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It's been obvious for some time now that Microsoft is a big Android fan, thanks to the tidy sums of cash the software giant has managed to extract from the companies that use it. What wasn't necessarily apparent until recently, however, is just how far Redmond's devotion goes. With last week's addition of Compal Electronics to Microsoft's Android licensing lineup, it's becoming truly clear. It doesn't seem premature, in fact, to declare Ballmer et al. Android's biggest fans *ever*, so passionately dedicated have they become.
"as shown that "it's possible to switch the underlying OS -- they've done it several times," Hudson noted. "In a worst-case scenario, BSD can replace Android's Linux underpinnings.""
I doubt it would help with more than 10% of the patent issues, and could open manufacturers up to more patent issues, because the GPL includes implicit patent licenses wheras the BSD does not.
"I doubt it would help with more than 10% of the patent issues, and could open manufacturers up to more patent issues, because the GPL includes implicit patent licenses wheras the BSD does not."
You bring up two interesting points. Here's how I see it.
First, the GPL (any version) doesn't help wrt 3rd-party patents, so if you contribute code that infringes Microsofts' patents, the problem still exists.
Second, the "linux infringes 283 Microsoft patents" meme has been around since well before Android (or even iOS), so the issue apparently isn't really about paying for Android. Switching to BSD would get rid of most of those issues, since BSD was around before linux, and Windows uses chunks of BSD code, same as SCO Unix did.
Of course, the REAL issue is why nobody has named these so-called infringing patents. To date, everyone who has signed any sort of agreement has been silent (probably part of the terms of the deal). Maybe we need Anonymous to get the list of patents into view?
Or maybe someone needs to make an alternative OS that can run Android apps natively, sidestepping both the Microsoft and Oracle issues entirely? Seems to me there'd be a big market.
Worse case scenario, they make a deal to cross-license the tech with Apple (who have a patent cross-licensing deal with Microsoft), iOS gets to run Android apps, the Telcos get to run Android apps, desktop and laptop users (windows, osx, linux, bsd) get to run Android apps ...
... but that would probably make too much sense.
"First, the GPL (any version) doesn't help wrt 3rd-party patents, so if you contribute code that infringes Microsofts' patents, the problem still exists. "
Neither does BSD.
"Second, the "linux infringes 283 Microsoft patents" meme has been around since well before Android (or even iOS), so the issue apparently isn't really about paying for Android. Switching to BSD would get rid of most of those issues, since BSD was around before linux, and Windows uses chunks of BSD code, same as SCO Unix did. "
The BSD code base today is not exactly the same code base as the code base of yesteryear. So only there is still a large chuck of functionality that is not protected by prior art claims. FreeBSD also has a linux compatibility layer that allows it's kernel to implement almost all of the system call functionality that the Linux kernel provides.
The implementations in linux and bsd are not necessarily the same, which means that even if the code to implement a certain functionality were to infringe under linux (though we'd all like to see a real example, instead of the FUD from Microsoft), it doesn't mean that bsd would also be infringing.
The same would apply to the linux ABI in bsd.
I think you'll agree that what's REALLY needed is for someone to clear the air by listing the supposedly infringing patents. That Microsoft hasn't is a good indicator that they are easily worked around.
Because as you have pointed out the competition is patenting the moon and stars and if you think your pleas for patent reform will EVER compete with those millions in lobbyist dollars I have a bridge you might be interested in.
Look at how many FOSS companies like Sun and Novell have died, now imagine how much better FOSS would be if all of their patents were now owned by the community, along with their copyrights? As I said I have no doubt Android infringes, probably Linux too, simply because MSFT is growing their patent and copyright warchest daily. And for those that say "If they would tell us what infringed we could work around it!" that is a complete and total fallacy. How will you work around it if they own a square like Apple does? How will you work around it if it takes you 40 steps to do a simple division because MSFT owns a patent so broad it pretty much covers division? What good will Linux be if after the workarounds it takes a quad core to make it as fast as a machine from a decade ago thanks to all the extra steps YOUR OS has to take the other guy does NOT have to deal with? Who will want it then?
No as I said the key to the future is to kill free as in beer so those busting their behinds for FOSS can make enough money they can build a patent warchest to rival the big boys. as it is you are beholden to the "charity and goodwill" of companies like IBM who've already said GPL V3 is verboten which of course gives them the power to TiVo anything they like, how many more "deals with the devil" will you have to make in the future to survive?
In the end free as in beer simply leaves those that work the hardest and make the best products with less than those that they need to compete with. Think about how many patents would be controlled by Red hat now if more than half the world's webservers didn't run CentOS? RMS may truly believe there can be a communist utopia but the market is showing the ugly truth and that is this: He who has the gold makes the rules and right now FOSS simply doesn't have the gold, so they don't get to make any of the rules.
"Because as you have pointed out the competition is patenting the moon and stars and if you think your pleas for patent reform will EVER compete with those millions in lobbyist dollars I have a bridge you might be interested in."
However it tends to come from the more entrenched companies. There are large, newer companies like Facebook that don't have many patents and thus have interest in making the patent process saner especially withing software.
And this is why: the SECOND a company becomes as large as FB and thus has power to affect the changes you seek THEY ARE ENTRENCHED by their very definition and thus it is in their interests to NOT change the current system, why? Because they now have the money to cross license, which their competitors won't have silly!
Once upon a time Apple and MSFT were the new kids on the block, they didn't change the system except for the worse, then came all those companies that exploded during the 90s and they didn't spend a dime on patent reform either, they just signed cross licensing agreements in the hope of keeping the next guy out of the market. if you have enough money to change the system YOU ARE PART OF THE SYSTEM so it is in your best interest NOT to change it!
The already have Valenti's dream (may he rot) of "forever minus a single day" in copyrights, how long until the megacorps start to use their influence to extend patents as well? I can already give you the argument they will use, they'll say because of the global recession one simply can't make back the money spent on R&D in the alloted time, they should therefor have an extension until the crisis is over, of course the extension won't go away, and then more will be added.
The ONLY way to compete in an arena full of 800 pound gorillas is for you yourself to become an 800 pound gorilla What will you do if Google decides that 'do no evil' slogan has run its course and lock up Android with code signing? What if IBM does something similar, what can you do? you can do nothing because they already HAVE your code, they can pay developers to fork it and you have no power. No copyrights, no patents, no power. As I said RMS may dream of a communist utopia but reality isn't socialist its capitalist and without capital you are an also ran.