Bonum Certa Men Certa

Pieter Hintjens's Legacy of Fighting Against Software Patents Lives On

Poster from Pieter Hintjens
Full size | Original PDF

Summary: Pieter Hintjens died yesterday, but his campaign to end software patents won't die

LONG before we covered the EPO in depth we had published a lot of articles about software patents in Europe. One of our most powerful voices was Pieter Hintjens, who sometimes even contributed. Pieter died yesterday. It was a sad day for many including yours truly and we are still thinking about him. Many people only discovered him after his death or while he was in his deathbed.

The Wikipedia page does him some justice. Speaking from my own experience, Hintjens had a wonderful sense of humour, playful cleverness as Stallman likes to call it, and avid activism with a technical edge. I really liked him and I will miss him forever. Many other people feel the same way.

Pieter HintjensDuring the software patents "war", Wildeboer said, Hintjens did this, pointing to the image above. Georg Greve, the guy behind the FSFE, said the same thing.

"I have a big box of papers from the swpat directive at my parents' place," Benjamin Henrion responded. "There should be one on there. And SSP [Stop Software Patents] tshirts as well." He later added a link to the original PDF (of the above, we've made a local copy).

What a great example of the clever humour of Hintjens! He did many other stunts like this.

"Before slashdot era," Henrion recalls, "there was segfault. Pieter wrote an article in 1998 predicting that Microsoft was patent tax FOSS #visionary" (and he was right!).

So rest in piece, online friend. We shall carry on fighting against abstract patents on algorithms.

Photo credit: Hintjens "really liked this photo," says Adam Flaherty. Photo by Tim Lossen.

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