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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11th August, 2005, 04:44 PM
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Open Source to fight Software Patents?

CNET News reports that Red Hat announced Tuesday at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo that it will finance the efforts of outside developers to obtain patents that can freely be used by open-source developers. This came a the same time the that Open Source Developer Labs launched a patent commons project with the goal of providing a central list of all patents that have been donated to the open-source community.

What makes this interesting is that it seems to suggest that the open-source community, which has long been against the idea of software patents, is changing it's tack on this issue. It looks more and more like they are begining to think along the lines of "Let's fight fire with fire". This may be exactly what is required to get governments to take a serious look at not just the notion of software patents, but the notion of patents generally, and how they are being applied today.

Those of you who have read my posts in the past know that, as a software developer, I support the idea that a person should have some societal protection for their hard work and effort. However, the patent system as it sits today (at least in the U.S.) is being severely abused and needs to be seriously rethought. We shouldn't get rid of patents, but IMHO we should get back to the original concept, that a patent should be granted for novel applications and developments of technology that would NOT BE OBVIOUS to any competent practitioner of the discipline.
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Old 11th August, 2005, 05:05 PM
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I'm definately a newbie on these forums, but not so with trademark/patent issues. My father being a manager for a doowop oldies group, he gets sued, and sues people for using his trademarked group names... and it doesn't seem to be "who holds it now" but more of "who can trace his/her ancestry back to the founder of the idea of doowop" sometimes. While i'm not entirely at liberty to fully discuss the issues, you can find many biased sites (against my father, unfortunately) simply by googling "Larry Marshak" and/or DCPM, RCI or CalCap.

It's sickening how abused the system is, and it'd be very nice if it could be revamped... but probably won't happen.

to get back on topic, what exactly is going on? mass registration of open source projects w/USPTO to prevent microcrap and others from swiping ideas?
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Old 11th August, 2005, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motivator
to get back on topic, what exactly is going on? mass registration of open source projects w/USPTO to prevent microcrap and others from swiping ideas?
Yeah, basically. The idea is that Microsoft and the like are trying to register huge numbers of software patents. Realizing that the system isn't going to change any time soon, outfits like Redhat that depend on Open Source are willing to pay for patents that are then made available for open source use, in order to keep people like MS at bay. Further, having an open source patent portfolio then gives the open source folks leverage to work out cross-licensing deals with outfits like MS. As it sits right now, if MS has a patent on something you want to use, you have to figure out how to get around the patent, or be willing to pay MS whatever they want in order to use it.
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Old 11th August, 2005, 08:08 PM
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In a world where everything is owned...the fighting never stops...sigh...
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Old 11th August, 2005, 08:11 PM
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Even in a world where everything isn't owned the fighting will never stop.
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Old 11th August, 2005, 08:16 PM
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We could try it and see...":O}}
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Old 11th August, 2005, 08:31 PM
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Err.........human history is replete with examples. We fight about all kinds of things.
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Old 11th August, 2005, 08:34 PM
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Yeah, but could we just try? ":O}
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Old 11th August, 2005, 08:44 PM
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NO! And if you won't accept that answer, I'll just have to punch you in the nose!
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Old 11th August, 2005, 09:37 PM
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And What a fine and outstanding answer it is to!
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Old 12th August, 2005, 03:54 AM
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As Jack Handey said, "If anyone ever says that they hate war more than I do, they better have a knife."

Yes, what a surprise that MS might do something like seek patents on concepts that they have no interest in using, just in order to prevent others from doing so, and thereby prevent competition. Classic dog in the manger scenario.
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Old 12th August, 2005, 05:29 AM
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a Cowboy lyric:
"I'm so lonesome without you, it's like you never went away."

Not sure why I through that in there, I guess I just thought you might enjoy it... also I don't have a knife...":O}
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Old 12th August, 2005, 06:57 PM
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The point of war is not to die for your country... but to make the other poor bastard die for his.
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Old 13th August, 2005, 02:40 AM
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lmao @ motivator. I have no idea why i found that so funny it just seemed to stand out from the rest of the posts iv'e been reading for the last 25mins.
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Old 13th August, 2005, 06:46 AM
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you can thank general patton for that, i believe... i have plenty more where that came from....

to steer it a little more off-topic....


"At another time, on another battlefield, my radio call sign had been "Gabriel" because the archangel and i have a lot on common. Legend says Gabriel's trumpet will sound the last judgement. I do the same sort of thing with my rifle..."
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Old 13th August, 2005, 09:24 AM
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That's a good one also.

Hey gizmo could you explain this thing to me a little more? im not exactly thet knowledgable of software patenting and such. What exactly are these open source company's doing?
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Old 13th August, 2005, 03:47 PM
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it seems (correct me if i'm wrong... ) that the open source companies are grabbing up all the patents they can and then opening it to the public, to keep microsoft and others from taking the idea and patenting it.
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Old 14th August, 2005, 08:41 PM
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That's the basic idea, Motivator.
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Old 14th August, 2005, 08:46 PM
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sad that it has come to that.


I hate to say it, but as long as programming has a monetary value, it will be greatly stifled.

How many programmers are working @ the hardware interface level, instead of GUI's? How many are working wiht hardware developers to get hardware for THIER SOFTWARE, RATHER THAN SOFTWARE FOR THE HARDWARE?




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Old 14th August, 2005, 08:54 PM
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What we are seeing, I think, is a paradigm shift, in more than one way.

It takes hardware to make the software work. Up until just recently, hardware was a highly commodotized thing, and software was where you made the bucks. Low overhead and investment, high return, unlike hardware. What has happened with the Open Source movement is that software is now becoming a commodity. Realizing this, the hardware vendors are pushing Open Source more and more, because it helps put the profit ball back into their court.

In answer to your question Cad, the answer is that very very few devs are working at the hardware interface level. The truth is that an extremely low percentage of software guys grok hardware (or even want to).
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