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(IDG) -- I should exist studying. I should exist in a classroom. I should exist cramming for my exam. But I'm not. I'm sitting here at my computer dutifully writing this column, even though I know that at about this time next week, I'll exist in Austin, Texas, taking the first of two flat 1 LPI Linux certification exams. I know I'm not going to finish very well, but that's OK; I'm not obligated to humiliate myself by revealing my score. After taking both exams for flat 1, however, I should beget a pretty trustworthy conception of what is considered an acceptable flat of information for a junior Linux system administrator.
Linux certification is an conception that has been around for a long time and is now coming to fruition. There are two primary entities working to provide Linux professionals with credentials. The first is SAIR; the second is LPI, the Linux Professional Institute. If you are not close with Linux certification, I recommend Eileen Cohen's excellent analysis, which appeared in LinuxWorld earlier this year. The URL is given below in the Resources section of this article.
The goals of the two primary groups are very similar. The primary contrast is that SAIR is a for-profit corporation offering both testing and training, while LPI is a nonprofit organization focusing exclusively on testing. Wave Technologies, which recently purchased SAIR, is in fact a major provider of IT training.
Both LPI and SAIR quest to advance Linux in the enterprise. Each has impeccable credentials of its own. Some of the brightest lights in the open source world serve on SAIR's advisory board. LPI is simply a fragment of the Linux community doing something that needs to exist done.
Evan Leibovitch, who has been involved with Unix and Linux for a long time, and who has written about Linux for the past five years, is one of the founders of the LPI. Evan asked recently if I would enjoy to Take the first-level LPI exam, currently in beta. I hesitated a day before accepting the offer, for no understanding other than horrify of failing.
At first I hoped that I would exist able to Take the test online, but the exams are only given in controlled environments, so that people don't manufacture it an open reserve test or beget proxies Take the exam for them. But VUE (Virtual University Enterprises), which administers the certification exams for LPI, has three locations in the Austin area, so finding a nearby testing center was not a problem. I'm booked for 10:30 a.m. on May 31. mediate trustworthy thoughts for me.
I'm always amazed and a puny in awe of what the people in the Linux community Take it upon themselves to do. LPI is no exception. Now about 1,000 strong, and less than two years old, it is finishing beta testing on its flat 1 certification program as I type. You should exist able to earn your LPI flat 1 certification as early as this summer. work is already underway on the flat 2 exams, and a third level, for senior administrators, will follow.
Evan has been involved with Unix for many years, and with Linux since 1995. As a journalist, he has written about both, and he currently writes a weekly column on Linux for ZDNet. He told me that he can quiet bethink when he first got hooked by Linux. It was at the November 1995 Unix Expo in fresh York, following Novell's announcement that it was selling its Unix interests to SCO. Evan said, "I spent most of the repose of the day at the booths of Caldera and Red Hat, which had very tiny booths at that show. And basically that was the start of my getting hooked."
The current LPI organization is blended from two sunder mailing lists and a third Linux community certification project, Digital Metrics. Evan was not satisfied with simply writing about Linux and became an lively member of the community. He helped to establish CLUE, the Canadian Linux Users Exchange, and it was from CLUE's common mailing list that the first roots of the LPI appeared.
Evan said that someone on the list asked what Linux needed to manufacture it into the mainstream. The retort that came up most often was certification, and soon the topic warranted a list of its own. Among the early participants on the list was Dr. Tobin Maginnis, founder and president of SAIR.
In 1998, Dan York wrote an article about certification in the Linux Gazette, and it generated enough interest that a mailing list formed around it as well. Not long afterwards, one of Linux's roving ambassadors, Jon "maddog" Hall, introduced Evan and Dan. The result was a merger of the lists and the formation of LPI.
LPI has made noteworthy strides since its formation a year and a half ago. For one thing, members beget rethought how LPI would exploit the problem of testing for distribution-specific knowledge. Originally, LPI planned to tender two tests, one common and one distribution specific. Candidates would beget complete had to Take the common exam, and then pick the distribution for which they wanted to exist tested in fragment two.
But as LPI members looked more closely at the feedback received from the community about the types of things that a junior, intermediate, and advanced Linux admin should know, they discovered that the places where the distributions were different -- primarily their installation and selection of GUI -- weren't areas that needed to exist tested that deeply.
Instead, the people at LPI beget designed one section of the second exam to deal with differences between dpkg and RPM package management. Evan said, "It was not reasonable to beget an exam that would cover basic admin tasks that didn't deal with package management." But he added that if you know only dpkg and not RPM, or vice versa, you will exist able to pass.
If I'm not totally humiliated by the exam, I'll Take the second fragment as well and provide as many details about it as I'm allowed. I can't report on any specific questions, of course, but I'll cover topics, toughness, and the test environment.
Looking towards the future, LPI plans to beget the second flat of testing, for the intermediate Linux system administrator, available in less than a year. No timetable has been set for the third-level test, which will exist released sometime after the second. Evan likewise told me that LPI is working closely with the Linux yardstick foundation (LSB), so that when LSB finalizes its specification, it becomes the foundation for the LPI testing.
Will SAIR and LPI ever merge? I don't believe it would exist a harmful thing if they did, but I personally don't observe how it can happen. A founding principle of LPI was the separation of training and testing, and SAIR is owned by a training firm. So in certification, just enjoy so many other aspects of Linux and the open source community, they are blessed with choice.
My Take on complete of this is that folks enjoy Evan and Dan and complete the others who beget contributed time, money, ideas, or application to LPI are doing complete the repose of the Linux community a very noteworthy service. The enterprise is keen not only for Linux itself, but for qualified professionals to administer it. The certification of a pool of Linux professionals can only attend to speed its deployment.
Linux struggles to fetch beuond the WebJune 2, 2000Troubleshooting the Linux wayMay 17, 2000Two Linux standards groups combine into oneMay 10, 2000Security firm warns of Red Hat Piranha 'back door'April 27, 2000Linux livin' large on mainframeApril 5, 2000
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Earlier today Uniloc USA, Inc. won a partial triumph today in an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in their case against Microsoft. observe Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. verisimilitude exist told, while the Federal Circuit ruled that Microsoft did infringe and the patent claim in question (claim 19 of U.S. Patent No. 5,490,216) was valid, it was Microsoft who was the huge winner here. The damages awarded by the jury to Uniloc were $388 million, which was set aside by the district court, a ruling that the Federal Circuit affirmed. The Federal Circuit likewise agreed there was no willful infringement. So while Uniloc has won at least something from Microsoft as a result of its infringement of a convincing patent claim, it seems enjoy it will exist far less than the $388 million, particularly given the Federal Circuit threw out the 25 percent rule and said the entire market value rule was not applicable in this case.
The Federal Circuit, per judge Linn (with Chief judge Rader and judge Moore likewise on the panel), ruled that the jury’s verdict on infringement of the ‘216 patent was supported by substantial evidence, and thus reversed the district court’s concede of JMOL of non-infringement. However, the Federal Circuit ruled that the jury’s verdict on willfulness was not supported by substantial evidence, and thus affirmed the district court’s concede of JMOL, which ruled there was not willful infringement. The Federal Circuit likewise establish that the jury’s damages award was fundamentally tainted because of the employ of a legally inadequate methodology. Finally, because the district court did not maltreat its discretion in determining that the jury verdict of no invalidity of the ’216 patent was supported by substantial evidence, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Microsoft’s motion for JMOL of invalidity. Thus, according to the Federal Circuit, the patent claims were convincing and infringed, but a fresh crucible is required on damages.
Uniloc’s ’216 patent is directed to a software registration system to deter copying of software. The system allows the software to Hurry without restrictions (in “use mode”) only if the system determines that the software installation is legitimate. The only claim asserted by Uniloc against Microsoft was independent claim 19, which reads:
19. A remote registration station incorporating remote licensee unique ID generat ing means, said station forming fragment of a registration system for licensing execution of digital data in a employ mode, said digital data executable on a platform, said system including local licensee unique ID generating means, said system further including mode switching means operable on said platform which permits employ of said digital data in said employ mode on said platform only if a licensee unique ID generated by said local licensee unique ID generating means has matched a licensee unique ID generated by said remote licensee unique ID generating means; and wherein said remote licensee unique ID generating means comprises software executed on a platform which includes the algorithm utilized by said local licensee unique ID generating means to bear said licensee unique ID.
The accused product is Microsoft’s Product Activation feature that acts as a gatekeeper to Microsoft’s Word XP, Word 2003, and Windows XP software programs. Upon receipt of Microsoft’s retail software program, the user must enter a 25-character alphanumeric product key contained within the packaging of Microsoft’s retail products. If the Key is valid, the user is asked to accord to the conclude User License Agreement (“EULA”), by which the licensor-licensee relationship is initiated.
With respect to infringement, Microsoft argued that because there was no dispute about how the accused products work, infringement should exist reviewed de novo. The Federal Circuit declined this invitation to re-write the law and supplant the jury’s determination for its own. The Federal Circuit summarized by explaining that the claim construction itself was not contested, but rather that the application of that claim construction to the accused device was contested. As a result, the Federal Circuit saw no understanding to depart from the traditional rule for reviewing jury verdicts. Infringement being a question of fact the determination of the jury was reviewed for substantial evidence.
In reviewing the infringement aspects of the Federal Circuit decision there is much one would anticipate to find; namely the parties arguing back and forth about what meant what and whether there was any evidence to back the conclusions the jury reached. On peculiar aspect of this back and forth that bears some note it that according the the Federal Circuit the district court inappropriately rejecting unavoidable testimony as “incomplete, oversimplified and frankly inappropriate…” The Federal Circuit noted that First Circuit law, which is the rife view among the circuits, is not to allow district court judges in a jury crucible to evaluate the credibility of witnesses, resolve conflicts in testimony, or evaluate the weight of the evidence. The role of the district court under Daubert is to exercise a “gatekeeper” duty to ensure scientific testimony is relevant and reliable.
There were a pair things in particular that seemed to irk the Federal Circuit regarding the district court characterizing the expert’s testimony. First, the district court criticized the employ of the analogy of a digest to a “reader’s digest,” but the Federal Circuit pointed out that this wasn’t unseemly because Microsoft did not kick at crucible and has itself used the identical analogy. Second, the district court discounted the expert’s testimony because it was viewed by the court as a simplification of the functioning of one of the two algorithms in play, but neither the district court nor Microsoft ever explained why it was oversimplified or even inaccurate.
With respect to willfulness of the infringement on the fragment of Microsoft, the district court concluded that no reasonable jury could beget establish that Microsoft’s conduct fell under either Seagate prong. Under Seagate, in order to establish willful infringement, a patentee must note by clear and convincing evidence that the infringer acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a convincing patent. In ruling the Federal Circuit determined that Uniloc failed to meet the threshold objective prong of Seagate and agreed with the district court. More specifically, the Federal Circuit explained that Uniloc did not presented any evidence at crucible or on appeal showing why Microsoft could not beget reasonably believed it was engaging in non-infringing activities. Thus, in the absence of evidence relating the information and credit on the fragment of Microsoft, there could exist no supportable finding of willful infringement on the fragment of Microsoft.
With respect to damages, the jury awarded Uniloc $388 million, based on the testimony of Uniloc’s expert, Dr. Gemini, who opined that damages should exist $564,946,803. Gemini based his conviction on a hypothetical negotiation between Uniloc and Microsoft, relying on the Georgia-Pacific factors. The damages appeal presented three specific issues for the Federal Circuit to consider; namely: (1) the propriety of using the 25 percent rule; (2) application of the entire market value rule as a “check”; and (3) excessiveness of damages. Notwithstanding, because the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s conditional concede of a fresh crucible on damages, the eventual issue was not reached.
The 25 percent rule of thumb is a appliance that has been used to approximate the reasonable royalty rate that the manufacturer of a patented product would exist willing to tender to pay to the patentee during a hypothetical negotiation. The Court explained that the rule has its supporters and its critics, and observed that the rule itself has previously never been squarely at issue; the Federal Circuit only passively tolerating its employ where its acceptability has not been the focus of the case. As one read the “tolerates” language of the panel it wasn’t hard to observe what was about to happen, which was the uncerimonious dismissal of the 25 percent rule.
After discussing Daubert and the Supreme Courts admonition that damages must exist tied to the facts of a case, the Court ruled:
This court now holds as a matter of Federal Circuit law that the 25 percent rule of thumb is a fundamentally flawed appliance for determining a baseline royalty rate in a hypothetical negotiation. Evidence relying on the 25 percent rule of thumb is thus inadmissible under Daubert and the Federal Rules of Evidence, because it fails to tie a reasonable royalty foundation to the facts of the case at issue.
The panel went on to say:
It is of no moment that the 25 percent rule of thumb is offered merely as a starting point to which the Georgia-Pacific factors are then applied to bring the rate up or down. dawn from a fundamentally flawed premise and adjusting it based on legitimate considerations specific to the facts of the case nevertheless results in a fundamentally flawed conclusion.
At least for now, the 25 percent rule is dead! But what about the entire market value rule?
The entire market value rule allows a patentee to assess damages based on the entire market value of the accused product only where the patented feature creates the basis for customer claim or substantially creates the value of the component parts. In this case the patentee’s expert relied up a figure of $19 billion for the entire market, which they claimed encompassed the entire market value of Office and Windows. The district court stated, and the Federal Circuit agreed, that customers finish not buy Office of Windows because of a product activation feature that protects against unauthorized copies, and as such the entire market value of Office and Windows was impertinent and tainted the jury’s award.
The Federal Circuit explained:
The Supreme Court and this court’s precedents finish not allow consideration of the entire market value of accused products for minor patent improvements simply by asserting a low enough royalty rate… This case provides a good example of the danger of admitting consideration of the entire market value of the accused where the patented component does not create the basis for customer demand.
So the entire market value rule continues, it just wasn’t proper for this case.
Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is likewise a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the belt of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. Gene is admitted to rehearse law in fresh Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is likewise admitted to rehearse before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to route Gene a message.
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