Software Patents

Every so often, I’m glad I sometime click into the comments on /.

The software industry is more affected because it depends much more on innovation than other industries.

In particular, it depends on the incremental innovation, whereas almost all new inventions are typically (and in some cases by logical necessity) are old inventions slightly reconfigured. Patents stop the incremental innovations in its tracks, since an “inventor” of a killer app has all the reasons to sue everyone in sight and none of the reasons to improve on the app. And even if the patent holder does use the monopoly profits to innovate further, it cannot possibly make up for excluding everyone else from the process. Imagine for a moment that a compiler was patented. Only a few biggest players could then afford licenses required to develop commercial software, and free OSes like BSD or GNU/Linux would be illegal. Proponents of software patents must admit that that is the way we should have went: if anything deserves to be called an innovation in software, a compiler certainly does. They also must close their eyes on the fact that the free software community produced and now maintains not one, but two best OSes of today, while competing with an entrenched monopolist. Anyone who believes that software patents are producing any good for the society is either grossly misinformed about the software market or is an enemy of the public (that is, a corporate cock sucker) and a hater of the computer science in general.