On the road with 9210i
Patriot Act Scoundrels

Richard Stallman on software patents

Richard StallmanDUBLIN -- The straight-talking Richard Stallman visited Trinity College Dublin and fired a salvo of anti-software patent jibes at megacorporations, patent attorneys and flunkie European politicians who dared to advocate the patenting of software. True to form, Stallman delivered a fast-paced lecture to an audience of 285 interested listeners, including three candidates standing for election to the European parliament and two suits from Dublin's largest IP firm. Stallman parried questioners, chided the soft-spoken and slated the unconverted with a fact-filled 80-minute lecture and a combative debating style.

  • "It's nearly impossible to develop and release free software."
  • "Most people are led to confuse copyright and patents."
  • "A patent is an absolute monopoly on an idea even if it's yours."
  • "Patents are a time-consuming hobby."
  • "Keeping track of software idea patents is a full-time job." Because Stallman didn't, his original code was patented under his nose. Twice.
  • "Patent language is twisted. Many software developers would not recognise their own inventions as patents."
  • Intellectual property attorneys "like to use that propaganda word 'protection.'"
  • "Anyone who talks about IP is either trying to mislead you or has been misled himself."
  • "The Patent Office tends to think that if someone does one thing and someone else does it several times, you have two processes."
  • "Global megacorporations use patents for leverage." Not for fielding useful iinventions. "Cross-licensing is why megacorps want software idea patents. They will form an exclusive club that gives them a measure of dominance."
  • "It's like crossing a minefield. WIth each step, probaby nothing happens. But there are a lot of steps in developing software."
  • Software development: "Construction by keystrokes, not construction by physical design."
  • "Software patents are an obstacle to progress in software."
  • "A patent system can retard progress. Software idea patents restrict everybody with a computer."

Sent mail2blog using Nokia Communicator O2 Typepad service from Trinity College Dublin. When this item arrives on Irish Typepad, it will probably attract Google advertisements from patent attorneys. When clicked, those ads support the free software movement. That's akin to IP attorneys buying GNU/Linux baseball caps from Stallman.
Seedot -- "Patent Nonsense: Euro elections and Geekfest collide"
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