Larry . . .

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    My Events


    • You can find me at these upcoming events
    • 2010-07-21 to 2010-07-22 OSCON.
      I'll be at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON) on Wednesday and Thursday. SugarCRM engineer John Mertic is speaking at OSCON.
    • 2010-07-28 AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford.
      Jeff Kaplan of THINKstrategies is moderating a panel session at the AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford including Marten Mickos, Swayne Hill, Treb Ryan, Lars Buytaert, and me. I'm looking forward to a great discussion.
    • 2010-09-27 to 2010-09-29 Paris Open Source ThinkTank.
      Olliance Open Source ThinkTanks are always great events, and I'll thrilled to be at the Paris event again this year.
    • 2010-09-30 to 2010-10-01 Open World Forum.
      I am speaking at the Open World Forum (OWF) in Paris on Oct 1, 2010. I am also a judge in the OWF Open Innovation Demo Cup. Be sure to submit your project before July 31 for consideration.
    • 2010-10-05 London CRM Acceleration.
      SugarCRM will hold a CRM Acceleration in London on October 5, 2010.
    • 2010-10-21 Munich CRM Acceleration.
      SugarCRM will hold a CRM Acceleration in Munich on October 21, 2010.
    • 2010-10-25 Cap Gemini Open Your Mind.
      I'm speaking in the Netherlands at Open Your Mind, an event sponsored by Cap Gemini on Open Source.

    (Some of) My Favorite People

    • Chris DiBona
      Chris is a just plain great person and stand-up guy. He's also the Open Source program manager at Google.
    • Doc Searls
      Doc is the senior editor at Linux Journal and one of the four authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto, the iconoclastic web site that became the best-selling book.
    • Matt Asay
      Matt is the founder of OSBC, and currently runs business development at Alfresco.
    • r0ml Lefkowitz
      The r0ml is one of the most entertaining and insightful commentators on the state of the IT industry that I know.
    • Stephen Walli
      I first met Stephen when he worked at Microsoft, and I organized a dinner at OSCON between Eric Raymond and a number of the Microsoft Shared Source team. I liked him even then so that should tell you a lot.

    « Open Source Venture Investment Through Q1 of 2007 | Main | LinuxWorld Podcast with Don Marti »

    May 14, 2007

    Comments

    ralphg

    It appears Microsoft is using the SCO playbook: claim infringement but withhold the evidence.

    But then, wasn't Microsoft funding SCO? Now that the legal attack on Linux by SCO-as-proxy seems to be failing, Microsoft is switches tactics to a direct, albeit still nebulous, attack.

    David-Paul Niner

    Larry has the right idea here: Let's get these allegations out in the open once and for all so they can be debunked. That will allow developers to turn their attention back to more important tasks -- like developing better applications.

    Isn't there some legal recourse that can taken against MS for this? Is there anyone out there familiar enough with the law to know whether it's a violation of civil tort to make such allegations without providing details?

    It's time for RedHat, IBM, Oracle, et. al to come together and lay this matter to rest.

    Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

    Actually, Larry, a number, overwhelming or not, "is" rather than "are" if you want to get into copy editor nitpicking. That phrasing sounds stupid, though, so smart writers don't use that construction in the first place. :)

    But your main point about Microsoft is correct, and that's what counts!

    Steven Howe

    Isn't it about time Congress worked on making such claims illegal, even punishable by money and time in jail?

    It just bad for commerce as a whole to have a few companies make claims that are unprovable.

    Perhaps if the courts considered this type of behavior 'advertising' they could be fined or jailed by the FTC.

    user

    ok but what about the companies using OSS who have under the pressure already paid up to M$? if it proves there's been no patent infringement, would M$ have to pay the money back?

    I mean this has been going on now for a long time, and i've read several stories where companies have paid, but for what, i don't get it, M$ just says you infringe, and they pay without even asking what?

    Marty Heyman

    Eventually, they will either have to engage in real patent litigation and expose their claims to scrutiny or the market will discount the claims and they will lose any value. The failure to disclose discounted the value and impact of the claims at the outset. The market is no longer ignorant enough to take wild arm waving as significant. SCO (with Microsoft funding) did a lot to educate them.

    Having worked with Xybernaut, a company convinced at the very top of the Executive Team that it had incredibly valuable patents, I have seen the arc. Xybernaut eventually, in bankrupcy, tried to auction off the patents and got bids that were, compared to the valuations they believed in, a pittance. It was quite a revelation and one that will be repeated frequently in this software patent world.

    We all look forward to a day when this is all on the table and we can understand the situation on the facts. Until then, this is the kind of empty rhetoric powerless bullies use in moments of fear.

    -- Marty

    Wesley Parish

    "Microsoft, put up or shut up". Precisely!

    Microsoft is following in the footsteps of their mutant offspring The SCO Group. Unfortunately for Microsoft, those footsteps wound up in the mouth thereof. It is not a pretty sight. :)

    John Chrisoulakis

    Microsoft have elevated the magic list of OSS-violated patents to the status of "Trade Secret"!

    Revealing these patents has the likely outcome of greatly reducing their value, having them worked-around, or even extinguished. Bye-bye extortion racket...

    MS - Put up or shut up!!!

    JC

    Balph

    "I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party" - Sen. Joseph McCarthy

    Jeff Knodel

    Microsoft's goal is not to protect patents, or protect intellectual properties. Microsoft's goal is to slow corporate adoption of Linux, and protect their cash-cow, windows.

    Their tried and true methodology has been, aquire or steal technology, sewing FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), and enbrace and smother. This is no different.

    Microsoft us sewing FUD regarding patent litigation to make linux unattractive. Its 'open source' initiatives are attempts to embrace and smother competing technologies. The deal with novel is about 'legitimizing' the FUD claims. ("Obviously this is legitimate, see, this other company paid...") And the combination will lower stock prices of, say, Oracle and RedHat, and allow microsoft to aquire them for a song.

    Matt C

    I have a theory that there's quite a bit that can be done, even in the absence of further details by MS. Their patents are publically searchable; with a bit of effort, the one's they're likely referring to can be identified rather reliably.

    To make it easier, I've set up a little website for this purpose:

    http://twoclick.org/unnamed/

    Michael

    "There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed."

    Well, that's what you get when you file an even more overwhelming number of vague, obvious, and overly general patents, not to mention plenty of those with prior art.

    Joseph Arruda

    I think the only mileage they can even remotely hope to get out of this is a short term PR FUD-point.

    I am quite sure recent SCOTUS decisions like KSR Intl. v. Teleflex and the like will not work in favor of MS either.

    Were it to actually hit the courts, it could entirely (I would say very much likely end up very disappointing for MS, much as what came of Honeywell v. Sperry-Rand.

    Ragingguppy

    I would like to know exactly what part of the Linux gui Microsoft thinks violated their patent. As far as I can tell gnome looks nothing like windows in its design. In fact the theme engine already existed before Microsoft put there's in. What are they suggesting the icons are a violation. I'd day thats a bit of a stretch if you ask me. Whats left if anything?

    DaveLChgo

    Lets not forget where MS got the idea for icons in the first place... Anyone remember the old Xerox display on its copiers? Bill Gates does!! Look, a tiny picture and if I push it the copier starts!! Cool!! MS windows got started by patent infringments.

    Jack

    Everyone copies off of someone to some extent...

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    My Companies


    • I am involved with these companies as an investor and board member.
    • Appcelerator
      Open Source platform that provides everything you need to build rich web, mobile and desktop applications. News
    • DotNetNuke
      Open Source framework for building websites and web applications on Microsoft ASP.NET. News
    • SugarCRM
      Open Source Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. I have been a board member and investor at SugarCRM since 2005 and CEO there since May 2009. News

    My Investments


    • I am an investor in and/or advisor to these companies.
    • Dasient
      Dasient is an an early-stage company that is solving next-generation security problems for the Internet. News
    • DeviceVM
      Embedded instant-on operating system for consumer devices. News
    • Eloqua
      On-line lead generation and marketing automation. News
    • Fonality
      Open Source VoIP PBX based on Asterisk. News
    • Funambol
      Funambol's vision is to make push email and mobile content/PIM sync easy between the largest number of smart & feature phones, the Internet cloud and popular desktop apps. News
    • Medsphere
      Open Source Electronic Health Record (EHR). News
    • MuleSource
      Mule is then world's most widely-used Open Source ESB and integration platform. News
    • Novara Clinical Research
      Novara Clinical Research operates dedicated facilities for conducting Phase II to Phase IV patient studies for the pharmaceutical industry. News
    • Pentaho
      Open Source Business Intelligence (BI). News
    • VirtualLogix
      Real-time virtualization for mobile devices. News
    • Vyatta
      Open Source router and firewall. News
    • WSO2
      Next generation Open Source Web services platform. News

    My Exits

    My Current Reading List

    • Robert Jordan: Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, Book 11)

      Robert Jordan: Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, Book 11)
      I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I'm still reading Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series. When he passed L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth decology I could have cried. Maybe WoT will be made into the worst movie of all time? Still, I've been following the saga of Rand al'Thor for more than a decade now, and I want to see how it ends. Rumor is that the next book, Memory of Light, will in fact conclude the saga. To borrow a phrase, "There should have been only one." (**)

    • Neal Stephenson: Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 1)

      Neal Stephenson: Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 1)
      My family got me Quicksilver for Christmas. I'm not far into it, but it's clearly a Stephenson book: lots of historical connections, multiple timeline unfolding simultaneously, meticulous historical detail, 100 pages in the plot is still a total mystery, big "thud"factor... Should be a great read.

    • Chris DiBona: Open Sources 2.0

      Chris DiBona: Open Sources 2.0
      Anything edited by Chris DiBona is worth spending the time to read.

    • David Kahn: The Codebreakers : The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet

      David Kahn: The Codebreakers : The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet
      I'm just getting started with this one, but so far it's a fascinating account of the history of cryptology. It's a massive 1200 pages, so it may be a while before I move on to something else.