Ben Tasker's Blog

Republished: The Problem With Software Patents Is

Originally published on in June 2006

Simply put there are a great many problems with the concept of software patents, let alone the practicality. Those of us who follow news within the IT industry are forever seeing 'X sues Y for infringing patent.' Does this mean that all the companies in the IT sector are trying to steal other peoples work and ideas? No, the problem is patents are being granted on concepts that they should not. This does also affect non-software patents to a point, however software patents seem to be the most affected by this.

Currently in the UK (and as far as I know Europe as a whole) software patents are not legally enforceable. This does not mean they do not exist, Software patents have been granted, and still are. However you cannot currently back them up in a court of law. Now lets take a look at the Patent System in the US so that we may see exactly why we do not want software patents.

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Republished: Apple elects for more Vendor Lock In

Originally published on 04 June 2006

It would seem that Apple have elected for more vendor lock-in. It used to be possible to download a Windows executable file to update the firmaware of your iPod, however now you are forced to download iTunes 7 and update through that.

That may seem like something normal, but the beauty of the old system was us Linux users could extract the new firmware and install it manually, now we can't as Apple don't provide a Linux version of iTunes. This from a company who has already been criticised for Vendor lock in with their Fairplay DRM.

One day companies will remember that it is the consumer who provides their revenue, and that whilst it may be a small percentage, creating disgruntled customers is never a good idea. Once the world becomes aware of what companies are doing to restrict their rights (DRM, Vendor lock-in etc) these companies are going to find themselves very short of revenue.

Pearl Jam Release a Video under the Creative Commons License

This content was originally published on 21st May 2006

Pearl Jam have released the Video to "Life Wasted" under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No-Derivs-License This basically means you must give the Original Authors Credit, you cannot use it for commercial gain, and you may not make derived works. Other than that you are free to copy and share it. I think it is fantastic that Pearl Jam are giving something back to the fans, this is the first major record company to release under the Creative commons, and hopefully we will see many more.

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Republished: A Word about the GPL

This was originally published on in June 2006


As I'm sure is true for many in the Open Source Community, I have seen far too many websites spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about the GNU General Public License or GPL. This page is intended to explain the GPL without the bias that I feel several of the companies have and also to refute some of the myths I have heard propogating.

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