Summary: IBM is still advocating a barrier to Free software
SEVERAL readers have independently notified us of more patent insanity — a system whereby new entrants are denied an opportunity to compete.
In Re Bilski is off to the Supreme Court, which could mean an ultimate elimination of software patents in the United States. But there is (at least) one major company standing in the way of such destruction of software patents. That company is not Microsoft (not in this case anyway); It is IBM, whose amicus brief
[PDF] (HTML copy) in the Bilski case is far from helpful to Free software. IBM is truly blowing an opportunity here. FFII’s president argues that “IBM says that [software patenting] has promoted the free sharing of source code and fueled the growth of open source software.”
“IBM have a huge patent portfolio across all kinds of things… but they have a blanket position of not chasing open source projects over them…”
–Ng“IBM have a huge patent portfolio across all kinds of things,” writes Ng, “but they have a blanket position of not chasing open source projects over them… maybe it’s not blanket, but they’re part of OIN.” It is not necessarily a good thing because it only legitimises software patents and the OIN is now harvesting more patents.
See the footnote on page 23, which says: “Given the reality that software source code is human readable, and object code can be reverse engineered, it is difficult for software developers to resort to secrecy. Thus, without patent protection, the incentives to innovate in the field of software are significantly reduced. Patent protection has promoted the free sharing of source code on a patentee’s terms—which has fueled the explosive growth of open source software development.”
“Note the lack of a citation supporting the proposition stated in that last sentence,” notes another reader.
In other disappointing news, watch how patents are putting a price on life. The New York Times fails to convey what a travesty it truly is.
Dr. Quake calculates that the most recently sequenced human genome cost $250,000 to decode, and that his machine brings the cost to less than a fifth of that.
How ‘affordable’. Human life is now in private hands.
Also see this new essay titled “Poverty Kills” and remember relationships between the Gates Foundation and the pharmaceutical industry (it is a critique by the way).
How do you even decide what minimal nutritional requirements are? Why three? The answer is simple: just count deaths instead.
To the industry which explores medicine and genome, death usually means business. █
“The day that the software sector forms a clear front against software patents, as pharma does for a unitary patent system… will be the day our cause comes close to winning.” —Pieter Hintjens, Fosdem07 Interview