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A friend of mine gave me a truly fresh view of open source the other day when he told me that human beings are the epitome of open-source bio-engineering. "Think about it," he said, "You and I share at least 96 percent of the exact same DNA. It's that 4 percent which differentiates us and differentiates a talented Dutch artist from a Thai civil servant." In essence, one might say that the 96 percent base is the open-source code which we share.
While I tend to agree with the blurring of the line between invention and discovery, you don't seem to support how the patenting of what (in your view) are essentially discoveries is inhibiting innovation. As a matter of fact, I would bet that "innovation" around things like genetics, software, and even business processes has actually increased since patents have been allowed (this is only a general impression, I do not have facts at my disposal to back it up). Admittedly, this increase in innovation may be driven by individuals and/or companies attempting to get around patented inventions.
If you agree that allowing people to benefit from their hard work by providing them protection from reproduction, why is this not also beneficial to people making difficult (read expensive) discoveries?
I do agree that the Patent system today may very well be inhibiting parts of society from benefiting from innovation (especially in the area of software patents that have not properly taken prior art into consideration or too generally claim basic programming constructs). But I have a hard time seeing the actual inhibiting of "innovation" as I believe most people innovate first and then figure out if they can benefit from it or if they may have infringed a patent...
Interesting view. But not one shared by a lot of the tech industry. Can't remember where, but I saw a list some place of a huge number of ideas companies came up with, but *never* developed because the cost of buying rights to use all the patented technology stopped them. Your wrong. Companies look at the bottom line and will 'never' invent something and spend huge amounts of money on it, 'then' try to figure out if it infringes. But the essensial problem is that often the solution to a problem that some company patents covers 'any' solution, not just the one they found. In other words, they don't patent *a* wheel, they patent "Attaching removable objects to the bottom of vehicles to make travel easier." How the heck do you 'work around' that? It is precisely the sort of problem companies are starting to face. Not merely a matter of finding some other unique solution, but dealing with patents that cover any and all solutions, because the patent is on the *idea* of what something should do, not *how* is should do it.
You lost me on the (IMHO) racist statement "It's that 4 percent which differentiates us and differentiates a talented Dutch artist from a Thai civil servant."
I'm not saying that you cannot say something like that, I'm just pointing out that I stopped reading at that point.
A bit late perhaps, but perhaps you could expand on why you consider it racist? Unless you consider being a civil servant second class and undeserving...
It was actually what happened. As usual, there were three of us in the Open Source room at the Thai government's Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA). I was there (until recently a Thai civil servant), as was the chap who came up with the idea (a rather eccentric programmer from New Zealand) and their artist, a delightful chap from the Netherlands.
Since I had just written about my Kiwi friend a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd share the list of mentions and substitute him for his friend on the desk beside him.
For the record, their mutual boss is an Englishman... and he reports to SIPA's big boss who is a Thai civil servant. Which would lead to a very risky (racism wise) debate on why are there only foreigners interested in working for the Thai government on open source!
Can someone please tell me when they quote my articles so I can respond in time? No, ECT News never tell me, neither do the Bangkok Post!