Chaosseminar: The Danger of Software Patents

Forced by the US, Europe is just about to adopt a new form of patents that were illegal up to now: Patents on Software. Whereas most big companies support the idea of software patents, most small and medium sized businesses as well as most open source developers see them as a serious threat to their profession.

Richard Stallman will explain how software patents obstruct software development. Software patents are patents that cover software ideas. They restrict the development of software, so that every design decision brings a risk of getting sued. Patents in other fields restrict factories, but software patents restrict every computer user. Economic research shows that they even retard progress.

About the lecturer: Richard Stallman is the founder of the GNU Project, launched in 1984 to develop the free software operating system GNU. He is the principal author of the GNU Compiler Collection (gcc), the GNU symbolic debugger (gdb), GNU Emacs, and various other programs for the GNU operating system.

Stallman graduated from Harvard in 1974 with a BA in physics. During his college years, he also worked as a staff hacker at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, learning operating system development by doing it. In January 1984 he resigned from MIT to start the GNU project. Today he is one of the leaders of the free software movement and president of the Free Software Foundation (FSF).




Richard Stallman




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