Subject: Re: Novel anti-software-patent article
From: <>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 22:55:20 -0800

Oldie but goodie....

On Fri, Jan 07, 2000 at 05:56:39PM -0500, Lynn Winebarger wrote:
> On Fri, 7 Jan 2000, Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona wrote:
> > 	Excuse my ignorance, but from a libre software point of view,
> > where is the difference between a trade secret and a patent. If a
> > technique is patentes, a libre program cannot use it. If it is
> > patented, a libre program cannot use it. Oh, yes, if it is a trade
> > secret, I cannot hit it when programming, and being sued later for
> > patent infringement...
> > 
>    Actually, the matter of whether a patent would be enforced by a court
> has not yet been determined.  Yes, there have been cases where a free
> software author has stopped distributing software implementing a patent,
> but as far as I know, none have actually gone to court and argued that
> free software should be exempt from patent enforcement.  (I know Crispin
> disagrees with me, but judges have in the past shown an amazing ability to
> look at issues with a long-term view towards the public interest, and
> until they apply that view to this particular issue, it's not been
> decided).

ESR has suggested just this scenario as a possible weakness to the
patent system as applied to free software, and as one of the reasons why
there has not yet been a major action, taken to court, involving a
significant patent player.

> > 	On the other hand, security by obscurity is curently not well
> > considered, AFAIK. If you want a crypto algorithm to be used, it has to
> > be publically inspectable by experts. Hard to do if it is a trade
> > secret. (Of course this characteristic of crypto algorithms does not
> > hold in other environments).
> > 
>    You think M$ allows its crypto implementation to be publically
> inspectable?  And it seems to me their stuff is being used pretty heavily.  
>    And I doubt they're the only ones.  How about SDMI (Secure Digital
> Music Initiative)?


> Lynn

Karsten M. Self (
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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