In the beginning was the command line..

first ever Linux patent infringement claim lodged in Texas

, posted: 14-Oct-2007 13:44

Presumably, Microsoft is smart enough to realise there is a negative PR fallout from patent claims against OSS vendors. But, one or more Microsoft licensing executives join Acacia or one or its companies and low-and-behold, lawsuit is filed against Linux distributors, seemingly by a company with no affiliation to Microsoft. I have some suspicions as to Microsoft being proponent to this case (Ballmer certainly is), but I encourage you to not take my word for it, do research and decide for yourself.

The patents in dispute are US numbers 5,533,183 and 5,394,521 both of which describe the concept of Virtual Desktops or Workspaces.

If you have been a geek as long as I have, you will probably have used or worked with some operating systems like SGI's IRIX, Sun's Solaris and X11 on UNIX platforms. In combination with X11, TWM and CDE used virtual desktops before at least one of these patents were filed making prior art trivial to present to the court.

With such a flawed-from-the-beginning case I wonder why this company is even bothering? There must be an ulterior motive or this company will become another SCO. Alternatively, if they win, groundswell disobedience fueled by their abuse of the US patent system and claim to ownership of what is an elementary and un-ownable technology (ie, can't patent the wheel either) will ensure they won't see any royalties anyway. How many puppet companies can Microsoft burn in patent litigation lawsuits before they realise this is a bad look for their corporation?


Come to your own conclusions, don't let a Texas court decide what is fair. This patent suit will be an important one for corporate adoption of Linux. What are Microsoft's motivations? What are this litigation company's motivations? You decide.

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Comment by freitasm, on 14-Oct-2007 16:55

Companies do this all the time - and Texas is a well known state where small companies come with those claims quite a lot. There must be a reason ;)

Comment by Alex, on 17-Oct-2007 15:10

I was reading

and then

I'm no lawyer, but this seems to imply that code itself is not patentable. The USPS appears to have mis-interpreted the outcome of this case.

Maybe someone with more insight could comment on this.

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Stuart MacIntosh
New Zealand

Hello world.