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An Interview with Richard Stallman

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| However, our focus here is software, not medicine. Software is not a matter
| of life and death, but still it is a pretty important area for the society.
| It affects everyone who uses computers, after all. People sometimes get
| misled by the term "software patents". We are not talking about patenting
| programs. We are talking about patenting ideas that can be implemented in
| programs, ideas for calculations or actions that might be carried out in part
| of a program.
| Any substantial program implements many ideas together. A large program
| combines thousands of ideas. Look at your word processor. You will see
| hundreds of different features. Well, each of those features is at least one
| idea, or there may be dozens of ideas combined in just one feature. You could
| find thousands of ideas just in the interface of the word processor, and
| that's not counting the ideas that are used internally and that are not
| visible to the users.
| Well if any of those ideas can be patented, the consequence is anybody who
| develops a word processor is laying himself open potentially to hundreds of
| different patent law suits about hundreds of different patents, each of which
| covers some idea implemented in some part of this large program. This makes
| software development like crossing a minefield. With each step--each design
| decision—probably nothing bad happens. But there is a certain chance that
| your design decision steps on a software patent, which explodes. Fortunately
| this doesn't kill you, but it destroys your project. This system is
| absolutely stupid for software development. This is the most crucial thing
| for people to realize about software and patents. It's not a matter of
| patenting a program; it's a matter of patenting the ideas that the developer
| puts together to make a program. Far from being something beneficial for
| software developers, instead, it's a dangerous for a software developer to
| develop a software package--he likely to be the victim of a patent law suit.



Tackling software patents innovatively

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| The contentious issue of software patents is rearing its head again, both in
| India and globally. The Indian Patent Office, for instance, invited companies
| and institutions to comment on its Draft Manual 2008 — Patent Practice &
| Procedure (software patents included) this April.
| [...]
| "We find that the draft manual seeks to introduce software patents, and we
| believe this is not in consonance with the current legal situation which
| states that "a mathematical or business method and or a computer program per
| se or algorithms are not patentable"," notes Red Hat (India).
| [...]
| The patent system is also perceived as a hindrance to open source. Open
| source firms like Red Hat too acquire patents. However, they argue that it's
| for "the sole purpose of asserting defensively in the event of a future
| lawsuit".


The ghost of software patents is back!

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| Life is never easy for an open source evangelist. The OOXML drama came to a
| close on 2nd April 2008 and we were on to our next issue -- software patents.
| The Draft Patent Manual might end up bringing software patents through the
| back door. this would be surprising because the Indian parliament explicitly
| rejected software patents in the Patent Amendment Act 2005. In this blog, I
| am including extracts from a letter that I sent to the Patent Office on 11th
| April 2008. The deadline for comments was 15th April 2008.


Open Parliament

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| In private a government delegate compared
| Microsoft's public affairs methods with the scientology cult.

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