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Apple, MS challenge European open-source rules

updated 09:50 am EDT, Mon May 23, 2005

Apple on EU open-source

A proposal to extend patent protection in Europe could , say advocates of freely distributed programs such as Linux. Companies such as Apple and Microsoft argue that they need broader patent protection to prevent open-source companies, which give away their software and make money through service, from "effectively expropriating their development costs." European Parliament member Michel Rocard, a former French prime minister heading up review of the software patent directive, wants to protect open-source software by limiting the scope of patent protection. A European Parliament committee will debate the issue on Monday, and vote on it a month later.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Jonas Maebe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not about open source

    As usual, Reuters is completely misrepresenting the fight against software patents in Europe. It's not really surprising since they themselves signed a letter in favour of software patents of course (

    Anyway, opposition to software patents mainly comes from small companies and independent developers. Many open source developers belong to the last category of course, but not all (e.g. IBM, which lobbies quite strongly in favour of software patents).

    Most proponents are indeed large US companies like Apple, IBM and Microsoft. Given that over 40% already granted (but largely unenforceable) European software patents are owned by US companies, this is not very surprising.

  1. beeble

    Joined: Dec 1969


    OpenSource as good as ded

    Open source is as good as dead. The reason I say that is that open source developers used to be extremely innovative. They used to come up with clever solutions to problems and create unique software. More recently open source software has simply become roll your own. Look at projects like Open Office. Are they trying to make a great suite of software for office productivity that's better than existing products or are they trying to copy MS Office?

    Open source has seriously lost it's way. Stop copying other peoples hard work. You're developing your code from scratch but not your ideas. Get back to being the clever, innovative crowd that got you where you are today. Don't just rip off commercial products. Come up with a better way to do it and show the world what the creativity of thousands of volunteers can really do.

  1. Jonas Maebe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: OpenSource dead?

    You seem to be arguing against a free market where different companies (or groups of people) can bring a similar product on the market and compete based on several factors such as quality and price (as opposed to needing state-granted monopolies on ideas).

    It's a feature of copyright that you do not get a monopoly on a concept, not a bug.

    Making a different implementation of something is by definition not copying, and the hard work is this this implementation, not the idea to have the ability to mark graphics so that text nicely flows around it.

    I'm also not sure where you got this "in the good old days open source was still innovative, but now it's all c***" idea from. Nor why it would suddenly "die".

    Many people work on open source because it's a hobby. Several companies now give the source of parts of their products because customers demand it, or because they feel they can save more money that way than that it costs them. And yet another bunch of people works on open source out of idealistic convictions.

    You're talking about "open source" as if it's one homogenous bunch of people who want to prove to the world they are the best or so. It's at least as much also a business concept. Mac OS X wouldn't be what it is today without all the open source components, nor would many iApps (e.g. choose "About Pages" and click on "Acknowledgements").

  1. mprewitt99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not dead

    Indeed there are many Open Source projects that are quite cool and quite unlike anything commercial. Some are business-related, others hobbies, others a combination of things.

    I'm not sure I entirely oppose the idea of software patents, but the problem now is that there are patents for completely trivial things, including things that are little more than mathematical formulas or virtual representations for real-world ways of doing things. People are patenting things to such a degree that, for a open source hobbiest, it's like you have to license the bolts and screws you use to build your applications. Crazy.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Open Office is commercial

    Open Office started out as a commercial product and only went open-source after Microsoft and pirates between them killed off the market for office suites.

    It's a damn shame they didn't do a better job. "Office suites" have been nothing but a pain in the butt, give me separately bundled applications and a good integrated environment (like, say, Mac OS X) any day.

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