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Re: Flight Computers

Phil Karn writes:
> >The only motivation I see in GPL's demand that all changes be
> >distributed under the same terms is idealistic anti-intellectual
> >property socialist whackoisim. 
> What an exceedingly strange argument! No one can apply the GPL to a
> piece of software he does not own. So how is it "idealistic
> anti-intellectual property socialist whackoism" for a copyright owner
> to require compensation and to dictate whatever license terms he
> chooses?

Is the goals and motivation for using GPL which I describe, not the terms.

> Copyright owners do that all the time.  It's just that under
> the GPL, the required compensation to the owner consists of bug fixes
> and enhancements rather than money.

Is not compensation to the owner because he does not assume the rights 
of bug fixes and/or enhancements. Only the limited license to use 
granted via GPL on the contributor's code.

> As with any piece of copyrighted software, if you don't like the
> license terms, you're free to not use it. Just return it to your
> place of purchase and receive a complete refund. :-)

Which because there isn't a credit card paper trail for when such 
happens with GPL'ed software, you deny it happens?

An example I know of was when a pretty neat thing was added to a GPL
package and used in-house. One is free to do anything to GPL code
in-house. GPL source code clauses only kick in on external distribution.
As a result Legal nixed further distribution. Upper management slapped
some wrists for wasting resources on a project with dead end revenue
prospects. Due to GPL almost nobody benefited.

> >If a good capitalist gives away source code and sees Apple or
> >Microsoft "enhance" and successfully sell it, will cheer them on
> >whether or not the changes are released.
> Exactly how is it "good capitalism" to give software away so that
> someone else can make money from it with *nothing* in return to the
> author?  That sounds much more like corporate socialism to me.

"Good capitalists" are the worlds most generous contributors to 
charitable causes.

"Giving away software" is not a statement of "...so somebody else can 
make money with it" but more of an "I'm not going to bother to try to 
make money off of this and don't care if you want to try." If one uses 
GPL then one poisons the "gift" making revenue generation more 
difficult, which is what W4LNA said with the word "hamstrung."

> >One reveals the keys of one's invention which make it unique, defends
> >one's claims initially contested by the patent examiner, possibly
> >later contested in court. In exchange is granted temporary protection
> >against others applying the same invention without compensation.
> That's certainly the theory. The practice is very, very different. In
> practice, software patents disclose little if any prior art. In
> practice, patent examiners are almost entirely incompetent; they work
> at the PTO only because they can't get jobs in the real world.

Yeah? So how is that different from any other form of government
service? You try to make it sound like the PTO is unique in this aspect.

> In practice,
> twenty year terms are hardly "temporary" given the pace of the
> software industry.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. People have been saying that for hundreds of years.
Clearly the PTO is of no use because everything has already been

"Impatient, greedy, and short attention span" is what I think of those 
claiming 17 or 20 years is an eternity. Or that time is any different 
for the steel industry than the electronics industry.

"...given the pace of the software industry..." Ever consider the
software industry might be running at the pace *because* if they happen
to invent something of value that they stand a chance of recovering
their costs and making a profit? The claim that software is any
different than anything else come from (IMO) those who lack the
imagination to consider something could be done any different than the
way they see someone else doing it. Proof this behavior is rampant is
the popularity of Microsoft Windows. Further proof is how Linux imitates
Microsoft rather than invent anything new. And how Linux uses Microsoft
as the yardstick for measuring accomplishments.

> In practice, software patents suck big time.

There have been plenty of stupid patents issued during the history of
the PTO. "Software" is nothing new. "Software" is no different than any
other machine. So why would a technique for FEC be any less worthy of
patent protection than a new process for smelting steel?

David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@hiwaay.net
The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its
capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.

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