(Will try to make this quick -- I don't want to dominate this thread, and
won't post any more today in the hopes that others have interest as well)

On Fri, 16 Jan 2004, Ken Brown wrote:

> I'd like to know this too.  This intrigues me.  Is IBM's proposition
> that they can make money with both IP and open source incorrect?  

  I don't want to sound like Richard Stallman here, but if you mean
"Intellectual Property" and not "Internet Protocol" with your shortform
'IP', you are using confusing terminology.

  Copyright law on the expression of software (not interfaces) protects 
both Open Source and non-Open Source software.  In fact, both can and do 
co-exist and most companies have both royalty-based and "commons-based 
peer produced" software.

  Patent law on industrial/manufacturing processes involving the
manipulation of nature protects computer hardware inventors.  There is a
separation between production processes and the product itself avoiding
this area of law regulating the activities of private citizens, and RAND
licensing between manufacturers opens up this type of innovation.

  Software patents are one form of "information process" patent that are
very different.  Analysis of information processes trivially show that
they are different than manufacturing processes, and to extend patent law
created for very different subject matter into this area is inappropriate.

  Software patents are also incompatible with Open Source software.  The
only thing that the Open Source movement can do is to "disarm" a software
patent through a license -- it can never benefit from software patents.

  Information process patents are like "nuclear weapons" in that everyone
claims that they need them for defensive purposes.  A treaty between the
USA and Canada saying that they will not nuke each other does not protect
Canada from nuclear attack from different country or a terrorist any more
than IBMs Open Source patent licenses will protect Open Source developers
from third-party patent claims.  What we need is not treaties that say
that we won't nuke each other, but non-proliferation and disarmament
treaties to rid the world of software patents.

> In my opinion, I do not believe that they IBM's model has a long-term
> future.  IP inextricably competes with the existence of GPL open source
> and open source in general.

  I believe that whether software should be Open Source or not should be
the choice of the creator of that software.  Copyright offers that choice
-- software patents do not.

  Whether non-Open Source software has a future is something that free
markets should decide, not something that is imposed on us by governments
listening to special interests like IBM.

 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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