[Fsfe-ie] patents letter stuff

David O'Callaghan david.ocallaghan at cs.tcd.ie
Sat Jan 17 13:25:36 CET 2004

Dé Céad, 2004-01-14 ag 18:44, scríobh Ciaran O'Riordan:
> Hi all,
>   I'm still writing that patents letter, although I've overcommitted
> myself a bit recently so work is slow.  I have a draft, but it gets
> rewritten every time I look at it, so it's not yet at a stage where it
> would be useful to post it and ask for comments.
> A request:
>   Can people find a few great technologies that *aren't* patented?

The spreadsheet, as originally implemented in Visicalc (I think), was
not patented. This was the "killer app" that started personal computing.
It led to Lotus 123 (which increased adoption of IBM PCs) and of course
Microsoft Excel, which seems to be a de facto standard for tabular data
in the business world. The spreadsheet patent would only have expired
around 2000.

This is speculation on my part, but had the spreadsheet been patented,
there's a good chance that lots of other business/PC software such as
word processors would have been patented too.


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