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Here is an interesting interview with Bruce Perens on how the SCO isn't a big deal anymore, but the threat to Linux and all development beyond the major vendors is software patents and the screwed up nature in which the U.S. Patent Office issues these things. Right to the punch, a quote that really says it all is:

“You have to consider engineers today spend their entire careers combining other people's intellectual property. And every small and medium sized enterprise is at risk regarding software patenting. ... We're looking at a future where only the very largest companies will be able to implement software, and it will technically be illegal for other people to do so. That's a very, very bad situation developing. We must do something so that there is reason for people to innovate, there is reason for people to invent, but that companies can execute without this constant fear that we will be sued into the ground regarding software patenting.“

I haven't seen too much of this in practice yet and his quote is a bit alarmist in nature, but I have many times in the past thought the same thing. When you hear about patents for things like GIFs, MPEGs, hyperlinks, the EOLA patent and the likes, it really makes you wonder if this is the correct way to go about development and patents. I tend to agree that this is an underlying problem with how we approach intellectual property rights in this country and in Europe - but at the same time, I really don't have a solution at hand. Well, I'm off to code. :)

Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 10:56 AM Social Life | Back to top

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