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Dividing the Linux desktop
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
Little things that matter in language design
there can be unknown patents for covering any codec.
Swift and predictable reactions to WebM
Posted May 25, 2010 22:50 UTC (Tue) by drag (subscriber, #31333)
Posted May 26, 2010 8:10 UTC (Wed) by liljencrantz (guest, #28458)
Posted Jun 8, 2010 15:58 UTC (Tue) by hozelda (guest, #19341)
Software patents are insulting to decency and to progress. Except for the troll situation, they are protectionist, serving to protect the large producers from the small producers.
Open source gets sucker punched because our innovation is not given automatic patent protection as is the case for copyright protection (imagine if there were no GPL conditions possible for us but proprietary companies could still use aggressive copyrights against us). Thus patent holders and licensees can use our innovation all they want, but we can't use their patents without licenses. This doesn't exactly present a fair market condition, and the bias is in favor of the more secretive and greedy (who already exploit trade secret). Our patent system is a system to protect the wealthy and less productive (who can spend their days patenting theirs and others general concepts) from the majority of us working on full and high quality solutions. All small outfits suffer (including the closed source based ones) because we have our shared open source cushion removed.
Software patents violate the US Constitution because they don't promote the progress. They also violate our First Amendment right to freely express ourselves and communicate as we find necessary and proper.
Software patents surely are not needed in order to make decent income.
Patents allowed in other information fields would have done great harm, as the biggest breakthroughs and highest quality products/theories/etc, have all depended greatly on sharing and leveraging others' work and ideas. It's impossible to bypass society. "Revolutionary" breakthroughs don't overcome or exist independently of social context. Granting long broad monopolies is very arrogant, foolish, and stifling (more so because the low obviousness bar means, statistically, many above average practitioners developing ideas and products further will have their work pulled out from under them by less skilled individuals).
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