[Arm-netbook] R-Pi Only Better and More Available?
luke.leighton at gmail.com
Mon May 28 10:19:47 BST 2012
ok, justin, apologies for that, let me do a less-annoyed reply from
the perspective of a responsible free software engineer.
justin: i am a free software engineer. i have principles and a
grounding in free software ethics that rival those of dr stallman's,
and those principles in software freedom actually come from a
*different* basis and direction from those of dr stallman, because i
derived those principles for myself over a long period of time whilst
working with free software for 15 years.
the point of making that rather long-winded statement is to try to
impress on you that i am not a fucking idiot and that i have a
deeply-held loathing, resentment and anger at the sheer stupidity of
the entire patent *and* copyright system.
so with that in mind will you _please_ get off my back, stop accusing
me of being an idiot and TRUST ME. i don't know where you're getting
the desire to start attacking me from - it's not a good sign, and i
don't know how to deal with it, ok?
to answer the question that i posed, i'd like to tell you a story -
it's about my uncle, mr anthony j pickford. he died a few years ago,
but he was a patent lawyer for Smith Kline Beecham. if you look him
up you'll find some startling and amazing facts about him. one of
those facts is that there have been 36 changes to UK Law in the past
50 years (by way of challenges that have ended up in the House of
Lords and a ruling resulting in a modification to the Law), including
the Dangerous Dogs Act, and of those 36 changes a whopping EIGHTEEN of
those changes are down to him.
he told me some amazing stories about his work. one of those stories
was when Smith Kline Beecham started receiving reports that one of
their drugs was killing people. they immediately started
investigating and found that the drug that was killing people was
*not* made by them, but was an illegal "clone". as they had patented
it they were able to start taking action, but they had no idea who was
manufacturing it, nor who was importing it, but the had a pretty good
so what they did was: they sued a competitor that they suspected of
importing the death chemical, *knowing* that they would lose the case,
but during that case they were able to make a 3rd party "discovery"
request to HM Customs and Excise for import records. and this was
possible because they had a patent.
unfortunately HMC *REFUSED* to comply with the discovery request, but
they suspected that would happen. so, they sued HM Customs and Excise
for failing to comply with the request. they lost the case, appealed,
took it to the High Court, lost and appealed, and then took it to the
House of Lords, where they won. this took only about eight weeks, and
again, they changed UK Law as a result: it is now enshrined in UK Law,
as a result of my uncle's responsible actions as a patent lawyer that
3rd party discovery requests during cases are compulsory.
anyway, they got the documents - the import records from Customs and
Excise. it showed that there were some very large companies - big
well-known chemical companies - importing the killer drug, and they
were then able to contact them and get them to stop importing them.
the point of telling you this story should be absolutely clear: there
are occasionally actually good reasons why patents are needed.
the other point which is worth mentioning is that i'm a free software
engineer. did i mention that already? did i mention that i don't
like patents? you should not even have to ask. you should _know_
that i'm up to something if someone who doesn't like patents takes out
a patent. let me tell you another story - this one's about andrew
i went to australia in 2000 to work with tridge. we discussed for
some reason patents, and he explained his take on them. he said that
patents are basically a series of outrageous claims, followed by more
and more specialised ones that, if challenged in court, all have to be
knocked down. he gave a joking example, saying that some of these
software patents claim things like "we invented computer science!" and
then go from there.
so when i formulated the patents, i started off with a
hardware-interface one, then created an interface-modular-computing
one and then finally created a hardware-software one. the
hardware-software one is OUTRAGEOUS! in essence it has only one aim,
stated in 3,500 words, that "we invented computer science!"
if accepted it will throw the entire patent system world-wide into
chaos, as companies will finally understand that to hold patents on
software is clinically insane.
in other words what i've done is deliberately throw a massive spanner
in the works. if they're going to have a stupid system, i'm _going_
to play the game and i'm going to screw it so royally that even the
big corporates realise that software patents are a terminally bad idea
and start spending vast sums of money to get them terminated.
i haven't mentioned any of this before because i didn't think it would
be necessary, because i didn't think that people would start getting
on my case and assume i was being an idiot.
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