I understand what you *mean* about hardware vs software and acknowledge it. But in so doing, notice I'm doing something *for you* that you refuse to do *for others*. That thing is- understanding what they *mean* and acknowledging it.
So the situation you expect is - everyone must acknowledge GiraffeData's position by accepting that he/she does NOT know what a software patent is and talking to him/her so as to respect his/her position, while GiraffeData will not acknowledge anyone else's position and concede he/she knows perfectly well what people *mean* when they talk about software patent.
Expecting other people to extend to you a courtesy you yourself will not extend to them has the following properties:
It is rude.
It is egocentric (only my position is deserving of respect !)
It represents an attempt to smuggle in an apriori conclusion into any discussion through forcing others to continually tacitly acknowledge your POV, while you slight theirs. So the debate will always take place using terms of discussion which favor you unfairly and in fact assume you are right and they are wrong.
Now when I said I understand what you meant and acknowledge it, notice I didn't say I agree with what you meant.
All I was suggesting in my previous post is you stop playing coy with other people when this discussion comes out. You're not standing on principle; you're slyly trying to win the debate, being egocentric and just plain rude.
Let me give you a taste of what it's like to receive what you dish out to other people in this regard.
I can suppose you don't think of a company as a machine. The "well oiled machine" metaphor is just that- a metaphor. But if someone wanted to challenge you on that , how would it go? Would you say people obviously aren't parts of a machine? They would reply with the prejudicial nature of your definition of "parts of a machine". Then wax on and on about how, just as when a part in a machine is broken and needs to be replaces, so also do companies fire people and hire new one for the exact same position. And so on and so forth in many creative but ultimately weird and obtuse ways.
In deed, a determined opponent could really give you quite a headache for quite a long time and in the end, you won't have decisively won the battle because once you start denying what's obvious to most other people, there's really nowhere you can't go with it. Whose to say what's REALLY the definition of "machine" Well, the winners of course! And who's going to win the argument? The person who is outlasts, out talks, out spends, out lobbies, and out litigates the other one ! Once you permit the parties to wander away from the obvious, largely agreed upon meanings of terms like "company" and "software" and "hardware" then there's no where you can't go.
And all the while you were arguing with this hypothetical clown, you'd be thinking -"is this person just a headcase claiming not to be able to tell the difference between machines and companies? "
Then it comes out that the person you're having this bizarre argument with has very strong financial motives for wanting to blur this otherwise clear distinction. If he can blur it, if he can get you to swallow and accept his gerrymandered definition of "company", he has a non-stop stream of extremely lucrative income he can access at will.
When programmers tell you that software is one thing and hardware another, they're having the same experience as you would be in the above, and you're doing to them what the antagonistic arguer would be doing to you.
The EU seems to have gotten down the difference between hardware and software into their laws in a consistent manner and only people on M$'s payroll are "confused" by it.
It's bullshit. We all call bullshit and we're not going to let you carry the day. Software is adequately and appropriately protected by the IP device of copyright. Plot devices in plays don't become patentable because they are "realized" by actors in a play and software isn't patentable because it's run on a machine . The specific expression of both are protected by copyright and that has served us well for a long long time in both fields.
Your "confusion" is nothing but an exercise in denying the obvious.