Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Patent Apocalypse Begins?

Software patents... as, Obi-Wan warned, "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious." Well, the dark side has struck back, people. A massive salvo has been launched, this time aimed directly at the open source community in the form of Trend Micro vs. Barracuda Networks.

I was thinking about a cute little pictograph that would describe the public awareness and attitudes about software patents. Yes, this is highly unscientific. Also, I was too lazy to do it, so I settled for pie charts instead:

75% - Huh? Pass the beer...
24% - I know ALL about software patents... shoes, right?
1% - Programmers & Patent Lawyers

Within the programmers and patent lawyers, we could break it down this way:
75% - I don't mess with them, they don't mess with me... please don't hurt me...
24% - Ban the patent!
1% - Sue me? Sue you!

Is that last group now large enough to start the patent apocalypse? Just like any conflagration, some small sparks can result in a firestorm with devastating consequences.

Just ask yourself... really... are the ideas of free open source software and software patents compatible in any way? Are these two not overdue for a showdown? And what if we lose?

Be afraid... be very afraid...

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