Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Nov 2010 19:53 UTC
Novell and Ximian We were well aware that Novell had put itself on the market, coyly winking at passers-by, displaying its... Assets. VMware was a contender, but things have played out entirely different: Novell has been bought by Attachmate Corp., with a Microsoft-led consortium buying unspecified intellectual property from Novell.
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RE[14]: rms was right- as usual
by silix on Fri 26th Nov 2010 13:13 UTC in reply to "RE[13]: rms was right- as usual"
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Suppose you got paid for time put in on an hourly basis before you started working, rather than working for a while, then assuming that you should get paid for that work whether or not another developer actually used your code (and thus your work).
dont know where you live, but here developers are usually paid on a timely (hourly or monthly basis) or when the work is delivered (sometimes a combination of the two), but hardly in advance...
anyway, for a paid developer that would simply move the problem from the individual developer to his employer (the actual owner of the IP that developer creates), wouldnt solve it;
being paid in advance for a single job / contract wouldn't solve it for a freelance developer working on a cumstomer by customer basis, either - if you are such a developer you 'd probably want to remain competitive, so that you can keep selling your services to paying customers
having someone else supply the same products (applications) or services as you, but quicker and cheaper (due to being able to reuse existing algorithms - yours - thus saving on design times) is probably the last thing you want
you'll most likely want to make life as hard as possible for competitors, as long as you plan to remain in that market field (if you move to another field, maybe you wont care anymore - yet again you may keep caring)
or at least that they compensate you for their use of your work (where work includes the analysis and design of the algorithms behind the mere code)
Society doesn't exist to put money onto the hands of anyone who think they should have it for something the do.
i create something, you want to use it, i set a price, you pay me if you deem it reasonable, or go look elsewhere otherwise.
demand and offer.
what's wrong with this?
Patents exist to get innovation into the hands of the public
the reason for patents to exist is to let inventors profit from their inventions (either from them being sold to users or used by other parties - with the intentional effect of putting individual inventors/developers and larger companies on equal terms) and second, to foster innovation (exactly by imposing royalties, thus forcing competitors to explore alternate solutions to avoid paying them )
rather than tied up in trade secrets.
a patent is by definition not a trade secret - in fact an invention shall be published and filed in a database for everyone else to see, in order to be granted a patent
it's quite different, from, say, the coca cola recipe...
Software patents _only_ stifle real innovation and are really more restrictive than trade secrets, as they prevent the use of the concept
the only thing they prevent is "free" (as in gratis) exploitation of someone else's inventions, preventing their exploitation / implementation altogether would go against the above primary goal (no third party use -> no royalties) - thus, the use of the concept is actually encouraged, provided implementors negotiate for its licensing
the only problem is for products unable to cover licensing costs (mostly volunteer / hobbyst sw) but, apart from some glamourous cases of trolling and abuse, the system is in effect and works fairly well for everything else software, as is in effect and works everywhere else in the industrial world ...
though a sw developer myself, i'm all for free solutions wherever possible (since it goes to benefit the user), but i cannot see reforming a world scale system (patents -> WTO) just to accomodate FOSS - which is like a drop in the ocean, in the grand scheme of things...
whether not the idea is independently discovered.
a patent is not for simply an "idea", a patent is for an invention, ie for the application of a particular method to a particular application for a particular problem field
and chances that separate developers come up with the very same application at the very same time, are very slim - most likely it will be one before the other (or similar approach to slightly different applications, or... ), but then the one coming second would be responsible for going on with his work without caring whether something similar exists - which is not excusable
when you work on something you are supposed to monitor what may affect or be affected by it to the best of your possibilities, doing otherwise creates a liability
of course it is difficult, time and money (you'll probably have to employ someone to look up patents you - the developer - stump on with in the product) consuming, but it has to be done (and in this regard i'd agree if by "patents stifle innovation" you meant "individual developers cannot humanly cope with the corpus of sw patents, much less hobbyst programmers with licensing them" - but the point is, hobbyst programmers are a niche)
and on the other hand, developing products (whatever their cost for the user) is just not for everyone - it is so for chips, it is so for car design and manufacturing as well as trains and aircrafts or whatever else
sw makes no difference wrt the principle
It's math.
Math is only useful when applied.
but it's not like if an application of an implementation (say, hw optimized) of a mathematic method (say, the fourier transform) is patented, then ANY AND ALL applications of that method are patented then unusable in normal life...
Restricting the application of math simply restricts innovation and hurts society.
moreover, society doesnt generally use applied math (except maybe for homeworks and university thesis), but products implementing applied math for the execution of a specific task (eg filtering an audio signal in a hifi system, or raw pixel data from a noisy sensor in a digital camera)

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