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   Re: [xml-dev] Another Microsoft XML patent

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Comments below:

On 6/6/05, Stefan Tilkov <stefan.tilkov@innoq.com> wrote:
> On Jun 6, 2005, at 11:25 AM, M. David Peterson wrote:
> > On 6/6/05, Stefan Tilkov <stefan.tilkov@innoq.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >>
> >> Only by disallowing software patents altogether.
> >>
> >
> > How does this fix the here and now?  You can't just pull the patent
> > rug out from the entire software industry, tell everyone to play nice,
> > and walk away with a "now wasn't that easy" attitude.
> >
> Sure you can. Who'd get hurt? Amazon, because now I can build my own
> online bookstore? Microsoft, because I might start serializing
> objects to XML? I can practically smell their fear already ...

These are rediculous arguments.  Just because Amazon and Microsoft
make money doesnt mean nobody gets hurt when their ideas are taken and
used by others... I'm from the Seattle area, grew up in the Seattle
area, and as such Amazon and Microsoft are a very big part of my life
as are many of their employees.  People are employed by these two
companies.   These people help make up a very large part of the
Seattle economy.  If other companies can come along and take from MS
or Amazon an idea for a software product or feature on their online
stores this directly effects the Seattle economy and the people I very
much care about.  Nobody has stated you can't open an online bookstore
but try and use a similar slogan (Barnes and Noble lawsuit from the
late 90's) or a slogan that makes claims that are not true and you
have crossed the line and quite possibly broken the law.

Taking the above arguments aside, I very much agree with the idea of
Open Source software.  From a development community perspective its
fantastic.  I participate in as many projects as I can as often as I
can.  But unfortunately, while I recognize that a lot of us see a
difference between OSS and free software, many people don't.  They
push these two together.  OSS is expected to be free.

> Software patents protect nobody. There's nothing, zero, zilch that is
> good about them.

Where do you get this information from?  Its a rediculous statement
that showcases quite strongly that you need to spend some time
studying the way the world operates a bit more...

> Do you have numbers to back that up? Almost everyone I have talked to
> agrees that it's impossible to fix the software patent system (or
> create a working one in the first place). Can you point to one single
> software patent that had a positive effect (except some people,
> especially lawyers, making undeserved and unjustifiable amounts of
> money from it?)

Yeah.  Whether we want to admit it or not WE are a minority
stakeholder on this planet in HUGE proportion.  Take things outside of
our very secluded software circles and people believe in a system
designed to protect their ideas.
> There's lots of ways to make money from great software, entirely
> without the need for patents. 

Sure.  you can sell a license for it.  

If software company b comes along, steals your source code or even
some of the innovative ways you do something within your software,
changes a few things to make it seem like its theirs, and re-sells it
as their own then yeah, theres a need for a way to protect this from

They're called patents.

> Nobody is forced to publish their
> source code if they don't want to. Being against software patents
> does not mean being an Open Source zealot.

No, youre right.  But rarely do you find an open source zealot who
will argue in favor of software patents.  The two mentalities just
don't seem right if they are part of the same person.

The reason anti patent and OSS tend to get lumped together is for the
simple fact that it is the OSS developer that doesnt like to be held
back by anything.  We wan't to do things this way or that way or
provide a feature because we feel its our right to do so. 
Unfortunately the rest of the world doesnt always see our viewpoint
and has built into the law a way of protecting things from simply
being taken and reused somewhere else just because someone feels like
it.  While I agree that 95+% of software patents are bogus I also
believe that a patent system is necessary even though you don't like
to be "constrained."  Nobody likes to be constrained, but that doesnt
mean you can just do whatever you want and the law should just allow
you to do this.  YOU are a minority.  Get used to it.

> Patenting software doesn't work, 

For you

> and there's no way to make it work.

There is, theres just a lot of stuff that needs fixing first.

> I have no idea what this has got to do with an "everything belongs to
> everybody" software world. I can also see no connection at all
> between an open source/closed source debate (which I consider
> useless) and patents.

Because these two things get lumped together by the OSS communities in
conversation and argument.

You can't see the comparison of:

"everything belongs to everybody" 


"patents" where "one particular thing or idea belongs to one other
particular thing"

Try looking a little harder.  Maybe a dictionary might help.


M. David Peterson


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