[OT] Free software versus software idea patents

harrismh777 harrismh777 at charter.net
Thu Apr 7 18:33:49 CEST 2011

Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>> In my view, Mono encourages .NET; and that's bad. Idea patents and
>> particularly idea patents covering mathematics

> Do you have an example of a patent covering mathematics that applies
> to .NET?

     Therein lies *the* problem. The point that gets missed over and 
over is that there CAN BE NO PATENT COVERING MATHEMATICS ...  period.

     Yes, C# and .NET are covered by hundreds of software patents. Its 
an insane mess... which must be eliminated at all costs.

     All software can be expressed as lambda calculus. The point being, 
all software is mathematics. No software should have been able to be 
patented; and this is regardless of prior art, time-frames, wording, 
&etc. Mathematics, processes in algorithm, and algorithm specifications 
should never have seen the light of day as patentable. Believe it or 
not, we're about to win that argument... the most recent Supreme Court 
decision regarding process and process algorithms was a serious victory 
in the right direction.

>> >  ( every known piece of
>> >  software ever written can be described by lambda algebra )
> And every piece of hardware can be described by a mathematical function,
> so does this mean you oppose*all*  patents?

     You have a serious misunderstanding regarding idea patents. An idea 
that can be constructed is patentable (like a nand chip, the SN7400N, 
for instance) but the mathematical concept of the 'nand gate' cannot be 
patented. In other words, if Texas Instruments designs a specif kind of 
hardware to implement the concept of 'nand gate' and builds the chip 
(the quad nand SN7400N) and that chip design ( TTL ) is patented, that 
in no way "patents" the mathematical concept idea for 'nand gate'. 
Someone else is perfectly free to develop their own hardware to 
implement the math concept 'nand gate' (like Motorola's CMOS 4011 quad 
two input positive nand gate) and then patent *thier* hardware chip.
     I am not apposed to patents... they are worded into the 
Constitution of the United States for which I am honor-bound and patriot 
bound to protect, with life if necessary. What I am apposed to is the 
illicit use of the U.S. patent office by corporations to patent 
mathematical ideas that constrain progress in computer science and usurp 
the common liberties of we the people, costing all of us billions of 
dollars in litigation expenses (only the damn lawyers win). Software 
patents are evil and must be eliminated. Further, every effort must be 
brought to the front in apposition to software patents around the globe. 
This sin is not just local to the U.S.  Every free nation (ones that 
value freedom) must take a stand in this fight.

>> are not truly
>> patentable... which is why some of us are vigorously fighting software
>> patents (as well at the corporations who wield them).
> What are you doing to fight software patents?

     For one thing, what I'm doing right now; talking to you.

     For another, I join and support the organizations who are formally 
fighting to eliminate software patents. There are many of these, but the 
ones I support are:


     Take a stand, if you value freedom, and if you value computer 
science. Its your responsibility, as well as mine.

>> Software must be free (as in freedom). Encouraging interoperability with
>> known agendas against freedom is inconsistent with the fundamental
>> proposal.
> I would have thought that if you really, truly believed in freedom, you
> would be happy to allow people the freedom to interoperate with non-free
> software. But perhaps you meant that software must be free, provided only
> the right sorts of freedom are supported.

     I take no action to prevent you (nor anyone else) from 
inter-operating with non-free software nor the evil corporations who 
provide it. You are not "free" in doing so, but I will not in any way 
constrain you any further than your own choices. Again, you miss the point.
     Proprietary software and proprietary interoperability are at work 
to destroy my freedoms and the freedoms of computer science. At this 
point in time, I am not legally "free" to build *any* non-trivial 
software without requiring very expensive cross-licensing (which I 
cannot afford) with evil corporate empires because of software idea 
patents holding me by the nose whilst kicking my rear-end. This 
situation is intolerable, and must be eliminated... the quicker the sooner.

>> C# was an effort to lock-in commercial developers into the
>> .NET framework (and it almost damn-well worked!).
> Got a source for that?

     Another poster provided you with the numbers (which are 
conservative, by the way). If it had not been for SUN and Java, we would 
have been toast with Microsoft and C#. Fortunately .NET and C# turned 
out to be a Microsoft fad vision flop, like Visual BASIC. But that also 
misses the main point... which was and is--- proprietary software (and 
frameworks, gimmics, &etc like that) are evil if their design purpose is 
to lock-in 'market share' and usurp freedom of choice and freedom of 

> <sarcasm>
> And you can trust it because Forrester said so!
> </sarcasm>

     That's the trouble with some argumentation... its often sarcastic. 
Sarcasm is usually based in emotions like the secondary emotion of 
anger, or directly based in the primary emotion of fear. These points 
can be debated without fear or sarcasm. I don't even really fear losing 
freedom... but I don't mind fighting for it... and I won't give it up 
without a fight either!  That's my emotion.

  Give me liberty or give me death--- Patric Henry

> As I see it, C# has never had more than an 8% market share. But perhaps
> you have some better data.

     There is plenty of data... google it, or check your local B&N 
bookseller (or equivalent). For a while C# was the fad taking the world 
by storm... fortunately the storm has waned... but the threat is still 
there. Of course, Windows failure with Vista and Win7 (not to mention 
their lame phone) has helped. The love for Microsoft is gone... the only 
thing that remains is the lock-in... like Borg implants... its gonna 
take a while to cleanse the infected drones. We'll get there.

>> >  At this point Microsoft has absolutely nothing to offer the computer
>> >  science community at large except bzillions of euros ( or dollars ) of
>> >  wasteful litigation and head-ache.
> Do you have an example of this wasteful litigation?

     You have to be kidding, right?  Check *any* of the sites I listed 
above and read about it... software idea patent litigation is a business 
now worth billions of dollars per year. The only people who win are the 
damn lawyers. The ones that lose are you and I. You want a good 
example... google the lawsuit that is firing up between Microsoft and 
Barnes & Noble over the nook... a general purpose computer running 
android linux and being used to read books.  Microsoft (the odious 
giant) has brought suit (yes, it will cost hundreds of thousands of 
dollars) against little 'ol B&N (the struggling bookseller) over 
software idea patent infringement in the B&N nook reader. This makes me 
damn mad, and it should anger you also. And you should want to do 
something about it.. !

Don't tread on me.

kind regards,
m harris

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