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On Fri, 3 Dec 2004 11:48:54 +0900, Bill Kelly <billk / cts.com> wrote:
> From: "Gavin Sinclair" <gsinclair / soyabean.com.au>
> >
> > On Friday, December 3, 2004, 9:25:50 AM, Bill wrote:
> >
> > > Software patents are like, if you play guitar, Eddie Van Halen
> > > patenting Tapping (two-handed hammer-on technique).  The damned
> > > *IDEA* is the easy part.  It's the implementation that's hard.
> >
> > In building software, though, turning ideas into profit is an
> > expensive and risky exercise.  Much more so than busting a few guitar
> > moves.
> 
> Turning ideas into profit focuses on where the real
> work is involved - the implementation.  Which is protected
> under Copyright law, and which has always seemed pretty
> reasonable to me.
> 
> > Once you've seen the benefit of an idea you'd never have thought of
> > yourself, the implementation is often trivial.  Just like many guitar
> > techniques :)
> 
> Hmm...  To me, software patents and guitar techniques often
> fall into a category I'd say is pretty opposite from that:
> trivial to explain, very difficult to implement.
> 
> Anyone can explain Tapping (two-handed hammer-ons) or
> Rasgueado (flamenco strum) or Slap/Pop (bass) techniques
> conceptually in about 20 seconds.  Now hand the instrument
> to the student and ... Maybe after about a year of diligent
> practice, you'll be listening to a pretty good implementation.
> 
> With software, at least where I hang out, the situation has
> seemed pretty similar.  It's gotten to where there should be
> a FAQ for amateur 3D graphics / game programmers doing voxels.
> Someone will post their application/demo to a community site,
> saying, "Hey, I was thinking about 3D pixels (voxels) and I
> wanted to make a game where I could fly around through a
> cave.  Here's how I did it, in my spare time, in between
> studying for finals.  What do you think?"  And the standard
> answer is, "Neat! It may interest you to know that what you
> discovered there looks a lot like the Marching Cubes algorithm,
> which someone has decided to patent."
> 
> Over and over, it's NOT about "an idea you'd never have
> thought of yourself."  Not even remotely.  It's about bleeding
> obvious* ideas that come up when you get into the nitty gritty
> of figuring out how to implement something.  ((*) By bleeding
> obvious I mean when you're deep, deep into the problem, and
> suddenly it's like, Ah-ha!!  I.e., bleeding obvious to anyone
> who has arrived at that same deep context, driven out of
> necessity to solve the problem.)
> 
> http://www.base.com/software-patents/disputes.html
> ... The IDEA of host-independent network byte ordering ? ? ? ?
> 
> >  Entity A proves the commercial viability of an idea at
> > great expense; entities B-Z exploit that idea at no expense.
> 
> Why is the software developed by B-Z less expensive than that
> of A to implement?  Take a look at Quake (the 3D first-person
> shooter playable over the internet.)  id Software not only
> didn't patent their techniques, they released Quake open source
> under the GPL when Quake II came out.  And you know what?
> Even having the *source code*, let alone just the *idea*, I
> can't turn around and snap my fingers and come up with my own
> implementation of what their game does.  Ideas are easy,
> implementation is hard.  Even staring at someone else' source
> code.
> 
> Regards,
> 
> Bill
> 
>