[Linux-aus] Re: Software patents: Munich has put Linux project on hold!
aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Sun Aug 22 15:09:01 UTC 2004
On Sun, Aug 22, 2004 at 12:17:59PM +1000, Con Zymaris wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 22, 2004 at 12:59:11AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > > My take is that unless the software patent process can be made 'near
> > > perfect', throw the whole lot out.
> > *shrug*
> > If either of us were appointed Despotic Overlord of Australia for a day,
> > maybe either of those would be plausible, but as is that doesn't seem
> > like it furthers the debate.
> I guess this is my core contention: yes it's not easy to affect change in
> this area, but shouldn't we try?
Sure. But some changes are easier than others, and the two possibilities
you list above are way off to the harder side; so far that I can't see
any hope of them being possible without some sort of coup.
There are other possibilities that don't require abolition or perfection;
we could tweak the considerations for novelty/prior-art -- that wouldn't
make the fact that defending/defeating patents is unreasonably expensive
any less obnoxious, nor the length of patent protection less than eons
in Internet time, but it might do some good; or we could make the patent
system more crufty by having special exemptions for patent licensing
introduced for open source uses; or we could decide to work with the
patent system, and set up a way for patent holders to receive royalties
when their patents are used in open source software in a way that doesn't
make it hard or impossible to develop open source software.
Focussing on simple solutions -- like perfection and abolition -- is
great when you've got sole power to enact the solution; but while that
works when we're hacking, it doesn't work in politics, so it's better
to focus on ideas that improve things a bit that can actually happen,
rather than overall solutions that won't.
You've had a couple of goes at trying to imply I'm not interested in
changing things for the better here, please stop it now.
Anthony Towns <aj at humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
Don't assume I speak for anyone but myself. GPG signed mail preferred.
``Like the ski resort of girls looking for husbands and husbands looking
for girls, the situation is not as symmetrical as it might seem.''
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