[LINK] Fwd: Open letter on abolishing software patents ...

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Wed Jul 28 18:42:05 AEST 2010

On 2010/Jul/28, at 2:55 PM, Stephen Wilson wrote:
> I don't agree with the campaign against "software patents".
> Fundamentally, programmed logic is equivalent to wired logic.  If you
> take a computer-plus-program that does something and put it in a black
> box with connextions to the outside world, it's not possible to tell
> from the outside whether the device internally is software driven or
> electronic (or clockwork for that matter).
> So just what is a "software" patent?  What's to stop an inventor  
> taking
> their code and burning it into a gate array or custom chip?  And what
> problem are they actually trying to solve by way of a ban?

Most modern microprocessors are filled with firmware, which is  
effectively software burnt into the chip, floating point arithmetic  
subroutines being one instance.

Any software that works in a general purpose computer and which can be  
put onto a different general purpose computer with a different  
hardware architecture is as close as it gets to a mathematical  

Whether the software is in rewritable memory or burnt into some form  
of ROM, Programmable GAL or a custom chip does not really change the  

If the dedicated device has specialised hardware which does something  
that is not possible for a general purpose computer or phone or other  
general purpose device to do then that is a different thing entirely  
and this is where the original line between software being  
unpatentable and patentable was crossed.

Without that specialised hardware then we are talking about a routine  
or algorithm that is essentially a mathematical algorithm.

> Cheers,
> Stephen Wilson
> Lockstep Group
> www.lockstep.com.au <http://www.lockstep.com.au>
> Lockstep Consulting provides independent specialist advice and  
> analysis
> on digital identity and privacy.  Lockstep Technologies develops  
> unique
> new smart ID solutions that enhance privacy and prevent identity  
> theft.
> Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au wrote:
>> Subject: Open letter on abolishing software patents: Thanks for  
>> signing!
>> Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 04:07:12 -0000
>> From: Ben Sturmfels <ben at softwarefreedom.com.au>
>> Dear Roger,
>> Thanks for signing the letter on abolishing software patents in
>> Australia.
>> Could you do us one more favour? Explain to a colleague that you're
>> concerned about software patents and encourage them to sign the
>> letter. Every voice counts.
>> http://apps.softwarefreedom.com.au/patents/
> _______________________________________________
> Link mailing list
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Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
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