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[12]: rms was right- as usual
by silix on Fri 26th Nov 2010 02:32 UTC in reply to "RE[11]: rms was right- as usual"
silix
Member since:
2006-03-01

I'm sorry that I assumed people on an OS-dedicated site would have enough of a grasp of reality to understand that software patents MAKE NO SENSE.
suppose you are a developer working on a certain application and putting time (thus, money) into the study of a novel algorithm to maximise its efficiency - say, eg, a new data compression algorithm, possibly based on wavelets
suppose your application (at least the first releases) isn't exactly polished, since you being more of a researcher than an interface designer, cared more about the algorithm itself
now, wavelets being what they are, mostly any decent coder should be able to quickly enough reimplement your very same compression mechanism (and then add a shiny gui) after desuming it from your implementation
thus avoiding to spend on analysis and research the time and effort it took you to come up with the algorithm in the first instance
thus outcompeting you and your data compression application with an unfair advantage

sw patents don't make sense only in those fields where the rate of actual innovation is lowest
if you are a programmer/sw house working on actually innovative stuff and not some rehash of that from university /CS classes and books (ie what some call "public domain horizontal knowledge"), innovation you produce is an asset in itself
then, sw patents DO make sense...

Reply Parent Score: 2

TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

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).

Society doesn't exist to put money onto the hands of anyone who think they should have it for something the do. Copyright exists because it was thought to be the lesser of two evils, and the best way to promote the arts. Patents exist to get innovation into the hands of the public, rather than tied up in trade secrets.
Software patents _only_ stifle real innovation, and are really more restrictive than trade secrets, as they prevent the use of the concept whether not the idea is independently discovered.

It's math.
Math is only useful when applied.
Restricting the application of math simply restricts innovation and hurts society.

I think 'big content'(who push these laws/interpretations of law) is harming society worldwide on a horrific scale and we won't know just how badly until long after it's finally over.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[14]: rms was right- as usual
by silix on Fri 26th Nov 2010 13:13 in reply to "RE[13]: rms was right- as usual"
silix Member since:
2006-03-01

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
no.
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)

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"I'm sorry that I assumed people on an OS-dedicated site would have enough of a grasp of reality to understand that software patents MAKE NO SENSE.
suppose you are a developer working on a certain application and putting time (thus, money) into the study of a novel algorithm to maximise its efficiency - say, eg, a new data compression algorithm, possibly based on wavelets
suppose your application (at least the first releases) isn't exactly polished, since you being more of a researcher than an interface designer, cared more about the algorithm itself
now, wavelets being what they are, mostly any decent coder should be able to quickly enough reimplement your very same compression mechanism (and then add a shiny gui) after desuming it from your implementation
thus avoiding to spend on analysis and research the time and effort it took you to come up with the algorithm in the first instance
thus outcompeting you and your data compression application with an unfair advantage

sw patents don't make sense only in those fields where the rate of actual innovation is lowest
if you are a programmer/sw house working on actually innovative stuff and not some rehash of that from university /CS classes and books (ie what some call "public domain horizontal knowledge"), innovation you produce is an asset in itself
then, sw patents DO make sense...
"

I disagree.

The vast bulk of discovery of software algorithms was done with the early mainframes. It was then that operating systems such as Unix and VMS were designed, as well as concepts like NUMA, SMP, sockets, protocols, compilers, high-level languages, hyperlinking, codecs, WIMP GUIs, mass storage hard disk filesystems, etc, etc, etc were invented.

Without the benefit of patents.

There was no need to have software patents back then, when markets were vastly smaller, and yet invention, innovation and progress were far greater than today.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[14]: rms was right- as usual
by silix on Fri 26th Nov 2010 13:54 in reply to "RE[13]: rms was right- as usual"
silix Member since:
2006-03-01

The vast bulk of discovery of software algorithms was done with the early mainframes. It was then that operating systems such as Unix and VMS were designed, as well as concepts like NUMA, SMP, sockets, protocols, compilers, high-level languages, hyperlinking, codecs, WIMP GUIs, mass storage hard disk filesystems, etc, etc, etc were invented.

Without the benefit of patents.
though important and fundamental, everything you mention belongs to the very basics of general purpose computing (or weren't even born around computing, like the hyperlink, much earlier in fact)
things that , while not obvious at the time they were born, can be rightfully taken for granted nowadays AD 2010 (nearly 2011) - and the fact they're (in some cases not entirely) unencumbered allows individual developers to, eg make their own hobby os without worry ...
but dont make the mistake to assume progress in the IT stopped with the creation of unix or maybe short after - if you just read some ACM transaction issues, you'd discover that from graphics to AI to HCI to whatever, there's a whole world of application fields where innovation hasnt stopped in the last 15 years - and even accelerates in some cases
just because something doesnt show in the shiny Unity gui, doesnt mean it doesnt exist...

Reply Parent Score: 2