Software Patents

Zeth wrote on his website about software patents etc. I wrote a response to him in the comments system, but thought I’d reproduce it here because I haven’t said anything for a while and I need some content to pad it out a bit…

Zeth, you have lots of ideas. Some are good, some are bad. Some, like this one:

“A technical problem needs a technical solution – not a legal one. A far cheaper option would be an EU software repository. Any company that wants to sell software within Europe must send a dated copy of the source code to the repository. The small team would then go and buy a shrink wrapped binary version, run the compiler and check that the two are the same.”

Are crazy… do you have ANY IDEA AT ALL how ridiculous it would be to have a team do that? Every piece of software in Europe? Every revision of every piece of software in Europe, every bug patch, what? My company churn out a fair bit of code, and we’re not even a big software house.

Not to mention the fact that there are as many development environments out there as there are PCs… getting a “small” group (although a group like that would probably have to be the size of Microsoft to do what you’re suggesting) to compile everything would be a total nightmare. Anyone who’s ever tried to get a piece of software compiled for Oracle Application Server will tell you (like I’m telling you now) – it doesn’t easily port between PCs, not with all the different versions of libraries and so on.

I don’t think having a centralised European software library (or something like that) is the answer, not in the way that you were suggesting anyway!

Normal service will be resumed next time I post 🙂


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