[Linux-aus] Re: [Osia-discuss] Software patents: Munich has put Linux project on hold!

Con Zymaris conz at cyber.com.au
Wed Aug 4 06:54:01 UTC 2004

On Wed, Aug 04, 2004 at 07:52:41AM +1000, Arjen Lentz wrote:
> Now let's assume that
>  - Munich is a town in Australia,
>  - software patents come into force in AU through the FTA, and
>  - such a big rollout does not happen because of software patents.
> What will be the alternative? And how many billions of dollars would
> flow out of the country through purchasing that solution?

Nothing would happen. 

The prevailing mindset would be that if Linux et al cannot swim in the
ocean (i.e in the reality of software patents) then it deserves to drown.
Softwre patents themselves will not be voted down. This is partly due to
the fact that there has been no substantially negative comment on them
from the ICT industry. The open source brigade do not count.

This latest Munich decision is a seriously deleterious one for us. It
makes it look to the world that there are major legal issues with Linux.  
Statistically, Linux would have just as many IP/patent problems as any
other largish piece of software. However, no one talks about the patent
infringements in MS Office, Oracle or in Java, just Linux. We know they 
are there though.

The biggest mistake we as a community/industry made with this campaign is
in not convincing any/all other organisations which actually do represent
local ICT players (S|E|A, IIA, ACS etc.) that the changes of IP laws are
not an open source problem, but a whole of local ICT industry problem.

All local players, none of which are large enough to classify as large
software publishers, will be hurt by this law. Unfortunately, few are up 
on the negative repercussions enough to realise this.

With the backing of these other organisations, perhaps we could have made
some impact. Perhaps.

Con Zymaris <conz at cyber.com.au> Level 4, 10 Queen St, Melbourne, Australia 
Cybersource: Australia's Leading Linux and Open Source Solutions Company 
Web: http://www.cyber.com.au/  Phone: 03 9621 2377   Fax: 03 9621 2477

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