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O’Reilly Network: The Harm of Patents — An Exchange Between Richard Stallman and Tim O’Reilly

[ Thanks to S.Ramaswamy for this link.
]

“Tim O’Reilly discusses software patent issues with Richard
Stallman, founder of the GNU Project and Free Software Foundation.
This dialogue took place as an exchange of email from February
29 through March 2, 2000.”

“Tim O’Reilly: I’m not completely opposed to software patents,
since there are some things that do in fact qualify as legitimate
‘inventions’.”

“Richard Stallman: I hope you will reconsider this step in your
reasoning. Yes, there are real inventions in software. I am
impressed by the RSA algorithm, and even the LZW algorithm, as
intellectual work; they are far from obvious, in my opinion. But
look at how much harm these patents have done!”

Complete
story
.