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One of the main concerns of us free software advocates was the threatened spread of software patents from the US to Europe.  The European Union has been considering software patents for a while.  Last time it came up, it was defeated by one vote, courtesy of my ancestral homeland of Poland.  The movement started again.  Big companies from the obvious (M$) and the not so obvious (IBM) were lobbying for software patents to be allowed in Europe.  Richard Stallman and the FSFE were representing the Common Good, arguing that software patents are evil, and if you want proof, just look at America.

(Side note:  some people don't understand the opposition to software patents, so let me explain.  Software is math.  Plain old math.  You are describing things to the computer mathematically.  You cannot patent math.  Also, the old test is, "If you can kick it, you can patent it."  Software is protected by copyrights.  Ideas are copyrights, identifiers are trademarks, and physical objects are patents.  Everyone has their protection, but software is the only one that gets more than its allotted protections.)

The vote came down.  EU voted 648 to 14 against software patents.

Six hundred forty fuckin' eight.

To fourteen.

And the number wouldn't have been such a blowout, but a lot of voters were annoyed by the lobbyists representing those that wanted software patents, and voted against them out of spite.

They say Europe is different from the US.  I'll say.  No software patents, lobbyists are a liability, and the beer is better.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 26th, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)
And now IBM just announced they're cutting 5000 jobs.

"IBM has been hit by slower U.S. technology spending, although it has fared better than many rivals thanks to its global footprint and a decreased emphasis on hardware sales."

See? they NEED those software patents!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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