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Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
From: Alexander Viro <viro@math.psu.edu>
Subject: Re: patent on O_ATOMICLOOKUP [Re: [PATCH] loopable tmpfs (2.4.17)]
Original-Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.21.0205241637500.9792-100000@weyl.math.psu.edu>
Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 21:57:40 GMT
Message-ID: <fa.lseur5v.97sqab@ifi.uio.no>

On Fri, 24 May 2002, Andrea Arcangeli wrote:

> Now dropping this feature from tux is a matter of a few hours and it
> cannot make difference if your vfs working set fits in dcache, but
> that's not the problem. I wonder what's next, should I apply for a
> patent for the classzone algorithm in the memory balancing or is Ingo
> going to patent the O1 scheduler too? Ingo, Alan, Arjan, DaveM are so much
> worried about binary only modules, Alan even speaks about the DMCA all
> over the place, this is an order of magnitude worse, this even forbids
> you to use this tequnique despite you may invented it too from scratch
> and it's your own idea too. To make the opposite example despite IBM is
> a big patent producer IBM even allowed the usage of their RCU patents in
> the linux kernel (I've the paperwork under my desk and Linus should have
> received too), and other stuff donated to gcc and probably much more
> that I don't know about, IMHO exactly to avoid linux to be castrated by
> patents. So this news is totally stunning from my part.

	For once I have to agree with Andrea.  Software patents do not
magically become better if you allow GPLed software to make use of them.
It's one thing to put your _code_ under whatever license you like.  That
defines what you consider acceptable use and what - inexcusable plagiarism.

	"Using what I'd learnt from your work" and "lending the book I've
bought to a friend" are equally old and respectable things.  Hell, the former
might very well be older, for all we know.  Both may be inconvenient to, ahem,
producers of intellectual property.  It doesn't make attempts to limit them
morally acceptable.

	Don't get me wrong - I despise the "let's abolish IP rights" crowd.
Plagiarism is Wrong and author has absolute right to choose the conditions
for use of the things he'd written.  However, there is a line between "you
are using my code" and "you had learnt something from my code".

	Patenting crosses that line - it puts restriction on the way one
could use the things he'd learnt from your code.  Yes, mere putting your
code under GPL doesn't stop somebody from using the results of your efforts
in the ways you don't approve - he still can learn from your work and use
what he'd learnt in a work of his own.  Yes, I can see the attraction of
prohibiting that.  Just as I can see the attraction of bribery that had
created DMCA - with fairly close motivations behind it.

	Both DMCA and software patents may be legal, but that doesn't make
use of either of them morally acceptable from my point of view.  YMMV.  It's
sad to see Ingo pulling that crap - I believe that he has reasons that sound
good to him, but... reasons don't make results smell any sweeter.

	I've heard an excuse for playing these games (not from Ingo, so I have
no idea whether it has any relation to this case).  It goes along the lines
"commercial companies are doing that anyway and that poses a threat; having
patents of our own gives ammo for defence against that threat".  That sounds
nice, but...  there's an old saying - "don't play games with the devil".  It's
not that you can't win - devil is a piss-poor player.  But those who do win
tend to find the rules suddenly changed under them.  And then there are
bystanders caught in crossfire...



Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@transmeta.com>
Subject: Re: large page patch (fwd) (fwd)
Original-Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.44.0208111553010.1233-100000@home.transmeta.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2002 23:08:00 GMT
Message-ID: <fa.m5eaeav.15gc8gp@ifi.uio.no>

On Mon, 12 Aug 2002, Daniel Phillips wrote:
>
> It goes on in this vein.  I suggest all vm hackers have a close look at
> this.  Yes, it's stupid, but we can't just ignore it.

Actually, we can, and I will.

I do not look up any patents on _principle_, because (a) it's a horrible
waste of time and (b) I don't want to know.

The fact is, technical people are better off not looking at patents. If
you don't know what they cover and where they are, you won't be knowingly
infringing on them. If somebody sues you, you change the algorithm or you
just hire a hit-man to whack the stupid git.

			Linus



Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@transmeta.com>
Subject: Re: large page patch (fwd) (fwd)
Original-Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.44.0208111555130.1233-100000@home.transmeta.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2002 23:08:54 GMT
Message-ID: <fa.m5ueeav.15088gv@ifi.uio.no>

On Sun, 11 Aug 2002, Linus Torvalds wrote:
>
> If somebody sues you, you change the algorithm or you just hire a
> hit-man to whack the stupid git.

Btw, I'm not a lawyer, and I suspect this may not be legally tenable
advice. Whatever. I refuse to bother with the crap.

		Linus


Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
From: Larry McVoy <lm@bitmover.com>
Subject: Re: large page patch (fwd) (fwd)
Original-Message-ID: <20020811161501.E17310@work.bitmover.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2002 23:17:20 GMT
Message-ID: <fa.h3pomvv.11mol29@ifi.uio.no>

On Sun, Aug 11, 2002 at 03:55:08PM -0700, Linus Torvalds wrote:
>
> On Mon, 12 Aug 2002, Daniel Phillips wrote:
> >
> > It goes on in this vein.  I suggest all vm hackers have a close look at
> > this.  Yes, it's stupid, but we can't just ignore it.
>
> Actually, we can, and I will.
>
> I do not look up any patents on _principle_, because (a) it's a horrible
> waste of time and (b) I don't want to know.
>
> The fact is, technical people are better off not looking at patents. If
> you don't know what they cover and where they are, you won't be knowingly
> infringing on them. If somebody sues you, you change the algorithm or you
> just hire a hit-man to whack the stupid git.

This issue is more complicated than you might think.  Big companies with
big pockets are very nervous about being too closely associated with
Linux because of this problem.  Imagine that IBM, for example, starts
shipping IBM Linux.  Somewhere in the code there is something that
infringes on a patent.  Given that it is IBM Linux, people can make
the case that IBM should have known and should have fixed it and
since they didn't, they get sued.  Notice that IBM doesn't ship
their own version of Linux, they ship / support Red Hat or Suse
(maybe others, doesn't matter).  So if they ever get hassled, they'll
vector the problem to those little guys and the issue will likely
get dropped because the little guys have no money to speak of.

Maybe this is all good, I dunno, but be aware that the patents
have long arms and effects.
--
---
Larry McVoy            	 lm at bitmover.com           http://www.bitmover.com/lm


Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@transmeta.com>
Subject: Re: large page patch (fwd) (fwd)
Original-Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.44.0208111820010.1374-100000@home.transmeta.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 01:39:40 GMT
Message-ID: <fa.m5eieiv.15gk88t@ifi.uio.no>

On Sun, 11 Aug 2002, Larry McVoy wrote:
>
> This issue is more complicated than you might think.

No, it's not. You miss the point.

>					  Big companies with
> big pockets are very nervous about being too closely associated with
> Linux because of this problem.

The point being that that is _their_ problem, and at a level that has
nothing to do with technology.

I'm saying that technical people shouldn't care. I certainly don't. The
people who _should_ care are patent attorneys etc, since they actually
get paid for it, and can better judge the matter anyway.

Everybody in the whole software industry knows that any non-trivial
program (and probably most trivial programs too, for that matter) will
infringe on _some_ patent. Ask anybody. It's apparently an accepted fact,
or at least a saying that I've heard too many times.

I just don't care. Clearly, if all significant programs infringe on
something, the issue is no longer "do we infringe", but "is it an issue"?

And that's _exactly_ why technical people shouldn't care. The "is it an
issue" is not something a technical guy can answer, since the answer
depends on totally non-technical things.

Ask your legal counsel, and I strongly suspect that if he is any good, he
will tell you the same thing. Namely that it's _his_ problem, and that
your engineers should not waste their time trying to find existing
patents.

			Linus



Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
From: Larry McVoy <lm@bitmover.com>
Subject: Re: large page patch (fwd) (fwd)
Original-Message-ID: <20020811220545.C5314@work.bitmover.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 05:08:32 GMT
Message-ID: <fa.i9mlm9v.1ika980@ifi.uio.no>

> Ask your legal counsel, and I strongly suspect that if he is any good, he
> will tell you the same thing. Namely that it's _his_ problem, and that
> your engineers should not waste their time trying to find existing
> patents.

Partially true for us.  We do do patent searches to make sure we aren't
doing anything blatently stupid.

I do agree with you 100% that it is impossible to ship any software that
does not infringe on some patent.  It's a big point of contention in
contract negotiations because everyone wants you to warrant that your
software doesn't infringe and indemnify them if it does.
--
---
Larry McVoy            	 lm at bitmover.com           http://www.bitmover.com/lm



Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@osdl.org>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] Updating real-time and nanokernel maintainersy
Original-Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.58.0312211145490.13039@home.osdl.org>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 06:06:39 GMT
Message-ID: <fa.ihg9gbf.1l089qb@ifi.uio.no>

On Sun, 21 Dec 2003, Karim Yaghmour wrote:
>
> If there is, then it should definitely be taken out. First, as Linus
> has stated recently (and as has been the policy for a while), the
> kernel should avoid having any patented code

That's not true.

The kernel should have no patented code THAT DOESN'T HAVE A LICENSE.

There are several cases where this came up: RCU is one obvious one, but
there were also issues with Intel's initial submissions of some of the
networking drivers where they didn't want to originally release under the
GPL because of worrying about patents they owned.

The email you quote expressly says "unless you can get the patent holder
to grant a license". And the RTLinux patents were licensed to GPL'd
projects. See the RTLinux "open patent license".

I don't understand why people continually complain about the RTLinux
patents. I bet it's because Victor has all the easy charm of Larry McVoy,
but I don't see why people still continue to spread obvious
mis-information about the situation.

It's doubly discgusting with some of the people who were trying to spread
all the FUD and mis-information were doing so because they were themselves
doing a non-GPL microkernel, and they complained about how the patents
were somehow against the GPL and wanted to get community support by trying
to make out the situation to be somehow different from what it was.

I'm not a supporter of software patents, but while I dislike them, I don't
dislike them _nearly_ as much as I dislike dishonest people.

		Linus


From: Theodore Tso <tytso@mit.edu>
Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
Subject: Re: Open letter to Linux kernel developers (was Re: Binary Drivers)
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2007 12:58:04 UTC
Message-ID: <fa.J7QEf1MYkeS/Eknc3k4HscAfGv0@ifi.uio.no>

On Tue, Jan 02, 2007 at 09:26:14PM +1000, Trent Waddington wrote:
> The list of features which the driver supports is going to be
> sufficient evidence for 99% of patents that relate to computer
> graphics hardware.

Nope, not necessarily.  Recall that Patent Office has issued a patent
on the concept of using "XOR" in graphics operations (for dealing with
a cursor that's moving around).  There are plenty of patents involving
optimizations that can't be proven unless you have access to the
low-level source code or are willing to spend a huge amount of money
disassembling megabytes of binaries.  In fact, there are rumors
floating around that pthe reason why no one is willing to release
source code is that both sides are almost certainly violating each
other's trivial patents, and defending against a patent lawsuit can
take years, millions of dollars, and even if the patent is completely
and totally bogus, can put a company out of business.  Witness what
happened with Research in Motion and the patents allegedly covering
the Blackberry.  Even though the USPTO had already provisionally ruled
that there was prior art (the patent troll still had appeals to file),
the judge wasn't willing to wait for the USPTO process to finish, and
was prepared to issue a ruling that would put a 23 BILLION dollar
company out of business.  So RIMM ended up paying over half a billion
dollars of blackmail money to settle a patent lawsuit where the
patents may end up getting ruled completely bogus a year or two from
now anyway.

In any case, the rumor that was going around was that the reasn why
neither side is willing to release sources is because whoever did
would be committing potential corporate suicide first....

I can very easily believe it.  The US patent system and "justice"
system in the US is completely and totally insane, and companies often
feel they have to act accordingly.  Remember this is the country that
has issued multi-million dollar awards to people who spill hot coffee
in their lap and my favorite, to an idiot who lifted up a lawnmover to
trim their hedges, dropped the lawnmover on his foot and lost his foot
as a result.  The lawn mover company had to pay $$$ because they
hadn't thought to put in a idiot switch to stop the lawnmower blade
from spinning when it was lifted off the ground....

						- Ted

P.S.  The opinions expressed in this e-mail are completely my own; I'm
not important enough to decide the corporate position of my employer.  :-)


 






































































































































































































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