Re: polarization

From: Sam TH <sam uchicago edu>
> No one is going to sue GNOME for our money.  People are going to sue GNOME
> to shut us down.

Well said.

Sun is used as an example here, but it could as easily be any old-line
corporation working with GNOME:

Consider - is it necessarily in Sun's interest to help us bust someone else's
patent? What if Sun has themselves already licensed that patent, and is
contractually obligated to enforce it? Like many corporations, Sun routinely
cross-licenses entire patent portfolios with other corporations - it is likely
that when we run awry of something they _will_ already be a licensee.

What if someone else had an API license similar to the rather pernicious
Java API licenses (see the Java online books), and we had to prove that
the API license was unenforcible and that our use of it fell within fair
use in copyright law? Would Sun want to help us with that, when it would
establish a legal precedent that would make it impossible for them to enforce
their own licenses?

What I am saying here is that corporations like Sun are our buddies, but they
are not going to take a bullet for us.

Warning: apocalyptic prediction ahead: Some day, a number of corporations will
band together and attempt to enforce a collection of patents against free
software in an organized manner. They will portray us as IP thieves. They will
have ties to our corporate friends that our friends won't be able to ignore.
Don't we want to have a war-chest for that day?

And we haven't even touched on what could happen in legislatures, rather than
the courts. We are getting big enough that we've become a target for pernicious
legislation sponsored by proprietary software manufacturers.



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