Trivia poll: How many Microsoft patents are broken by free programs?

Trivia poll: How many Microsoft patents are broken by free programs?


Fri, 2007-05-18 06:13 -- admin
Zero
57% (38 votes)
Two hundred and thirty five
4% (3 votes)
Five thousand, three hundred and fifty seven
0% (0 votes)
One million, three hundred and thirty six thousand, seven hundred and seven (give or take)
13% (9 votes)
All of them!
25% (17 votes)
Total votes: 67

Comments

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

Okay so you've probably heard by now that Microsoft are at it again. They're saying that free software applications infringe on their patent portfolio. But this time they're getting more specific: they've told us how many patents they think are being infringed. Not which ones. Just how many. Let us know how many of Microsoft's patents you think are being infringed upon by free software.

I'll leave you with this (in case you haven't already heard it):

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” - Mahatma Gandhi

guydjohnston's picture

I expect it's probably more than zero, but it's probably closer to that than the others. I don't particularly care how many software idea patents they have in the US or elsewhere, or how many are broken by free (as in freedom) programmes, because I don't think software idea patents should exist at all. They definitely don't do what patents are supposed to do, which is to benefit the public. Some people have suggested that if Microsoft actually start trying to sue anyone for infringing on any of those patents (if anyone actually does), then that might just end up causing a big overhaul of the US patent system.

--
GNU - free as in freedom

clodhopper's picture
Submitted by clodhopper (not verified) on

I would have to guess that the answer to your poll would be about half as many Micro$haft patents are being infringed upon as the FOSS GNU/CreativeCommons/BSD innovations that Micro$haft has stolen from the Open Source Community, Apple, Xerox, Mosaic, IBMdos, etc........ no, 33 1/3% ............ no 25% ....... no 10% ..... Oh well, as long as Micro$haft continues to spread FUD, instead of going to court, ...... it's probably more like 1%.

clanpattison's picture

I would have to guess that the answer to your poll would be about half as many Micro$haft patents are being infringed upon as the FOSS GNU/CreativeCommons/BSD innovations that Micro$haft has stolen from the Open Source Community, Apple, Xerox, Mosaic, IBMdos, etc........ no, One third ............ no 25% ....... no 10% ..... Oh well, as long as Micro$haft continues to spread FUD, instead of going to court, ...... it's probably more like 1%.
Helena, Montana, site of the Northernmost Monument to the Confederacy, and Virginia City Montana, originally named Verena City, for the wife of President Jefferson Davis of the CSA.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

How can you steal free? Free does not mean free just for those who have the same opinion as you.

Roshan George's picture

You can infringe on patents, and still not be using the same source. Some of the code in Linux is patented too.
http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/about.php
Some other patents pledged to Open Source: http://www.patentcommons.org/

Frankly, I don't like the idea of software patents, but as long they're there, developers who write Free Software need to have their 'rights' under those too.

jcaveman's picture
Submitted by jcaveman on

My guess would be all of them. Of course when you patent things that are vague, minor variations of things already accomplished by other people, that happens. Whether MS will ever identify any of the patents they think are infringed and where they are infringed is another story. My guess is they won't, if they identify the patents, someone in the FOSS community will challenge the patents, and they wouldn't want that.

jacku's picture
Submitted by jacku (not verified) on

Because the real question is are the patents enforceable? Microsoft hasn't said which patents because it knows as soon as it does the Free Software patent hunters will work to show that what Microsoft got a patent on either:

A. Existed in some other form prior to their patent. (Prior art defense)

B. The patent is on something that is "obvious" and should not have been granted because of that.

Bj Hadley's picture
Submitted by Bj Hadley on

From an Insiders point of view, Microsoft infringe quite a lot of "Patents" actually.

clau85's picture
Submitted by clau85 on

First, to make it clear, I think that software patents are a bad idea. It's
just absurd. But to get to the point: Microsofts claims. One/three word(s):
FUD. Microsoft is (finally?) seeing GNU/Linux as a threat. I mean, come on!
They advertise in Linux magazines... which is actually quite funny. Why do I
think it's FUD?
1. they don't tell exactly which and where their patents are
infringed, because they could not get to money if they would. As far as I know, the patent law sais that if a patent is infringed _without_ knowing, then a certain time is allowed in order for the programmers to fix it. How much time would the Open Source community need in order to fix 200 and whatever patents? [Notice: that number is provided by Microsoft, as-is, without any further information]. Ok, so Microsoft would not want that. So what do they do? They only say patents are infringed and wait for (big) companies to fear of being sued for using Open Source software and sign a Novell- and Dell-like deal with them (I think they said that themselves). That way, the (indirectly) make money with Open Source! That's just
disgusting.
2. They won't _dare_ to sue anybody for patent infrigement, because bigs like IBM, Sun and the sort will back Open Source up, making Microsoft small. This is why I don't see any danger in Microsofts claims, empty words and FUD, the sort of stuff we're used to hear from them. Their whole strategy and campain just makes me sick and disgusted. The opposite is what attract me at Open Source software: the spirit of Freedom and the love of good programming practices.

Developers, developers, developers........ (hint: so a search on Youtube for the words: "Ballmer developers"

Enough said...

WilliamR's picture
Submitted by WilliamR on

This could be the egg getting taken, then used in another hen house to have more chickens. The egg started out free for the public but a private ownership took a batch and then hatched the eggs on the private farm and said this breed of chickens can't be sold any where else. This is a gross over simplification of a issue that is really complex. The software that hard working programmers put out as open source and could be free too. Nice . Then the code is looked by a lock down company and then a patent is pubished with the opens source code right in it shows someone in the patent office is not doing their homework and or they are asked to look the other way.

Eric Drake's picture
Submitted by Eric Drake on

I answered zero on the poll not because I know anything specific about Microsoft patents, who does ? I answered zero because having seen nothing from Microsoft, I must presume there's nothing there. But I'm open minded. I'll accept whatever the courts state as the case.

Alan B.'s picture
Submitted by Alan B. (not verified) on

It's 235....days left at M$ for Mr Bullmer?

Oh well, we can dream can't we? :-)

Anonymous Hitchhiker's picture
Submitted by Anonymous Hitchhiker (not verified) on

No entry for 42?

mykeyspace's picture
Submitted by mykeyspace on

In Europe the answer is still (and hopefully forever will be) zero patent infringements. And since Microsoft hasn't proven any patent infringements by free software the answer is still zero in the US too. Actori incumbit probatio...

But Microsoft may always publish their sourcecode to prove that free software infringes their patents :)

I guess this matter shows it again: software patents are a bad idea.