Strategy (was Re: Improving copyright)

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at
Fri May 14 23:27:05 UTC 2004

On 14 May 2004 at 23:39, João Miguel Neves wrote:

> > Our best and only chance was via the parliament because it's 
> > something we can influence. The council of ministers is effectively
> > closed to our voice and there's little we can do about it (that's
> > why the old left in Britain disliked the EU, it's fundamentally
> > anti- democratic). I personally am resting easy until the directive
> > returns to the EP when I'll either campaign for a yes or no vote
> > depending on whether it's good or not.
> > 
> Fortunately you're also wrong on this one. In the last few days we
> managed to stop the council position to be simply nodded through the
> council and we're getting more and more governments on our side.

And I'm glad that it's happened. However you must surely agree that 
individual crusading against the council of ministers is 
counterproductive. IFSO (Irish Free Software Organisation) chose to 
send one letter signed by all members rather than each member doing 
their own thing and I agree with their rationale. I am only sorry it 
was the Irish government who tried pushing it, we above all other 
countries in Europe should know better (and our MEP's did).

> > However my comments were referring to the globe. Microsoft is
> > quietly patenting key parts of Linux and if it ever needed to, it
> > could sue everyone using Linux for patent breach though not in the
> > EU if the parliament amended directive were passed. Bye bye Linux if
> > that happens.
> Not true also. Unlike copyright, patents have a very interesting
> mechanism where a country can disable the patent mechanism in the name
> of "national interests". Talking from a country where all the Internet
> infrastructure depends on free software and about 1/7th of the public
> administrations computers, that could probably be justified.

The key battleground where software patents have and will continue to 
be used at their ugliest will be the US. There is crucial to all 
computer technology worldwide. If they could freeze Linux like AT&T 
did to BSD, it's all that would be needed.

However I don't think MS will choose to deploy this unless times get 
desperate. Bill knows it's better to get as many as possible onto 
proprietary managed code as he kills a few extra birds with the same 
stone too (eg; buffer overruns :) and Java). And Linux doesn't 
interrupt his core market which is home & commercial desktops. He 
should be far more concerned about OpenOffice than Linux.


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