[linux-audio-dev] RE: [linux-audio-user] Open letter to Steve Ballmer

Jan Depner eviltwin69 at cableone.net
Sat Mar 3 15:14:39 UTC 2007

I normally wouldn't reply but this is way off.  If there is prior art
then the patent can be thrown out.  This is what PubPat is doing and
what was attempted with the Microsoft FAT patent (and succeeded in

If Microsoft took out a patent on something that was implemented
previously in ALSA code but they did not steal the code from ALSA they
are not required to GPL anything.  GPL is a license based on copyright.
As long as they don't copy the code they're not breaking any laws and,
unless someone can prove that they copied the code, they ar enot
required to reveal it.


 On Fri, 2007-03-02 at 14:37 +0100, Nick Copeland wrote:
> If Microsoft patent any capabilities that are present in the ALSA codestream 
> them ALSA itself is exempt from the patent. This is written into the patent 
> laws, they cover the possibliity that somebody had a product that was later 
> patented by some other, wiser party. If the company in potential infringment 
> can prove prior implementation then they are exempt.
> The exact wording of the exemption would probably require legal 
> interpretation, however if Microsoft have patents applied for that cover 
> features already implemented by ALSA then not only are implementations of 
> the ALSA driver exempt (prior implementation can be proven based on driver 
> distribution dates to precede the patent application) but at the same time 
> there is a seperate issue that if Microsoft did take out a patent of an ALSA 
> capability then under the terms of the GPL they may legally be required to 
> make their code publicly available as it arguably must have been based on 
> the open sourced capabilities.
> Regards.
> >From: "Marc-Olivier Barre" <mobarre at gmail.com>
> >Reply-To: A list for linux audio users 
> ><linux-audio-user at music.columbia.edu>
> >To: "Linux Audio Dev List" <linux-audio-dev at music.columbia.edu>,"A list for 
> >linux audio users" <linux-audio-user at music.columbia.edu>
> >Subject: [linux-audio-user] Open letter to Steve Ballmer
> >Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 12:09:25 +0100
> >
> >Hi,
> >
> >Since Microsoft recent audio related patent "that looks a lot like
> >ALSA", I thought this could be interesting :
> >
> >http://www.showusthecode.com/
> >
> >In short it's an open letter to Steve Ballmer asking him to show the
> >code and patents that Linux supposedly copied from Microsoft (haha,
> >what a joke...)
> >
> >Happy reading,
> >__________________
> >Marc-Olivier Barre,
> >Markinoko.
> _________________________________________________________________
> Don't just search. Find. Check out the new MSN Search! 
> http://search.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200636ave/direct/01/
Jan 'Evil Twin' Depner

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of 
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to 
skid in sideways, chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other, body 
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming 'WOO HOO, what a ride'"

More information about the Linux-audio-dev mailing list