Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Devil's Advocate: M$ foolish patent policy

Filed under
Microsoft

Is it really true that Microsoft has patented the transformation of objects into XML? That would certainly be proof, if proof were needed, that so-called intellectual property has little to do with innovation.

Software objects involve ingenious ideas that have had growing attraction. The concepts were always sound, and they were all invented before Microsoft even existed. But their use was limited because applications were restricted in scope and computer power was scarce. As those factors changed, so objects became far more central to computing.

Likewise, although XML itself is a relatively recent phenomenon, it is based on SGML. And SGML was also invented long before the foundation of Microsoft. Again, it was a question of timing, as the tantalising goal of building self-describing data looked to be achievable with rising hardware capabilities.

It is reported that Microsoft has now achieved a patent on the transformation of objects to XML and vice versa. This is a pretty bizarre thing to happen. As an industry analyst, I became aware of XML as soon as it started to make waves. My immediate reaction was that XML documents were objects without the behaviour.

Now that was hardly an astonishing insight. I would never have expected to rush off and patent it, even if I could afford to patent anything. It was an insight that was common to anyone who had at least half an understanding of both objects and XML. I must have discussed the point with numerous people, and most likely spoken about it at public conferences. If it is a patentable idea, then the whole patents system is demonstrably absurd.

If large companies are to be granted patents on ideas that have been commonplace for years and are based on fundamental concepts well understood for decades, they might as well be given taxation powers. The idea that their revenues are hard won in competitive markets will be defunct, if it is not already.

The reality is probably just a little more complex.

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Ruby 2.2.0 Released

We are pleased to announce the release of Ruby 2.2.0. Ruby 2.2 includes many new features and improvements for the increasingly diverse and expanding demands for Ruby. Read more

2014 Catalyst Linux Graphics Benchmarks Year-In-Review

With the year quickly coming to an end, it's time to do our year-end driver recap benchmarks from the year for the proprietary AMD and NVIDIA graphics drivers as well as the open-source drivers. To get things started, here's benchmarks done of the official AMD Catalyst Linux releases of 2014 and testing these drivers on three different graphics cards. Read more

From Red Hat's CEO: Reflecting on a 'great year,' looking to '15

It is confirmed: 2014 has been a great year for Red Hat. [On Dec. 18], we announced third quarter results of our fiscal year 2015 and, with that, celebrated our 51st consecutive quarter of revenue growth - more than 12 years of consecutive revenue growth. Thank you to the team of Red Hat customers, partners, open source contributors, and associates around the world, for helping us propel Red Hat to new heights. While 2014 has been a fantastic year for Red Hat, it has also been a banner year for open source. Read more Also: Red Hat Tech Exchange highlights: Architect, Implement, Enable

Open Source's 2014: MS 'cancer' embrace, NASDAQ listings, and a quiet dog

Ho hum. Another year, another slew of open source announcements that prove the once-maligned development methodology is now so mainstream as to be tedious. Running most of the world’s most powerful supercomputers? Been there, done that. Giving retailers the ability to deliver highly customized paper coupons to consumers based on warehouse inventory nearby? So 2013! And yet in 2014 we had a few events in open source that managed to surprise us, and suggest an even brighter future. Read more