RedHat and software patents

Simo Sorce simo.sorce at
Mon May 27 09:03:18 UTC 2002

On Sun, 2002-05-26 at 13:55, Alceste Scalas wrote:
> I think  that it could  be quite a  realistic hypothesis ---  and it
> could be  the first  software patent that  could be used  to support
> Free Software :-)

The problem is:
will the short term benefit of few software patents "supporting" free
software be so good?
will this kind of things instead harm the Free Software community by
"supporting" software patents as a viable thing?

I'm on the list of people that are for the 2nd.

Applying for software patents is a way to say they are ok! But they are
not as you know!

That said, I cannot say anything against RedHat, they are a company and
have to follow real world rules, so to defend themselves they are
probably forced to apply for patents, or they will not have a portfolio
to defend themselves against other companies that instead have patents.

So the problem is not RedHat applying for patents, but the patent system
itself. We must be very active and make our voice loud to avoid software
patents are ever applied here in Europe or we will see for sure the end
of the Free Software Movement. No minor or major free software producer
will be ever able to fight a patent infringment accusation, generally
they will not even have the money to start a legal defense.
And we cannot expect companies to be fair when they see their profits
eroded and want to push a proprietary program against a free program.

I may be seen pessimistic, but I think I'm only realistic.


Simo Sorce - simo.sorce at
Xsec s.r.l.
via Durando 10 Ed. G - 20158 - Milano
tel. +39 02 2399 7130 - fax: +39 02 700 442 399
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