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Save the Web From Software Patents

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the byline-discontinued-due-to-patent-lawsuit dept.

Patents 127

TheNextCorner writes "PersonalWeb's software patent suit against Github and others threatens the freedom of the Web. In order to make sure that the Web can remain a free and accessible space for everyone, we need to rid ourselves of all the patents that threaten its viability. We need to end software patents."

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A return to the Gold Standard (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520547)

Right now, there are approximately 155,000 metric tons of 'above ground' gold in the world.

There are also roughtly $12.5 trillion dollars in physical and electronic currency reserves in existence.

If you divide this out, it means that gold bullion should have a value of approximately $2,500 per troy ounce - approximately a 50% premium over its value today. This isn't rocket science, people. This is an easy way to get yourself rich.

Re:A return to the Gold Standard (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521075)

Yes if the only thing that had value were yellow rocks you might be correct. The reason your math is way off is that other things have value too. And currency is how we define that value. God help you if you're using that misguided information to make investment decisions. In reality, those yellow rocks are inflated to be worth 66% of everything that has value. Leaving only 34% for things like shelter, food and iPhones. In other words, gold is way over valued at the moment but what do you expect when a handful of families own most of it and can get idiots like you to pay a shitload for it.

Right... (3, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520551)

Very informative... at the very least mention this is FSF's viewpoint on the issue. Also, it's ok to write more than 3 sentences. Thank you.

Re:Right... (2)

stevejf (2724307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520715)

Agreed. If this is supposed to be a news site, at least present things as news articles, not as unqualified statements of opinion.

Re:Right... (1)

edibobb (113989) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521005)

Right. Even though in this instance the headline opinion is correct. In my opinion. Do non-sentences count if you use a period?

Re:Right... (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521161)

I disagree. Software patents, if allowed to continue, will likely destroy this site, along with many others like it. Is a man in shackles ever unbiased about his right to a trial? Are reporters unbiased when they report on freedom of the press? Should slashdot pretend to be unbiased when it comes to freedom of the internet? When it comes to survival, we are all rightfully biased towards self preservation and there is no shame in it.

Re:Right... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522077)

Software patents have been around for decades. Amazon's infamous "1 click" patent has been around for almost 15 years yet I don't see the end of e-commerce.

What a bunch of whining cry babies.

Patents pervade every aspect of your life ... however, they haven't stopped you from enjoying all the wonderous technology you have today.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522337)

Amazon's 1 Click didn't destroy civilization because we cried foul.

If we did not, imagine what kind of world you live in today.

Re:Right... (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522027)

Also, it's ok to write more than 3 sentences.

Says the guy who wrote 2 and 1/2 sentences....

Re:Right... (2)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522161)

And that, my friend, is why you don't see me submitting stories here.

Lots easier to complain about someone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41523089)

than do the work.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522087)

In a world run by banking cleptocracy, sharing is theft, freedom is slavery, war is peace, etc.

Easy to solve. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520589)

Just ban U$A. Their legal system is beyond broken anyway. Their "patent" "system" make me lol more than comedy.

Well, yes, but it is not going to be easy (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520609)

Remember that quite a few powerful companies have built their fortune on abusing the patent system.

Re:Well, yes, but it is not going to be easy (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520935)

Not going to be easy? It won't happen. Period. Too much money has already exchanged hands. Any solution to this nightmare will by necessity have to enable companies to retain the invested value of their patent portfolio and licensing while being universally applied to all jurisdictions around the world. It is the equivalent of de-weaponizing every nation-state, every NGO. In other words it's a pipe dream. Politicians could have nipped this in the bud maybe twenty years ago but now they are simply impotent and couldn't fix this even if they actually had the will to do so. There is no end but that of blood and fire.

Humans are assholes. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520981)

Some humans really love getting more than they give, having lots of power over others and abusing it for the sake of abusing it, and so on.

The overwhelming majority of the rest of humanity likes being as lazy as possible in order to achieve their mediocre existence, never putting themselves out to change things that don't seem like they will make a really huge difference in their own lives. It is *so* much easier to let other people fight the important battles while watching TV and feeling smug after having voted.

The tiny remainder who actually care about justice, and about helping humanity achieve its full potential, are completely outnumbered (by the slothful) and outgunned (by the powerful).

Maybe we will grow out of this someday. Until then, expect widespread failure.

Re:Humans are assholes. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521413)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Somehow we still develop new cures for diseases, amazing new structures to live in, work in and travel over and through. We dream up and make various ways to communicate around the world instantly, to see all of our planet and always know where we are, to look billions of years into the past or travel to the oceans greatest depths just to see what's there, to land exploratory robots on remote planets, travel around our planet faster than the speed of sound, feed the vast majority of 7 billion people, to vaccinate others that we don't know in far off places, put a super computer in your pocket, keep a few members of our species living in space all the time, all the while creating new books, plays, music, films, paintings and other art, etc.

Obviously none of it is perfect, but we're always getting better. And until we do everything perfectly (arguably never), we won't be satisfied. That's a feature, not a bug.

Re:Humans are assholes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522157)

Wow, you're way too optimistic for 2012. Don't you realize the world is about to end?

BTW, AC #1 is also too optimistic, in that he presumes smug people actually vote.

Re:Humans are assholes. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522205)

The tiny remainder who actually care about justice, and about helping humanity achieve its full potential, are completely outnumbered (by the slothful) and outgunned (by the powerful).

Yes, but this is the remainder we refer to as, Mad Scientist, Evil Genius, Arch Nemesis, etc... It only takes a few of those to make big changes.

I'm one of your "remainder". For instance: Let's sterilize all the retards, and institude licenses and genetic screening for all births. Let's require IQ tests for Citizenship (and thus voter's rights). Let's throw out any Judges and Jurors that can't pass a quiz on the subject the're ruling over. Let's treat the populous like test subjecs: Why roll out a economic, health, or other plan across the whole nation and hope it works, when you can experiment with a small state, roll out to a larger are incrementally as you work out kinks or just throw the plan away if it sucks? Equality?! Don't make me Mua-Ha-Haa!

In a Mad Scientist, the important part is the Scientist. The "Mad" part is your worthless opinion. You don't have to be any kind of scientist to realize that working under unproven asumptions is a bad idea. If you think you can fly, you first jump off a table and flap your arms; not from a 20 story building. The sane thing to do is collect a little proof by doing a little test before taking the big plunge. As a Scientist I say: If the Patent System is beneficial, then WHERE THE FUCK IS THE EVIDENCE? Let's do a test, and see?! No, they say? Then they're insane! You don't have to be Evil or a Genius to realize we have ZERO evidence for or against patents being benefical. The only sane thing to do is abolish patents and find out how harmful or beneficial they were. We can re-institute whatever rules we want later if it doesn't work out.

Right now all we have is an untested hypothesis -- a widespread established assumption; You know, like when everyone thought "The Earth is Flat!", it only took a few Mad Scientists to prove that wrong. If things keep going the way they're going and we don't at least do the experiment then we're eventually going to piss off the wrong Evil Genius -- The Patent Office might not be the only institution that gets obliterated by the "Mad" Scientists.

Re:Humans are assholes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41523111)

Sounds like a giant Karpman Drama Triangle

Re:Well, yes, but it is not going to be easy (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521323)

Oh, change will not come from people like the FSF. This is a MAD scheme, and with Apple and Google and others at each other throats, it has turned into a hot war. The difference is that here, participants can die or be severely crippled. If everybody was just protecting their own fiefdom, yes, nothing would happen. But if this goes on (and it will, because the players are incapable of stopping by themselves), the damage will grow so huge that it will become an existential thing for western civilization. That should be enough, but we will see.

Re:Well, yes, but it is not going to be easy (5, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521583)

I am beginning to believe that our screwed up patent system is the primary reason small businesses are failing to get started and why we're struggling so much to get out of the recession.

Re:Well, yes, but it is not going to be easy (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522713)

Any solution to this nightmare will by necessity have to enable companies to retain the invested value of their patent portfolio and licensing while being universally applied to all jurisdictions around the world

That would seem easy enough, every patent and copyright mark as a limited time frame already.

Just stop issuing new patents and stop extending the rights on existing patents and let those existing patents and copyrights run their natural course.

Companies don't lose anything that they already have and are free to monetise those assets in whatever way they see fit, but within 20-100 years all these problems go away, and it's not like that 20-100 years isn't enough time to find some other business model.

Personally, I wouldn't want to see the end of patents or copyrights, but I do think the copyrights are far far too long and patents, at 20 years, could probably be reduced a bit.

The web? (2)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521339)

I thought we didn't had them here?

Sounds like a US problem.

Doubt it would kill the web globally.

FUD ;)

Re:The web? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41524791)

"didn't had them"?

Re:Well, yes, but it is not going to be easy (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521643)

Remember that quite a few powerful companies have built their fortune on abusing the patent system.

Yeah, those law firms aren't about to throw away their meal ticket ... or were you referring to someone else?

Re:Well, yes, but it is not going to be easy (3, Insightful)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522443)

Move your company to Europe, do not trade with the USA, instead only trade with the mysterious entity know as the "rest of the world" which has a very large, diverse and robust economy and slightly less powerful corporations, laugh all the way to the bank ...

Re:Well, yes, but it is not going to be easy (3, Informative)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522613)

Move your company to Europe, do not trade with the USA, instead only trade with the mysterious entity know as the "rest of the world" which has a very large, diverse and robust economy and slightly less powerful corporations, laugh all the way to the bank ...

There is an incredible push in Europe to pass software patents as well. It's been cancelled twice by a hair. But the European Patent Office has already hired people to take care of software patents. I know, I was one of the heads hunted.

too much money in software patents for the lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520623)

and judges are all lawyers so.... yeah.

Re:too much money in software patents for the lawy (1)

stevejf (2724307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520681)

Yes, because lawyers can raise the rights of others on their own. They're not hired by patent holders at all. Any person is able to represent themselves 'pro se.'

Re:too much money in software patents for the lawy (3, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520857)

Any person is able to represent themselves 'pro se.'

And only a moron does in a patent case. The law is written to be byzantine and incomprehensible as a make work project for the lawyers, by the lawyers.

Re:too much money in software patents for the lawy (1)

stevejf (2724307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41524139)

Really? This is insightful? You people just really be high to think that back in 1787 everybody was just sitting around being like "heheheheh yes Mr. Burns, we'll write all these laws so that the plebeians can't understand it and will have to hire us lawyers! We'll all be rich!" Lawyers are there to help people when their legal rights are threatened.

Re:too much money in software patents for the lawy (2)

Thugthrasher (935401) | more than 2 years ago | (#41524275)

Your response would be more appropriate if the law was still as it was in 1787. As it is, things have changed a bit since then.

Re:too much money in software patents for the lawy (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520975)

It's worse than that. The federal politicians are also mostly lawyers. Obama and Romney both have a J.D.

It's a monoculture, and I don't care how much you like lawyers, a monoculture is not good for the country.

Straight downhill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520625)

I completely agree with reforming / abolishing software patents... but really Slashdot? This is horrendous reporting.

Ok but (1)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520633)

Realistically, how? The notion that an idea can be property is firmly ensconced in the Zeitgeist, and billions of dollars of wealth depend on it staying that way.

Who or what has the kind of realpolitik oomph to go up against that? I don't see it.

Re:Ok but (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520699)

Please note, the story is about software patents, not all patents. Europe currently does a better job at patents than USA seems to be doing.

Re:Ok but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521001)

Europe currently does a better job at patents than USA seems to be doing.

Um, rounded corners.

Re:Ok but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521977)

That's a design patent - not a software patent...

Yes - Europe has its degree of rubbish, but it is far from the total destruction that's starting to wreck the USA. As starting (software) company you are better off anywhere else than the USA, because you stand no chance against the patent trolls and patent Moloch's (like Micosoft, Aplle, Oracle etc.). And -strange enough- people are wondering why (software) progress and innovation seems to halt and the recession keeps on rolling forward.

So, if you want to start a new software company? Better go to Europe, or anywhere else in the world, and leave the USA behind...

Re:Ok but (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520745)

Sounds trollish but I am serious : come in France, or any European country with sane dispositions. VLC could probably not have existed as a US project, or could not have read DVDs.

Show the US government that software patents hurt innovation so much that it causes migration of innovative firms.

Re:Ok but (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521637)

Show the US government that software patents hurt innovation so much that it causes migration of innovative firms.

The problem is how? Enough words have been spoken with regard abolishing software patents some hysterical and many others logical however software patents continue to be given out with the result of billions of dollars been given to the patent lawyers and patent trolls, One possible way is for other countries to abolish software patents and don't export possibly infringing software to the USA. Easily said but in a global economy it is a brave company that can afford to do that.

Re:Ok but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522033)

Hmm... don't underestimate the market outside the USA. It is perfectly possible to have a healthy company and don't sell a single piece of software to the USA. In fact - it is better to start an software company outside the USA and don't sell anything to the USA, because starting a software company INSIDE the USA will be nearly impossible (unless you have a starting capital of several millions to defend you against patent trolls and big software company's owning a lot of patents).

Re:Ok but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522353)

The problem is how? Enough words have been spoken [...]

Simple. Just keep at it. Don't give up. These ladies [wikipedia.org] didn't achieve what they did by just saying "Oh, meh. It's just too difficult", as many slashdotters are doing now.

AAAAAAAngK! Wrong Question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522425)

Show the US government that software patents hurt innovation so much that it causes migration of innovative firms.

The problem is how?

That's stupid. If I say: "I can Levitate with my Mind", you don't just believe me because there's no evidence I can't levitate. No, you tell me to prove my claims. We don't need to show that patents hurt innovation, we need PROOF that they're actually good for us! We have none! They're saying: "Patents are Good for us" -- We shouldn't believe them because there's no evidence they're bad. No, we tell them to PROVE IT!

All you have to do is this: Demand Evidence. Any time anyone says patents are beneficial, point out that there is NO PROOF that patents are beneficial. To show the Government they might be bad, point a fat finger at the big empty void where there is NO proof that they are good!

Point to the Automotive and Fashion industries, which have neither design patents or copyrights, and say: "See! Patents AREN'T ESSENTIAL for innovation." Discredit that damn myth!

We need to ban all patents because to keep them on the books is insane. We can't afford the possibility that Patents are severely harmful -- If we don't abolish them, other countries will. If the patents are harmful we need to find out before we're left in the dust by the countries that don't foster patents and copyrights. Do you want your kids to be China's bitches because those other countries gave the finger to Artificial Scarcity of Ideas before We Did? It's a matter of National Security!

We need Hard Proof NOW that the patent system is actually beneficial in the Information Age! The ONLY way to get that evidence is to run the experiment and test the hypothesis: Ban All Patents; Observe the Results. Otherwise, we're all just sitting around ignorantly eating lead paint chips, bathing in pesticide under the sun, and burning ourselves with radium without caring to find out if any of it might be killing us all off. We test drugs,paint, pesticide, the Sun, EVERYTHING for harmful effects. We need to test the Patent System.

Call them on the carpet. Demand Evidence that "I.P." isn't harmful. Hold them to the findings.
(Protip: No evidence food isn't harmful == Can't be Sold. No evidence patents aren't harmful == NO PATENTS.)

How do you prove something didn't happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41523897)

However, what we DO have are companies being shut down because of patents rasied against them. We have companies having to pay millions to defend against them.

We have no evidence of any benefit to the progress of the useful arts from patents in the past 30 years.

Remember, you don't DESERVE patents, you MAY get one. There's no "right to claim a patent" in law or the constitutions of countries. Prove you need one.

Re:Ok but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522657)

Yeah right; but now try to copy a cheese from q french producer and see what happens to you!!!!

Re:Ok but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522781)

Yeah, curse those Americans and their TCP/IP. Those yankee bastards never contribute ANYTHING.

Re:Ok but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41523603)

Absolutely. On here, patents are always made to sound like a universal problem, but they really aren't. Imagine if software development was forced out of the US because of its patent regime. Imagine how impoverished the States would be if it couldn't legally acquire state-of-the-art software. And imagine what legislators would do if that started to happen.

Fuck github (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520651)

if they are such good programmers they shouldnt have to steal other peoples patented ideas

Re:Fuck github (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520717)

Hi PersonalWeb employee.

Re:Fuck github (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520727)

You shouldn't be able to patent ideas. That's the problem.

Re:Fuck github (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521429)

What a pandora's-box of a comment! Through my own ontological lens, there seem very few exceptions in this world that are not the direct result of ideas. Surely that which exists independently of humanity (most of "nature") may be considered exempt, but the boundaries are a beastly , contested median. I imagine a hypothetical situation where thoughts are transparent and their content is broadcast through a universal medium accessible by all -- kind of like what could theoretically happen if our current surveillance paradigm continues unchecked; a situation where communications are subject to a one-way open protocol directed by a select-few. In such a strange situation, many would scarcely have acknowledged the value of their own concept before another more-clever observer either expounded on, or executed the idea. This, of course, would be a fascinating reality, albeit one we are debatably on the brink of.

The protection of one's schema is an ancient practice, from the epic, to the daily affairs of an ....imperfect marriage? While there are omens abound suggesting that such practices are flawed and due a strong dose of evolutionary tweaking, they have not yet become entirely without merit. Entirely eradicating a system which (fallibly & overly) protects ideas, may lead to problems that would in no harmonious way fit into the presently arranged jigsaw of humanity's concord.

At heart, I agree that ideas should not be patented, especially after they've been debuted, thus exposed to the collective. The patent system is flawed beyond the reach of refutation; but so could be argued for many other no-less-significant aspects of society. The system of currency itself appears diseased, enough to receive a prognosis of demise. In a world where every person must compete for Survival Tokens in order to remain endowed with the basic elements of continuity, entire complex systems of equally diseased adaptation develop around it. Whether from conditioning or tenet, so seldom do we question such systems, that what seems to me great Empires of Sociopathy are built upon them.

The effects of success-in-life motivated not by passion or character, but by fear of the harsh and dreary pit of economic failure (running out of Survival Tokens amongst cannibals), are arguably closer to the rotting root of woe than patents. With so many patents upholding the antiquated, stale methods of a distant yesterday, while booting the face of tomorrow's innovation, fear seems the culprit. I do not think many butcher innovation for sentimental hesitation of the future, nor for mere cruelty. More likely, they fear losing a stronghold on precarious commodities, and seek to secure them through whatever means connivable. Why do they fear? If the answer is as simple as "greed", we should be ashamed that the remedy is yet obscure. If we are to dive naked into the larger swamp of social stagnation, the patent is a fine place to start, but I fear it is just beneath the surface. I'll definitely take a dive myself, though in doubt of hitting the bottom.

Re:Fuck github (3, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522457)

I have "invented" many things as have most people, but since I did them at work my employer is the only one who could patent them ,,,

Does this inspire me to innovate? Do I reap the benefits ...?

More to the point did the lack of patents stop people innovating before they were invented?

Re:Fuck github (2)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520751)

Programming is math, algorithms, nothing more. It's idiotic that you can patent an idea or algorithm. What's next, patenting + and - ? Or maybe Pi?

Re:Fuck github (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520787)

Believe it or not, it is possible to build creative, novel, innovative, non-obvious solutions using only math and algorithms.

Re:Fuck github (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520843)

Absolutely but since it still is math, it should be available to all and everyone.

Re:Fuck github (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520963)

You're absolutely correct. You are entitled to anything you want, because you're just that fucking special.

Re:Fuck github (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521011)

If only that was the case. However, if it comes to something like math, well yes, that also belongs to me. Just like language and air. The good news is, I am in Europe. Software-patents don't exist here, for precisely that reason. It's math :-)

Re:Fuck github (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521225)

Except that some forms of software patents do exist in Europe.

From Wikipedia:

"One interpretation, which is followed by the Boards of Appeal of the EPO, is that an invention is patentable if it provides a new and non-obvious "technical" solution to a technical problem. The problem, and the solution, may be entirely resident within a computer such as a way of making a computer run faster or more efficiently in a novel and inventive way[citation needed]. Alternatively, the problem may be how to make the computer easier to use, such as in T928/03, Konami, Video Game System.'

Re:Fuck github (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521325)

But other people feel entitled to create little monopolies for themselves using the government's power. That's okay, though.

Re:Fuck github (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520977)

The prevailing philosophy holds that Mathematics is discovered, not invented. This is especially true when referring to reality; if you can choose arbitrary axioms you might be able to invent things. Otherwise, your solution is dictated by your choices.

Even if what you say is true, though, that is not an argument for patents. Empirical studies suggest that patents are used mostly to stifle competition, and their mechanism is fairly anti-capitalist.

Therefore to the degree to which you support patents, you're mostly a douche.

Re:Fuck github (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521605)

The prevailing philosophy holds that Mathematics is discovered, not invented.

That philosophy prevailed before the MP3 came along.

Re:Fuck github (1)

chthon (580889) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522059)

Everything in MP3 is either a storage format (C structs), or is based upon the orthogonality property of linear algebra.

Re:Fuck github (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522237)

You can describe any invention in a similar way.

Re:Fuck github (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#41525737)

It still does prevail, but many parties aren't fully aware of what mathematics entails

Re:Fuck github (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 2 years ago | (#41525121)

Believe it or not, it is possible to build creative, novel, innovative, non-obvious solutions using only math and algorithms.

Unfortunately, a lot of these patents are not even close to being creative, novel, or innovative. There's a lot of obvious solutions that any expert in the software field would develop the same way, or at least an infringing way, if tasked with a similar problem. The language used seems to be aimed at maximizing the potential that someone will infringe on the patent in some way.

Re:Fuck github (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521045)

Programming is math, algorithms, nothing more. It's idiotic that you can patent an idea or algorithm. What's next, patenting + and - ? Or maybe Pi?

+ and -? No. Pi? No. A new algorithm for calculation of Pi? Perhaps. Not all software patents are bad but the bar is set WAY too low. At least 95% of all software patents should never have been granted.

Re:Fuck github (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522037)

...not all software patents are bad

If it's isomorphic to a mathematical operation, or sequence of them, then its bad.

That would be... oh.... all of them.

Programming is not math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521389)

Programming is not math.

Just because you say it is so doesn't make it so.

A mathematician is not a programmer and vice versa.

I've seen plenty of programmers who were horrible at math.
And plenty of mathematicians who were horrible at programming.

I would make the observation that the set of mathematicians is quite distinct from that of programmers.

Programming uses math. And can be described mathematically,

That doesn't make it math.

Physics, chemistry and all sorts of engineering topics use math. And can be described mathematically.

That doesn't make them math either.

If software were math, it would indeed be easier for you to make the argument that software should not be patentable.
But software should not be considered math just so your argument can be made easier.

Perhaps if you could show that you can distinguish reality from wishful thinking,
it might make your arguments against patents more credible.

Nevertheless, this is Slashdot, and logic has no place here.
Where credibility seems to be correlated to repetition...

You are wrong in every conceivable way (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521979)

Your logic sucks. Mostly you repeat your premise. You are also as factually wrong as it is possible to be.

Physics, chemistry, and engineering can be modeled using math. The map is not the territory, however: we cannot make mathematically provable statements about reality using these models. For a more detailed view on determinism in quantum mechanics, and uncertainty principle, see elsewhere.

Computer languages are an extension of lambda calculus. Lisp syntax is extremely similar to lambda calculus. Algorithms are straight math. So is binary arithmetic -- which, buried under layers of abstraction, is all your computer really does. It's a pain in the ass, but computer programs can be mathematically proved to be correct (this is not quite equivalent to being bug-free).

What could an algorithm be if not mathematics?

Slashdot may repeat this concept because it is as fundamental to computing as evolution is to biology. In a few simple words you have revealed oceans of profound ignorance. You can either choose to accept reality and grow in knowledge, or deny it and grow in bitterness. But, fyi, this one is sillier than most attempts to tilt at windmills.

Re:You are wrong in every conceivable way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41523697)

> What could an algorithm be if not mathematics?

A creative expression of an arbitrary method of solving a problem?

Re:Programming is not math (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41523687)

All of programming comes down to functions. Functions are by definition math. If you don't understand that then you don't understand programming or math.

Time to end patents (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520675)

I was convinced they were needed, if only for Pharmaceuticals, where the testing time is long but the time to copy short, but now I'm having doubts even there:
http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm

The test for me is the cure for aids vs the cure for limp penis. Patents simply haven't delivered a cure for a major disease in 30 years, they have however invented many ways to get a penis erect and a seemingly endless way to cure headaches.

US is stagnating, down from 1st to 3rd with China taking second spot on the exporters list. This I think is a direct result of strong IP laws.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_exports

Re:Time to end patents (2, Informative)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520763)

Well the pharma's have no reason to cure cancer or aids. It would cost them heaps in medicine that just prolong the patients life and already are incredible expensive (not to make, but to buy). Curing these people is like cutting yourself off from a really good source of income.

More competition would fix that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521277)

That's because Pharma is a few players, and all of them make big money from keeping cancer patients and aids patients alive. For a cure, you'd need a smaller player without that vested interest.

As it is now, the only thing they're doing is researching and patenting around any possible cures to prevent that cash cow being taken away.

Pharmas problem (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521397)

The lack of cures is simply down to the fact that most of the 'low hanging fruit' in terms of pharmaceutical treatments has already been discovered.
Also the costs of getting a drug approved has gone up and up. It is probable that some drugs such as paracetamol would not be approved nowadays either, at least not as available OTC (over the counter) without prescription.

AIDs is an extremely complex disease which shows some ability to adapt itself when under attack. No cure is likely to be simple

Competition fixes that too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522023)

"No cure is likely to be simple"

Sounds like Microsoft excusing Internet Explorers security holes. Firefox came along, and suddenly long standing security holes in IE's Javascript got fixed.

I view such things as excuses. We need a fix, they haven't provided a fix, ergo something needs to be changed. If pharma patents are causing rent seeking, then we need to eliminate them.

The Italian study showing a major drop in new chemicals in Italy when patents were introduced, yet a sharp rise in profits, shows the negative effects it's having on innovation, even in Pharmaceuticals.

iPhone users talking about freedom? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520737)

I wonder if all those people talking about software freedom use iPhones.

Re:iPhone users talking about freedom? (-1, Flamebait)

webanish (1045264) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520995)

git tag apple-troll

Re:iPhone users talking about freedom? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521587)

I wonder if all those people talking about software freedom use iPhones.

I love how comments like this get modded up, then later we get up-modded comments about how there's too much Apple hype.

Oh, and if there is a 'freedom' phone out there, it's not running Android.

I'm surprised... (5, Informative)

jedirock (1453977) | more than 2 years ago | (#41520805)

that no one mentioned the very well written article posted on ArsTechnica yesterday about the patent system and the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. As expected, a very US-centric view on the problem, but it does raise some obvious issues. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/09/how-a-rogue-appeals-court-wrecked-the-patent-system/ [arstechnica.com]

Logical Fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41520921)

This is like saying that in order to stop climate change we need to get rid of all humans. In both cases, there are surely less drastic solutions to the problem.

Re:Logical Fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521145)

You just don't understand, if you wholesale replace a working (but admittedly faulty) system with dreams and idealism, everything will be instantly perfect. You just have to believe.

Re:Logical Fallacy (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521187)

True, but how is that at all related to software patents?

Re:Logical Fallacy (1)

Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521279)

exactly!

if you wholesale replace a working (but admittedly faulty) system

I don't see a working system at all.
I see a system that has been abused beyond all recognition by a very small percentage of very powerful companies.
It's not even just the little guy getting screwed - its everyone but the fortune 500 companies, and even they've spent 100s of millions duking it out.

Re:Logical Fallacy (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521595)

True, but how is that at all related to software patents?

Well, that's a little bit difficult to explain to somebody that thinks a patent should be invalidated because they saw something on Star Trek.

Re:Logical Fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41524789)

I saw something on Star Trek. That means someone else had the idea already -- You can fucking patent ideas now: A working invention is not required. Thus, "prior art" should be just that -- Any "art" prior that shows the idea, working or not in any medium. The point being that if instead of making a mock-up and writing a script around the technology the show makers would have taken their drawings to the patent office, they'd have had patents for those devices. Just because the idea wasn't taken to the patent office doesn't mean someone else didn't "invent" it first. That's what prior art is, eh? Ideas that came before.

Re:Logical Fallacy (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#41525773)

Okay, then try to explain it to somebody that thinks that no credible evidence has been given that software patents have a net positive effect on innovation, while a good amount of evidence to the contrary exists.

Is the web worth saving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521139)

Maybe we should let patents kill the Web. At least I'd waste a lot less time on it!

20/20 Hindsight (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521259)

We need to end software patents

I seem to recall that back in the day it was pretty fucking obvious what would happen if we allowed them in the first place. Fat lot of fucking good that did, however...

Re:20/20 Hindsight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522101)

We told everyone so then. People just didn't listen.

suits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41521337)

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/american-english/suit_2 [cambridge.org]

suit
Definition
â a set of clothes made of the same material and usually consisting of a jacket and pants or skirt
â A suit is also a set of clothes or a piece of clothing to be worn in a particular situation or for a particular activity:
        a bathing suit
â slang A suit is also someone in business, esp. when compared with an artist or ordinary worker:
        The network suits donâ(TM)t care about the fans who show up at the ballpark.

I think you mean lawsuit.

Burn the suits. That'll take care of all problems.

But but... prior art crowd source. (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521419)

A patent in this case is rather specific and
is unlikely to have been implemented and not grafted into
a real product.

Rummage about your old notes and old email and find
where this "invention" was first discussed and published.

Note that git was developed as a reaction to someone stepping on
the cash flow of bitkeeper and friends. A Git2 that works differently
is possible ....

To me this is a normal and obvious extension of a unique hash lookup
table. It can be done at the end of a network link a fiber channel
or any local or long distance data link including voice.

Hello Bob, get me the file 123456BobIsYourUncle and send it via FedX, USP, USPS ... taxi,
pneumatic tube. i.e. Lookup a unique ID and deliver it.

I have the bad feeling in the pit of my gut that trolls are applying for patents
after reading journals, listening to convention talks, procedings of, mining text books
and even fraternity file cabinets full of class notes.

If my gut feeling is founded, this is theft, plagerism and fraud. It is compounded
by the misuse of the law.... and when it can be shown true the bad boys need
to be cleaned out and flushed into a dark hole with no cell reception.

Universities that have not allowed the likes of Google to digitize their
thesis files and more as needed to establish the truth.

What the patents actually cover - not the web (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521465)

The oldest patent in the case is for de-duplication in storage using a cryptographic hash. Most web sites don't do that, although some caching systems do.

Re:What the patents actually cover - not the web (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | more than 2 years ago | (#41522287)

So do you feel that such a patent should have been granted in the first place? If f(d_1)==f(d_2), then allowing for the hash-space collision error, you can infer that d_1 == d_2 and de-duplicate. Should math isomorphism inferences be patentable?

Stop allowing patents that are patently obvious (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | more than 2 years ago | (#41521923)

My naive take on it is that the problem seems to be in allowing patents that are patently [punny, sorry] obvious to be granted. Many things that were probably common knowledge prior to allowing software to be patented were allowed to be patented, and many new patents cover crazy things like "one-click" shopping.

The "one-click" patent shows the key absurdity: almost every interaction on the internet (except for text entry) requires a response to a click on a link/hyperlink. (text entry requires a response to a letter one at a time which occurs on the user's browser on the user's computer.)

So effectively, every single mouse-click results in a complex response on the server-side based on the context of the data entered, perhaps with a "POST". So the request for a "one-click" purchase which agglomerates looking up previously retained data from a database such as name, prior purchase delivery address, prior purchase payment information, et cetera, is really no more than a post requesting a response from the server side.

Why should a server response that says "buy it now, using my previously saved settings as name address payment option + longer explanation" be allowed to be patented just because it's put on a clickable button that says just the "buy it now" part? That's my rant.

Re:Stop allowing patents that are patently obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41522831)

There is no test for obviousness. Thus, all patents are invalid. Everyone is actually a Genius now by the PTO's standards. Abolish the patent system, it's not economically valid: It relies on Artificial Scarcity. Advancement in reverse engineering has made trade secrets impossible.

Re:Stop allowing patents that are patently obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41523649)

You could argue that most software patents *are* obvious. The argument for patents is that it takes inspiration to have the idea and time to develop it and therefore you deserve protection for your investment or you simply wouldn't bother. The problem with software patents is that, while it is possible to piggy-back on other people's hard work like this, most ideas are thought up by many people independently, so they are obvious; and the ones that aren't are typically their own protection ('this software runs very fast but we have no idea why').

To take an example, one-click was innovative the first time we saw it, certainly, and easy to copy, but you're not telling me that a. Amazon spent a long time developing it or b. if Jeff Bezos had never thought of it, it wouldn't have been thought up by someone else within 6 months (assuming that it hadn't been thought up already; prior art is quite a high bar).

Re:Stop allowing patents that are patently obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41523663)

(My point being not that software patents are easy to get, but that innovative ideas in software are an easy thing to create and therefore they're a bad candidate for protection. Not as clearly written as it might have been.)

Texas (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 2 years ago | (#41524459)

Please Please Please, just leave the union already!
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