Slashdot: Reminding customers of previous purchases during the browsing of an online catalog patented by Amazon? — Is there any behavior Amazon will not patent?
It is an article by Richard Stallman that explains the harm that software patents can do by explaining what would happen if the same concepts were applied to literary works, such as plays, movies, or books. This winds up being an extremely simple and effective way of explaining how harmful software patents can be.
A really interesting read, and definitely makes you think — especially in light of the latest patent that Amazon was granted.
There’s an article in this months Red Hat Magazine (new this month) called “The Red Hat Patent Promise: Encouraging Innovation” that is a good follow up reading on companies using patent law to protect open source software.
Kind of a “Rah Rah” article for Red Hat, but it does show one thing they’re doing right.
There is a very interesting article on groklaw called The Novell v. Microsoft Case – Statute of Limitations Explained that I found during my morning slashdot browsing.
It’s an interesting read on the latest anti-trust complaint filed against Microsoft by Novell regarding the destruction of Wordperfect and Quattro Pro.
Apparently the author will be covering the case for groklaw, and recommends that Free / Open Source advocates watch the case very closely.
On another note, I read in an article on MSNBC that Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft, now owns a company called Intellectual Ventures, whose whole business revolves around, as written in the article, ” … create or buy new ideas, accumulate patents—exclusive rights to use the inventions—and rent those ideas to companies that need them to do the gritty work of producing real products.”
How sad a world do we live in where companies can be started only to buy and sell rights to ideas?
I’m not a big fan of the patent system at all. The fact of the matter is, you can patent anything so generally that it genuinely hampers innovation as a whole. With Microsofts huge rants on innovation during their anti-trust trial, it’s interesting to see some of the things they’ve patented (or tried to anyway) for themselves — such as the FAT file system, an attempt that was later rejected, at least temporarily.
My personal opinion is that no one should have exclusive rights to an idea – and if your basic argument in an antitrust case is “innovation”, you shouldn’t be a major participant in a system that kills it.