Interop Preview: Tech Industry Gets Ready To Rumble
InformationWeek Daily - Friday, April 25, 2008
Microsoft's Patents, Under The Microscope
Microsoft's whole Catch-22 of Linux infringing on certain patents claimed by them has gone on long enough. We all know this -- but barring some major (and I do mean major) changes on Microsoft's side, it's looking fairly futile to expect them to come out and say what the infringing patents are. Time to bring in some third-party muscle, and that's what Tom Kemp of Centrify has just attempted to do.
Centrify makes Active Directory auditing and access control software that works on multiple platforms, so it's plain that they have a vested interest in learning as much as possible about Microsoft's protocols and patent assertions. In a lengthy and detailed blog post named "Mapping Microsoft Windows Server Protocols to Patents," Kemp talks a bit about the history of Microsoft's recent steps towards openness, and about how in some ways this openness may make things worse, not better:
Now that the protocols were posted and Microsoft had articulated its position vis a vis protocols and patents, one immediate issue came to my mind was: how does a developer easily know which specific protocols really do leverage patents that Microsoft holds? If you look at the "cover page" of each protocol on MDSN, each one does have a generic "this may contain IP" warning, but they don't tell you which specific protocols leverage specific patents that Microsoft holds.
To that end, Kemp did a bit of digging and created an Excel spreadsheet (yes, Excel, the irony is not lost on me) that attempts to map specific patent applications to Microsoft protocols. It makes for fascinating reading, to say the least, although Kemp does stress that none of this information is guaranteed to be accurate -- just that it's based on his own best guesses and research.
People have asked me before: if Microsoft's attitude about patents has been so insular, why not simply write them off and go our own merry (open source) way? The answer is that it isn't that easy in the real world, where there exists a market for products, open source or otherwise, that interoperate with MS's solutions. And until Microsoft decides to quit playing patent games once and for all, research like this will come in handy. Kudos, Tom.
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Nokia made some changes to its Web Run-Time offering that will provide S60 widgets with the brains to predict what you want and the power to have it available instantly. Sort of. The new Web Run-Time elements make it so widgets will be contextually aware. They won't quite think on their own, but close enough.
T-Mobile: Android Handsets Coming By Year's End
A T-Mobile executive has confirmed that the carrier will be releasing more than one mobile phone based on Google's Android platform before the end of 2008. What's more, the exec said he was "impressed" with the platform. But which company will be building these handsets?
The Web 2.0 Expo Keynotes In Out-Of-Focus Photos And Out-Of-Context Quotes
Keynote speakers at the Web 2.0 Expo on Wednesday delivered inspirational messages to keep innovators dreaming and working hard in the face of an economic slowdown. Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly Media, said the Web 2.0 revolution is just getting started. He challenged attendees to work on big, world-changing problems, saying that the most successful companies in the technology industry have "big, hairy audacious goals."
HP Upline Sets Back Cause Of Online Backup
It's no secret that I think online backup is the best solution for the SOHO market. Unlike tape, it gets the data off-site and it's set it and forget it. The backup client runs every night and will even pop up in your face if it can't backup your data for a few days. Problem is, convincing the SOHO owner. They're afraid it will stop working, someone will steal their data from the provider, it will be too slow, etc., etc., etc. Early this month, HP announced Upline, an online backup service that allows users unlimited storage for $5 to $10 a month, including multiple system support. Last week, it had to shut it down, and down it remains. Even worse, a user "Ridz" at TechCrunch reports it connected him to someone else's data repository.
Focus On Managing Risk, Not Gruntwork
With large enterprises sporting hundreds of applications, firewalls, routers, and other networking devices -- and more than 139 newly announced vulnerabilities each week -- how do they know what vulnerabilities actually matter?
Are EMC And IBM Reliable Storage Bellwethers?
Their success is no guarantee of success for other vendors, but dismal results from these two companies would augur poorly for the rest of the storage industry, to say the least. And quite apart from my glass half-empty outlook, I'm not sure how much weight to give the recent positive financial performance from EMC and IBM.
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