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Patents

+ - Software patents: Broken system or needed for innovation?->

Submitted by
eburnette
eburnette writes "This week I'm debating legal expert Steven Shaw on the pros and cons of software patents. Steven argues if we didn't have patents "there would be a radical contraction in software development". I'm arguing that the patent system is a minefield for developers that is "broken, unfair, and ultimately self-defeating". I know many Slashdot readers have strong opinions on software patents so I'd like to invite them to come vote and help me pound Steven's arguments into the, er, I mean, engage in an intellectually stimulating and thoughtful discussion."
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Games

+ - Australia considering iPhone app censorship-> 4

Submitted by srjh
srjh (1316705) writes "Having raised concerns about "the classification of games playable on mobile telephones", the Australian government has now "put the wheels in motion to address this". Under current Australian legislation, video games sold in the country must pay between $470 and $2040 to have the game classified, and due to the lack of an 18+ rating in Australia, if it is not found to be suitable for a 15-year-old, it is banned outright. This is the fate met by several recent titles, such as Left 4 Dead 2 and Fallout 3. Over 200,000 applications are available for the iPhone, many of them games, and developers have raised concerns about the prohibitive costs involved, with many announcing an intention to drop the Australian market altogether if the plan proceeds. However the current loophole constitutes a loss of millions of dollars in revenue for the government, which is currently attempting to have "refused classification" content such as banned video games blocked at an ISP level."
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Comment: Re:Literally? (Score 5, Informative) 311

by eburnette (#33275880) Attached to: Why Software Patents Are a Joke — Literally
No, I meant literally. There were actual joke patents being filed. I don't know if any got approved, but the light switch one in Gosling's blog churned around for several years in the system before it was abandoned (as opposed to getting rejected immediately with prejudice, or not filed in the first place).

Comment: Re:There's the Android fragmentation argument agai (Score 1) 311

by eburnette (#33275802) Attached to: Why Software Patents Are a Joke — Literally

There is some fragmentation if by fragmentation you mean there are implementation details that differ enough on different phones that you have to code around them. For example, phones running Android versions before 2.0 did not support multi-touch, and phones running 2.0 and later do. Also, even among the phones that do support it, some are buggy and give you strange touch-points that didn't really happen that you have to filter out.

By and large, though, developers can write a single program that runs on all or nearly all Android devices on the market. In this sense, Android has little or no fragmentation. Either way, it's better than J2ME ever was.

Comment: Re:His comment on moral high ground for Microsoft. (Score 2, Insightful) 311

by eburnette (#33275722) Attached to: Why Software Patents Are a Joke — Literally

He seems to mean this primarily in terms of compliance with the official Java specification

Unfortunately Sun (now Oracle) does not allow Apache to get an official copy of the test suite for that compliance, so they've set it up so that the Apache Harmony classlibs (used by Android) can't possibly be compliant. According to Nutter, the patents are worded so that you have to infringe them if you want to be compatible with existing Java code. But if your implementation is not compliant then you can't get patent protection. And if you can't get patent protection you get sued. That doesn't seem fair.

Comment: Re:Innovation has been replaced by litigation (Score 1) 311

by eburnette (#33275552) Attached to: Why Software Patents Are a Joke — Literally

3. Wait for them to actually succeed, and invest time. money and creativity in creating something useful that's loosely based on your half-baked idea that you patented

This is one of the most insidious parts of the current system. Under a strict interpretation of the current patent law, there are are uncountable number of patent infringements lurking in just about every significant product on the market right now. So not only is it a mine field, and not only do you have to walk through it every day, but you can't rely on seeing 3 people in front of you step on a spot of ground to know it's safe.

Google

+ - Google buys Instantiations->

Submitted by eburnette
eburnette (1871394) writes "Google continued its acquisition spree today by snapping up Instantiations, makers of WindowBuilder Pro, RCP Designer, and GWT Designer. The purchase was announced in an email from Eric Clayberg, VP of Product Development. He writes:

"I have exciting news to share about important developments here at Instantiations Instantiations’ award-winning Java and Ajax development tools and our incredible Eclipse team have been acquired by Google! We’re all very excited about taking our technology and team to the next level — and there is no bigger step up than Google!"

According to Eric, Instantiations was acquired by the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) team at Google, so their focus will primarily be in that space. The Smalltalk part of the business will be spun off into a new company that takes the old name, Instantiations."

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