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Sender ID Dead for Now and SUN-MS Agreement RE Open Office
Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 04:45 AM EDT

Sender ID looks to be dead in the water, as far as the IETF is concerned. Or maybe it's on life support. Conceivably the decision could be reversed if Microsoft responded appropriately to concerns about their patent. Here's what the co-chairs wrote:

"3) On the issue of ignoring patent claims, the working group has at least rough consensus that the patent claims should not be ignored. Additionally, there is at least rough consensus that the participants of the working group cannot accurately describe the specific claims of the patent application. This stems from the fact that the patent application is not publicly available. Given this, it is the opinion of the co-chairs that MARID should not undertake work on alternate algorithms reasonably thought to be covered by the patent application. We do feel that future changes regarding the patent claim or its associated license could significantly change the consensus of the working group, and at such a time it would be appropriate to consider new work of this type."

And Sun has filed with the SEC, attached to their 10K, at least a redacted version of its agreements with Microsoft. There are several other documents too. One of them is particularly interesting, the humorously named Limited Patent Covenant and Stand-Still Agreement . The limit has to do with Open Office.

Take a look at what isn't covered by their promises not to sue each other over patent infringement:

"IV. PROVISIONS RELATING TO OPEN OFFICE

"1. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Agreement, with respect solely to the product developed by Sun and generally known as Open Office, the Covenants of Section II above and the Releases of Section III above shall apply fully to Sun but shall not apply to Authorized Licensees of Open Office or any other third party. Accordingly, Microsoft shall not be foreclosed by this Agreement from seeking damages from Authorized Licensees of Open Office for copies of Open Office made or acquired prior to the Effective Date of this Agreement. Nor shall Microsoft be foreclosed from seeking any damages from Sun, its Affiliates, Authorized Licensees or any third party for any copies of Open Office made or deployed by a User after the Effective Date.

"2. In the event that Microsoft elects to sue or otherwise seek recovery from an Authorized Licensee of Open Office for copies thereof that were made and deployed by a User prior to the Effective Date of this Agreement ('Deployed Copies'), upon request, Microsoft agrees to promptly reimburse Sun for any Reimbursable Damages. Sun shall promptly notify Microsoft of any Claim, shall provide Microsoft with the opportunity to take control over and responsibility for the defense and/or settlement of such Claim, and shall reasonably cooperate with Microsoft in litigating the defense of such Claim, including in all discovery and trial preparation efforts. Microsoft will not have any obligation to reimburse Reimbursable Damages unless Sun abides by the foregoing requirements. Microsoft shall also be relieved of its obligation to reimburse Reimbursable Damages if Sun breaches any warranty in Section VII.4. As a condition to accepting control and responsibility for such defense, Microsoft shall acknowledge in writing that such third party claim constitutes a 'Claim' and, as such, would give rise to Reimbursable Damages if determined adversely. In the event that Microsoft accepts control and responsibility for such defense, Sun shall be entitled to participate in such defense at its own cost. 'Claim' means any claim that Sun is liable to indemnify or otherwise reimburse any Authorized Licensee or third party for damages it has been ordered to pay by final judgment or settlement arising from a claim asserted by Microsoft against such Authorized Licensee or third party that any Deployed Copy of Open Office infringes any patent of Microsoft. 'Reimbursable Damages' means the amount of any adverse final judgment awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction, or Microsoft approved settlement, against Sun that is based on the Claim.

"3. The Parties acknowledge that the product currently marketed by Sun as Star Office shall not be affected by this Section IV."

Section II says in part: "Subject to the exception in Section IV, each Party hereby irrevocably and perpetually covenants to the other Party not to sue the other Party or its Authorized Licensees ('Covered Entities'), or otherwise seek recovery from such Covered Entities, for Past Damages with respect to the other Party’s products and technology." And Section III carves out the time period covered. Except for Open Office. Microsoft, if I am reading this correctly, doesn't promise not to sue Sun's licensees or third parties over Open Office. Whatever might that indicate Microsoft might have in mind, do you suppose?


  


Sender ID Dead for Now and SUN-MS Agreement RE Open Office | 95 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections thread
Authored by: WojtekPod on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 05:25 AM EDT
Corrections here, please.

Wojciech Podgórni

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sender ID Dead for Now and SUN-MS Agreement RE Open Office
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 05:27 AM EDT
Does this mean that Sun is saying that Open Office infringes patents?

To me (and I am not anything but a user of the software) it looks as if Sun may
well be ceasing development of Open Office. Please tell me that I am
incorrect.

Has MS put pressure on Sun to stop development?

AndyC (not logged in, AGAIN)

[ Reply to This | # ]

SUN-MS Agreement RE Open Office
Authored by: WojtekPod on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 05:35 AM EDT
PJ:

Whatever might that indicate Microsoft might have in mind, do you suppose?


I think Microsoft makes sure it will be incompatible with the patented XML extensions.

Another reason would be to force people to use StarOffice instead. Sun would get the money, Microsoft would make StarOffice/OpenOffice suites less appealing (and therefore ensuring Microsoft Office supremacy).

As we see, it is a really good deal for Microsoft...

Wojciech Podgórni

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sender ID Dead for Now and SUN-MS Agreement RE Open Office
Authored by: Greebo on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 05:38 AM EDT
Patents, Patents, Patents. It'll be about Patents!

This is very nasty. M$ are promising not to sue Sun for developing Open Office (probably on the proviso that they stop Open Office development?) and are very likely going to go after end users (you and me!) for damages.

This implies that OO violates M$ patents, but since we don't know which ones then it will be difficult to fork OO. I assume OO is under the GPL? If so, and Sun violated M$ patents, how can M$ then go after end users if it was distributed under the GPL, because part of the GPL says that the contributed code must be free of Patented works doesn't it?

All very strange, and very, very disappointing.

But then we shouldn't be surprised that M$ are trying to tilt the playing field should we? After all, they are a convicted monopolist!

Greebo

---
-----------------------------------------
Recent Linux Convert and Scared Cat Owner

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: M$ muddying the waters?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 05:56 AM EDT
Link

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is a little dangerous
Authored by: scott_R on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 07:14 AM EDT
Haven't read the entire thing yet, but this catches my eye:

"Sun shall promptly notify Microsoft of any Claim, shall provide Microsoft
with the opportunity to take control over and responsibility for the defense
and/or settlement of such Claim, and shall reasonably cooperate with Microsoft
in litigating the defense of such Claim, including in all discovery and trial
preparation efforts."

MS gets the opportunity to defend StarOffice (and by proxy, OpenOffice) against
claims against the software? Gee, I can just imagine MS wanting to do their
best to protect that software.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SUN-MS Agreement RE Open Office
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 07:29 AM EDT
(Playing Legal Devils Advocate)

I think the OpenOffice exception is simply legal recognition that Sun has no
direct control over OpenOffice, and therefore cannot take direct responsibility
over its contents. In other words, if Joe Bob Programmer adds code which
violates MS Patents, Sun has no ability to control him, and therefore Sun's
Legal Department does not want to make any promises. (I'm not even sure the
extent to which Sun *could* be sued regarding OpenOffice, because of the very
reason that OpenOffice is largely out of their control.)

StarOffice, which is based on OpenOffice (XML file formats and all, from what I
understand), but which IS controlled directly by Sun, does NOT appear to be
excepted. Since the two projects are largely the same, this is enough for me to
be comfortable.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sender ID Dead for Now .. Or not...
Authored by: nslm on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 07:37 AM EDT
I'm afraid to say that's not quite what the MARID WG co-chairs meant, they have
since clarified....

http://www.imc.org/ietf-mxcomp/mail-archive/msg04584.html

"In order to ensure that there are scopes for which there is no known IPR
encumbrance, the co-chairs propose a new document describing a mail_from scope.
The PRA scope would also be one of the scopes initially described, as there is
clearly sufficient interest in checking pra to allow it to move forward as one
among several scopes (interest being judged both on public statements and
deployed code). An IANA registry for additional scopes created by Standards
Track RFCs would be created."

Basically PRA is the encumbered part of the current RFCs, instead of dropping it
completly (giving up on the Sender ID entirely), they are creating
"scopes" of which PRA is one, leaving "MailFrom", and
possibly a Fetchmail derived option, available for the F/OSS MTAs which can't
implement the PRA part.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sender ID story from the BBC.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 08:44 AM EDT
Link

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft licensing trend for the future
Authored by: clark_kent on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 09:15 AM EDT
I think this action sets up the ability for Microsoft to license a standard,
just like the want to do with sender-id. I believe Microsoft wants to license
access to their products. If they were not in the position of Dictator as they
are now, they could not demand this. (No, they are not a supreme technology
company on market merit, they way U.S. business and trade law is written, they
are Dictator based on politics and the misgivings of the DOJ, they way they
enforced those laws.) With their stance and status in the market, they do not
have to sustain an open standard for the balance of the market, they believe
they will maintain a standard that they can open up when they want to, and close
it when they want to. They are not in the business of contribution to a
community and making money, they just want to make money. What is wrong with
that? Nothing I guess if you don't want to care about a community that supports
you too. Ever hear of give and take? It is a about good long-term cohesive
relationships. Not selfish winner-take-all relationships. Those kind of of
selfish relationships deserve divorce. Ever try to leave someone you were close
to, and they keep coming back to dominate your life? The market surely needs a
divorce from Microsoft so it can heal. But there are many people in this world
that make money off of the misgivings of others. And I believe Microsoft
certainly does that!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sender ID Dead for Now and SUN-MS Agreement RE Open Office
Authored by: odysseus on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 09:17 AM EDT
IANAL, but the way I read it is that if M$ sues an SO/OOo
user for patent infringement, and the user turns around to
Sun and says "I got a license from you that indemnifies
me, now you pay the bill", that Sun can claim the bill
back from M$. Standard CYA legalese to me.

John.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off-Topic (OT) and Links thread (n/t) Re: Sender ID ... and SUN-MS ... Open Office
Authored by: randall on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 09:19 AM EDT


---
Randall - www.whizman.com

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sender ID Dead for Now and SUN-MS Agreement RE Open Office
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 09:44 AM EDT
Steve Ballmer, in Competition, Innovation and Microsoft:

...We will continue to compete hard but fairly, just as we always have.

We're excited about where this industry is heading, and about the incredible opportunities that lay ahead. At the same time, we understand that because of our success, we are held to a very high standard of conduct. That's a responsibility we have long accepted--and always will.

I guess "competing fairly just as we always have" means using dirty tricks and the legal system to fight competitors, rather than actually providing better products. Microsoft will never change.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where can't SPF go today?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 09:49 AM EDT
My biggest problem with SenderID is not that MS is
embracing and extending a standard. Its due to the closed
patent application MS has used to put a fence over unknown
areas of growth and extensions of SPF. A smarter TXT or
whatever record in DNS may be needed by large domains
spread over may sites, but will MS play king of their
hill? Can envelope and header IPs be compared or will MS
take their ball and make us go home? Where can't we go
because of MS?

After the RAM Bus fiasco of patenting the ideas from a
standards body and this, participation in a standards body
requires some playing nice. Just like most employers claim
ownership of patents arising from work activities,
standard bodies must claim ownership of ideas from their
activities unless clearly disclosed before discussions
start. Since the patent claim has not been disclosed MS
has not disclosed and should not have been allowed to
participate.

SPF looks like a good foundation, but I was wondering what
is to prevent someone from using a bootleg IP address to
pretend to be someone else? Are there other "design
patterns" that can be used for email. The current email
uses "Delegation of Authority" to pass email on so system
that knows what to do with it. It may be time to reread
the gang of four ("Design Patters") and "Applied
Cryptology", but I have doubts that a really foolproof
system may be impossible.


_Richard

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is very dangerous to us
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 10:22 AM EDT
What Microsoft is doing here is setting up a possible patent-based attack on OpenOffice. Naturally, Microsoft didn't invent anything non-obvious to a skilled programmer in developing Microsoft Office, but that's completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that enough patents have been issued to Microsoft, and Microsoft can afford enough competent lawyers, to bury OpenOffice under an avalanche of lawsuits for decades.

This is a perfect illustration of why Richard Stallman was right in the article he wrote about software patents. (reported for example on Newsforge last week). We cannot win, probably free software cannot even survive, as long as the patent system is allowed to apply to software. This battle is lost in the USA for the time being - the only realistic hope is to fight software patents in Europe and the rest of the world, in the hope that one day it will become clear that the US is damaging itself by allowing software to be patented. The costs to end-users greatly outweigh the gains to Microsoft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patents vs Copyright in idea-space
Authored by: BitOBear on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 08:46 PM EDT
A previous poster asks "if these things are so obvious, why are they
patentable?"

What we are saying is that they ARN'T, or at least SHOULDN'T BE patentable
because they ARE obvious to professionals in the field.

But the patent office isn't a professional in the field of software, and neither
are the examiners; or perhaps as another poster would have it, neither are the
apeal agency [council whatever] that gets to override the examiners when the
patent lawyers dispute the denial of claim.

It's not that open source proponents are plugging their ears and yelling about
free speach; it's instead as if the well-monied interests decided that songs
should be patentable. See, songs are "obvious" (kind of) once you
have sorted out the parts that arn't unique. That doesn't mean, by any stretch
of the imagination that all song-writers are equal or that, given the same basic
idea for a song, that all song writers would write the *same* song, or even
songs of the *same* quality.

It is as if the first person to patent "a method of expressing the
desperation of star-crossed lovers in verse" should somehow "own"
that stricture and so would be equally be able to sue Bobby Gentry for
"Ode to Billy Joe" and Tommy Tutone for "8675309/Jenny" for
equal infringement of the core idea.

It is arguing from false premise to presume that just because something is
"difficult" to do and cannot be done equally well by all
practictioners, that the first person to make a workable statement of the idea
deserves some ownership of the domain.

Because the award goes to the "first" and not the "best"
expression, we are in the race to be first. It naturally follows that the
patent will almost certianly go to the least thurough and elegant solution
because fast work _tends_ to be slapdash and inferrior. This isn't always the
case, but it is close enough to be aphorisim.

In the back-case, a lot of things have been worked out over time and so are in
the common pool of knowledge that nobody ever patented. Some joe comes along
and sees that there isn't a patent on the idea and files one. Because we live
in a society where "simultaneous" and "at the same time" may
not mean the same thing, the prior art isn't prior art because of, lets face it,
legal spin.

If, however, you perform a defense-in-detail (military talk there) and
disassemble the patents themselves, they actually fall apart into detriteus even
under _current_ patent theory. That is when you apply the real-device patent
rules to software, the software patents don't hold up because of some key
points.

1) The patent is supposed to describe an (singular) invention, with spesific
information sufficent for a practitioner-in-the-field to recreate the invention
so described. You will never see this in a software patent. First, these
patents don't describe a specific invention, they are broad and mushy, and a
software professional (ANY software professional, or even an amature) would tell
you that the claim stating "a protocol, usable across a network, which
causes the system to act as a server to a number of clients" doesn't
actually say a darn thing. In software design "protocol"
"server" "client" and "network" are generic words
that have no spesific meaning. "Protocol on a network" is exactly as
nonspesific as "janator in a school". When a lawyer reads such a
claim it *seems* to mean something, but when a programmer reads such a claim it
is as spesific as "what is claimed: a janator in a school that allows clean
up of a mess made by students or faculty." That is, it is a statement of
intent, not a description of action. It's set dressing. The problem is, *all*
the claims end up being general set dressing, and so can apply to whole ranges
of endevour. So you have a patent that spesifically says nothing, and generally
intimates all sorts of things.

Is classic dirty fingers, the patent casts hearsay-like aspersions over a range
of activities without actually pinning itself down to meaning anything in
particular. Such a maliable decleration can be twisted to mean anything. If
they were contracts they would all be thrown out of court for being vague. In
point of fact, software patents are "very SCO" for being subject to
meaning whatever the speaker chooses to infer at the time.

You are dealing with an industry where, if you were to ask "what is a 'LAN'
and when does it become a 'WAN'?" of a large group of professionals, they
would have to honestly reply that it depends on your defintion of
"local", and then drop the subject (after some uncertian number of
conflicting qualifying assertions and defintions).

2) You cannot patent combining two (or more) elements, if those two elements
persist in doing the same job they always did. This is a SCOTUS decision from
the fifties (?) about the grocery store that put a conveyor belt next to a cash
register and then patented the combination, then tried to sue a competetor for
doing the same thing.

This should, but apparently doesn't officially, create a sort of
"comparison and filtration test" for patents. One would *think* that
any claim that is a common object performing its normal task, that that claim
couldn't be considered "primary to" the invention described.

Consider: a method where "a procedure whereby a hammer is used to force a
nail through a shingle and a board as an element of constructing a roof".
The claimant IS NOT claiming to have invented the nail, the shingle, the hammer,
the force, or the board, or the roof. Just the procedure of performing the acts
on the objects to create a final result. In the real world this is somewhat
obviously absurd. This is an exact example of A Business Method (e.g. software)
Patent". One would expect to find a patent containing a "new
means" (e.g. gluing instead of hammering) or a "new material"
(space-age polymer tar-paper) or a "new goal" (inverting a classic
roof construction technique and materials to construct an emergency aquaduct for
shunting away harmful efluvent during toxic cleanup) or *SOMETHING* novel or
inobvious before you would let "putting a shingle on a plank" to apear
in a patent as a primary claim.

With software, when you know what you are reading, You constantly see the
software analogue of "shingling a roof" just with a codicil like
"to keep a pet dry" and somehow this is different from "shingling
a roof to keep a carpet dry" and "... to keep a wall dry" and
then the whole thing again "to keep sun off a pet" and to "keep
sun off a... whatever".

See, if you decompose the patents they are all this acretion exercise. The
"one-click shoping" patent doesn't invent:

- the internet
- the browser
- the button
- the web page
- the store
- the store on the internet
- merchandise
- e-Comerce
- logging on to a system
- the button
- the "WHEN keystroke/button DO action" methods
- the "having an account" at a store
- the "having an account at a store on the internet"
- the keeping of credit card information for later purchases
- the keeping of customer shipping information by a retailer
- the "put it on my tab" concept between buyer and seller
- the concept of *NOT* asking "are you sure?"

Ok, so we can agree that Amazon.com didn't invent any of the above. Any yet,
they have a "valid" patent on the combination. Namely, they
apparently own:

- (paraphrased) setting up an online shopping environment where once a user has
logged in and entered his credit card information and shipping information and
begins browsing the site, a product displayed for sale may, on the page where it
is displayed for sale, have a "buy it now" button; when the customer
clicks this button the product will be automatically charged to the listed
credit card and sent to the shipping address of record without further action
being required by the customer.

*THAT* is a *VALID* and PATENTABLE "invention"? I think not. But
there it is on the books and upheld in a court case, because the patent office
let it through and the trier of fact and the jurists were bulldozed over by
"seeming complexity" and legalizim.

Really, as a person with twenty-five years under my belt of professional
computer work (first using, then programming, then designing software etc) I can
honestly say that I have *yet* to see a software patent that should exist.

If there were a rational legal filtration test for software patents, the
overwhelming number (that number being all, or so nearly all as to make no
difference) of software patents that would-or-should fail that test, would bring
to sharp and instantly understandable relief, the folly of the concept.

Software isn't patentable because the things software does directly model to
already patented or already unpatentable things in the real world. Also, ALL
software is a repetitive accumulation exterior elements that the theoretical
claimiant has no "property right" to in the first place.

Consider a final example.

A man with a sheep set's his sheep to grazing in a field. He finds this
beneficial in several ways, and patents using grass to feed sheep by exposing
that sheep to grass and then not preventing the sheep from eating that grass.

Does the guy who wants to graze a cow have to license the sheep grazing patent?

Does the guy who invented the fence, have to pay the guy who invented sheep
grazing, if he uses his fence to "focus" his own sheeps effort by
fencing his pasture?

What of the guy who puts a fence around his cow?

What of the guy who puts a fence around a cow, but on baren land, and then
brings in bales of hay?

Does the hay farmer need to license the sheep grazing patent in order to sell
his hay to a sheep owner?

Sounds rediculous right? Obviously rediculous....

Software patents are this rediculous to programmers. We have basically four
operations add, remember, compare, and jump. Every computer program is made up
of these four operators. Oh sure, over the years compare and jump-backwards
became loop, and add and loop became multiply, and so on, but we all
more-or-less understand that these four basic operations are still the core of
it all. The hardware supermen know that, depending on the chip, there are
actually only two operations "AND-and-NOT" or "OR-and-NOT".
We naturally know that letter and digits and colored dots on the screen are
actually numbers, and we manipulate those numbers. We know that there is (in
software at least) no difference between remembering a number for one purpose
and remembering it for another.

In short, we understand our realm.

In the other direction, there are power users who kind of understand these
things about these operations. And then there are the computer technology fans
that don't care about the commonailties and just want to shoot daemons in the
latest game and browse the net.

And you'd think that this would be the complete continum, but it isn't. There
is a whole technology priesthood of businessmen and their henchmen lawyers
(sorry guys 8-) who want you to believe that therer is magic going on. That
things are frought with mistery and full of the unknowable and capricous will of
the Most Holy Intellectual Property, and that their incantations of purpose and
invention are the one true comunion with this great beyond.

But that's all snake oil, legalese, and obfuscation in the name of money and
power-over-money and "recouping expenses" and "new business
paradigms" and god only knows what else.

As stated, we programmers understand our realm.

When we tell you that We The Programmers(tm) know that software patents are
unreasonable, and in the end suppressive and expensive nonsense, you should
beleive us. We are the "professionals skilled in our arts". Adn when
our descenting minority yell, "but no, how will I protect my IP?" you
should look on with jaundiced eye, because "(his) IP isn't probably anthing
more than a regurgitation of common knowledge" with, if he's really good, a
dash of artistic inspiration sprinkled on top.

Until the software patent is killed (and probably for that matter the
"business method" patents on things like how Dell moves its boxes
around in its wharehouse 8-) as a CONCEPT any economy with these practical but
vague monopolies on undefined domains of thought, will extort a HUGE "cash
entropy cost" on you and I and everybody else even remotely involved.

===

So where was the "vs c=Copyrights" part? Its that inspiration in the
regurgitation. Software innovation isn't invention, its art. It is a well
disciplined art because poor discipilne is punnished by core dumps and the Blue
Screen of Death. But it *is* (for all that I have a degree in "Computer
Science) just art. Bad artist make bad art, and bad programmers make bad
programs.

The entire reason that Copyright only protects the particular expression of an
idea is so that good but slow(er) and young(er) artists don't have to pay
because a fast(er) or old(er) artist beat them to the canvas.

So software is squarely and undeniably under the auspice of Copyright because a
programmer or company deserves the protection of their effort at expression, but
they DO NOT DESERVE TO OWN the ideas because they got their rought-draft
statement of intent into the hands of a govermental agency first.

We write software. We write books. IF programmers should be able to patent
software, then authors should be able to patent their books, and every spy novel
ever should have had a 20-cent duty paid to Ian Flemming for James Bond, and
Flemming should have been allowed to prevent the publication of any spy novel he
didn't like...

Profeteering asside, this is just the way it *has* to be if it is going to be
anything at all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Overreactions abound
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 10:03 PM EDT
1) OF COURSE Microsoft will not say that it will not sue OpenOffice users.

2) OF COURSE _some_ OpenOffice users will think Sun should indemnify them
according to prior agreements.

3) OF COURSE Sun wants to cover its own fannie about those prior agreements.

All this snippit of the agreement says is that if Microsoft goes after party A,
and party A in turn goes after Sun, then Sun is allowed (for some cases where
the distribution was made prior to the effective date of the agreement) to
recover any damages it owes to party A from Microsoft (#3 above).

However, Microsoft wants to take control of the defense of Sun from party A, so
that Sun doesn't _accidentally_ lose by millions of dollars that Microsoft then
has to reimburse to Sun.

Did you think that Sun would indemnify open source users any better than IBM or
HP?

Did you think that Microsoft would agree not to sue Sun's open source users (as
opposed to, say, any other open source users)?

This agreement merely reinforces the status quo (reminding us that we need to be
ever watchful), but it does not mean that Sun has completely sold out, or,
conversely, that Microsoft has devised some exquisite new torture.

All it means is that, _if_ (or perhaps "when") Microsoft decides to
torture Sun customers in the future, and those customers turn around and sue
Sun, Microsoft is also on the hook in a few cases where Sun thinks it is
currently overly exposed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun provision
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 15 2004 @ 01:55 AM EDT
This is a very simple provision.

Sun gets indemnity from MS suits and vice versa.

But this indemnity can not propagate via the GPL. Else I, by downloading
OpenOffice, could suddenly indemnify myself against using MS's hallowed patents
in any other piece of software.

It's natural, although annoying, that such a provision should be there. It does
not automatically mean MS intends to sue anyone.

Given the previous behavior of MS, one may think further of course ... only this
provision only refects a careful lawyer, for now. They closed a back door (from
their point of view), that's all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

They got the name wrong :-)
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 15 2004 @ 04:43 AM EDT
The project, and the software, is called "OpenOffice.org".

So I guess OpenOffice.org is safe. This contract is not about OpenOffice.org.
It's about some other software called "Open Office" that I'm not
familiar with.

:-D

Could Sun actually pull that for a legal defense?

Cheers,
Daniel Carrera.
OpenOffice.org volunteer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Sun violating the GPL by the MS agreement?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 15 2004 @ 08:44 PM EDT
IANAL, but I wonder if the Sun Microsoft agreement is incompatible with the GPL
terms in which OOo is released? I'd be interested in any pro/con arguments or
prior similar cases.

Dale

[ Reply to This | # ]

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