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Talk:Apple Inc.

Links not to add

Some sites have links which are labelled as showing problems caused by Apple's patents, but I can't find the evidence. These links shouldn't be added unless there are explanations on where to find evidence that they show problems based on Apple patents.

In general, I would strongly recommend that any link from TechRights be tracked back to an actual, meaningful source before anyone adds such links to this page. That site, in particular, is very slipshod about backing up its assertions, as the latter link easily demonstrates. The article from Roy Schestowitz bases its claim solely that Apple is seeking "junk patents" on an unsupported opinion, apparently from a non-intellectual property professional, who gives his assessment, on an apparently uninformed basis, of the patent's originality. There is no evidence to show that he actually read the patent beyond the title, and there's no reason to believe that he knows anything about US patent law. Please make sure any links you add are a) relevant, b) accurate and c) properly sourced. Exceptions will be summarily removed.

Hardware patent stories - irrelevant here

The following stories should usually be kept off this wiki since they're not about software patents:

Discussing during October 2010 drafting

Discussions moved here from User talk:

There may have also been some discussions by email, so some context might be missing. Ciaran 18:37, 29 December 2011 (EST)


Thanks for the info on the Apple patent. is a breadth-first project and we need a lot of help in digging deeply into each of the topics covered. Criticism is very important. If everyone that spotted an error left a comment like yours, we'd have a lot fewer errors very quickly. So, thanks, and please stick around and let us know what other mistakes and shortcomings there are. I'll do my best to fix them. Ciaran 01:51, 8 October 2010 (EDT)

This is Lefty, Ciaran. Maybe I should ask you to ask again, just so I'm very sure you know what you're getting into. Feel free to change your mind.
Thanks for the warning :-) Yes, I still welcome your criticisms (including the further two edits from a few minutes ago). is for activists / campaign organisers. It's not directly aimed at policy makers, so the pages don't have to always stay in a presentable or convincing state. It's a workspace where we develop topics so that we have the best starting point possible in the future when the information is necessary. We don't have experts for every topic, so the only way forward is incremental improvements over a long timespan.
Noting incomplete things or open questions is still better than nothing. That way FUD can be dispelled. Ciaran 11:05, 8 October 2010 (EDT)
Noting completely inaccurate things, or creating leading questions, as you have here, is worse than nothing. That way, FUD is created and sustained, as we've seen.
By the way, Ciaran, I have to question the wisdom and even-handedness of leading the Apple page with a gratuitous quote on "stealing". No other organization than Apple on this site appears to receive quite that snarky a treatment. Perhaps you could take it down. If not, in the interests of "Equal time", could we add the video of RMS eating his own toejam to the FSF page?
Actually, this is a wiki. I'll fix it.
The purpose of the wiki is to gather information which might be useful for people working on campaigns/actions against software patents. isn't an encyclopaedia, so people shouldn't come here for a general overview of Apple. That's Wikipedia's job. Ciaran 21:07, 10 October 2010 (EDT)
If this is intended to be an explanation of the reinstatement of the gratuitous and unneeded Steve Jobs quote on the Apple page, it makes no sense. The quote isn't related to software patents, it's not related to Apple's corporate philosophy, it's cherry-picked and out-of-context. It needs to go.
It's an intelligent thing that Apple's CEO said. It sums up a good argument for swpat abolition - great art comes from the summing of knowledge, not from compartmentalisation, protectionism, and barriers. It shows that even the leaders of companies with pro-swpat corporate policies can see that sharing ideas also a way of developing great software. If it should be removed from here, it should be put somewhere else on the wiki. I think here's the logical place because people who are looking for this quote are most likely to remember that it's a Steven Jobs quote, so this is the page they're most likely to go to to find it.
As for cherry-picking, that's not intentional, it's just the only quote I know of from Apple which could be useful for anti-swpat campaigns. If anyone knows of others, they should all be added.
I think his choice of the word "stealing" is unfortunate. He probably should have quoted Picasso, and then said that in the software context this is called "cooperation" or "sharing" or similar. The sentence at the end of that section is an attempt to highlight that he wasn't advocating stealing (or, I did my best without crossing the line of putting words in his mouth). Ciaran 03:52, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
He's an intelligent guy, he says intelligent and interesting things frequently. However, this site is not the "Collected Wit and Wisdom of Steve Jobs", unless you want it to be, in which case we can start stripping away all the patent-related material instead. Either way's fine with me.
Put it on a page of "good arguments for swpat abolition" if you like—although it will again be cherry-picked and gratuitously out of context there, since Job wasn't making an argument for abolishing software patents, so you are precisely "putting words in his mouth", or at least transforming the sense of the words you pull out of it. I already said it needs to be somewhere else. It needs not to be on this page.
Intentional or not, cherry-picking is exactly what it is, just as much as if I'd found a quote of someone saying "an intelligent thing" referring to some "Ciaran" who wasn't you, saying that "Ciaran was biased and had no interest in the actual facts, if they conflicted with his preconceived notions and agenda" and threw it onto a page about this site. It's not a quote about you, but it would appear to be. This is not a quote about software patents, no matter how much you wish it was, but you're attempting to make it appear so. That's intellectually dishonest.
And you think his choice of the word "stealing" is unfortunate, so you happily throw an out of context quote, now one which I guess we agree has an "unfortunate" choice of words, onto an otherwise fact-based page...? You've just explained why it shouldn't be there, Ciaran. Take it off. Put it someplace else, if you like, but take it off here.
Done. Software relies on incremental development. Ciaran 08:02, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
Much better, thanks.

LLVM IR in patent application


I don't see why that makes it minor. If it was a patent on something unrelated to LLVM, and the example was just plucked out of the air because something had to be used as an example, then the mention of LLVM wouldn't be significant. But in this case it's a patent on something that compilers do. Ciaran 11:58, 8 October 2010 (EDT)

Ciaran, the reason it's "minor" is that it's mentioned in a dependent claim, one on which the patent does not actually hinge. Moreover, its use in that claim explicitly makes it clear, as does the "Detailed Description," that the mentions of "LLVM IR" and "LLVM bytecode" are provided as, in essence, nothing more than examples of how one might maintain such an "intermediate representation". It's as though someone had a patent which, at one point, claimed that as part of the "method taught" one had to draw an X on a piece of paper with a red crayon, at which point you start to imagine that the patent is an attempt to lay claim to the letter "X", crayons in general, and the color "red". That's silly.
See [0016] in the detail section of the application: "Converting code written in an interpreted language, such as JavaScript, into an intermediate representation, such as LLVM intermediate representation or another storable intermediate representation, is disclosed." That's exemplery. LLVM IR is not essential here, it could be cuneiform for all the difference it would make to the substance of the actual patent being applied for here.

Apple abiding by the rules


Based on what? If Apple has a history of being a good citizen regarding patents in the software community, please provide links, that would be a good thing to document. Ciaran 12:17, 8 October 2010 (EDT)

Based on ten years' experience in their employ, as an engineer and manager, where making sure that Apple didn't play fast and loose with such things was part of my responsibility. You may not like the way they do business, but they're neither stupid nor irresponsible. Moreover, you can't prove a negative. If you have actual evidence of Apple's withholding things from the LLVM project, trot it out. If you don't, suggesting that they're doing it, as you are, is simply spreading further FUD, and further diminishes your credibility. You look like an ax-grinder in search of an excuse.
The primary goal is to be able to discuss these things. "Is Apple patenting LLVM?" seems like the right question to ask. It's a question people ask on LWN, Slashdot, etc. Rather than going over the same rumours again and again, I'm putting it on a wiki page, and people can attach evidence or they can point out that X point is stupid. Ciaran 12:33, 8 October 2010 (EDT)
The problem is that you don't come off as someone "asking a question". You give every appearance of treating that question rhetorically and then providing evidence (or attempting to, anyway) to support the notion that the correct answer is, in fact, yes. That looks like something that is, if not actual defamation, at least within spitting distance of it, especially given the nitwittitude of the so-called "evidence" that you've assembled there. Especially especially when someone looks back through the edit history to see what is used to look like.
Look at it this way: would you put in a section here titled, "Was Apple Responsible for the World Trade Center Disaster?" on the sole basis of having discovered the strings "WTC", "747" and "9/11" in a couple of Apple patents, without having read any further? And when someone pointed out to you that "WTC" meant "web tracking component", "747" was part of someone's phone number, and "9/11" referred to diagram number nine out of a total of eleven, would you leave that headline up there as fit "subject for discussion" here, on Slashdot, or anywhere else? That seems an approximate analogy for what you're doing here.
Well, the section is for discussing what relation there is between Apple's patenting and LLVM. If the title said "Apple is.." or "Apple isn't...", then it would cutting off the discussion. Another possible title would be "Apple, patents, and LLVN". Would that be any better? (I added an intro sentence to reduce the implication that the answer is "yes") Ciaran 13:01, 8 October 2010 (EDT)
Only if you make it "Apple, completely irrelevant patents (but the best we could manage), and LLVM", which would have the advantage of being accurate. And, one more time, let's add a section for Apple's involvement in the WTC attack. After all, we wouldn't want to "cut off discussion", would we...? In the same vein, you're grossly misrepresenting things in the "prior art" comment, as I've attempted to suggest to you multiple times now. Your "prior art" is all predicated on the (erroneous) assumption that Apple is attempting to "patent LLVM", and—as I keep pointing out—you have no evidence at all to support that contention.
The appropriate response to the more reasonable question, "Is there any relation between Apple's patent activity and the LLVM compiler?" would be, "On the basis of the available evidence, apparently not at all." All you have to show for yourselves is a single not-yet-granted patent application, which only mentions "LLVM intermediate representation" and "LLVM bytecode" in passing, in an exemplery fashion, while noting in the detailed description that these are, indeed, merely examples, and that other means or mechanisms could be used to achieve the same end. To watch you do your damnedest to contort that into an attempt to patent (somehow) an entire compiler suite—or even raise a question about such a thing on such a scanty basis—is, honestly, a little embarrassing to witness.
To be very blunt, anyone who's not smart enough to understand the issues here will come away with the vague impression that, perhaps, Apple is indeed attempting to "patent LLVM". Anyone who is smart enough to understand is going to wonder what your grudge with Apple would have to be for you to be looking this hard for an excuse to make them look bad, somehow, no matter what it takes. They might be charitable and just decide that you're as clueless a fool as "gnufreex" and Roy Schestowitz are, and that you simply have no idea what you're talking about. I know you're smarter than you're making yourself look with this, Ciaran.
Ok, the current version of the page is fine (or if you think further changes would be good, feel free). The goal is to provide an informative starting point, and the current version does that (and does it better than the version from 24h ago).
About the question of whether Apple's following the LLVM's contributor policy: rather than trying to find if they've violated it, the utility is that it's one starting point for finding what patent declarations (and thus promises) Apple has made regarding LLVM. Mentioning it is also a way to remind people that if there's a patent they're worried about, they can always ask the LLVM devs if there's a promise not to use it. Ciaran 00:11, 9 October 2010 (EDT)
I can live with it as it stands at this point. As far as the LLVM contributor policy, I'm not at all happy with the presumption of bad faith—again, based on a total lack of the slightest shred of evidence—on Apple's part. If you insist on leaving it in, I believe you should also leave in the following clarifying "help" paragraph I added, at the very least. But it's an unnecessary provocation, in my view. If you can actually determine that Apple has made patent promises around LLVM, you can certainly list them. However this open-ended "Have they...?" is unanswerable if Apple has said nothing one way of the other. The reasonable assumption is that they don't have anything to declare. The unreasonable assumption is that they're hiding some "booby trap" patent and just waiting to spring it on the world, which is in fact approximately where we came in. Given the propensity of this page to go off the deep end into assuming the worst of Apple on the shoddiest possible evidentiary basis, this seems like nothing more than an invitation to mischief to me.

Improving the LLVM section, December 2011

The LLVM section was written in October 2010.

It originally contained incorrect information. This was corrected by Lefty. He rewrote parts, and I changed some of his sentences. (Our discussions are reproduced above.)

Re-reading the article a year later I see that the section's defensive/remorseful tone wouldn't make sense to anyone who didn't know the context in which it was written.

I've reviewed it to make it more readable and more concise, but trying to keep Lefty's point about there being no evidence of Apple being a threat to LLVM.


I hope I preserved the point that was made by the October 2010 version. Ciaran 18:34, 29 December 2011 (EST)