Software patents (Richard Stallman)
Sat, 7 Sep 91 01:58:33 -0400

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Compiler Patents (1991-09-06)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Richard Stallman)
Keywords: legal
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 91-09-013
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 91 01:58:33 -0400

A recent posting contained a list of various patents on compilation
techniques. I've read some IBM compiler patents, and it was interesting
to see that the things they patent today are the same sort that they used
to publish in journals. (For example, the original register coloring
technique was published, and a recent improved version was patented

The writing is on the wall: *all* compilation techniques newer than 1985
will be off limits for compiler writers to use.

If you're not sure what you think about software patents, I suggest you
ask the League for Programming Freedom for its position papers. The paper
on software patents explains how patents are bad for business--how they
make software development difficult and expensive while doing little to
advance the field.

To get copies of the position papers, write to

(The League for Programming Freedom is a political organization of
programmers trying bring back the freedom to write programs. Basically,
to go back to the system under which we worked just a few years ago.)
[RMS is the founder of the Free Software Foundation and is active in
the LPF. -John]

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