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IBM Patents Your Rights Online

Open Source Complaint Against IBM Gets Support 250

FlorianMueller writes "ZDNet blogger Dana Blankenhorn reports that '[t]he efforts by open source TurboHercules to break IBM's mainframe monopoly through the European Commission got some proprietary support this week when NEON Enterprise Software LLC of Austin, Texas, filed an EU complaint alongside a US antitrust lawsuit.' NEON's founder co-founded BMC, so the company is well-funded for this fight. In comments given to the IDG News Service, IBM claims that NEON's product, which saves mainframe customers money by optimizing the use of coprocessors, 'offers no innovation,' and accuses the 'copycat' of violating IBM's intellectual property. That's basically what IBM also said about the Hercules emulator. The European Commission is expected to take a decision on an investigation in a matter of months. Since IBM lobbies the EC over the Open Document Format, it's now accused of double standards."
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Open Source Complaint Against IBM Gets Support

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  • oh jeez (Score:4, Informative)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:58AM (#32690886) Journal

    can we not go through this again? it's been debunked [groklaw.net] thoroughly.

    This is the fault of Hercules trying to get IBM to license the way Hercules wants, not anything that is IBM's fault.

    • Re:oh jeez (Score:5, Informative)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:22AM (#32691218) Homepage Journal

      Thanks for your post.
      Really this has been turned down by both Groklaw and the Linux Foundation.
      For those that don't know this is what TurboHercules wants.
      IBM sells z/OS which is a closed source OS with a restrictive license that says you can only run it on an IBM zMachine.
      TurboHercules wants IBM to allow customers that buy z/OS to run it on the Hercules emulator.
      There is nothing involving the GPL or FOSS here at all except that Hercules runs under Linux and is released under the Q license which is FOSS but not GPL compatible.
      Now Neon wants to sell a closed source solution that allows you to off load some zMachine processing to co processors which IBM says violated their z/OS license.
      This is massive spin of the highest order.
      It has nothing to do with FOSS or patents or anything else.
      If you do not want to be stuck running IBM hardware I suggest that people migrate their software to Linux on the zMachine and then they can migrate away from the zMachine to any Linux box on the want.
      The company TurboHercules is actually spreading FUD because IBM doesn't want to do things their way.
      AKA TurboHercules is using the FOSS community for it's own ends and wrapping it's self in the FOSS flag.
      Both Groklaw and the Linux Foundation have said that they are spreading FUD.

      BTW http://www.hercules-390.org/ [hercules-390.org] is really a cool program. You can get older IBM mainframe OSs and run them on it and you can even run Linux on it if you want your own IBM mainframe to play with.

    • PJ didn't debunk it at all. Only her fanboys think she did.

      She ignores facts and twists words, taking things out of context, just to make IBM look good in whatever it is they're doing. She did it to me repeatedly before throwing me off the site entirely.

      I started my own blog [ibmvshercules.com] to post the parts of the story that PJ ignores or twists out of any recognizable shape.

      PJ's done a lot of admirable work in the IBM vs. SCO case, but her comments on other things reveal her as at least a rabid fangirl who thinks IBM can

    • OK, but has this legal opinion been confirmed by any other non-lawyers?

      • are you kidding? This whole thing, including ibm's "threat", was never even confirmed by lawyers!

        this is the issue. A whole lot of nothing.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:59AM (#32690900)
    They say IBM has double standards as if this were supposed to be shocking. Microsoft has its open source lab, Apple has made threats against open source projects while contributing to other projects, Mozilla and Red Hat leverage their trademarks, etc. Corporations do whatever is profitable, they are not some bastion of morality, so why should we be shocked that IBM fights open source projects while pushing other open source projects?
    • I don't even think its double standards - taking action against one project, whether its open source or proprietary, does not mean taking action against an entire ethos and it does not conflict with supporting an open standard elsewhere. To try and spin this as a double standard seems very much like someone is trying to market it as a negative toward IBM as a whole.
      • In the political context that's relevant here, it's not primarily about which category of software you promote or attack. It's about the concept of interoperability. IBM's denial to make its proprietary z/OS operating system available for use on non-IBM hardware and its use of patents on a programming interface (the mainframe CPU instruction set) is an attack on interoperability [blogspot.com]. Therefore, they have a serious credibility problem when trying to tell policy-makers that other companies must make their patents

        • Wrong. The courts in the USA have held in the Apple vs Pystar case that tying an OS to specific proprietary hardware is a perfectly legit business strategy as it creates a barrier to entry. Even if the EU goes the other way which I doubt IBM will win in the long run as it's about copyrights not about patents. In the lefter BM was foreshadowingg a 2nd line of defense that they could choose to take up if needed, they did NOT asserting it in any way. The letter was a warning shot. As we have seen in the SCO ca
          • Wrong. The courts in the USA have held in the Apple vs Pystar case that tying an OS to specific proprietary hardware is a perfectly legit business strategy as it creates a barrier to entry.

            Please have a look at this other comment of mine here on slashdot [slashdot.org] explaining why the Apple case isn't a precedent for the IBM mainframe monopoly issue. And it also explains why Apple may in the future also have to provide interoperability because of a new EU law that's in the making, but under today's antitrust law comparing Apple to IBM is the same as comparing apples to bananas.

            • OMG, this has not one bleeping thing to do with anti-trust. Where the Sam Hill did you come up with that idea? Present a case with some reasonable legal arguments not made up from thin air and people might respond more positively. The judge, the appeals court, Apple, IBM and many others would have a significantly different opinion about PyStar. The case is 99% the same. Your paid shilling isn't any more welcome here than it was at Groklaw. If I'm not mistaken, PJ banned you over there. I've never seen a
              • Present a case with some reasonable legal arguments not made up from thin air and people might respond more positively.

                TurboHercules has made its antitrust case, and so has now NEON, and previously T3 Technologies. Those three companies have filed it with the European Commission -- not with you, not with slashdot, not with me. Some companies have also mae submissions to the US Department of Justice on mainframe issues from what I hear.

                Your paid shilling isn't any more welcome here than it was at Groklaw. If I'm not mistaken, PJ banned you over there. I've never seen a ban here but you might be the precedent!

                The first part is simply an attack on the messenger instead of a factual way to deal with a message. The second part is something I'm totally unaware of. I don't have a Groklaw account. I may

      • by EMR ( 13768 )

        Basically IBM is looking at their "bottom line" in both instances..

        For ODF, IBM has the potential to get more money as users become no longer tied to Microsoft Office. (Lotus and whatever other "document" products IBM has that may support ODF.. What they are I am not sure.. I don't use them).

        For the Hercules issue, since IBM "HAS" the majority stake in the products in that arena, having an open competitor would decrease their income.

        It's all about $$$.. Not about open source.

        • Yup. IBM claims to be a great friend of open source...but their actions in this case clearly show that they're only a friend of open source as long as they don't have to compete with it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      You're right that large corporations are complex organizations with a diversity of interests. It's not about morality in this case. It's about political credibility:

      IBM wants to convince policy-makers such as in the EU (and actually all around the globe) of the benefits of patent-unencumbered standards only in markets or market segments where IBM has nothing to lose. But in their own core business (the mainframe business generates about 50% of IBM's corporate-wide profits) they oppose it vehemently, I would

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by poetmatt ( 793785 )

        This isn't about political credibility or any IBM credo.

        Where do you come up with this? Anything open source licensed can be reimplemented with or without IBM's blessing. What's an example? How about the product in question!

        Quit spinning things like this is an IBM intent. They don't have to license to everyone.

        If I said you should pay me for my implementation of your product, would you say yes? No, you wouldn't.

  • by jdgeorge ( 18767 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:06AM (#32691016)

    Sorry, the last sentence lost me. How does the OpenDocument Format relate to mainframe software?

    • They were confused. It's MS' supposed open format from 6 years in the future that requires a mainframe to run. Oh, wait, I wasn't sup
  • by ciaran_o_riordan ( 662132 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:16AM (#32691146) Homepage

    Here's some articles swpat.org has on these topics - but only on the software patent aspects:

    Discussion over whether X company is right to defend their revenue stream etc. etc. would be outside the scope.

    • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:28AM (#32691288) Journal

      IBM hasn't really done anything, but everyone has taken it as aggression. IBM said "be careful" and people went "oh, shit, we're gonna get sued!" and panicked, not unlike the gif for shut down everything. It'd be like you asking Microsoft if it's possible that your software might infringe and they say yes (even before knowing what it is) just due to safety. It's not a threat.

      Don't get me wrong, IBM isn't some magically innocent pure company, - but there is a lot more spin than fact here, and in fact turbohercules has now provided the aggression via NEON. It's quite surprising actually. Considering that IBM could, in the worst case, send a C&D first, where Neon just went out and sued (and we have no indication that they talked to IBM at all - I doubt they did). This is basically a politically fueled lawsuit.

      swpat, while interesting, doesn't have much more than aggregations of links from other sites.

      • > swpat, while interesting, doesn't have much more than aggregations of links from other sites.

        That's one of the goals. We did tonnes of work in the EU in 2003, and LPF did great work from 1991-1995, and there was great work in New Zealand in March. The problem is, websites rust terribly. The documentation from the EU 2003-2005 is partly taken offline, partly moved, and a lot of it always relied on having specific knowledge of the relevant sites anyway.

        swpat.org is aggregating that info so th

        • in 2015 or 2020 (as I assumed you meant 2020), do I think everyone will remember? No. Nor does that matter. Do I think the blogs will be around? Yes. Not just Groklaw, I should add. However, Groklaw is being archived in the library of congress, after all. Don't get me wrong, redundancy is good.

          Meanwhile, link aggregation doesn't mean the site has anything else useful. People can bookmark crap on their own. How about you start archiving the sites you watch if you want to be useful?

          Otherwise, if the sites go

          • I'm devising an archival method, but archive.org is actually doing a 90% complete job already, so it's not priority #1.

            Anti-swpat campaigns have gathered masses of great data and documents over the years, but it's never well organised. To an outsider, it's opaque. I've worked on various such campaigns over the past eight years, and I know where to find most things, and I know how much of a problem the mess is. So I'm documenting all this insider-knowledge so that anyone else can do the work I do.

            There ar

            • Nobody modded your links informative, they modded swpat informative - and appropriately as such. It is relevant, even if not that special by itself, as stated above.

              Archive.org respects copyright and other things that it shouldn't - it's up to people themselves if they want to do good archiving. To say "leave it all to archive.org" shows how useless swpat intends to remain. Swpat would be a lot more interesting if it added such a value. Hell, archive articles that appropriately should be documented, even if

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:02PM (#32691704) Journal

    This seems structurally comparable to the legal and moral frou-frou over running MacOS on non-Apple hardware.


  • WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by twmcneil ( 942300 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:30PM (#32692076)
    Who the hell accepted a post from Florian Mueller? (Looks) Oh...
  • Airline industry to invest just 1.8 per cent of revenue in 2010 [computing.co.uk]

    Many airline systems remained locked on legacy mainframe systems and databases, with cost-saving consolidation initiatives that have been widely implemented in other industries such as virtualisation andcloud computing having made little impact so far.

  • I've never even seen a mainframe, so I have this question: What sort of programming interfaces exist? Are there a lot of of the shelf proprietary software running on the mainframes or are there mostly in-house software? In both cases, is it really that hard to migrate to another mainframe vendor? Oracle, HP, Unisys or Groupe Bull? And if it isn't, then why claim IBM has a monopoly?

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