I've been documenting this and have all the background here:
I've a bunch of exams in June, two projects to do in July, and then more exams in August.
Everyone needs a break? What I need is to pass this year
(But luckily I live in a country where a year of university costs about half of an average person's monthly salary, so when I say "need", I just mean it would be really great.)
This is great work by EFF.
But I get the feeling that if Stallman hadn't kicked up such a stink about this, other organisations wouldn't be jumping in to help now.
If EFF's objection is successful, some people will look back afterward and say that RMS's petition and public denouncements achieved nothing and only the later campaigns by others were useful, but they'll be missing the point that RMS is the one that whips those other groups out of inaction. He knows he usually can't win battles on his own, and he knows how to highlight a cause and set an example so that he isn't left on his own.
So thanks, EFF, and thanks, Richard.
The distinction between installed-software and software that's being run from your browser cache is becoming subtle.
("trivial" is defined as "defines functions")
Someone will probably reply with a link to a story about someone patenting the wheel in Australia. But it's not true.
Or, it wasn't a "patent". It was an "innovation patent", which is something completely different and doesn't get any substantial examination by any examiner. They just check the formalities and rubber stamp it (and the examination happens if, and only if, there is litigation, which never happened with the wheel innovation patent).
But there are many silly patents in the world:
The USPTO is holding roundtables with software developers to ask for suggestions. If anyone can add to what's there already, I've some suggestions on this wiki:
(But remember, the patent office has only a small role in patent policy. Most substantial changes will have to come from Congress or the Supreme Court.)
Maybe the pages could be moved to the libreplanet.org wiki that FSF hosts.
It's a Mediawiki site, and there's already a community of contributors and a big portion are surely Emacs users. How about it?
I'm sad to hear that this wiki (that I didn't even know existed) is shutting down.
I've never even heard of WikiEmacs, but I wish I had. A MediaWiki site about Emacs sounds like a perfect match. Maybe lots of other Emacs users would become contributors if they knew it existed. Of all wiki systems, I've found MediaWiki sites to be much more likely to become well maintained and navigable.
I hope WikiEmacs doesn't shut down. I'll probably become a regular contributor.
That would be around 1992, right?
So EFF was good for two years and then sold out? If that's correct, how have they managed to maintain a high profile and good reputation?
There patent work always disappoints me, but I assumed they were valuable in some other area, but I know very little about their work.
> Jpeg and mpeg
Nonsense. Patents might have funded R&D in one building, but those patents blocked R&D in every other building.
In the 90s, everyone was after image and video compression, there were piles of people working on it, or wanting to work on it. Studies show that software patents caused money to be diverted *away* from R&D (toward patent defence, defensive acquisition etc.).
And if you want to fund researchers, just abolish software patents and suddenly you free up a few billion in application fees, maintenance fees, freedom to operate search fees, defence costs, out of court settlements, licensing fees...
Why does EFF never oppose software patents as a concept?
They always want to eliminate the 10 worst software patents, but they have enough educated/informed people to know that the world isn't plagued by 10 lousy software patents. It's thickets like the 346 US patents exploited by MPEG LA.
Or the thousands of patents held by Intellectual Ventures, Apple, and Microsoft.
He also wrote a good piece back in July:
Here's my views on his July piece:
And there're a few more links about his positions here:
Abolition seems like the logical conclusion of his musings. I can't see why he doesn't discuss it.
MPEG LA claims to manage 346 patents (in the USA alone) which are necessary for anyone who wants to write a video player that can play this very widely used format.
Eliminating 5%, or even 95% of these patents will change nothing. Software developers will still have to ask MPEG LA for permission, and MPEG LA will continue to prohibit free software implementations.
Why bother with these complicated, time-consuming ideas? The way to fix the problem (and unblock the patent office), is to make software simply non-eligible.
I just noticed that this submission doesn't explain the problem, so I made a new submission and included a link to the new proposed text:
I submitted this story an hour or two ago, but I didn't have a link to the text of the legislation, so it probably wasn't clear what the problem was with the change.