Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Apr 2010 18:32 UTC
IBM And thus our true colours reveal. IBM made a patent pledge in 2005, promising not to sue open source projects over a list of 500 patents the computer giant holds. Today, however, IBM has threatened to sue TurboHercules, a French open source software house which provides support for the Hercules open source s390 mainframe emulator. Some of the patents in question are on the 500 list.
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mikeinohio
Member since:
2010-02-21

Patents provide an incentive for innovation. People aren't going to spend years working on an invention if some large corp can just take it without compensation. The problem with software patents is that they're given out too easily.


The problem with software patents is that they are given out at all. Patent law was meant to cover physical devices, such as a semi conductor. Software code is like writing and as such should be covered by copyright law.

In the real world, the large corps you are talking about are using software patents to maintain their entrenched monopoly status.

I really don't expect this situation to improve any time soon. The lawmakers in the United States really don't understand the fundamental differences between hardware and software. They just go along with whatever their lobbyist tell them.

Reply Parent Score: 2

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

The lawmakers in the United States really don't understand the fundamental differences between hardware and software.


They understand very well but they like the situation.

Reply Parent Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Writing software is a form of engineering. It's applied sciences in the production of a solution to a problem. It is not like writing a fictional work.

Copyright does not protect against cloning by reverse-engineering. Copyright can protect a software product from direct cloning but not the underlying algorithm. For something like a compression algorithm copyright does nothing since the software value is entirely in the algorithm. There is no interface that it needs to be tied to.

Speaking of interfaces that would probably be the easiest method of reform. Reduce interface patent time to four years. That's where most of the complaints are. The system needs to be reformed, not eliminated.

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Writing software is a form of engineering. It's applied sciences in the production of a solution to a problem. It is not like writing a fictional work. Copyright does not protect against cloning by reverse-engineering. Copyright can protect a software product from direct cloning but not the underlying algorithm.


Writing software is entirely similar to composing music, or authoring prose. One takes a set of well-defined and understood basic components, and forms a large, integrated cohesive whole out of them with some specific theme in mind.

Reverse engineering is a completely legitimate activity. If anything, the original product is boosted by the compliment that someone has bothered to reverse-engineer it. To this day, the original Panadol can be sold at a higher price than other generic paracetemol tablets.

For something like a compression algorithm copyright does nothing since the software value is entirely in the algorithm.


The algorithm is just mathematics, and should not be patentable. Your contention that no-one would bother to develop codec compression algorithms without the incentive of patents is completely and utterly rebutted by the very existence of Vorbis, Theora, Dirac and speex.

The system needs to be reformed, not eliminated.


Disagree. Passionately disagree. Software patents need to be abolished, because they are utterly counterproductive economically, and they are a huge disincentive for ongoing software development. They hold the entire industry back.

Edited 2010-04-07 23:54 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2