On Fri, 16 Jan 2004, Alexander Terekhov wrote:

> Russell McOrmond wrote:
> [...]
> >  IBM has been lobbying for unlimited patentability, pushing 
> > the rhetoric of "technology neutrality" that is the most 
> > common political phrase used against Open Source software. 
> > The problem is, software is not a 'technology' any more than 
> > laws, acts of parliament or Roberts Rules are a 'technology'.
> You're free to believe in whatever you want...

  The belief systems of well financed interests such as IBM and (more
recently) Microsoft are being imposed on all of us through the creation of
new government protected exclusive rights.  Whatever my beliefs are, I can
still be sued for infringing an illegitimate information process patent,
and these illegitimate exclusive rights are still putting a chill on
innovation -- sometimes in countries where such exclusive rights do not
even exist.  I cannot afford to be sued by IBM, whether IBMs claim of
exclusivity is legitimate or not.

  "Your right to swing your cane ends at my nose" applies also to your
belief that information processes like software should be patentable being
imposed on me as an Open Source participant.

> just try to keep in mind the following:

  I am well aware and mindful of the opposition to Free/Libre and Open
Source Software.  Raising awareness of this opposition is in fact what I 
am trying to do with this thread in this forum.

  The discussion around their being a "technical contribution" in pure
software is simply a way to create a back-door to applying patent laws
outside of a industrial/manufacturing context.  The existence of software
should neither subtract from or add to the patentability of an
industrial/manufacturing process, and software can not 'in and of itself'
offer a technical contribution.

  Free Software existed before software patents.  IBM has been a strong
force internationally promoting the creation of this new form of statutory
exclusive right (software patents) as a form of opposition to Free
Software ("commons-based peer produced" software, Open Source, whatever
term you want to use). IBM has recently been trying to bring public
attention to the fact that they are participating in specific Open Source
projects and receiving considerable economic benefit from Open Source.

  My question still remains:  Why is IBM in a very public way advertising
the benefits of Open Source and Linux, while at the same time lobbying
against Open Source in less visible (and less understood) public policy

  We could go around and around in circles talking about technical
contributions and technology neutrality, but my question will still

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/> 
 Governance software that controls ICT, automates government policy, or
 electronically counts votes, shouldn't be bought any more than 
 politicians should be bought.  -- http://www.flora.ca/russell/

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