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Patents

Submission + - Supreme Court on ATT and M$

Anonymous Coward writes: "If you read the transcript from today's session, you can see that some (or all) of the Justices are suspicious of software patents. Item: Souter compares what MS did to sending a blueprint overseas- which apparently is not infringement: JUSTICE SOUTER (to ATT): You are saying, I think, in essence if you send a blueprint — this is like a blueprint. It tells, it tells a machine which may be in Europe how to put the object code on other disks or on hard drives. The machine in Europe is following instructions just the way an artisan would follow a blueprint. Item: Kennedy accidentally describes (as non-infringing behaviour) the relationship between source code, a compiler and object code! This is really fascinating: JUSTICE KENNEDY: But suppose, suppose you had a machine that makes another machine, and if you ship that machine to Europe — and there's a patent for the machine that makes it. If you ship it to Europe and it starts making another machine, the statute is not violated; and isn't that just what's happening here? and Waxman falls all over himself to assert that that is NOT the case.... MR. WAXMAN: No, no, no. This is not a machine tool. The thing that was violated, the machine readable object code, is precisely what is installed on the computer and precisely what is moved from one part of the computer to another in different forms as the computer operates and it continually instructs. This is dynamic. It's not... and Justice Breyer interrupts him: JUSTICE BREYER: How would you, how would you — go back for a second, please, because, if you're finished with that, because I don't see how to decide for you without at the same time permitting a person to walk over to the Patent Office, to read that application and the description, which after all at least can be a very highly detailed set of instructions of how to make a machine, getting on the phone, explaining that just like the blueprint which it is just like to somebody in Europe. They then make it. And that on your reading would violate the statute. It can't be right that that would and you don't even think it would. From this exchange it seems like sending source code to foreign country, which is then compiled down to object code, would have been OK. Object code is what runs- source code is just information to a machine how to make another machine, like a blueprint, at very detailed, as Breyer puts it, blueprint, but still a blueprint. In the transcript, which is alternatively funny, (because owing to the ridiculous nature of software patents , the lawyers are all but invoking perfect Platonic Ideas to distinguish between object code and software in the abstract) then heartening you can see that the Justices have deep reservations about whether software should or can be patented. Item: JUSTICE SCALIA: That, that code is not patentable, you've said. MR. WAXMAN: The code is not patentable. The expression is copyrightable. AT&T has not sought to get a patent on the code. AT&T has a patent on a system that can be practiced, among other ways, through the use of software. JUSTICE BREYER: "We're operating under the assumption that software is patentable...but we've never held that in this court, ever, What should we do here?", This is a fascinating case for a variety of reasons. 1) if MS loses, the follow-on implications for software development in the US are profound. Specifically, MS would no longer be able to export code overseas written here without incurring the wrath of patents filed in the US. 2) if MS loses, the following situation obtains: A foreign (to the US) student studies cutting edge algorithms in class. Some of those happen to be patented by someone else, like RSA. This is just what graduate students have to do to be any good. The student then leaves the US and seeks employment with a US firm overseas. Can she get a job? Absolutely not. Anything she writes will have been "stolen fruit" in the eyes of the law. Her employer could be subject to charges of infringement over anything she writes. Why Because SHE HERSELF was the means of transmission back to her country. No doubt that is exactly where this goes. Item: Justice Breyer asks ATT if "transmission purely of information" could be prosecuted as a violation. "I would be quite frightened of deciding for you and discovering vast numbers of inventions that can be thought of in the way you describe this one," he said. Breyer used the example of someone reading the text of a patent claim over the phone to someone in foreign country who later decided to make the same product, a reading of the law he said "can't be right,". Of course all this nonsense stems from trying to extend patents into what should be COPYRIGHTED and trade secreted. That's where the problem lies."
Businesses

Submission + - Pre-Installed Linux tops Dell customer requests

dhart writes: "Within only a few days of opening a new customer feedback website, Dell has discovered the feature most requested (by a wide margin!) as an option on all new Dell PCs: Pre-installed Linux. I believe they'll have a harder time now with the tired old mantra "there's no customer demand for Linux"."
Movies

Submission + - US trains new ELITE Swedish anti-piracy policeunit

soulxtc writes: Never one to let its interests anywhere in the world go unprotected, the FBI and the MPAA have teamed up with the Swedish govt to create an elite corps of Swedish anti-piracy police. In an effort to help stamp out pesky Swedish pirates, FBI agent Andrew Myers and the MPAA have given a group of six Swedish police officers extensive training on how to effectively combat piracy and catch people who engage in illegal downloading from the internet.
Databases

Submission + - Is Delphi the next Database dev platform.. again?

santakrooz writes: Delphi's always been known as a solid database application development platform, it just had it's 12th birthday on Valentines day, and now the Delphi guys are coming up with a completely new database architecture. The interesting thing is that it's backward compatible, insanely extensible, single sourced between .NET and Wintel native code, and... and written completely in Delphi. Ok I know Delphi's written in Delphi and there are "wow" apps out there written in Delphi like Skype that Delphi guys always like to mention, there was a loosely supported Linux version, so my question is, what can't you do in Delphi? Or a better question is... what have Slashdot readers written in Delphi?
Power

Submission + - Creating power from wasted heat

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Today, about 90 percent of the world's electricity is created through an indirect and inefficient conversion of heat. It is estimated that two thirds of the heat used by thermoelectric converters are wasted and released. But now, researchers from the University of California at Berkeley have found a new way to convert this wasted heat into electricity by trapping organic molecules between metal nanoparticles. So far, this method of creating electricity creation is in its very early stage, but if it can scale up to mass production, it may lead to a new and inexpensive source of energy. Read more for many additional references about this research work."
Data Storage

Submission + - Nenest Web Application Framework

Tony Y. writes: "Nenest (http://www.nenest.com) is a web platform which enables anyone to create online software support databases. Users use Nenest Form Builder to create online forms, then use those form to collect, organize and store data. Those data can be secure for internal employees or members accessing only; or published to public by using social networking tools, including RSS feeds, Digg, del.icio.us and Sphere."
Space

Submission + - Asteroid impact threat

Maggie McKee writes: "Kamchatkans and Venezuelans beware. A 20-million-tonne asteroid could be heading your way. Californians have even more reason to worry — the asteroid is more likely to hit the Pacific Ocean, triggering a tsunami that could devastate the west coast of North America. These are among the scenarios projected for asteroid Apophis, which researchers now say has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting Earth on 13 April 2036. Calculations show it would strike somewhere along a narrow track that stretches eastward from Siberia to the west coast of Africa. The threat, while small, is real enough to merit a United Nations protocol for dealing with the problem, experts say."
Networking

Submission + - Videoconferencing server for Linux ?

Hymer writes: Well it is really a simple question: Does anyone here know a vidoconferencing server for Linux ? It may be a non-standard solution but the clients have to exist for at least Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. The communication channel should preferably encrypted. I need video and some kind of common workplace or desktop sharing, audio is optional. I've searched the Net and found nothing... geeks do not need to look at other geeks to understand eachother but CEO's obviously does... ;-)
Printer

Submission + - Zink Imaging to launch inkless printer

Vinit writes: "Zink Imaging has developed a unique technology which can print pictures without ink! The innovation could be applied to make hand-held printers that can be integrated into mobile phones and digital cameras. While printing one only needs a paper, I mean Zink paper which is initially colorless, looks and feels like ordinary white photograph paper and is not light sensitive. You can get a copy of picture (5 cm x 7.5 cm) in 30 seconds and the photos are are very durable — they cannot be torn and are also water resistant. The firm plans to launch two products by the end of the year: a small battery-operated, pocket-sized printer for camera-phones and a digital camera with a 2 inch x 3 inch (5 cm by 7.5 cm) printer built in. The company recently demonstrated a working prototype of the camera phone printer at the DEMO 2007 technology conference in California, US. The printer is expected to cost $200 while 100 sheets of paper will cost $20. http://www.pclaunches.com/optical_media/zink_imagi ng_to_launch_inkless_printer.php"
Windows

Journal Journal: Piracy worked for us

Piracy worked for us, Romanian president tells Gates

Reuters
Thursday, February 1, 2007; 9:45 AM

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Pirated Microsoft Corp software helped Romania to build a vibrant technology industry, Romanian President Traian Basescu told the company's co-founder Bill Gates on Thursday.

Basescu was meeting the software giant's chairman in Bucharest to celebrate the opening of a Microsoft global technical center in the Romanian capital.

GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - GPLv3 is DRM

An anonymous reader writes: This post says:

"Imagine: some software/music, say GCC, is released/distributed under GPLv2. People can do whatever they want with it: redistribute it, reuse it in their own source code/music, or whatever. Then GPLv3 comes out. Suddenly the software/music won't work on/play in your hardware/software."

Please comment, I hope I'm wrong.
Security

Submission + - Chinese Cyber Attacks on DOD Networks

Anonymous Coward writes: "As seen in: SANS NewsBites Vol. 9 Num. 14 The Naval Network Warfare Command says Chinese hackers are relentlessly targeting Defense Department networks with cyber attacks. The "volume, proficiency and sophistication" of the attacks supports the theory that the attacks are government supported. The "motives [of the attacks emanating from China] ... include technology theft, intelligence gathering, exfiltration, research on DOD operations and the creation of dormant presences in DOD network for future action." http://www.fcw.com/article97658-02-13-07-Web&print Layout"

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