Re: Software patents and Debian
Adam Borowski wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 19, 2006 at 10:41:29PM +0200, Marco d'Itri wrote:
>> firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>> >> Still, the DFSG does not addrss patents. This means that there is no
>> >> point in arguing that patent restrictions violate thit.
>> >The DFSG doesn't talk about any particular branch of law. It talks
>> >about "the rights attached to the program" and other such phrases. To
>> >the extent that those rights are granted or restricted by holders of
>> >patents, the DFSG addresses patents.
>> Still, Debian has a long standing policy of doing the opposite.
> Yes, because DFSG can apply only to relations between you and those
> involved in the given piece of software. Thus, if the creator of the
> program in question grants us only limited rights, this would be a
> DFSG issue regardless if it's a matter of copyright, patents, "moral
> rights" or the Totem Law of the kingdom of Kbanga.
> On the other hand, it is infeasible to care about _third parties_.
I like this view. Good essay.
> If I write a piece of software and give it to you, we need to care
> about the laws of Poland and Italy; there is no problem if some
> random punk in the US has a patent -- and in fact, for any given
> piece of software a number of such punks exist. One of recent
> patents covers telnet, ssh and the like -- should we pull them from
> Debian? The only reason to comply with patent terrorism is when the
> punk is especially litigious.
> The whole concept of patent goes completely against the ideas of
> capitalism and free market. Free market relies on _scalable_ laws
> and patents don't scale. They work differently for small and big
> countries, fail when you deal with entities not within the same
> patent system, break unless you have perfect instantenous
> communication within the system, and so on. They are
> government-granted monopolies and thus they fail whenever you look at
> something smaller or bigger than a country.
> To the contrary, DFSG are infinitely scalable. They work as well for
> a castaway on a desert island, a dissident or a world-wide
> corporation. Copyrights, with all their downsides, are scalable as
> well so they can be handled by DFSG well. Patents can't.
> So, I would say that there is no way for a third party to influence
> the freeness of a given piece of software. Otherwise, Debian would
> have to exclude anything that's illegal in North Korea, China or the
> self-described "Land of the Free".
Nathanael Nerode <email@example.com>
Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...