present? It’s her body not thiers. I do not like IP in regards to the human body at all. That is like a company finds the cure all for cancer, but then realizing they’ll no longer get the cash cow of their other cancer treatments so they A: hide the fact there is a cure or B:Make it so expensive as that the average person could never afford it. In regards to quality of life issues $$$ should NOT be the issue. How much quality can you afford is WRONG.

  94. La guerra de las patentes de software at Tras la niebla says: (permalink)
    May 25th, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    [...] Y en eso estábamos todos, tratando de entender, cuando el fundador de Canonical (empresa tras Ubuntu, distribución estrella de Linux por estos días), Mark Shuttleworth nos ilumina con su teoría: Microsoft no es el enemigo. [...]

  95. FreeSoftNews » Blog Archive » Microsoft, Linux same side of patent fence? says: (permalink)
    May 26th, 2007 at 6:20 am

    [...] In a blog posting Monday, Shuttleworth wrote that while much has been said about Microsoft’s allegation of patent infringements on Linux, Microsoft and the Linux community will end up fighting on the same side of this issue. [...]

  96. Roberto Galoppini says: (permalink)
    May 27th, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Mark I really enjoyed your post, and I am happy you joined FFII, good move. I am also glad you’re making clear that calling them “trolls” doesn’t help at all. Europe still need lobbying, and people like you is more than welcome!

  97. Paul Boddie says: (permalink)
    May 27th, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    Honestas says, “Strong patents are just one good reason why the telegraph, electric distribution system, microprocessor, and the air-plane were all invented in this country.”

    I guess someone needs to read up on Edison and the effect of “strong patents” on the US film industry. Edison was quite the master of disinformation, too.

  98. JM says: (permalink)
    May 28th, 2007 at 5:06 am

    Hi, the Microosft-AT&T decision was about Microsoft’s ability to send a gold disc out of the US, have it duplicated and distributed, then used in hardware, to see if they still infinged on AT&T’s patent in the US. THe loophole about software patents currently is that people describe it in relation to hardware. The judges reserved a decision on software patents, though.

    Jeremy: I think copyright covers code; otherwise books could be copyrighted and patented too and writers would stop writing!

  99. Shuttleworth dice que la política de patentes de Microsoft no es la amenaza real « Conocimiento Libre says: (permalink)
    May 28th, 2007 at 6:29 am

    [...] «Mark Shuttleworth, fundador de Canonical y creador de Ubuntu, ha declarado: “Linux y Microsoft están del mismo lado cuando se habla de la lucha contra las patentes de software.” De acuerdo a Shuttleworth, la amenaza no está en las patentes en sí, sino en que empresas no dedicadas a la programación las utilicen como medios de negocios, y que Microsoft se acabará oponiendo a ellas. Deja claro, eso sí, que cree que las patentes le hacen un gran daño a la industria del software y que Microsoft será uno de los promotores de su eliminación en un futuro.» Puede leerse el comentario completo en el propio blog de Mark, en la que da su opinión a raíz de la reciente polémica con Microsoft sobre el tema de las patentes. También en Slashdot. [...]

  100. Cap’n Kernel says: (permalink)
    May 28th, 2007 at 8:52 am

    I agree with Mark. I also strongly recommend the book “Against Intellectual Monopoly” by economists Michele Boldrin and David Levine in which they argue, quite convincingly (and entertainingly), that it is not only software patents that are wrong, but possibly the whole patenting system. The book is freely available here: http://www.dklevine.com/papers/anew.all.pdf. Also worth reading is Lawrence Lessig’s “Free Culture” also available online (http://www.free-culture.cc/freeculture.pdf). A good logician’s tool for testing the validity (or lack thereof) of an idea is the reductio ad absurdum. In the case of patents, the reductio ad absurdum is Nathan Myrvold’s Intellectual Ventures which is a company that exists solely to patent ideas and then make money from licensing these ideas. This is a perfect example of the bankruptcy of the patenting system.

  101. Pinguini al contrattacco! « Appunti di Ubuntu says: (permalink)
    May 28th, 2007 at 9:37 am

    [...] E’ ragionevole pensare che Redmond non intraprenderà mai azioni legali contro Linux. Lo scenario che si va delineando è quello già descritto giorni addietro da Mark Shuttleworth in questo interessante post del suo blog. Il buon Mark, forse per temperamento, e anche per necessità “diplomatiche”, riesce ad avere uno sguardo posato e lungimirante sulla questione. [...]

  102. Bizfriz » Blog Archive » Shuttleworth says: (permalink)
    May 28th, 2007 at 11:53 am

    [...] Microsoft is not the real threat May 21st, 2007 – Mark Shuttleworth – créateur d’Ubuntu [...]

  103. Noticias y artículos interesantes del 2007-05-28 | hombrelobo, una mente dispersa says: (permalink)
    May 28th, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    [...] 1 – Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Microsoft is not the real threat So it’s not the patent-holders who are the problem, it’s the patent system. [...]

  104. David Mackey says: (permalink)
    May 28th, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    I hate software patents. I’m glad you are bringing some more public recognition to the topic and agree that it is not Microsoft who will be the patent enemy, but the pure IP holders, against whom there can be no cross-licensing. Thankfully, the late Supreme Court decision should be significantly helpful in reducing the number of successful litigation suits.

  105. Weber Ress says: (permalink)
    May 29th, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Great article ! Microsoft and Linux are different concepts and business. One not threat another.

  106. Cristian Miceli says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Mark

    Although I think you are right to focus on the economics of a patent war for Microsoft, I wonder to what extent Microsoft would be willing to allow its patent portfolio to be a loss leader given that having large patent thickets also acts as a control mechanism. As you may have heard Roger Burt (IBM) say in the past, IBM does not obtain software patents for revenue reasons but in order to obtain ‘freedom of action’ (which kind of defeats the ‘innovation’ argument also….). For ‘freedom of action’. you can also substitute ‘control of others’. It is a ‘freedom’ for IBM and others who have large patent pools but not for the SMEs and individual inventors who can’t or won’t play the software patenting game.

    I am sure the ‘control’ factor has an economic value (although hard to quantify) which one may need to factor in when considering the value to Microsoft of software patents. Clearly, the freedom of action argument makes a mockery of the purpose of the patent system and exposes it for what it is when applied to software, a control mechanism. As we both know, that the system can be played in this way is the fault of the system – incumbents can be expected to exploit a system which gives them a legally sanctioned means of controlling new market entrants.

    Now, on another note, I thought I would try a two-pronged attack ;-) and whilst leaving a comment on your blog remind you of our conversation outside the Metropole. I sent an e-mail to Ms Newman on 18 May after EUPACO 2 regarding the business roadshows idea I discussed with you. In case my e-mail gets lost in cyberspace I thought I would jog your memory with this blog posting. I am not going to push this one any further and I am quite happy to carry on doing what I can on my own steam, but if you are interested let me know,

    Also, if you do ever get the time, before posting as to your views on why software patents are bad, you might want to take a look at the piece I wrote on the CII Directive for Groklaw last year (http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20060115145429444).

    Regards

    Cristian Miceli
    LASP
    http://www.lasporg.info

  107. tecosystems » Discussing Patents: Two Approaches says: (permalink)
    May 30th, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    [...] One need look no further, in fact, than Microsoft itself for this proof of this love/hate relationship with patents. Whether he’s right or wrong, Mark’s argument that Microsoft will soon be strong advocates against software patents is reflective of the paradox that they represent for large software makers. The economics are troubling. [...]

  108. cajondesastre.net » Blog Archive » Microsoft no es el mayor problema says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    [...] http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/118  [...]

  109. cantormath says: (permalink)
    May 31st, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    I still think, if Microsoft had its way, FOSS would not exist and Microsoft would patent linux if they could.

  110. UbuntuOS » Blog Archive » Podcast #36 says: (permalink)
    June 1st, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    [...] Shuttleworth: “Microsoft not the real threat” [...]

  111. paolo del bene says: (permalink)
    June 1st, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    e poi si dice che mi arrabbio, ma come e’ possible quando c’e’ gente
    che sviluppa distribuzioni gnu/linux su base debian ed appoggiano il patent ?

    in netto contrasto con la politica
    della fsf.org e di rms, invito a
    boicottare ubuntu fintantoche’ mark shuttleworth non cambia idea sul patent please boycot ubuntu until mark shuttleworth don’t change idea on patent he can’t develop a distribution based on gnu/linux debian and to in contrast with the policy of fsf.org and rms.

    Mark Shuttleworth says:

    Paolo, I think you may have misunderstood my comments, I am almost perfectly in agreement with RMS and the FSF on the subject of software patents.

  112. Tech Untangled » Blog Archive » Is Microsoft’s patent claims a real threat to open source? says: (permalink)
    June 2nd, 2007 at 4:48 am

    [...] And of course, Mark Shuttleworth points out that Microsoft is not the real threat, but that the real threat may be from a small company, possibly a patent holding company, that has a single patent or small portfolio, and goes after those who manufacture, use, or sell open source based products. [...]

  113. Dando la chapa » Microsoft, Linux y patentes says: (permalink)
    June 3rd, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    [...] Y me ha parecido interesante el post de Mark Shuttleworth (el capo de Ubuntu)Microsoft is not the real threat. Viene a decir no sólo que MS no es el enemigo en esto de las patentes, sino que en relativamente poco tiempo encabezará un grupo de presión para que se eliminen. ¿Coooooooooooomo? Lo que oyes: And I’m pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents. Why? Because Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity. They can’t sit on the sidelines of the software game – they actually have to ship new products. And every time they do that, they risk stepping on a patent landmine. [...]

  114. Mattiesworld » Blog Archive » It’s the system! says: (permalink)
    June 4th, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    [...] Today, I had a short discussion with a colleague about patents which reminded me about this very interesting post by Mark Shuttleworth: “Microsoft is not the real threat”. So I thought I’d post it here too to help spread the message a bit. [...]

  115. Harsha says: (permalink)
    June 6th, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    You said so much about patents and M$, do they realise this right now? if they, then why are they not joining hands to stop it immediately, which they won;t they are finding profit with the current setup and they want to make/collect as much as possible and pretend in later years once they know nothing can be done from then onwards;

    what you are saying might be true in later years. what about now (it is like now or never concept)?

    tell me why ice is melting in polar regions now; can the melting be stopped right now?

  116. Just Blogging… » Fundador de Ubuntu não considera Microsoft maior ameaça says: (permalink)
    June 9th, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    [...] No seu blogue, Shuttleworth abordou a recente polémica de patentes que envolve a Microsoft e o Linux. Segundo ele, a Microsoft não é a maior ameaça. «Tenho certeza de que, em poucos anos, a Microsoft será contra as patentes de software», disse. [...]

  117. Technology Untangled » Blog Archive » Is Microsoft’s patent claims a real threat to open source? says: (permalink)
    June 15th, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    [...] And of course, Mark Shuttleworth points out that Microsoft is not the real threat, but that the real threat may be from a small company, possibly a patent holding company, that has a single patent or small portfolio, and goes after those who manufacture, use, or sell open source based products. Sphere: Related Content Category: Open Source, Patents  |  Comment (RSS)  |  Trackback [...]

  118. Mark Shuttleworth gets quote mined « Limulus says: (permalink)
    June 15th, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    [...] “I’m in favour of patents in general, but not software or business method patents.“ [...]

  119. Ubuntu64 | Ubuntu and the MS Patent Claims says: (permalink)
    June 17th, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    [...] On June 14 I decided that I had enough and wanted to ask Canonical about their position on the MS Patent Claim Issue. I sent an email to pr@canonical.com (Ubuntu Public Relations) and on June 15, 2007 1:43:18 AM Gerry Carr sent me a reply. Gerry stated that: thing I can do is point you to Mark Shuttleworth’s blog on this http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/118 [...]

  120. thinkingtom says: (permalink)
    June 18th, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    His father has a law firm and he has preferred building his business buy law and trade rather than technology. He uses marketing more than innovation. He is most likely to have worked his way well into the system this way or that. He will, most likely, win, if at all he does keep silent.
    Or, it is the IBM story repeating after 25 years. That sounds a bit too simplistic to repeat since his people are really good legal hawks.

    So, what we all can do is either
    [1] unite and work together or
    [2] pray isolated.
    And yes, if we unite and work together, start ASAP at http://osapa.org

    @Mark: keep this last line at least. thanks.

    My $0.02
    /ttom

  121. WRA Gestão em T.I. » Blog Archive » Microsoft não é ameaça, diz criador do Ubuntu says: (permalink)
    June 28th, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    [...] Em seu blog, Shuttleworth abordou a recente polêmica de patentes que envolve a Microsoft e o Linux. Segundo ele, a Microsoft não é a maior ameaça. “Tenho certeza de que, em poucos anos, a Microsoft será contra as patentes de software”, disse. [...]

  122. Byte Into It 23rd May 2007 says: (permalink)
    July 29th, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Microsoft is not the real threat [...]

  123. » Shuttleworth grasps open source political message | Open Source | ZDNet.com says: (permalink)
    August 6th, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    [...] a massive departure from his own blog post in May, when he called corporate “patent trolls” the main threat to open source, rather than [...]

  124. cantormath says: (permalink)
    August 7th, 2007 at 2:29 am

    If this is true mark, the why would you say this

    Linux & Open Source Header

    “Microsoft has succeeded in fracturing the Linux and open-source community with the patent indemnity agreements it has entered into with several prominent vendors” – Ubuntu leader and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth told eWEEK.

    source:http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2167193,00.asp

  125. Kel says: (permalink)
    August 24th, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    Nice article, but I would disagree with the definition of a patent troll. Personally, I feel that patent trolls are those people who have a patent and sit on it for years, watching as another company, knowingly or not, uses that patent, then strikes when the company is a financial success, only because they can make more money off the infringement case than they can from licensing the patent.

    To each, their own, though.

  126. The Inquirer DE : Shuttleworth: Microsoft ist „keine Gefahr für Linux“ says: (permalink)
    September 19th, 2007 at 7:34 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworths Blog // [...]

  127. Ubuntu Kids - » You Can’t Patent Poetry says: (permalink)
    September 21st, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    [...] Shuttleworth on why MS is not the enemy [...]

  128. Top Unix News » Blog Archive » Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft is not the real threat says: (permalink)
    October 29th, 2007 at 9:47 am

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  129. Microsoft Denies It’s Attacking Open Source says: (permalink)
    November 20th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    [...] this week, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of the Ubuntu version of Linux, said http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/118 that Microsoft was not “the real threat” to the Linux [...]

  130. Thiago Avelino » Blog Archive » Microsoft não é ameaça, diz criador do Ubuntu says: (permalink)
    January 30th, 2008 at 1:53 am

    [...] Shuttleworth, fundador do projeto Ubuntu, afirmou que a Microsoft não é a maior ameaça ao Linux. Em seu blog, Shuttleworth abordou a recente polêmica de patentes que envolve a Microsoft e o Linux. Segundo [...]

  131. Technology latest news » Blog Archive » Ubuntu: Microsoft is Patent Pal (PC World) says: (permalink)
    February 27th, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    [...] themselves will be strong advocates against software patents,” Shuttleworth wrote on his blog. “Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software [...]

  132. 451 CAOS Theory » 451 CAOS Links - 2007.05.21 says: (permalink)
    May 19th, 2008 at 11:32 am

    [...] Microsoft is not the real threat, here be dragons, Mark Shuttleworth (Blog) [...]

  133. E o quico? Parte II: A MS não é a Ameaça Real e Imediata « Graffiti says: (permalink)
    December 14th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    [...] o que diz Mark Shuttleworth, criador do Ubuntu, em seu blog. E explica: “A cada novo lançamento de software, a Microsoft se arrisca a pisar nessas minas [...]