[Linux-aus] Projects killed by Patents

Tim Connors tconnors+la at astro.swin.edu.au
Tue Aug 9 14:58:02 UTC 2005

On Mon, 8 Aug 2005, Jeff Waugh wrote:

> You may not be able to count local *projects* that have been affected by
> patents on one hand. But there will be quite a few local *developers* who
> can tell you about patents affecting projecs that they work on.
> For instance, GNOME cannot implement spring-loaded folders [1] in Nautilus
> because Apple has a patent on it. This makes me cry deep inside sometimes.
> - Jeff
> [1] drag files, hold over folder, folder opens under the cursor, drag files
> over a folder inside it, that folder opens under the cursor, etc. Drop files
> and all the spring-loaded folders close again.

That does suck.  That explains why mozilla and/or firefox does the nifty
and useful springy thing, but only on some installations.

And people keep being fanboys and think that apple aren't as evil as all
other large software companies.  Sheep, all of them.

Do patents help *any* industry anymore?  Back in the good ol' days, they
were there to encourage people to tell others about what they did and in
10-20 years, it was free to use elsewhere.  These days, there is no need
to tell others what you did - they can reverse engineer your stuff.  And
patents are deliberately written to be as vague as possible.  So patents
no longer help to convey knowledge on how to build an invention, so they
only stop people from building stuff that they discovered independently,
probably because it was such an obvious idea in the first place.

Ooh, bricktext.

The rproxy thing is also a sad story.  Imagine if a daily apt-get update
didn't involve the download of 27 megs of crap everytime, just because a
package had its version number bumped up, because the http server/client
combination were smart enough to just talk about diffs?  No more fscking
around with these caching protocols and things that require you punching
a hole in the firewall.

Oooh, siggy chose something appropriate.  While the bricktext may or may
not have been contrived, the sig wasn't especially chosen.

It has been said that physicists stand on one another's shoulders.
If this is the case, then programmers stand on one another's toes,
and software engineers dig each other's graves.         -- Unknown

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