Barracuda Networks has called on open source advocates to help fight its patent dust-up with Trend Micro over the Clam AntiVirus software package. Specifically, the provider of network-based security products for email and websites is asking for help in dredging up old technologies that were developed prior to the filing of the …
Barracuda: We're an open-source software company and we want everything for free. Would you like to help us do patent research for free too?
Me: I'm not so sure. Rule #1 in tech is to make sure you see the money. This sounds fishy.
Barracuda: It's not fishy at all. It's the new world! We convince silly gits to perform all the expensive work for us in hopes of selling out to a more traditional software company for huge profits.
Me: Oh I see. I'd love to work for free then! Just so you can get the Ferrari's and yacht's and mansions. When can I start!
Jack-off's. They should fail as a "company" for even suggesting this.
P.H. cause she'll fuck anybody for free.
Dan, for some reason you neglect to point out, that the reason why Barracuda is claiming to defend Free- and Open Source Software is because what they are actually shipping is ClamAV. And that a defeat would set precedence to sue everyone using ClamAV on their gateways.
I know it is mentioned in the very beginning - but beyond that is it completely absent.
For anyone desiring a different view on the story - try Ars Technica:
Their reasoning for Symantec and McAfee to settle is, that it was probably cheaper (and definitely safer) to do.
WTF is the free software ecosystem? Correct me if I'm wrong here, but most ElReg readers wouldn't be involved in software development unless it brought them some sort of financial gain. If all software was free why would people even get involved in developing software? Unless there are a lot more unemployed developers than I think - people with the time to create software for free, this ecosystem seems to be the death of software???
F'ing patent laws
God only knows where we would be if this stupidity had got knocked on the head before it got out of hand. Easy answer? screw the US market, its not worth the trouble.
Was reading up the wiki page on the piezoelectric effect yesterday and clear as day "Japanese efforts in materials research created piezoceramic materials competitive to the U.S. materials, but free of expensive patent restrictions.". Guess who has the bigger world market now.
Same for the motor industry, the piston engine is a disgusting inefficient ball of shite that should have been dead and buried for a long time. If development was put into single speed turbines with generators and batteries then efficiency would double immediately and continue to improve but the patent implications are a rats nest and would only get worse as the technology develops. Fuck it, lets waste what oil we have and heat the place up a bit, we'll worry about the next ice age when it happens. All because the trolls will want their pound of flesh, and I'm not going to start on the Bill and Steve gangs two hundred and whatever 'trust us, we have them' FUD slips.
Prior art? Every bloody system admin who ever wrote any kind of automated bloody script to sniff out an effing binary match to a known piece of malicious sodding code. Stick God on there too, the immune system does the same bloody thing by identifying and attacking nasties as they are carried in the blood stream and calling to their mates to help put the boot in.
Sod prior art, patents should be booted out for being 'bleeding obvious' and 'a hindrance to society'.
The very phrase "Intelectual Property" is a magnificent example of propaganda. It begs the question without seeming to. Everyone who uses this now ubiquitous phrase tacily admits that ideas are *things* - like my shoes, or my house - that are rightfully someone's property. It's impossible to argue to argue that no-one has a right to sue other people for using a blinking cursor in their app without some idiot going "but IP is *property* and using someone else's property without permission is wrong". The question of whether or not the idea of using a blinking cursor *can* be "property" is precisely the point at issue.
So, good on these people for delegitimising these particular IP squatters (see what I mean?), but it's not the real problem.
I think you might want to google the history of Linux.
People don't just develop software for "Money" or to make a living. A lot of people develop for the joy of it and the joy of giving to a community.
But, then again, there are a lot of people on the world who really dont give a rats arse about anyone but themselves.
That's nice. Now try saying it again on an empty stomach.
Many companies involved in Open Source make their money from providing services to businesses rather than the selling of software. Contrary to what you say many companies provide software which is essentially free - Microsoft provide the .Net tools which are themselves free.
Regardless of whether they are asking the open source community to defend them, it has to be for the greater good that companies who file false patents lose their court cases.
Wow again. A more one-sided piece of tripe has rarely been seen. The author seems to have pushed most of the F.U.D. buttons on open source and on patents, that's for sure. There's definitely a place for this author at Fox News.
As for those who in the comments have managed to completely misunderstand and misrepresent "open source software" right along with the author, again, wow. The level of ignorance being displayed, the sheer level of deliberate blindness when the whole idea is pretty well documented, is astounding.
Several companies are proving, there is, in fact, a lot of money is "free" software. For those here who have demonstrated they can't do even the most rudimentary research, all I can say is that finding out how it works is left as an exercise to the reader. Mainly because repeating the fact that just because the software itself is "free" doesn't mean that the expertise around it is free would be a waste of my time, given the deliberate ignorance displayed so far.
Coding isn't fun. Seeing something work gives a nice sense of achievement, but putting the work in certainly isn't fun. Neither is learning the skills to allow you to code. Without financial incentive, what is the point of going to that effort? Is 'for everybodys benefit' going to put food on the table? Is 'the community' going to provide a place to live? Are all these nice people who quite happily accept your free software going to come to your house with food parcels, pay your bills, fill your fuel tank? I don't think so.
On the other hand, if you code in your spare time around a real job all software becomes a mess. Bugs are fixed as and when you have the time, features designed the gui for but haven't implemented the back end never get finished or you stop bothering altogether as you can't be bothered with that particular piece of software as you are now putting your free time into something you find more interesting. You give people your source to carry it on, and maybe (and it is only maybe) someone else will be interested enough to continue developing it. The code becomes bloated with half finished bits that no-one knows if they can remove because it isn't documented properly.
It's exactly those reasons that linux STILL isn't a massive influence despite being developed for over 15 years. It is really good to use it for dedicated hardware or specific tasks that the software can be created for with the intention of leaving it alone - in digiboxes for example but on the desktop it is still a mess and businesses know it meaning they are unwilling to deploy it.
And it isn't about not giving a rats arse about anyone else. If you are homeless and starving how exactly are you in position to help anyone?
Most open source development is done for purely commercial motivation by some of the majority of programmers whose software market happens not to involve the marketing and selling of packages of code to incremental users. For example, my motivation for developing code is primarily to help teach my students, and the secondary motivation is for me to increase my knowledge of matters that interest me. I have no need to peddle code packages to customers. It is very unlikely that I could make a profit by doing so - the costs would far outweigh the revenue. The reason for using free software licensing is so that my software use and knowledge shares the benefits as widely as possible with other programmers who are doing the same as me.
The view that the software market comprises solely packages sold incrementally demonstrates a a clear knowledge deficit. You might therefore be able better to adapt yourself better to the technical effects of these realities by going on some of the courses which open-source programmers like myself who are working in academic and training organisations are developing and delivering.
"Coding isn't fun. "
Maybe not for you, but for many people it is. Isn't it more cost-efficient to have only the latter group write software, and release the people for whom coding isn't fun do something else, like showel dirt or sell herbal supplements?
"The code becomes bloated with half finished bits that no-one knows if they can remove because it isn't documented properly."
A pretty good description of most commercial software as well... you just don't see it in closed-source apps. I'm currently trying to pick up the maintenance of a particular closed-source cross-development tool chain, meaning a lot of reverse-engineering of rather ugly C code...
It is just in the nature of software.
They're behind that piece of shit Barracuda Spam Firewall, aren't they?
The one that sends messages back to the *faked* sender?
Deserve all they get, the useless bastards.
The reason why it has a big impact on Open Source software in particular
If Barracuda reach a settlement it still means that anyone wanting to use or modify their open source code would have to reach their own agreement with TrendMicro. Hence it would not be open source any more.
If as a techie and admin you modified the software to better suit the set up your company has then you would be running the risk of making your company the target of an expensive IP lawsuit.
Now, if you are a single vendor marketing a monolithic version of the software you can of course reach an agreement with people without it affecting your business model overly much.
The above is why Barracuda thinks it is worthwhile to fight it when some of the other people TrendMicro have gone after haven't.
The reason why they think they have a case is that they feel they can prove that the Trend Micro patent claims is neither novel nor non-obvious. If you have a look at what they filed it shows how there are several pieces of software which did exactly what the Trend Micro patents claims to have invented well before their patent was issued.
If they are confident that the patent is invalidated due to this why should anyone codemn them for trying to prove it in a court? Anyways I would also recommend people to have a look at the Ars Technica article.
@ solomon 3 + anon coward
Further to previous responses that explained how companies can make money out of OSS....
Reasons why people develop software:
1) It's their job to develop that piece of software, hence: Money
2) They don't get paid to develop software, but developing _this_ piece of software will make it easier for them to do whatever it is they get paid to do.
3) They want their computer to be able to do a particular, non-work-related thing, but either there is no software available, or they can't/won't pay for software already on the market.
4) Somebody mentioned an interesting problem to them, they've grown out of Meccano, jigsaw puzzles seem pointless and they don't have the time, funds or hangar to build an F15 from scratch.
5) They see a piece of OSS in an area in which they'd like to work (eg games, graphics, technical computing), but in which they have insufficient experience. They do it to familiarise themselves with the concepts/gotchas/techniques.
In the 1st case, there would obviously be no question of sharing the code and the Mill Owner might not be keen in the 2nd case.
For the others, though, what is to be gained by _not_ sharing? If the software becomes popular, the OSS developer gains kudos - kudos is a saleable quality - and you will probably know more about the software than anyone else (at least initially). If no-one but you ever uses it, you can view it as having gained development experience rather than rueing it as a failed get-rich-quick scheme.
PS Paris because she's living proof you can make millions by showing everyone your bits ;-)
Any Open Source projects licensing technology?
Out of curiosity, does anyone know of open source projects which have paid to licensed IP, or have come to an agreement when faced with a similar situation to Barracuda? What was the agreement like and how did they define who could work on the code and how it could be distributed?
and meh, the format of my last post is awful. I should have previewed it...
There are many forms of reward. Oddly, I get paid to develop open-source code, that makes my employer's hardware more salable. OTOH, I once spent 4 hours of my own time researching prior art to help Microsoft defend against a troll. Do what you wish with your life, I'm spending mine as I prefer.
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