FSFE Newsletter

Rui Miguel Silva Seabra rms at 1407.org
Tue Jan 8 12:11:22 UTC 2008

On Tue, Jan 08, 2008 at 09:47:02AM +0000, Alex Hudson wrote:
> On Tue, 2008-01-08 at 09:37 +0000, Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> > > Actually, this is not right.
> > > Having the docs is definitely better than having none, even under NDA.
> > 
> > Having OOXML as it is must be definitly better then.
> You're comparing apples and oranges. OOXML is a new format;

I'm questioning the logic, not newness or anything else. The logic is

> > Under NDA development it is frequent that you can't reveal information
> > through "readable" function names or variables, or even comments
> > explaining the limits of certain values, etc...
>         "To the extent that Microsoft Confidential Information is
>         embodied in and disclosed by source code (including comments to
>         source code in line with standard industry practice) versions of
>         Implementations, Licensee may disclose such Confidential
>         Information as part of a distribution of such source code. For
>         further clarification of standard industry practice, the parties
>         intend that the standard will be the commenting and/or commit
>         messages reasonably required from the perspective of good
>         software engineering practices. Without limiting the sources of
>         such standards, the kinds of practice that would typically be
>         sources for those standards would include those described in
>         Writing Clean Code (Steve Maguire) and Code Complete (Steve
>         McConnell), as well as those used generally in the published
>         source code from Samba.org as of the date of this Agreement."
> You know, you can just go and read the agreement and see what it
> actually says?

I can't read it all, however it seems quite broadly open for

> > > > The EU is happy-happy joy-joy[1] about the whole charade where it
> > > > has granted Microsoft the right to demand royalties for it's software
> > > > patents to Free Software users.
> > > 
> > > The EU has no such granting power, patent law allows Microsoft to ask
> > > for royalties.
> > 
> > And EC recognises software patents, Q.E.D.
> You're confusing two completely separate issues. The first is the
> ability to demand royalties for software patents. We've already shown
> that isn't the case.

You don't pay a royalty per copy, you have a one time royalty. This is
bad because it's validating that RAND => payment.

> The second is recognition of the existence of software patents. Fact is,
> *they are issued in Europe*. What on earth could the Commission have
> done? Even if it licensed them for everyone to use freely, it would a.
> only have applied in Europe and b. still recognised the fact they exist.

EC should not recognise any software patents. They're illegal in Europe,
and the recent attempt at legallising them by Directive was rejected
with 96% (IIRC) of the votes.

The fact that EPO illegaly conceded them is totally irrelevant. They're
communication protocols and file formats on digital world => software =>
patents are software patents, not other kinds.

They should *NOT* have accepted that. The reasoning that they couldn't
impose it outside Europe is irrelevant, since they only can impose
anything *INSIDE* Europe.

> The FSFE et al. could have taken the approach of "we don't recognise
> software patents, so we refuse to have any patent language in the
> agreement". That's about as safe as saying "we don't recognise the right
> of way for motorists, so we won't look both ways when crossing the
> road", and it would have gained *nothing*. We're equally unsafe now as
> before.

No, because in Europe there are no software patents. What has been
granted was in violation to the letter of the law.


Today is Pungenday, the 8th day of Chaos in the YOLD 3174
+ No matter how much you do, you never do enough -- unknown
+ Whatever you do will be insignificant,
| but it is very important that you do it -- Gandhi
+ So let's do it...?

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