[Linux-aus] Projects killed by Patents

Glen Turner glen.turner at aarnet.edu.au
Sun Aug 14 02:31:03 UTC 2005

James Purser wrote:
> Okay I'm looking for any local Open Source projects that have been 
> killed off by software patents. I would like to include something about 
> this in the next podcast so if anyone knows of any such projects drop me 
> a line.

Sender-ID (entire proposed IETF standard, pretty much DOA).

Speex not using predictive coding, and the whole codec
non-interoperability disaster.

iSCSI using dual CRCs for PDU boundary rather than CRC check like ATM.

Non-use of pcode for character hinting in FreeType.


Plus the difficulty of unknowing infringement (are you sure gzip and
Vorbis have no possible patent claims?  If so, how?)

Lack of a safe harbour for developers. Especailly since the
penalties for "knowing infringement" mean that it's better
to ask forgiveness afterwards.

> Very nice, this pretty much sums up my opinion on the whole patent issue. That non-physical "things" such as mathmatical equations, algorithms, ideas and so on should not allowed to be patented.
> This also for me extends to pure biology, the idea that you can patent a particular gene rather than a method for testing for that gene is abhorrent as is the idea that you can patent a new life form as Monsanto and the other big agri-corps do. 

OK, so you're upset about software patents so you're going reform
agribusiness and pharma to fix the entire patents system?  The
UN has been trying to reform pharma patents since the the late
1980s and have got only the most minor concessions.

A bit of focus please.  Restoring the historical exception for
mathematical works to be more inclusive of that branch of
mathematics called computer science is probably acheivable
in our lifetime.  It not as though the math of Godel,
Neumann and Turing is recent or controversial anymore.

Ironically, it was a court confirming a decision to award
IBM a patent for a graphics algorithm that started all this
mess in Australia.

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