15 December 2006

Patently Odd

I came across this story on LWN.net:

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software, today filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court arguing against the patenting of software.

In the case Microsoft v. AT&T, the Supreme Court will decide whether U.S. patents can apply to software that is copied and distributed overseas. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a specialized patent court known for allowing patents on software and business methods, originally decided in favor of AT&T, expanding the international reach of U.S. software patents.

Well, to coin a phrase, I bloody well hope not.

But aside from the worrying implications of this kind of extra-territoriality, and the fact that the Software Freedom Law Center is supporting Microsoft in this case, I found the following statement from the amicus brief a little odd:

One could not send or receive e-mail, surf the World Wide Web, perform a Google search or take advantage of many of the other benefits offered by the Internet without Free and Open Source Software, which also includes the Linux operating system that is today’s strongest competitor to Petitioner’s Windows operating system.

Er, sorry Eben, that wouldn't be the GNU/Linux operating system, by any chance? You remember, the one that Richard can get a little funny about when he sees it described as the Linux operating system...?


Bryan O'Sullivan said...

When Eben isn't representing the FSF, he's pretty flexible in the terminology he uses. I've even heard him say the words "open" and "source" - right next to each other! - without animus.

Glyn Moody said...

Amazing - you mean the sky didn't fall?