How to promote free software

Wim De Smet fragmeat at
Wed Dec 4 12:45:42 UTC 2002

On Wed, 4 Dec 2002 13:22:20 +0100
<xdrudis at> wrote:

> > A rock firm position would require us to confirm more support from 
> > bothsides of the political spectrum. I'm seeing only the left is 
> > engagingthemselves against software patents (and not fully, but 
> > that could
> > change). Please correct me if I'm wrong.
> >
> You're right in the not fully all the left, apparently. 
> We would be lucky to have all the left with us, since the rapporteur 
> is a laborist MEP. 
> And then there is something in the right, maybe. It's just not very
> defined, I'm afraid. 
> > Granted you make very good sense. But some companies (Business 
> > softwarealliance is probably a good example) are still saying the 
> > exact opposite.
> Of course. BSA is controlled by MS who is in a panic race against 
> free software. Although they have relatively few patents, they 
> want to ban free software at all costs. But things are much more 
> complex. IBM is a strong pro-swpat corporation, for instance. 
I was unsure of mentioning IBM because I don't know their exact 
position. Thanks for clarifying.

> But other big software houses could be more or less against
> (there were statements in the USA from Oracle, Borland, etc...).
> Genrally the more they come from a hardware past or present, 
> the more proswpat. And it often depends on who you talk to 
> inside the company. 
> > I'm just expressing concern with whom eventually will be heard. It 
> > seems to
> > me, that liberals and conservative partiesusually take the side of 
> > big 
> > business. Best thing to do then is to get as much software 
> > developers as
> > possible to openly reject patents (already well on our way there).
> > 
> I thought liberals should side with SMEs and conservatives with 
> big corporations?. I don't really know. BUt we need all companies,
> big _and_ small to express their concerns to politicians and 
> join the Call for Action. There have been cases of industry association
> lawyers talking for the whole European "Industry" (including SMEs) without 
> real backing from those companies. So we need the individual 
> companies to show them wrong.

I guess we agree on this one.
> > I meant protectionism as in trying to protect the own IP by swpatents.
> > It is of course not a valid argument, as you point out, but it still
> > pops up now and then.
> > 
> Sorry, I misunderstood protectionism.

I used it in the wrong way, so that's understandable. ;-)
> > Anyway there is a chance to stop swpatents in europe. I'm just not 
> > sureif we'll have enough leverage to do it. Maybe I was just in a 
> > pessimisticstate of mind when I wrote that. :-) To me it really 
> > looks like it'll be
> > a close call, hope we can convince enough people in time.
> > 
> We can if lots of people give a little time and effort to it. 
> Just spread the word. 

I'm a first year computer science student and there's not a single
person in my year who I have spoken to who supports swpatents (even
the ones that don't know anything about free software or much about
the software industry in general). I don't speak much with 
"microsofties" in my year though :-) Anyway, I think there is lots
of support against swpatents from the base (the programmers) but the
situation politically is still chancy. 

Spread the word indead.


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