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"
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

TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Ugh.
Thanks for making this nigh-impossible to quote. I had to open in another buffer (Conkeror) and copy... Though I suppose one could blame this on the overly-simple markup...

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...

In advance of the release of the code. You know, while working?
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;

Why would you sign a contract with these terms? It's the equivalent to how writers were treated in the 1800s, selling stories rather than licensing them.
Don't do that.
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)

And... thus stifle innovation.
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?

You didn't create the algorithm. You just decided to use it. Math is a natural phenomenon. You can't patent physics, why should you be able to patent mathematics?
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 )

History fail.
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...

If I re-create the exact coca-cola recipe independently, the coca-cola company can only say "f--k!" and kick the dirt.
If I independently realise that algorithm FOO is good for BAR usage, I can get sued.
the only thing they prevent is "free" (as in gratis) exploitation of someone else's inventions,

eharmony didn't invent 'compare two matrices'.
They have a patent on it.
You can't invent math. You can only discover it.
Don't want your work discovering it to be for free? Don't look for them.
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...

That specific hardware can be patented, but the software is still all math, and can be re-implemented in any number of different ways.
Different code can output the same result from the same input. Then they're not 'using your invention'. They're just doing the same job.
moreover, society doesnt generally use applied math (except maybe for homeworks and university thesis),

So most people are lazy. Why does this mean you should get to prevent them from doing things with math?
And, in fact, we all use math every day.
If you turn your car at anything but a total of 90° at an intersection that is perfectly perpendicular, you will get into an accident.
If you don't slow your car at X feet per second per second, you will not make the light.
If you don't change gears at the proper RPM rate relative to the incline of the road and desired miles/kilometers-per-hour you will destroy your transmission.
The fact that you didn't realise that we use applied maths every day is disgraceful, and you shouldn't touch technology.
If this continues, eventually everything that can be done with software will be patented and no one will be able to write their own software, or will be forced to write it for only themselves.

They do not make sense, and harm society.
Read a little history about how and why copyright and patents came into being.
You've truly missed the point, and obviously voted in some of the republicans this term, or would have if perhaps you just think like the worst of America, but aren't a citizen.

Edited 2010-11-26 15:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[16]: rms was right- as usual
by silix on Sat 27th Nov 2010 14:59 in reply to "RE[15]: rms was right- as usual"
silix Member since:
2006-03-01

You didn't create the algorithm. You just decided to use it. Math is a natural phenomenon.
first: natural phenomena are events that result from the physical complexity of nature itself, and more importantly, would occur anyway even if man didnt exist on earth to observe them - rain is a natural phenomenon, math is not.
math is a science, and a result of the brain's ability to handle abstract concepts - thus, math basically exists only in the human brain
second: an algorithm is a sequence of operations that may, or may not, involve mathematical / algebraic calculations - then, an algorithm may usemath, but this hardly qualifies as being math itself...
third: an algorithm is the result of the human ability to do speculative reasoning and plan the steps required to achieve a desired result, after analyzing and splitting the problem at hand - then, it is an individual creation not less than the design of a building or that of a car engine (also made by solving problems, maybe even more at the numerical level)
even more so if one takes into account that a sw application doesn't usually limit tiself to a single algorithm or a disorganized collection of algorithms - the code base is usually *architected* into an organized series of classes and /or modules each with a specific function, place, and role, and this involves a creative (as in, human creativity) process
fourth:if we assume that math is actually a natural phenomenon, then, the same would apply to mechanics (which is even more closely connected to concrete reality) - thus, the steam engine and the later petrol and gasoline ones were not "inventions", but "discoveries", too...
tell it to Daimler and Benz...
You can't patent physics, why should you be able to patent mathematics?
you don't patent the science itself, you're patenting an application (that may make some use of it) that results from a creative effort on your part
are you so close minded that you cannot distinguish between the two things?
You can't invent math. You can only discover it.
to discover something, it must have always been there, though no one else has seen nor documented it before - like "oh look this weird plant ... there's totally NO mention of it in any existing book or encyclopedia ... wow, i made a discovery" - but when you devise an algorithm it doesnt go this way, you conceive a sequence of operations that exist in your mind only but has never existed anywhere else
instead, you'd imply that all the infinite (because they are infinite) algorithms man can ever conceive in the history of mankind, were actually already there, together with all the matter and energy that contitute this Universe - or maybe in the Eye of the Supreme entity (whatever this entity is called) that created it - what about if one is an atheist?
The fact that you didn't realise that we use applied maths every day is disgraceful
understanding fail (or explanation fail on my part)
of course applied math is part of every day life - but mostly in the form of objects, designed by those with the required knowledge for others to simply use without caring much about the inner working of the object (and even less about the theory behind it)
So most people are lazy. Why does this mean you should get to prevent them from doing things with math?
it's not that people are lazy, it's that when you drive (example) you don't "do things with math"
you simply... drive, using your muscles to actuate the car control, your senses to get feedback, and reflexes trained in by your brain, to react to the environment, car and road condition, with no numerical calculation involved - a human is not a computer, it's a "fuzzy" operational model so to speak
on the other hand, people designing the vehicle MUST do accurate calculations taking LOTS of factors into the equation (system of), since eg depending on the suspension scheme, slight changes (millimeters) in a joint position or in an angle may greatly design road handling or comfort
see the difference?
and you shouldn't touch technology.
who ARE you to tell me what i should or shouldnt do?
If this continues, eventually everything that can be done with software will be patented and no one will be able to write their own software, or will be forced to write it for only themselves.
as i said elsewhere, there's a whole world of things, from the soy seed to the aircraft passing by railway control systems, medicals, aso asf, where patents are already in effect, and have been for a very long time
software is just the last fields patents have been applied, and in practice just the tip of the iceberg
They do not make sense, and harm society.
objectively, whom do patents affect? ie, who has to care about them?
those who buy and or use products of any kind wouldnt even be *aware* they involve patents (werent it for people like you obnoxiously trying to push their agenda by spreading FUD about how patented products are somehow "evil", when in reality it makes no difference for them)
only those involved in *designing* those things (be they operating systems or food), have to deal with patents - moreover, many of those actually benefit from them, and would demand them if they didnt exist, so those whom patents may worry the most (as i said before, individual and hobbyst programmers) are relly a subgroup, hardly representative of the whole industrial world (but isnt democracy based on the few accepting the will of the many?) - a bit sad, maybe, but i thought we discussed IT and technologies, not cheerful political correctness...
so, society at large doesnt even perceive patents, much less is harmed by them...
you'd be surprised to know how many patents are in effect in the medical field, to name one - yet, it is all about making devices that help actually contribute to save lives, not exactly harming society in my book...
Read a little history about how and why copyright and patents came into being.
nothing currently written at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_patent_law contradicts what i previously said
"exclusive rights" translates to "rights to exclude others [from taking advantage of an invention]" (notice that when one has the right, it is up to him to decide what to do - it doesnt a priori mean that one will surely enforce his privilege, instead of making some money backed deal) with the stated goal of letting an inventor profit from his invention and the (not written , but desumable) side effect of competitors having to work around to come up with non infringing alternatives (which also accounts as innovation in my book)
which is exactly what i was talking about earlier- but you'll surely say i'm making things up...
You've truly missed the point, and obviously voted in some of the republicans this term, or would have if perhaps you just think like the worst of America, but aren't a citizen.
FYI, i'm italian. and how is my political orientation relevant in what should be a pragmatic discussion about technology? and how DARE you make conjectures about what i may have voted?
trying to diminish someone by acting all smart ass with personal offences and arguments completely unrelated to the topic, wont earn you much respect - the opposite i'm afraid
History fail, computing fail, moral fail.
leave morals outside the discussion *** ******* **** *****
IT is a market, and a technology field, as such it's utterly unagnostic from morals or politics - even more so if it's all about applied maths as you so conceitedly argumented...

Edited 2010-11-27 15:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2