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Life Line


I had to give a talk at 9.15, the first slot of the day. It went alright, but I had the feeling that some attendees decided to sleep in. I went to the "Legal Issues" talk by Rolf Auf Der Maur, who was talking about legal issues and risk for developing Open Source; it was kinda interesting, but he made me a bit sad by saying that "Anti-Patent Activists" have no chance of winning the war here in Europe. But the discussion that followed concluded that the "activists" will definitely have an impact on how Software Patents will be implemented here in Europe.


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Derick, I never understood the problem with software patents. Can you explain how a software patent will affect the open source community?

Simple: take a few large corporations who go out and file a million broadly-written patents on stuff like taxonomies, online editing, content repositories etc. They threaten to use these against each other in a brinkmanship style environment. Business as usual.

Enter Joe Open-Source Developer, who comes up with some cool ideas on his own about a CMS. His ideas "infringe" on said patents. This is irrelevant UNTIL the open source project becomes really popular and everyone's downloading it and no-longer buying FacelessCorps' product for a squillion dollars.

So they file a civil suit against Joe and sue him into oblivion, and make the ISP take down his project, and rape his pet hampster while they're at it.

Patents are all about CONTROL, same as laws.

Now here's where you go form a band and write some Rage Against the Machine Style lyrics!

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