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The FTC Summit on Email Authentication and more on Patents
Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 06:04 PM EST

The issue of open standards, Sender ID, and the GPL did come up today in the FTC hearings on email authentication. A representative from the Apache Foundation, Daniel Quinlan, spoke clearly and firmly on the recent flap over Sender ID. The IETF sent two representatives, one of whom, Scott Bradner, said that the IETF isn't really in a position to rule on licenses, though they do consider such elements. Their primary concern is finding the best tech, and they did have tech issues with Sender ID, not just patent issues. Another speaker said that licensing was the primary issue for the working group, however. When some tried to say that some in the FOSS community had no issues with the license, Quinlan countered by saying it wasn't clear what segment of the OS world they actually represented.

Refusal to allow sublicensing creates friction for Open Source, Quinlan pointed out, and creates an unfair marketplace. How would Microsoft like it if, when they use FOSS code, they had to have each new customer sign a license with BSD or Apache? They wouldn't favor that if they had to do that to sell *their* products.

Microsoft had a representative on the panel as well, listed as David Kaefer who was involved in launching the Shared Source initiative, and his position was typical for Microsoft. He said that we have to get practical and leave "religion" out of it. Something must be done about spam and phishing, Microsoft has a solution ready to go, and there are many other Open Source licenses beyond the GPL. It will not surprise you to learn that he listed the BSD license as being acceptable, along with the MIT license, the Apache license, etc. Anything but the GPL would be fine with Microsoft, it seems.

Besides, he said, the patent license on Sender ID is only for distributors. How many GPL end users ever modify code or distribute it? Be pragmatic, he said, and separate out the religion from practical barriers to implementing Sender ID. Microsoft has to preserve its defensive rights. We all have to compromise, not that I see Microsoft moving off its dime on their anti-GPL license. After all, he said, the Sendmail people are cooperating. Ah, yes. But which Sendmail?

Anyway, it was clear they are trying, once again, to isolate the GPL as being unnecessary to a mainstream discussion, and not as important as dealing with spam anyway. Needless to say, that misses the entire point. They are trying to force a standard that, because of its anti-GPL poison pill terms, isolates a fair chunk of the world from being able to use it. While it may be true, as he said, that there are some 50 Open Source licenses, the majority of FOSS code by far is under the GPL, including Microsoft's chief competition, Linux. Nobody mentioned that. The IETF representative did bring up an alternative license Cisco has offered to use, whereby they would promise not to enforce their patent against anyone who hadn't sued Cisco, which would be more acceptable than Microsoft's terms, but Microsoft did not say they would change a word.

Quinlan countered by saying Sender ID may have a negative affect on the fairness of the market. He encouraged the use of SPF, as did Microsoft, the unencumbered part of Sender ID even now. Spam Assassin supports SPF. MS has said they won't be fully supporting the Mail From segment, though, Quinlan said, and will encourage all to use their encumbered part. Microsoft is saying we have nothing to fear, Quinlan added, but given Microsoft's prior statements on Open Source, we have good reason to be afraid. The two problems with the license are the separate execution requirement and no sublicensing. Those two are the primary concerns, in Quinlan's view.

For some inexplicable reason, Lawrence Rosen, the attorney who negotiated with Microsoft on behalf of the FOSS community over the Sender ID license, was not invited to be on the panel. That alone speaks volumes. I think in the future, the community should consider sending representatives to such meetings, even if they are not invited to be on a panel. A panelist can refer a question to an expert sitting in the audience. A panelist did that very thing today, and the Apache representative could have done the same, thus letting Rosen speak. That way, when Microsoft made inaccurate representations about Rosen, and Quinlan countered with his understanding of Rosen's position, a truly ludicrous situation, Rosen would have been there to speak for himself and correct the record. However, there is no doubt that the FTC is aware of the GPL issue and included it in the list of matters to be discussed. IBM had a representative listed on the panelist list, which you can obtain from the FTC website, but I didn't hear him speak. I had to work on other things today, and I could only listen to portions of the day's events. The summit continues tomorrow.

On the subject of standards, Bruce Perens has released a paper on software patents in standards you no doubt would be interested in reading:

"Patents, originally created to stimulate innovation, may now be having the opposite effect, at least in the software industry. Plagued by an exponential growth in software patents, many of which are not valid, software vendors and developers must navigate a potential minefield to avoid patent infringement and future lawsuits. Coupled with strategies to exploit this confusion over patents, especially in standards setting organizations, it appears that software advancement will become stifled unless legal action is taken to resolve the situation. This article examines the current situation facing software developers and users, the methods employed by standards setting organizations to address these problems, and recommends strategies for resolving the problem caused by software patents."

In other patent news, the UK government has decided to meet with those who expressed concern about software patents in December. The Register has more on this story. As it happens, we will have a representative at that meeting, so we'll be able to inform you of what transpires. He was sent a brochure [PDF], which you can read too, setting forth the government's view on things. As you can see, they assert that Open Source will continue to thrive, as they allege it currently is in the US. After you look over the brochure, what questions do you think our representative should ask at the meeting? Please leave your suggestions in the comments section. Here is a visual representation of the patent problem in Europe that FFII prepared.


  


The FTC Summit on Email Authentication and more on Patents | 174 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
'Which' Sendmail?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 07:33 PM EST
>> not that I see Microsoft moving off its dime on their anti-GPL license.
After all, he said, the Sendmail people are cooperating. Ah, yes. But which
Sendmail? <<

Could someone clarify that last bit?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Analogy with Environmental Movement
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 07:35 PM EST
I'm reminded of a story an environmentalist once told me. When somebody
wants to chop down a hundred acres of forest, environmentalists are
considered unreasonable if they insist that no forest at all be chopped. So
they are pressured by others to be reasonable and compromise. They agree
to let 50 acres be chopped.

Then ten years pass. A new mayor is running a new city council and nobody
remembers the decade-old compromise. So when some new industrialist
suggests chopping down those 50 acres of woods, the environmentalists
insist that no forest at all be chopped. Everybody chastises the
environmentalists for being unreasonable, so they compromise and let 25
acres be chopped.

Ten more years pass, and nobody remembers that decade old compromise,
12 more acres are chopped, et cetera. After just a few decades all the woods
are gone, and it’s because both sides at every turn were trying to be
"reasonable" and compromise.

But, you know....sometimes you can’t allow yourself to be “reasonable” – you
can’t compromise, or you’ll lose everything. Microsoft’s appeal for
“pragmatism” with regards to SenderID sounds to me like an industrialist
asking for just 50 more acres of woods.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here -
Authored by: kbq on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 07:40 PM EST
So PJ can find 'em...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Anti-trust
Authored by: jim Reiter on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 07:42 PM EST
I have a great concern that Microsucks is using its'
monoply status to restrict the (mail) server market and
force out competition i.e. Linux.

Does anyone know if someone is asking the Justice
Department to look into this? It would be helpful if
someone knowledgeable in the anti-trust area could point
the rest of us in the right direction to lodge a
complaint.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Official "The SCO Group" Positions
Authored by: AllParadox on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 07:59 PM EST
Main posts in this thread may only be made by senior managers or attorneys for
"The SCO Group". Main posts must use the name and position of the
poster at "The SCO Group". Main posters must post in their official
capacity at "The SCO Group".

Sub-posts will also be allowed from non-"The SCO Group" employees or
attorneys. Sub-posts from persons not connected with "The SCO Group"
must be very polite, address other posters and the main poster with the
honorific "Mr." or "Mrs." or "Ms.", as
appropriate, use correct surnames, not call names or suggest or imply unethical
or illegal conduct by "The SCO Group" or its employees or attorneys.
This thread requires an extremely high standard of conduct and even slightly
marginal posts will be deleted.

P.J. says you must be on your very best behavior.

If you want to comment on this thread, please post under "O/T"

---
All is paradox: I no longer practice law, so this is just another layman's
opinion. For a Real Legal Opinion, buy one from a licensed Attorney

[ Reply to This | # ]

Would LGPL be compatible
Authored by: rharvey46 on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 08:09 PM EST
I am curious. And perhaps this is a good thing. If the GPL is not compatible,
would the LGPL license be compatible? Would the LGPL permit implementations
using this implementation to be used with GPL software? I am also not sure that
the Apache license would be compatible. The BSD license may also not be
compatible - unless Microsoft were to license it under a BSD license - in which
case GPL/LGPL would be able to use the implentations.
I am not sure wether the LGPL would be 'close enough' to GPL, while still being
'close enough' to the Microsoft license - but perhaps that would be doable?

[ Reply to This | # ]

What is the point of this turkey anyway?
Authored by: fgoldstein on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 08:14 PM EST
Will someone please tell me why any of these proposals, like Sender ID or SPF, will do one scintilla of good about spam?

Yes, I know that phishers can phake sender addresses, not that many people check them -- the From: field is what J. Random Consumer sees. But if the From: field had to be validated, then millions of personal and small business domains would fail, because we point our mail addresses at somebody else's server, wherever that happens to be, don't control its address, and originate our mail through whatever relay our connection-of-the-moment (home, office, Starbucks) permits us to use.

Spammers, however, can create domain names and SPF/Sender ID entries faster than Brightmail can detect their spams (i.e., very few minutes). If Sender ID or SPF were common place, spammers would get around it. It's like a bomb-proof door on a grass hut; the security's not where it's needed. You can't shut down 90% of spam by shutting down an avenue used by 90% of spammers, so long as there are other avenues for the spammers to take.

All that this turkey does is give Microsoft an opportunity to stick its probably-phraudulent patent hooks into code that should be open source. The FTC shouldn't be wasting its time. Real anti-spam measures are not so easy, but are necessary.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Opposite effect of promoting innovation
Authored by: PolR on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 08:28 PM EST
IIRC Congress has the power to make patent law "for the promotion of useful
arts and science" according to the US constitution. I am not sure of the
exact quotation.

IIRC software patentability is not in the current patent law as written by
Congress. It is the result of case law gone mad.

So if we have evidence that software patents have the opposite effect of
promoting useful art and science, can that evidence be brought to the court?
Would a judge rule that this means the current interpretation of the patent law
is inconstitutional if the evidence is believed?

There is no shortage of patent litigation. If the evidence is made easy to find,
say on a well advertised web site, then surely someone will try this argument in
one of the cases.

The beauty of the argument is nobody has to argue the law voted by Congress is
inconstitutional. All that is required to argue is case law is having unexpected
unconstitutional consequences. The remedy would be to change case law.

Such a ruling would make it hard for the patent lobbies to restore software
patents through Congress. That would require a constitutional amendment.

IANAL, but it seems so plausible to me. Am I missing something?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The FTC Summit on Email Authentication and more on Patents
Authored by: tknarr on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 08:48 PM EST

I'm wondering why someone didn't point out the obvious: The market itself has soundly rejected Microsoft's own e-mail software and settled for the most part on software offered under the GPL. Why should the market and it's preferred software then have to compromise with Microsoft, rather than Microsoft adapting to the market?

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT here, please
Authored by: m_si_M on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 08:53 PM EST
This important part of the great tradition of self-organization on this site
seemed to have been forgotten sometimes in the recent past ;-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The FTC Summit on Email Authentication and more on Patents
Authored by: Morosoph on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 08:58 PM EST
Someone ought to ask the Microsoft representative why his company is being so religious, instead of being pragmatic in facing the sheer volume of GPLed software out there that need to be able to use SenderID if it is to become a standard.

To make the license terms incompatable with the GPL is not facing up to reality, unless we are being especially cynical.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft, the convicted monopolist, wants everyone to adopt THEIR system??
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 10:05 PM EST
And they they have the temerity to use the word "religion" to attempt
to paint the Open Source Community as zealots. Well, don't you think Bill and
Steve have been pretty zealous in guarding their billions, and wanting to
control everything they can get their greedy hands on?

Microsoft and their ilk need to be soundly defeated in ANY attempt to monopolize
even more ground. The DOJ, FTC, IETF, "PUBLIC Servants", and other
entities should be hammered (spammed? :) with input from FOSS and other
freedom-loving communities and individuals expressing their deep concerns about
the latest trick from Microsoft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Monopoly Sender ID and more on Patents
Authored by: webster on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 10:20 PM EST
The continued controversy and the understanding thereof should help to isolate
the Monopoly position. There are simple solutions which they will not accept.
They want control. They refuse to relinquish all future claims based on this
license. They want to lock out free and open software and continue to enslave
everyone to their own. They want to prevent choice. Compatibility is simple.
Control could be simple. All's fair in war. The Monopoly is exercising their
upper hand.

They will probably go forward with their own standard whatever the group
decides. Everyone is locked in. There is no choice. They can dictate their
own standard.

So maybe there will be parallel email systems. Everyone will have to run two
clients and addresses to be sure you can reach everybody.

We need a law mandating compatibility notwithstanding patents, copyrights and
secrets. That would ensure freedom and choice. Then folks could simply choose
the best software and not be locked in to anything.

---
webster

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good summary of Sender Id Technical/License Problems
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 10:52 PM EST
Here: http://www.op enspf.org/OpenSPF_community_position_v101.html

[ Reply to This | # ]

From a competitive perspective...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 11:13 PM EST
Let me get this straight, Microsoft. You want me to inform you in advance that
I intend to compete with your products, let you know which documents I need to
do it, and you want me to inform you of any help I get? And to agree not to
make any protocols more compatible with the adopted standards?

Does any of that scream anti-competitive to you?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The FTC Summit on Email Authentication and more on Patents
Authored by: blacklight on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 11:23 PM EST
"Microsoft had a representative on the panel as well, listed as David
Kaefer who was involved in launching the Shared Source initiative, and his
position was typical for Microsoft. He said that we have to get practical and
leave "religion" out of it. Something must be done about spam and
phishing, Microsoft has a solution ready to go ..."

And therefore we should allow Microsoft to lock us into a solution that doesn't
really work and whose only merit is that it is "ready to go" - And I
do have to ask: ready to go "where"? The same fast road to nowhere
that its so secure IE browser is going to? Is it really pragmatic to allow
Microsoft to impose a seriously flawed and immature "solution" on us
and prevent us from continuing to look for more effective solutions? And one
more point: until Microsoft's products become secure, Microsoft is hardly in a
position to teach us, preach to us or lecture us on security, or in fact to
discuss security with any kind of credibility.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Exactly what IP can Microsoft actually claim in the proposal anyway.
Authored by: Liquor A. on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 11:31 PM EST
From what I've seen here, there is NOTHING in the SPF/Caller ID proposal that
would make for a valid patent.

Parsing the 'From:' header? Fetchmail's done it for years.

Data in formatted text? (even though the SPF2.0 records from AOL are not even
the original M$ proposed XML)? File formats should NOT be patentable - even
though there may be arguments for non-obvious uses of the file. Text records
from a DNS server certainly aren't new or unobvious.

Combining text lists with parsed header information? Procmail has been doing
this for years.

The explicit application, i.e. combining them in exactly the way that they
specify? Only a broken patent system could allow this.

What else is left? What is there that would actually stop someone from building
a compatible FOSS mail handler without signing up with Microsoft?

Is this really just a matter of trying to get every FOSS developer to sign over
their rights to build truly free software in return for nothing?



---
Liquor A.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A bit OT, but Firefox 1.0 was officially released and the FUD is already flowing
Authored by: Trepalium on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 11:50 PM EST
Firefox 1.0 is finally officially released, and despite rave reviews of the software itself, FUD is already flowing out of the Beast of Redmond. In one article, Microsoft warned "customers to expect application incompatibilities if they switch from IE to Mozilla. Such incompatibilities could cause problems for business customers, who won't have a vendor they can hold accountable." Various other (mostly Microsoft partner) solultion providers weighed in to rain on the Mozilla parade by saying that people don't want to use one browser for most of their web browsing, and another for a few individual sites. Personally, though, I rarely need to fire up Internet Explorer, and usually it's just to make sure the web app I'm working with looks okay in IE, too.

---
$ apt-get moo

[ Reply to This | # ]

The FTC Summit on Email Authentication and more on Patents
Authored by: Mecha on Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 11:54 PM EST
Here is how I see this SenderID thing being played out. The majority of email
servers in use are GPLed. M$ wants more money and control (everyone is aware of
that). SenderID will be included in a "critical update" patch by M$
should they get "approval" for their exchange and outlook/outlook
express clients. Especially since most home users are using them (while
connecting them to GPLed servers on the net). This either forces those email
servers to switch to a compatible email server (which will be Exchange) or lose
their customers. So in my opinion, to counteract that, those companies who do
use GPLed servers should start recommending their customers to get another email
client. We should also be pushing for those who get the soon to be M$ imposed
virus to also switch from OE and outlook to an open source email client - ximian
evolution or the like.

---
LINUX! Because Microsoft should have no business in your business!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell Inserts the Dagger
Authored by: major_figjam on Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 02:28 AM EST
The response is deadly.

Check Tuxrocks, or links on Yahoo SCOX.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sender ID is a waste of effort
Authored by: globularity on Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 03:22 AM EST
Lets take some of the claims for Sender ID
Knowing who the sender is will prevent phishers from operating?
No clear proof given, signed active x controls don't prevent virus writers.

The simplest and proveably effective way of preventing phishers is to treat all
email as being from an untrusted source, how easy is that?

Sender ID will prevent virus writers, see above, dumping microsoft lookout is a
proven way of reducing virus infections.

Being able to identify the source will prevent spam, again an unproven claim.
Mind you for me spam is well on the decline, and what spam I do get is so well
filtered I haven't seen a spam in 4 months, it seems that the fight is having an
effect so why encumber the mail system with another Microsoft idea? given their
past record they are best kept away from anything to do with email.

my A$0.02

Mark

[ Reply to This | # ]

From the UK Patent Office PDF.
Authored by: Brian S. on Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 05:24 AM EST
>>How is patent practice in the US
different from the UK and Europe?
Patents have always been granted for products and
processes in chemistry, medicine, engineering,
electronics and the like. This includes inventions
implemented using computers and software, such as
automated manufacturing processes. However, over
the last ten years, the US has broadened its practice
and granted patents for any application that makes a
“useful, concrete and tangible contribution”. This
means the mere use of a computer renders all manner
of software, including non-technical applications like
accountancy software, patentable in the US. In Europe,
in contrast, it is the technical contribution of the
invention which determines patentability. As such,
general business software is not patentable as it is not
considered technical. The use of a computer alone
does not confer patentability on an application.<<

Is it just me?

It seems from their glossy that crazy application patents such as "one
click shopping" won't make the grade but where does this leave the OS.
Is Linux any safer from the 286? possible patent claims which are known to
exist, after all they could be considered technical. I had a bad feeling as soon
as the PDF opened and I saw a picture of a PCB. Since we're talking about
software surely a photo of a section of code would make one feel safer they have
an insight to the problem.

So my question is - Just what do they mean by "technical"? I assume
Sender ID is technical and what about 1 + 1 ?

Brian S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

GPL and Sender ID
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 06:27 AM EST
If I might just clear up one point.

GPL as such isn't really the issue. If we look at the major MTAs, where can you
find a GPL in sendmail, qmail or postfix? IIRC Exim (which is big in .uk but
less so elsewhere) is GPL, but that's at best a minority player in OSS email.

Were Messrs Allman, Bernstien, Hazel and Venema invited to comment?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU and M$
Authored by: Brian S. on Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 11:26 AM EST
"We have listened to the concerns expressed by the UK software sector, both large firms and SMEs, about the boom in software patents in the US..........."

from the UK glossy.

"Nokia has quit the Computer and Communications Industry Association, a day after the group cut a deal with Microsoft. With one of its oldest and most tenacious antitrust opponents out of the way, Microsoft made an overnight public relations effort to try and bounce the EU competition commissioners to walk away from the Eurocrats' March decision to fine the company. But that appears to have been rebuffed - at least for now."

from The Reg

Brian S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

'Microsoft Has to Preserve Its Defensive Rights,' Eh?
Authored by: Rodrin on Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 11:51 AM EST
The representative from Microsoft claims that Microsoft has to preserve its defensive rights. Just what rights are those? This is supposed to be an Internet standard we are talking about here. That means everyone is supposed to have equal access to it, so what rights is Microsoft trying to defend? It's ridiculous to claim defensive rights over something that is supposed to become a standard for everyone to use. If you want it to become a standard for everyone then you give up all exclusive rights. That's part of the deal. Anything else is not an actual "standard."

[ Reply to This | # ]

The FTC Summit on Email Authentication and more on Patents
Authored by: sbungay on Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 04:16 PM EST
Pardon me while I be a little naive, because sometimes you do things simply
because you didn't know you couldnt. Why not simply strike before MS does? Play
the game, debate in public but work like he** in the background to roll out a
FOSS solution (if it exists) to the SPAM problem and make it available as an add
on for Windoze. Leverage that huge installed base of servers that run the email
system to cut MS off at the pass so that the world will truly benefit. Whats the
worst that can happen? Are we going to be chastised and told we can't implement
the solution because it is effective and freely available for all to use thereby
benefitting all?
Me thinks the email users of the world world would be on the side of those who
humbly pulled the thorn from their paw and asked for nothing in return.


---
Programmer: A red eyed mumbling mamal that converses with inanimate objects.

IANAL IAAP

[ Reply to This | # ]

Distribution
Authored by: cricketjeff on Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 07:31 PM EST
"Besides, he said, the patent license on Sender ID is only for
distributors. How many GPL end users ever modify code or distribute it?"

Given Microsoft are fond of claiming that millions of people "steal"
their software by giving it to friends, not deleting it when they sell a
computer etc. you would have thought he knew the answer to this question. The
whole point of FOSS software is everyone can distribute it. The whole point of
CSSS (caged secret source software) is you don't get to use it without paying a
tax.
There is no religion about itMicrosoft want to impose their licence on others,
if the standards body adopted a solution that reqired all users to show their
source code to end users Microsoft would not exactly embrace it with open arms,
why would they be surprisied if other people feel the same about their priciples
and interests?
The answer is of course that they aren't surprised, neither do they believe
there is any merit in their patent application they just see a chance to damage
a rival. And like all good monopolists everywhere they cannot pass up that
chance.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The FTC Summit on Email Authentication and more on Patents
Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 11:44 PM EST
"Microsoft had a representative on the panel as well, listed as David
Kaefer who was involved in launching the Shared Source initiative, and his
position was typical for Microsoft. He said that we have to get practical and
leave "religion" out of it."

As a matter of practicality, there is nothing "religious" about
refusing to trust the word of a convicted, unrepentant monopolist who regards
out of court settlements for its law-breaking, anti-competitive practices as
simply a cost of doing business - and who regards participation in standards
setting organizations as nothing more than a tool to advance its
anti-competitive interests.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The FTC Summit on Email Authentication and more on Patents
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 11 2004 @ 01:18 PM EST
According to the report...

Microsoft had a representative on the panel as well, listed as David Kaefer[...] How many GPL end users ever modify code or distribute it? Be pragmatic, he said, and separate out the religion from practical barriers to implementing Sender ID.

That is a pro-Microsoft response indeed!

Anyone can distribute GPL solutions, and many do. GPL does not draw the distinction between the "end users" and the "distributors" as Microsoft would like to see the software world look like. This is what provides the significant basis of value in the GPL model. That is the beauty of it.

I distribute Linux to my friends quite often. I can distribute it to business, churches, governments, and educational institutions as well. All within the guidlines of the GPL. I can provide top notch service and solutions using GPL code without having to first obtain blessings or licensing terms from anyone--only the GPL. Now that is opportunity!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Emailing the FTC
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 12 2004 @ 03:13 AM EST
Does anyone know of a way to email the FTC about this? There was an email
address provided for such before the conference, but I don't see one for
post-conference comments. Or, since the report was released, is it more
important to email members of Congress?
Thanks,
Sean

[ Reply to This | # ]

Questions for Groklaw Representatives
Authored by: Morosoph on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 08:53 AM EST
Accidentally posted here (tabbed browsing has its flaws):

Is the British government aware that the overwhelming weight of economic orthodoxy is that software patents are harmful?

Also, is the British government aware that the marketplace is changing is the US right now, with pure patent companies buying up patents from dying companies, and a sudden rate of increase of patenting by large companies, notably Microsoft. Why then should the future look like the past?

How can "Open Source thrives" be sufficient argument without reference to the costs and benefits of the two regimes?

Software Patents may not have stopped growth in the US, but are likely to have slowed it. The fact that companies hold patent portfolios as a defensive measure tells you something: they expect someone who sues them to have transgressed their own somewhere along the line. Without a patent portfolio of their own, how can a small business deal with this asymetry? How do they expect to find funding?

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