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

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 Beta Adds NVDIMM Support, Improves Security

Today, August 25, 2016, Red Hat announced that version 7.3 of its powerful Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system is now in development, and a Beta build is available for download and testing. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 Beta brings lots of improvements and innovations, support for new hardware devices, and improves the overall security of the Linux kernel-based operating system used by some of the biggest enterprises and organizations around the globe. Among some of the major new features implemented in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 release, we can mention important networking improvements, and support for Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Modules (NVDIMMs). Read more Also: CentOS 6 Linux OS Receives Important Kernel Security Update from Red Hat Release of Red Hat Virtualization 4 Offers New Functionality for Workloads

Ubuntu 16.10 Beta 1 Released, Available to Download Now

The Ubuntu 16.10 Beta 1 releases are now available to download. You know the drill by now: {num} Ubuntu flavors, some freshly pressed ISOs, plenty of new bugs to find and no guarantees that things won’t go boom. Read more Also: Ubuntu 16.10 Beta Launches for Opt-in Flavors, Adds GCC 6.2 and LibreOffice 5.2

Games for GNU/Linux

PC-BSD Becomes TrueOS, FreeBSD 11.0 Reaches RC2

  • More Details On PC-BSD's Rebranding As TrueOS
    Most Phoronix readers know PC-BSD as the BSD operating system derived from FreeBSD that aims to be user-friendly on the desktop side and they've done a fairly good job at that over the years. However, the OS has been in the process of re-branding itself as TrueOS. PC-BSD has been offering "TrueOS Server" for a while now as their FreeBSD-based server offering. But around the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 release they are looking to re-brand their primary desktop download too now as TrueOS.
  • FreeBSD 11.0-RC2 Arrives With Fixes
    The second release candidate to the upcoming FreeBSD 11 is now available for testing. FreeBSD 11.0-RC2 ships with various bug fixes, several networking related changes, Clang compiler fixes, and other updates. FreeBSD 11.0 is bringing updated KMS drivers, Linux binary compatibility layer improvements, UEFI improvements, Bhyve virtualization improvements, and a plethora of other work. Those not yet familiar with FreeBSD 11 can see the what's new guide.