> on the freedom of programmers everywhere
Obtaining patents is not a direct attack, initiating a lawsuit using patents is the aggression step.
At every large company I worked at (Apple, HP, SGI) they told us to help patent "stuff" as a defensive measure. I don't see anything wrong with accepting we live in an imperfect world where somebody very evil might threaten us and try to shut us down for evil reasons. So you build big tall walls and stock supplies and gunpowder hoping to never use them.
Patent TROLLS are the aggressors, do you blame these companies for planning ahead and preparing to defend themselves from bullies?