Feeds

Red Hat patent app sparks open source lockdown fears

'Defensive' patent or IP minefield?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A recently uncovered Red Hat patent application for dynamic message routing on XML has some open-source advocates theorizing the company has quietly forsaken its promise to claim Linux IP only for defensive purposes.

Conspiracies are bubbling out of Slashdot and other sites over a 2007 Red Hat patent application for a "method and apparatus to deliver messages between applications."

Free software watchdogs are concocting sinister designs for why Red Hat didn't simply publish prior art for the technology rather than file a claim with the US patent office. After all, the company's stated ideals claim it wants to avoid litigious patent warfare and will use its IP portfolio only as a means to defend itself against patent trolls.

Some claim the XML routing described in the patent is an "obvious" extension of AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) — an open and standard implementation of messaging technology that Red Hat is helping to make. Holding one piece of the puzzle could theoretically either produce a chilling effect on the standard or let Red Hat hold it for ransom.

The open source doomsday scenarios certainly contrast to Red Hat's stated policy that while it will in fact file for software patents, it vows not to pursue legal action against infringing companies that make free or open source software. And Red Hat has stuck by those ideals for all these years.

Somehow, the tin foil hat doesn't fit yet — until you add Microsoft into the equation.

Microsoft, the ever-present bugbear of the Linux community, has folks a bit more on edge than usual with its recent prosecution of GPS maker TomTom. Redmond dropped its legal briefs on TomTom in February, claiming infringement on eight of its patents, including three that relate to TomTom's implementation of the Linux kernel.

Microsoft has long-claimed there are 235 cases of its patents being violated by free and open source software. The case against TomTom has some wringing their hands over whether Microsoft's "war on Linux" has begun.

Touchiness about Linux patents aside, there's also a direct connection between Red Hat and Microsoft. Some are pointing to the two companies' recent interoperability deal as proof Red Hat is willing to make a pact with the devil. Apparently litigiousness is catching nowadays. But Red Hat has emphasized (in bold no less) the arrangement contains no patent or open source licensing components.

Still, Red Hat would hold the patent for 17 years and a lot can happen in that time. Plenty of time for the company to turn evil if the alarmists are missing the mark.

Red Hat hasn't gotten back to us about the patent filing as of publication — so to you conspiracy theorists out there, we leave you with this: dun dun DUNNNN!! ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.