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

Linux on Servers

  • IBM i Open Source Business Architect Lays Out A Plan
    Enterprise level application development is no place for open source languages. Can you believe it? That was once the widely accepted truth. Jiminy Crickets! Things have changed. The number of the stable open source distributions available with comprehensive support and maintenance goes well beyond common knowledge. Industry giants, successful SMB players, and mom and pop businesses are finding good reasons to use open source. Even IBM uses open source for internal business reasons. There are reasons for you to do the same.
  • Lightning Talk - Realizing the Multi-Cloud Promise of Kubernetes by Blake White, The Walt Disney Co.
  • How Disney Is Realizing the Multi-Cloud Promise of Kubernetes
    The Walt Disney Company is famous for “making magic happen,” and their cross-cloud, enterprise level Kubernetes implementation is no different. In a brief but information-packed lightning talk at CloudNativeCon in Seattle in November, Disney senior cloud engineer Blake White laid out a few of the struggles and solutions in making Kubernetes work across clouds.
  • Puppet Launches its Latest State of DevOps Survey
    Folks who are focused on container technology and virtual machines as they are implemented today might want to give a hat tip to some of the early technologies and platforms that arrived in the same arena. Among those, Puppet, which was built on the legacy of the venerable Cfengine system, was an early platform that helped automate lots of virtual machine implementations. We covered it in depth all the way back in 2008. Fast-forward to today, and Puppet is still making news, creating jobs and more.

today's howtos

More Games

Red Hat News