Bass said:"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today." -Bill GatesSabot said:*snip*
The issue I have is with software patents. Software patents make it difficult to write software in general, because there is no guarantee what you are writing is violating some other persons patent. And software patents tend to be sufficiently broad it makes writing any kind of software very easily illegal.
The patents most people are concerned about in this case are the FAT32 patents. It's very clear FAT32 wasn't the work of a "brilliant inventor". TomTom isn't using it because it's a great and amazing technology. TomTom is using FAT32 because between it and NTFS (also patented), it's the only filesystems Windows can read.
Fact of the matter is, it's damn near impossible to inter-operate or write software that works on Windows without violating Microsoft's IP. Anytime you interface with the OS you are likely using some kind of "patented" interface to do it.
So if you support this kind of thing, basically you want a world where you have to get permission everytime you write something that runs on Windows or everytime you make a device that Windows can detect and use. That could give Microsoft significant control of the entire hardware and software industry, and they can do stuff like prohibit competitive products from ever working with Windows. I don't want this personally.
Why is software so hard to patent?
Similar fights over patents where faced with photography and music in times past and some are still going on today. However with code it's abit more scientific to prove unlike a picture or a sound. If you don't wish to patent your code crack on, no problem, but respect the people that have chosen too to protect their revenue.
Jamie, I don't think we can rely on the fact the Google software will stay free, the T&C point to a future where we are gonna pay and as advertising is the first thing that gets cut in a downturn Google potientially isn't going to have so much cash.