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Open Source to fight Software Patents?
Editorial
Written by Gizmo   
Thursday, 11 August 2005 08:36

CNET News reports that Red Hat announced Tuesday at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo that it will finance the efforts of outside developers to obtain patents that can freely be used by open-source developers.  This came a the same time the that Open Source Developer Labs launched a patent commons project with the goal of providing a central list of all patents that have been donated to the open-source community.

 

What makes this interesting is that it seems to suggest that the open-source community, which has long been against the idea of software patents, is changing it's tack on this issue.  It looks more and more like they are begining to think along the lines of "Let's fight fire with fire".  This may be exactly what is required to get governments to take a serious look at not just the notion of software patents, but the notion of patents generally, and how they are being applied today.

Those of you who have read my posts in the past know that, as a software developer, I support the idea that a person should have some societal protection for their hard work and effort.  However, the patent system as it sits today (at least in the U.S.) is being severely abused and needs to be seriously rethought.  We shouldn't get rid of patents, but IMHO we should get back to the original concept, that a patent should be granted for novel applications and developments of technology that would NOT BE OBVIOUS to any competent practitioner of the discipline.

What do you think?  Tell us in the forums!

 
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