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Shield software from litigation | 67 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Shield software from litigation
Authored by: calris74 on Friday, November 16 2012 @ 12:34 AM EST
I think the general point RMS is making is that if you ship
a device which is predominately single-purpose (an MP3
player, rubber band maker, video decoder, etc.) with no
intended 'user reprogram-ability', any software you write
specifically for that device can be subject to patent
enforcement. However, if you write software intended to be
run on any number of non-specific devices (i.e. general
computing devices) then you should be unencumbered from
patents.

It is exactly the same stance he has in regards to software
copyrights and freedoms. If your software targets general-
purpose machines, it should be 'free'. If you software is
written for specific devices (like code in a microwave oven
microcontroller) then he has no problems with the code being
'non-free' (except for devices like electronic voting
machines)

There is a very interesting double-edge to his arguments.
Where do game consoles, for example, fit into the picture.
Remembering the Sony PS3 saga - they originally touted the
PS3 as a 'general purpose' machine and allowed the
installation of Linux. In theory, they could say that
software written for the PS3 was software for a 'general
purpose' machine and should be immune to patent attack. But
then they backflipped and changed the PS3 into a 'single-
purpose' machine (i.e. only the PS3 firmware and games could
be run on the hardware). All of a sudden, the PS3 software
falls into the 'subject to patent' category

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Shield software from litigation
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:58 AM EST
I guess I worded that badly. What calris74 said above, is more of what I'm
getting at. Stallman is trying to make patents only apply on when the machine is
considered "special purposed". Which will make it more attractive for
hardware makers/sellers to label products as "general purposed" if
they want to avoid "software" patents. This seems to me more like an
effort to get hardware manufacturers to open up and make their products less
restrictive so that they can be called "general purposed" instead of
"special purposed". If "general purposed" hardware is
defined as hardware designed to run user modifiable software, then it
potentially becomes free software friendly hardware...

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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