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Re: Why are software patents wrong?

From: threeseas
Subject: Re: Why are software patents wrong?
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 00:40:40 GMT
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.7.1 (X11/20040626)

Paul Hovnanian P.E. wrote:
threeseas wrote:

why do you think software should not be patentable? and is your answer
cause or effect?

Software is the implementation of an algorithm, which is not patentable.
Copyright law is more suitable for the protection of software.

You can patent a physical method or device which achieves some end.
it is still possible to achieve that end with another means or device
and not violate that patent. Physical implementations are typically
constrained by practical engineering limitations, so there is value in
protecting the innovation involved in their development. IOW, figuring
out HOW to do something has value, not just WHAT to do. Software doesn't
suffer from the same kind of restrictions on alternative
implementations. Once the WHAT comes to mind, the HOW has multiple
solutions. I'll leave the arguments about bounded vs unbounded solution
sets to the math geeks.
Software patents effectively prevent achieving the intended end by any
means rather than protecting the means. Patents are supposed to
encourage innovation (i.e. better ways of doing something). Preventing
that from happening is (or should be) counter to public policy.

Alright, /. just had a story about the amazon one click patent being defended.

my response:
Patenting the act of programming????
Programming is the act of automating the use of complexity, usually made
up of simpler complexities, so to enable the use and reuse of the
complexity by the user of that complexity, easy.

There is a world of prior art here, going back even before computers were invented, to the initial use of abstractions to express a more complex thought.

Alright, this is the essence of the physics of abstraction creation and use. But there is more, essence is not enough, we need details. And such details that provide the foundation or basis upon which to compair patent applications in software.

currently there is no such openly recognized foundation, sorta like not yet understanding the earth is not flat, that you won't fall off.

what are the undeniable actions they are used in abstraction physics, programming or otherwise?

* we start and stop something, change what we interface

* We keep track of where we are in doing something.

* we determine where we are getting input from

* we get input

* we determine where we are sending output to.

* We do things sequencially, one step at a time. and this includes those thing on this list, including sending output to where we have determined.

* we look up the meaning of things, to determine what action to take.

* we identify things to determine what action to take

* we apply constraints to what we look up and what we identify, so to more quickly move forward in what we are doing.

These are all things we do all the time, unavoidably, therefor they cannot be patented. And these things can also be coded into an application to enable a general automation tool that can be used for anything from automating the development process, including code generation to enabling the newbie end user to put two applications together in an automation that helps them improve their productivity. Or even something simple like looking up the definition of an abstraction, such as the man page of a function or command, etc..

But there is an computing environment requirement to best enable this:

Nature likes the use of "three" in its application, such as primary color, Red, Blue and Green for Light (substractive color), and Red Blue and Yellow for paint (additive color), etc.. With such you can create all other colors, remove one and you greatly limit what can be done.

This follows thru in our use of computers. There are three primary user interfaces. First the Command Line Interface, the Graphical User Interface and the side door port to controlling or accessing functionality. This third goes by many names, function call, API, IPC port, etc., having many different tools for using it.

Again, remove any one of these and you greatly limit what can be done.

Its all about putting things together, be it code or applications or systems inter-connecting.

The ability to put things together is a human right, a given. Including the ability to create high level abstractions word/symbol = definition.

By understanding the physics of abstraction creation and use, we have a comparison base for which to determine patentability of software in general, as well as in specific cases.

Microsoft is a marketing company first and formost, a third party integrator of the works of others, second.

Longhorn and the philosophy of their "software factories" is such an integration of the works of others, the essence of programming and even the details above. And of course they are calling themselves innovators while distorting and biasing the truth of abstraction physics, towards themselves.

So why are software patents wrong, given the unpatentable natural physics of abstraction creation and use?

Imagine a calculator and those trying to patent some sequence of button pushes. Now imagine that calculator not being limited to just the mathmatical abstraction set, but open to any abstraction imagined and definable.

Yeah copyright is more appropriate for software, but the IP rights terms of infinity is not.

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