Tag Archives: Patent

Sony to remove Linux option from PS3 is either a PR April fools joke ever or the worst move ever?


I heard today that Sony plans on removing the “other OS” option from their systems. What was more shocking was their supposed reason for removing this feature. Now I have a PS3 and I personally think it is one of the best systems available today. However, this move makes absolutely no sense. Some of my colleagues use PS3 with Fedora and Ubuntu. However, why are they removing this feature? The timing is bad and moreover, this is not going over well in the community. Yes, not everyone uses this feature, but I can tell you that many of my friends planned to use it over the summer, with a larger hard drive installation. I tried to tell myself that maybe this is a PR April fools joke? But if it is, they certainly need to get rid of the entire department who thought of it.

Sony, if you have any sense at all, please DO NOT DO THIS! You are removing a “FEATURE”! Does anyone there understand this? I mean, imagine buying a car, with a little feature that you love and the manufacturer tells you that we need to remove it (after you paid for it and maybe even got it because it had that feature). Still thinking? Yes, the “Other OS” feature is a bit geeky, but hey, why fix something that isn’t broken. It was almost like I had additional value in the older model. Or maybe that was the problem?

In some sense, if this is true (and my sources tell me it is – Sony), it is in no way democratic. But who says business  has to be? In some sense, what irritates me, is the almost “threatening language from Sony”. If you decide, you will NOT be able to and so on. What is worse is the fact that Sony officials already promised to not remove this option to older users of the PS3. I wonder what Sony is really afraid of? Or is it all about control? Afraid of hacks to their, almost perfect system? I guess, in Sony’s mind, if you want a computer than go buy one? Or maybe they are afraid of the coming Microsoft war against Linux? I do not know? Are they being paid off? Who knows? Maybe a Microsoft Sony merger is on the horizon? With the new Google OS coming soon, sporting a challenge to Microsoft’s dominance, has fear war against Linux begun? Is this a tactical move?

But lets be truthful here. It is a simple numbers game and for those who are not in the Product Development field, let me put it to you this way. We are ALL numbers. I imagine that someone, in their product development department decided that they no longer wanted to support this option, since it is not in the PS3 slim. Maybe it cost too much? They stated that they do not want to encourage “piracy” or have a security hole? What security hole? Just tell the truth Sony, you want control. In essence, there is the slight chance that this is fake, but it probably is not (still praying). If Sony does this, it will be a BIG and very DUMB move by Sony, from a PR perspective in my opinion. However, there is a chance that this could be a social experiment to see if anyone cares? Now that would be interesting. Maybe the firmware will change the system into a Google OS, and shortly after the Sony Google merger will occur? OK, I am stretching it now! I am just trying to understand this decision.

Sony plans on making the move on April 1, 2010 with a firmware update. Sony has already made a lot of enemies across the globe by even suggesting (joke or no joke). No, there will be no compensation for early adopters of the PS3. As indicated, Sony plans to release this update to do only one thing. Put a nail in the coffin to Linux, or any other OS on the Sony Playstation 3. Or as Emperor Palpatine would say to any Linux user, “now you will experience the full power of the dark side…”

By Andy MJ (a.k.a The GTA Patriot) – Who also loves Linux, BSD and Windows 7. Yes, Windows 7 is a pretty good Operating System!

P.S. By the way Sony, I cannot imagine that Yellow Dog is too happy about this? Also, while you are at it why not remove the browser also (since you are so concern about security). In fact, why not remove all options and make you do exactly what YOU want? Maybe Sony has learned from Apple, how to control? It is probably one of the most POWERFUL SYSTEMS EVER CREATED and you want to lock it up? Yes, I am ranting! If you have additional links, please share them.

Is Acacia link with Microsoft just smoke? BayStar Capital and the dead SCO!


In terms of proving a link between Microsoft and Acacia this is smoke, just as the move of two Microsoft executives to Acacia unit IP Innovation is smoke. Acacia Technologies, the patent firm which has publicly denied any link with Microsoft, took capital in 2003 from BayStar Capital, which for a time acted as a capital conduit from Microsoft to SCO Research, according to Groklaw.

This could all be just coincidence, or smoke, as the saying goes. The venture capital world is a fairly small one. So is the world of patent trolls. And when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicted Linux would soon be inundated with patent claims, that might also have been coincidence, just smoke.

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Linux patent suit: In search of the Microsoft smoking gun


Now that the “first ever” suit for patent infringement has been lodged against two major Linux distributors, many Microsoft watchers are looking for the smoking gun that will somehow connect Microsoft to the case.

In search of the Microsoft smoking gunI have to say that it’s hard to believe that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s recent railings about the likelihood of someone suing Red Hat for patent infringement were purely coincidental. His timing makes it look like he had knowledge that such a suit was in the pipeline. But so far, at least, there’s no proof that Microsoft was behind this case in any way.

However, there are still some interesting Microsoft connections to the suit, which pits IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corp. against Red Hat and Novell. The suit claims that IP Innovation has rights to patents covering “a user interface with multiple workspaces for sharing display system objects” (patent no. 5,072,412, issued on December 10, 1991), as well as two other similar patents upon which Red Hat and Novell allegedly infringe.

So where and how does Microsoft enter the picture? As Pamela Jones of Groklaw.Net fame pointed out, IP Innovation LLC is a subsidiary of Acacia Technologies Group Inc. Acacia is “in the business of acquiring, developing, licensing and enforcing patents.” From the Acacia Web site:

“We help patent holders protect their patented inventions from unauthorized use and generate revenue from licensing and, if necessary, enforcing their patents. Our clients are primarily individual inventors and small companies with limited resources to deal with unauthorized users but include some large companies wanting to generate revenues from their patented technologies.”

Is Microsoft an Acacia client? There’s no press release I can find stating that it is. (I’ve asked Microsoft whether it is, but no word back yet.) Ironically, Novell is an Acacia client, (as of August 31) but on the storage side of the business, not the Linux one.

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Patent suit against Linux has a Kevin Bacon-esque connection to Microsoft


It appears as though the first patent suit against Linux — targeting Red Hat and Novell — is now official. According to Groklaw’s Pamela Jones:

IP Innovation LLC has just filed a patent infringement claim against Red Hat and Novell. It was filed October 9, case no. 2:2007cv00447, IP Innovation, LLC et al v. Red Hat Inc. et al, in Texas. Where else? The patent troll magnet state…… [this is] The first ever patent infringement litigation involving Linux. Here’s the patent, for those who can look at it without risk. If in doubt, don’t. Here’s the complaint [PDF]….The plaintiff is asking for an injunction, along with damages.

Jones goes on to cite some relevant points of the complaint but then, like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, unearths a potential connection to Microsoft. According to a story posted by Patent Troll Tracker well before this lawsuit turned up, IP Innovation LLC is a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation which the site classifies as a patent troll. This past July Acacia hired Jonathan Taub away from his job as Director, Strategic Alliances for the Mobile and Embedded Devices (MED) division at Microsoft and then, just last week, it hired Brad Brunell away from his job at Microsoft where, among other jobs, he served as General Manager, Intellectual Property Licensing.

The blogosphere is likely to have a field day with this connection and I suspect that dumpsters will be dived in hopes of finding a less tenuous connection to Microsoft. The timing of the suit seems rather serendipitous given both the timing of Brunell’s move as well as the threats that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer issued last week — ones that specifically mentioned patents (vs. the other form of intellectual property; copyrights). Even so,

Is there a connection? Well, there’s no smoking gun at this point. And if there was such a connection, you can’t help but wonder why Novell would be named in the suit since Microsoft and Novell are now working together to better integrate Windows with Novell’s Suse Linux and the arrangement includes patent protection for Novell. So, you’ll have to judge for yourself what’s going on here.

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Microsoft’s Ballmer calls out Red Hat with more patent threats


It seems that Microsoft is feeling a bit threatened again. With Microsoft Vista “tanking” and arrows coming from all sides it seems that Microsoft is back to scare tactics and fear again. With Red Hat still in control of the server market, on the Linux side, Microsoft seems to feel that it can “bully” them into paying their “extortion fees”. It almost sounds gangster like, but we are talking about technology, not crime. It would be nice to see Microsoft actually “show” what these patent infringements are!

From ZDNET.com
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is back on the “Linux violates our patents” kick. But this time, he’s calling out Red Hat, specifically, for allegedly infringing on Microsoft IP. And he’s hinting there could be other patent challenges coming to open source from companies like Eolas. At the UK launch of Microsoft’s Startup Accelerator Programme last week, Ballmer said it’s only a matter of time before the leading Linux distributor is going to have to pay up for allegedly violating Microsoft IP. As reported by VNU.Net:

“‘People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us,’ Ballmer said last week at a company event in London discussing online services in the UK.”

Red Hat execs said earlier this summer that Red Hat isn’t opposed to working with Microsoft on the interoperabiity front, but that it has no intentions of signing a patent-protection agreement, like those inked by Novell, Linspire and Xandros. Under those agreements, Microsoft has agreed not to sue customers using those vendors’ Linux distributions (as long as they are not covered by the GNU General Public License Version 3) for a set period of time. In order to secure this indemnification promise, these vendors agreed to license Microsoft IP that the Redmondians claim is part of Linux and other open-source products.

It seemed Microsoft was going to try to let controversy die down, following claims earlier this year that free and open-source software violates 235 of Microsoft’s patents. But it looks like Ballmer has decided — maybe because no new Linux vendors have signed patent-protection contracts with Microsoft recently — that it’s time to rattle the patent sabers again.

Every time Ballmer opens his mouth on this issue, it seems to me he undoes any goodwill that Bill Hilf (who recently received a promotion and is now General Manager of Windows Server Marketing and Platform Strategy) and his team had done to build bridges with the open-source community.

Groklaw.Net noted that Ballmer’s latest remarks go further than simply claiming that Red Hat is violating unnamed Microsoft patents. During the aformentioned Q&A, Ballmer hinted that Eolas — the company that sued Microsoft for browser patent violations and won a settlement with the Redmondians — might be the kind of company to go after Linux and open-source vendors for patent violations. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t help but wonder if one of the terms in the Eolas-Microsoft settlement might specify that Eolas lodge a patent lawsuit against Red Hat or other open-source vendor. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Groklaw also highlighted another Ballmer remark from the Q&A:

I would love to see all Open Source innovation happen on top of Windows. So we’ve done a lot to encourage, for example, the team building, PHP, the team building, many of the other Open Source components, I’d love to see those sorts of innovations proceed very successfully on top of Windows.”

What kinds of incentives (monetary and otherwise) might Microsoft be offering open-source vendors to get their software to “proceed very successfully on top of Windows”? Did Microsoft pay Novell anything (money, resources, indemnification promises, etc.) to help get Silverlight ported to Linux? Interestingly, neither Microsoft nor Miguel de Icaza and his Moonlight team says they are at liberty to discuss that issue….

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