Grainge, Derek <DGG(a)wellington-college.berks.sch.uk> wrote:
I thought that GNU differentiates between ownership
Yes, you are correct. GNU uses copyright law in its GPL to ensure
that certain rights (freedoms) are available to all users of the
AFAIK software is rarely patented per se. [...]
It seems to be increasingly common, even in the UK, but there is a
general understanding that software patents are not enforceable in
the UK today. However, many groups are lobbying for both an EU directive
and a change in UK law. If it happens, we may lose access to a lot of
software and there's potential for "submarine patents" like the GIF one
you mentioned, which hide below the water line for years, then jump up
to attack us. http://www.softwarepatents.co.uk/
One of the larger (but still small) UK "open source" supporting groups
are supporting software patents at the EU level and other "open source"
groups are promoting them at UK level. Amazed, I checked the Open Source
Definition and the FAQ on the OSI site and discovered that nothing there
Copyright and patents are not connected directly, but the FSF Free
Software Definition includes the assertion that users should have the
"freedom to use" and patents can be used to block that, so the free
software movement is trying to prevent their spread. It seems there
is a difference in views between "free software" and "open source".
Maybe this is a better explanation of why I've argued for the correct
description of free software as free software? I don't want software
patents for the UK.
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