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EU Commission Regrets... No SW Patents on the Agenda & R.I.P. MS?
Friday, February 11 2005 @ 01:34 PM EST

Here's the latest on software patents in Europe, and it appears the Dutch move has succeeded:

"The Commission regrets very much that the software patent will not be on the agenda. It has been removed," Commission spokesman Olivier Drewes told a news conference.

If you read german, here's a bit more detail. It mentions that not only the Dutch Parliament opposes the directive but Spain too has taken its stand, which you can read in Spanish here and the German article also mentions a statement by UEAPME that the directive would be harmful to small and medium-sized businesses and asking for a restart. Here's their press release [PDF]. And for a little more depth on the positions of both sides, and what the future may hold, here is an article that tries to capture it all. They say that while the battle has been won by the antisoftware side for this year, the prosoftware side will surely not throw in the towel.

There is another article I think you will be interested in, an opinion piece in Silicon Insider, "R.I.P. Microsoft?" by Michael S. Malone, who has quite a track record in predicting such things, who writes that he detects the smell of death on Microsoft. ABC News took the unusual step of adding this at the end: "This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News."

Here's what Mr. Malone thinks:

"Great, healthy companies not only dominate the market, but share of mind. Look at Apple these days. But when was the last time you thought about Microsoft, except in frustration or anger? The company just announced a powerful new search engine, designed to take on Google — but did anybody notice? Meanwhile, open systems world — created largely in response to Microsoft's heavy-handed hegemony — is slowly carving away market share from Gates & Co.: Linux and Firefox hold the world's imagination these days, not Windows and Explorer. The only thing Microsoft seems busy at these days is patching and plugging holes.

"Speaking of Gates: if you remember, he was supposed to be going back into the lab to recreate the old MS alchemy. But lately it seems — statesmanship being the final refuge of the successful entrepreneur — that he's been devoting more time to philanthropy than capitalism. And though Steve Ballmer is legendary for his sound and fury, these days his leadership seems to be signifying nothing.

"Longhorn's Delayed Release

"There are other clues as well. Microsoft has always had trouble with stand-alone applications, but in its core business it has been as relentless as the Borg. Now the company seems to have trouble executing even the one task that should take precedence over everything else: getting 'Longhorn,' its Windows replacement, to market. Longhorn is now two years late. That would be disastrous for a beloved product like the Macintosh, but for a product that is universally reviled as a necessary, but foul-tasting, medicine, this verges on criminal insanity. Or, more likely, organizational paralysis.

"Does anyone out there love MSN? I doubt it; it seems to share AOL's fate of being disliked but not hated enough to change your e-mail account. And do college kids still dream of going to work at MS? Five years ago it was a source of pride to go to work for the Evil Empire — now, who cares? . . .

"For now, though, none of that is obvious. Microsoft is still the dominant company in high-tech, the cynosure of all those things people love and hate about computing, the defining company of our time. It is huge, powerful and confident.

"But if you sniff the air, you can just make out the first hints of rot."

Why put the two stories together on Groklaw? Because I see a connection. I see widespread distrust of Microsoft and disgust at their business practices. They may have been largely successul in pulling out the teeth of the US antitrust ruling, but they are feeling now the effects of being found guilty of antitrust violations both here and in Europe nonetheless. If there is one thing money can't buy, it's a good reputation. Maybe you really do reap what you sow after all.


  


EU Commission Regrets... No SW Patents on the Agenda & R.I.P. MS? | 210 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
R.I.P. "Sir" Billy Bob
Authored by: ray08 on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 01:56 PM EST
I sure hope this article is on track! I know I have felt that M$ was doomed some
5 years ago, but couldn't understand why it wasn't in an obvious state of
decline and why corporate America followed after them. I knew then, as now, you
can't treat customers the way M$ has and not go out of business. At least for 10
years I have been saying that "M$ is their own worst enemy". Yea, I
smell the rot even today, though it's hard to now, because I've gotton used to
the stinch!

---
Caldera is toast! And Groklaw is the toaster! (with toast level set to BURN)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 01:56 PM EST
If any....

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft won't die
Authored by: Einhverfr on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 02:04 PM EST
Microsoft is a huge company with large cash reserves. Even after the divident
and stock buyback, they will still have reasonable cash reserves and very little
corporate debt if any. In the spirit of full disclosure, I used to work at
Microsoft.

Microsoft's software business is another story. They are dealing with a large
number of problems each of which threatens the very viability of the business.
Market saturation, FOSS, and a deep-seated mistrust of them by their customers
are a few of the problems. Add to it that they are a convicted monopolist which
adds a huge level of civil liability. IANAL, but I said back during the US
antitrust case that the worst thing from MS's perspective would be to be slapped
on the wrist. Ralph Nader disagreed and said that an army of lawyers would be
required to prevent further abuses, but the huge number of civil antitrust suits
going forward have been largely indicative of the fact that this army of lawyers
has been easy to assemble.

Each of these problems threatens their livelihood in the software industry. The
combination is a perfect storm.

So Microsoft is not likely to go out of business, but neither are they likely to
remain in the software industry indefinitely. Their MSN division has been
quietly building a media company with a presence on cable TV along with popular
news portals, financial information, web publishing services, and more.

In other words, Microsoft will be around for a long time to come. They just
might not be the Microsoft we currently know.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Anyone care to bet that ...
Authored by: Jude on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 02:04 PM EST
... the Commission is just flat-out lying, and will try to sneak it through when
people stop watching?

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU Commission Regrets... No SW Patents on the Agenda & R.I.P. MS?
Authored by: Nick_UK on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 02:05 PM EST
Well, it's Friday, and with 2 GREAT bits of news over the
last 2 days, /.

Couldn't be better :)

Nick

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT and other links here, please
Authored by: jbeadle on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 02:05 PM EST
You know the drill...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic
Authored by: Naich on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 02:08 PM EST
<a href="http://www.example.com">Click here</a>

Just like that.

[ Reply to This | # ]

German article - crude translation
Authored by: JOff on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 02:41 PM EST
Fight over software-patents in the EU continues

Brussels(dpa) - against prior schedule EU member states will not stipulate on a EU law for software patents.

This item is not any more an the agenda of the EU-Ministerrat meeting at Thuesday (17. February), a spokesman of EU-Binnenmarktkommisar Charlie Mc Creevy announced on friday in Brussels.

There is no new schedule up to now.

The irish comissioner was reported by the spokesman to be very unhappy (unsatisfied). This further delay was not due to Poland, that blocked the decision for some time. There were other reason that were not further specified. With the Guideline the up to now different handling of patent approval shall be unified.


Indeed, better then any movie.

[ Reply to This | # ]

When has late software been a problem with MS?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 03:15 PM EST
EOM

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU Commission Regrets... No SW Patents on the Agenda & R.I.P. MS?
Authored by: blacklight on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 03:54 PM EST
Microsoft can say whatever it wants. I will merely point out that if Micrsoft is
right that Windows is superior to the Open Source alternatives, then Microsoft
has nothing to fear from Open Source competition. However, a convicted
monopolist who talks trash while wringing its hands is bound to raise a few
eyebrows.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS won't go away
Authored by: niko on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 04:16 PM EST
Sorry guys, but MS is very likely to stay for a long time. There were many big
companies that went down (DEC and Wang being a good example, it seems HP will
follow, AT&T and others). But MS ... Well that's a very different bussines.
They have ... cash. That's about all they have: lots and lots of cash, and even
if they give the money they have now to tha shareholders, in two years the money
will be back. That's my opinion.
Now back to my FreeBSD box.

---
Dintre sute de catarge care lasa malurile, cate oare le vor sparge vanturile,
valurile ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

social democracy vs. capitalism...
Authored by: Latesigner on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 04:19 PM EST
I sure hope they're not doing this one.
When Europe got caught flat-footed they did a pretty good job of diagnosing the
problem.
In particular the Germans were fairly clear on why silicon valley wasn't in
Europe (That Jobs and Wozniack would have been shot on sight if they'd tried to
get capitalized and that their national university system had just created a
study program for entrepreneurs that would let you think about starting a
business by the time you were 28 or so. There's a good reason why there were no
european equivalents of Micorsoft and Apple).
So now they're going to enshrine the software patents that threaten to strangle
innovation on this side of the Atlantic and they're buying the argument, from
the chief stranglers, that they can't compete without patents?
Excuse me while I knock my head against a wall. It will ease the pain.
Europe can't be that frightened by change or by competition. What they're doing
is basically a bad habit and they should get over it.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Thank Poland press conference Wed Feb 16 in Warsaw
Authored by: nb on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 04:50 PM EST
Here's a quick update on the Thank Poland letter which, as you may recall, was originally inspired by a Groklaw comment:

I've been invited to deliver the well-deserved thanks to Poland on Wednesday Feb 16 at a meeting of European Integration Commission of the Polish parliament (Komisja Europejska Sejmu RP). I have been told that the first point on the agenda is "possible A-items for Council Thursday's ECOFIN meeting". Even if the current expectation is correct that that "software patents directive" won't be one of those A-items at the Feb 17 ECOFIN meeting, it looks like I'm getting a chance to make a small contribution to shaping the course of history :-)

There will be a press conference afterwards.

If you have good press and/or other media contacts (general news plus technology and business oriented as well) please try to convince them to cover this unusual -and hence interesting- event. This should be of interest not only in Poland, but at least in all of Europe.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Death of MS Could be Trouble
Authored by: Prototrm on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 04:56 PM EST
Not that I think it would happen, but...

While FOSS supporters everywhere would be happy (initially, at least), just
think for a moment of the impact the collapse of Microsoft would have. There
wouldn't be a vacuum, only chaos. Other companies would purchase Windows and
Office. It would be interesting to speculate who would buy what. The worst case
I can imagine would be someone who has a clue buys Windows, and removes the bits
that cause the vulnerabilities (like ActiveX components in IE having low-level
access to the OS). Such a company might actually implement some of the
paranoia-inspired Trusted Computer threats people have imagined over the years.
Better the devil you know?

If such a collapse becomes a reality, I think that Microsoft will still exist,
but as an IP company only, surviving on patent lawsuits. They'll sell off
everything else to the highest bidder, leaving us with packages like Computer
Associates Office and Oracle Windows. SQL Server would be bought by someone
like Sybase (on whose code, SQL Server was originally based)

Even the most optimistic outcome of such a collapse could be disasterous to
Linux. Imagine if Novell were to buy the Windows code, and release it under the
GPL. Yeah, I know, patents and copyrights would probably stand in the way.
Still, the thought of all that Swiss Cheese code on Sourceforge is chilling. Who
knows where it would end up?

The what-ifs you could spin from all this are quite possibly endless, and fun to
imagine. Let's have your speculations, everyone.

[ Reply to This | # ]

On the Spanish piece
Authored by: ile on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 04:59 PM EST
I am not sure that copyright allows me to translate the Europapress news report, so I'll paraphrase it somewhat.

The Spanish Senate (Upper House in the Spanish bicameral parlament) has passed an _unanimous_ resolution that the government should press for the non-patentability of software in the EU.

This was proposed by the Entesa Catalana de Progrés (in catalan in the original - an electoral coalition in the catalan autonomous region for the Senate elections, close to the governing socialist party, since it includes the catalan socialist party, the Republican Left of Catalonia, and the coalition of a rather leftist party and one of the Green parties), but has passed with everybody's support, including the Popular party, which holds a big plurality in the Senate.

As to its actual relevance, well, the Senate is in actual fact the junior house, similar to the House of Lords in the UK. The government turns up there from time to time, but its real parlamentary business is carried in the Chamber of Deputies (Congreso de Diputados). And it is not a legislative motion.

The really good thing is that it goes hand in glove with the previous stand of the government on this topic.

There is a link to a PDF with the Diario de Sesiones (like the British Hansard). I should point out that the moving senator makes explicit mention of Hispalinux as one of the main advocates of the non-patentability of software. Cheers!!

Surprisingly enough, the conservative catalan nationalists (CiU) had apparently some reservations towards the original language of the motion, because (hold tight) they thought it could be understood as demanding that free (libre) software be compulsory for the whole spanish administration! No such luck...

[ Reply to This | # ]

We are stuck with Microsoft for ever
Authored by: rweiler on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 05:21 PM EST
It comes to the old saying that when somebody goes to the hardware store to buy
a drill, they don't really want to own a drill, what they want are holes. People
don't buy an operating system because they want an operating system, they buy it
because they have a problem to solve and they percieve that there is some
application software that will run on the OS that will help them solve their
problem. The reality is that there are thousands more such percieved solutions
on Windows than there are on other platforms. Apple is doing better because they
have gotten their prices more in line with WinTel machines, and they offer some
of the same applications, but they are still losing ground on the desktop. That
is because, in the absence of viruses and security holes, it IS cheaper to
maintain a monoculture, so any non-Windows machine represents additional support
costs to a shop that is currently Windows only. These are the network effects
that Judge Jackson refered to in his decision against Microsoft. Unfortunately,
Jackson's errors in judgment w/r/t the press ended up tainting his extremely
well thought out and articulated judicial decision. Of course, we are only
stuck with Windows in the collective sense. Individuals can still choose
alternatives. That is what makes Microsoft's patent activities so ominous. They
can potentially foreclose Linux as an alternative.

---
Sometimes the measured use of force is the only thing that keeps the world from
being ruled by force. -- G. W. Bush

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU Commission Regrets... No SW Patents on the Agenda & R.I.P. MS?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 06:03 PM EST
See:
http://wiki.ffii.org/Cons050211En

It is not The Netherlands, it is Denmark which saves us this time. So the Dutch
Parliament motion is unimportant with regard to its effects. Denmark's
government promised the opposition to delay Council vote until the new folketing
will meet and advice the Council representatives.

I am still waiting for a B item.

As far as I know Gates did not talk about the directive with McCreevy as the
whole issue is of minor importance for Microsoft. Not companies such as MS ecc.
are the driving force behind the directive but patent professionals.

The Commission is currently not important. McCreevy was slaughtered by the JURI
Committee. He has to adopt the JURI motion or he will get serious trouble.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft dies?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 08:57 PM EST
Some people say that it would take Microsoft a long time to die because it has
so much money in the bank.

That doesn't matter. If it looks like Microsoft is in trouble and is not going
to recover, then the stockholders would demand that it give out its cash as a
dividend.

In fact, last quarter gave half its cash hoard to its stockholders. It did this
because its stock price hadn't risen in five years, and so stockholders wanted
to get something.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Macbeth
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 09:07 PM EST
Quoting Malone, "And though Steve Ballmer is legendary for his sound and fury, these days his leadership seems to be signifying nothing."

The one key word left out of the reference is "idiot".
He just called Ballmer an idiot.

Act 5, Scene 5 and 3rd Macbeth verse therein.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Macbeth - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 09:32 PM EST
  • Macbeth - Authored by: star-dot-h on Sunday, February 13 2005 @ 05:14 PM EST
    • Macbeth - Authored by: Balance on Monday, February 14 2005 @ 05:46 PM EST
EU Commission Regrets... No SW Patents on the Agenda & R.I.P. MS?
Authored by: m_si_M on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 09:10 PM EST

At any other event this would belong in the OT thread but given the postings here and the opinion piece mentioned by PJ, I think it's somehow useful to direct everyone's attention to one of today's articles on Newsforge, headlined Low-key leaders are essential to open source success.

I recommend reading the whole piece, but for the impatient, here are some really interesting quotes.

Meanwhile, we're seeing a change in open source and free software spotlighters. Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond are losing influence in the public/media sense, while the bland/corporate, sales-oriented Stu Cohen is being trotted out more, usually with a newly media-friendly Linus Torvalds standing next to him. And the tactic is working. "Such and such company joins OSDL" was once news. Now it's a twice-a-week ho-hum press release. Everybody but Microsoft seems to be joining up.

[...]

At some point, given the um ... colorful ... nature of the executives running many of the world's largest proprietary software companies, open source may be seen as the buttoned-down, conservative choice, not as the quirky outsider. As a case in point, contrast Oracle's Larry Ellison with MySQL's Mårten Mickos. Mårten comes across as a serious, trustworthy executive who keeps his mind on MySQL, while Larry comes across as a big basket of ego who is at least as interested in fast cars, girlfriends, airplanes, and racing yachts as in producing quality software.

[...]

The freedom to make, maintain, and distribute your own version of a critical program is a major "safety valve" built into all open source and free software. In the long run, it is the biggest reason a concerned corporate manager should choose free or open source software over proprietary alternatives.

[...]

So we have a double bonus with free and open source software: First, we're starting to see open source product leaders and spokespeople who are saner and more businesslike than their proprietary software industry counterparts. And second, with open source software, the project leader's whims can't affect that software's users nearly as much as the whims of a proprietary software company's CEO can affect its customers.

This pair of open source advantages hasn't yet penetrated the software-using mainstream. But it will.

And when it does, proprietary software businesses are going to have an awfully hard time competing against open source in the corporate market.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU Commission Regrets... No SW Patents on the Agenda & R.I.P. MS?
Authored by: DaveF on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 09:40 PM EST
Translation of the German Article:



Tug-of-war Over Software Patents in the EU Continues


Brussels (dpa) -- Despite earlier plans, the EU States will not be agreeing to
software patents in the coming weeks.

The issue has been removed from the agenda for the EU Council of Ministers
meeting to be held Thursday (17 February), a spokesman for EU Domestic Market
Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, said on Friday in Brussels. There is no new date
set for any renewal of the discussion.

The Irish Commissioner is upset with this new development, said the spokesman.
This latest result is not due to Poland, who had blocked the decision for some
time. The spokesman indicated that there were other reasons, which he declined
to elaborate more fully. The purpose of the proposal would have been to
standardise patent-granting practices across the various EU states.

---
Imbibio, ergo sum

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thanks again to the Poles, et. al.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 10:25 PM EST

The Poles stepped back and said "we have done all we can do, but we cannot
do this alone."

And the Danes, the Dutch, and the Spaniards have stepped into the breech.

Are there more to come?


Thank you, Poland, for stopping the Barbarians at the Gates.

You did it once at Vienna.

You have done it again at the EU.


Thank you Denmark.

Thak you Holland.

Thank you Spain.


Al the best,

Epaminondas

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Media Center
Authored by: johan on Friday, February 11 2005 @ 10:27 PM EST
I read Malone's piece last night, and when I woke up I had this near-epiphany;
MS's Media Center will be not just a dud, but a catastrophy for MS.

Why? Lets just imagine a few years from now, an early Saturday morning, kids
making a racket and you finally send them off to watch some TV. Now, Saturday
morning cartoons are an evil nest of advertising daemons just waiting to digest
the brains and desires of the young and innocent, so you have just bought a MS
Media Center, told it to "tape" only a few approved shows, and clean
them of advertising (as best as MS will allow you).

Imagine your supprise when the youngest kids come running in saying "I want
to watch cartoons, but Andy just wants to watch those naked people bouncing on
each other".

Ah yes... last night while browsing, some site manage to add some
'interesting" feature to your Media Center and now it only downloads
pr0n...

If this happened, how long before thousands of boxes where returned and angry
parents marched on Redmond?

--j

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU Commission Regrets... No SW Patents on the Agenda & R.I.P. MS?
Authored by: Alban Browaeys on Saturday, February 12 2005 @ 04:00 AM EST
I have found this link in one of the anonymous reply:
http ://www.ipjur.com/2005/02/uk-to-lead-working-group-on-ip-and.php3
in short UK organize a summit between american patent
office, european one, european commision and australian
patent office to "talk" about the "Intellectual
Properties" issues in the developping countries.

" the U.S. to outmanoeuvre the WIPO which is increasingly
perceived as being hampered by certain WIPO Member
States (Brazil, Argentina) and NGOs increasingly"

I guess we know what s next after A-Item ...
Surprisingly Poland is not invited though lithuania and
slovakia are there.
Estonia is know for its new economy ut lithuania and
slovakia ... i wonder why Hawaii was not invited.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SWPat Stuff: Dead Patent-Law Sketch, Write to Embassies, Funny MS Story, &c
Authored by: joeblakesley on Saturday, February 12 2005 @ 09:47 PM EST
First, let's celebrate another victory. Here's a slightly modified sketch I just wrote (apologies to Monty Python, and, yes, I do have a veeerrry bored life) which might help and maybe even be funny:

Dead Patent-Law Sketch

The Cast:

  • Mr. Gates
  • A European Commissioner

The Sketch

A customer (with brown envelopes and chequebook aready) enters the €C in Brussels.

Mr. Gates: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

(The commisioner does not respond.)

Mr. Gates: 'Ello, Miss?

Commissioner: What do you mean "miss"?

Mr. Gates: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!

Commissioner: We're closin' for lunch.

Mr. Gates: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this patent law what I purchased not two years ago from this very office.

Commissioner: Oh yes, the, uh, the computer-implemented inventions one...What's, uh...What's wrong with it?

Mr. Gates: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

Commissioner: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.

Mr. Gates: Look, matey, I know a dead patent law when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Commissioner: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable law, idn'it, ay? Beautiful sophistory and ambiguity!

Mr. Gates: The anbiguity don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

Commissioner: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

Mr. Gates: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up!

...

Mr. Gates: You let the European Parliament kill 'im, didn't you!

Commissioner: I never!!

Mr. Gates: Yes, you did!

Commissioner: I never, never did anything...

(Mr. Gates takes patent law out of briefcase and thumps it on the desk. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

Mr. Gates: Now that's what I call a dead patent law. The JURI is no longer out on that patent law...its most definitely deceased.

Commissioner: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!

Mr. Gates: STUNNED?!?

Commissioner: Yeah! 'E was stunned by all the public backlash! Patent laws stun easily, major.

Mr. Gates: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That patent law is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not two years ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following prolonged internal diplomacy.

Commissioner: Well...uhhh...we prefer to do things dead slow and sure like in the EU!

Mr. Gates: Well...the dead bit is most certainly right. Look, why did it fall flat on his back the moment I got home last time? I never had these problems with Congress...

Commissioner:Remarkable patent law, id'nit, squire? Lovely contradictions and those beautiful convoluted sentences!

Mr. Gates: Look, I took the liberty of examining that patent law when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had got as far as it had in the first place was that no one had actually READ it.

(pause)

Commissioner: Well, o'course they don't! They're not payed enough for that...at least they are, but we pay 'em NOT to read 'em. That's the trick, you see. Trust me...that patent law will fly straight through as an A-item in the fisheries committee...just like...a parrot, sir...you know parrots love a bit of fish...the great thing is, sir, that the ministers and MEPs avoid it like the plague on account of it stinkin' to 'igh 'eaven...

Mr. Gates: Never find how 'igh your damn committee stinks, this bird wouldn't fly through your committee if you put four million volts through every minister present! 'E's bleedin' demised!

Commissioner: No no! 'E's just a li'l slow!

Mr. Gates: 'E's not slow! 'E's passed on! This patent law is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! 'E's pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked thebucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PATENT LAW!!

(pause)

Commissioner: Well, I'd better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek round the back) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back, and uh, we're right out of patent laws.

Mr. Gates: I see. I see, I get the picture.

Commissioner: I got a HIPC initiative. Uhhh...your good...ummm...friend, Mr. Brown had this idea you see but he hasn't got the means...

(pause)

Mr. Gates: (sweetly) Pray, will it take out my competitors?

Commissioner: Nnnnot really.

Mr. Gates: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT, IS IT?!!???!!?

Commissioner: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

Mr. Gates: Well. (pause)

Commissioner: (quietly) You know I thought that...uhhh...spread you did in Teen Beat was rather good...uhhh...D'you....d'you want to come back to my place?

Mr. Gates: (looks around) Yeah, all right, sure.

Copyright

The original dead parrot sketch was written by Graham Chapman, et. al. for Monty Python's Flying Circus and is © 1989 Pantheon Books/Random House, Inc. My modification of it is contested to be fair use for the purposes of parody. My modifications to it are in the public domain, but please give credit.

Disclaimer

Any resemblences or references to real people, living or dead; or real events, businesses, or organisations are purely co-incidental.

OK. Yes. That was very very WRONG.


Now I've got that out of my system, here's a very funny MS & swpat-related story (yes..sorry I seem to be in an MS-bashing mood today) about a free-software company who were offered a gratis MSN expert researcher for the day and used the opportunity to ask them to research MS's involvement with Brussels.


Now I've finished on the humour. I think it is really important that those of us in the EU (and maybe even those who aren't) write letters (not just the petition, emails, faxes, &c but writing in ink with a pen on dead trees)--I'm doing my tommorrow--to our Polish ambassadors (and also Spanish and Dutch if possible) thanking them for their help in stopping the directive going through.

Find the addresses of your local Polish, Dutch and Spanish embassies on the GoAbroad WWW site.

For those of us in the UK, here are the addresses:

Mrs. Anna Sochanska-Bialek
EU
Counsellor
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
47 Portland Place
LONDON W1B
1JH

Spanish Embassy
39 Chesham Place
LONDON SW1X 8SB

Royal Netherlands
Embassy
38 Hyde Park Gate
LONDON SW7 5DP


Also, for those of you who really don't get the patent directive (I don't blame you) this sort of summarises what the problems with the crucial phrasing in the directive and is a good read: Why can't I patent a movie? (as such).

---
Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley
(This post is in the public domain wrt "copyright" unless otherwise stated.)

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Valentine's Day -- Can't we just Kiss and Make Up ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 13 2005 @ 02:57 AM EST
What's the value of the CD that can do this SuSE Linux 9.2 Live for Windows ?

What's the cost ? Zero, of course. It's all GPL.

It's easy enough to find the pieces; search for QEMU. Put a note here if you need help with the assembly work to glue it together. Use the torrents at Prebuilt Linux-for-Windows isos if you are trusting.

Linux Loves Windows !

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft now being run for cash?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 13 2005 @ 05:18 PM EST
Something is certainly up with MS. They post obscene profits, but are having
trouble deliverying new products. Oh and they are making people redundant
and have halved R+D http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/01/27/
microsoft_fy2005q2_earnings/.

So the company is now being run for cash?

But lets face it, once you have monopoly the only way is down. MS say that
piracy costs them money and if they reduced piracy they could reduce the
price of their products. So why is WInXP the most expensive desktop OS ever?

And why do Dell use Linux to do a new OS install on their servers?

Somethings up, and they aren't telling their shareholders...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft dying - film at eleven.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, February 14 2005 @ 09:19 AM EST
*Yawn*. I've been hearing the stories of "Microsoft dying", "Linux/Open source
to take over", etc for over a decade. And each time it get many chears from open
source zealots. But nothing is really happening. Microsoft still rules. Now, I
would like to see an alternative for Microsoft (because I hate their products
with a passion - I won't touch it with a ten-foot pole), but my prediction is
that Microsoft will dominate the market for a long, long time to come.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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