Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 24th Oct 2011 22:37 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Considering the polarising topic of software patents and related IP litigation is coming up a lot lately, I felt the need to write a few words on this thing called 'bias'. This word is being thrown around a lot, but I get the feeling many people are unclear as to what, exactly, it means. Because contrary to popular opinion, there's nothing wrong with being being biased. In fact, there's no such thing as unbiased blogging (or even unbiased journalism).
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RE[3]: Comment by frderi
by cfgr on Tue 25th Oct 2011 02:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by frderi"
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Since a lot things are turning into platforms these days, one could widen the scope of "OSNews" to also include these new emerging platforms. Web platforms and smartphones have both become a lot more in common with operating systems than they used to.

Isn't it sad that there is more news about legal issues than about technological improvements and new emerging platforms these days? There's a reason for that: in this perverted economy it's easier to make money artificially (litigation/speculation/banking) than by doing real work and actually making a new product.

Let's suppose you want to build a new platform, what will happen is any of the following:

1- The market is saturated, you may or may not be able to compete against the established companies, in any case, noone hears from you and there's no news.
2- You build something interesting and get bought by bigger companies often to be buried or integrated into an existing product, again no news.
3- Start-ups are scared of patent suits. It's safer to join an existing platform with known problems than it is to jump into a legal minefield on your own.

The damage from patents goes far beyond the costs of direct law suits. It's creating a hostile environment for innovation. Investors like to know you have a 'freedom to operate'. So when starting a project, you have to search the patent database for infringements, and not for interesting technology which you can licence (wasn't that the whole idea of patents? Sharing knowledge?). None of the patents descriptions I encountered are useful in any way whatsoever. It's lawyer speak, designed to be useless outside courts. And then I haven't even mentioned patents that are so trivial that you can't get around them. So why go through all that trouble and still risk law suits you can't afford even if you're right?

To make a long story short: I understand Thom's bias and I agree. And as long as it's easier to troll in court or gamble on the stock market/casino than it is to build a product that competes on quality, you'll keep seeing more news about patents than about new emerging platforms.

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