Posted by: 2stepsback | October 16, 2007

Open letter to the FLOSS community

(Please See the Note at the end)
[Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 11:54:37]. This document is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License v1.2 or at your (each individual user) option any later version of the same. To the best of my knowledge, as of Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 11:54:37, apart from programmableweb.com, nothing similar was made public anywhere on the web. Therefore, this is prior art if new.

All ideas in this document are free for use in any way for anyone.No patent, no license fees, no royalty, no legal theories other than this text, and no Intellectual Property Rights, nothing.


Hello!
I’ll soon show how it is possible to programmatically generate new ideas for existing or new software programs. Only correct imagination and playful cleverness are necessary. So, when companies say that they have valuable IP in something, you should realize that they are simply trying to do a con job – they are fooling you into believing that they have some superior intellectual stuff that you do not and so you should pay them a royalty or a fine. That is not true and that is not correct.

Someone has written a great piece of code called EulaLyzer which scans the license agreement of any software and tries to make an estimate of what is allowed and what is not. By extension, we see that it is easy to make a computer program to generate both the bulk of the text of a software patent application document and new ideas by interconnecting existing ideas using common relations between ideas. It would be trivial for corporations like IBM or Google who are jam-packed with PhD’s and Masters’ degree holders. I’m sure at least one company has already used such a program to make patent applications.

In fact, it would be a very interesting open-source or free-software project to start, just to demonstrate the ease of generating software patent applications in a way similar to generating mail-merges from an email address list.

Every one who takes up a preliminary course in using computers is taught one thing right at the beginning – the computer is a dumb machine – GIGO – Garbage In Garbage Out. So, if you think well and write a good program, the computer will do what you tell it to and it will do it, verbatim.

Now, sit back, relax, take a 5 minute break.

Keep your coffee aside. Keep your work aside.

Let us go back to the late 1800s.
At that time, the words “vehicle”, “walk”, “talk”, “fly”, “jump”, “swim”, “bird”, “barrier”, “sound”, “speech”, “recognize”, “think”, “control”, “violation”, “public”, “general”, “special”, “legal”, “severe”, “punishment”, “maximum”, “possible”, “impossible”, “spread”, “sheet”, “document”, “processor”, “thread”, “compute”, “disc”, “flop”, “soft”, “search”, “web”, “hard”, “rms”, “logos”, “super”, “farm”, “serve”, “net”, “bottle”, “neck”, “space”, “time”, “high”, “low”, “maximum”, “minimum”, “work”, “job”, “pool”, “print”, “calculate”, “log”, “logarithm”, “book”, “ledger”, “finance”, “package”, “intelligent”, “smart”, “card”, etc., were all known to most educated or even literate people spread out all over the world.

Now see who Rene DesCartes was. He was a French mathematician and thinker, who is remembered chiefly by the Cartesian Product – a simple tabulation of a list of items in two dimensions. That is, all possible pairings of any two words taken from a list in a specific order.
That forms a two-dimensional structure called a “table”.

In general, if you took n words at a time, an n-dimensional structure would be created.
3 words at a time – 3-dimensional table,
4 words at a time – 4-dimensional table,
5 words at a time – 5-dimensional table,
and so on. And as you add words, the n-dimensional structure increases in size very rapidly (exponentially?)

Now, take any two words from the above list and think what they meant then, in the late 1800s and now, in the early 2000s.
Let us take for example, the first few words:
“vehicle”, “walk”, “talk”, “fly”, “jump”, “swim”, “bird”, “barrier”, “sound”, “speech” and “recognize”.

Follow the instructions:
Read the following phrases, one at a time and tell me what image or idea comes to mind first.
Write it down on a piece of paper, but do _not_ scroll down impatiently to see the answers – the fun is lost, the effect is gone, if you do that.

1. vehicle walk

.
.
.
.
.
2. vehicle talk

.
.
.
.
.
3. vehicle fly

.
.
.
.
.
4. vehicle swim

.
.
.
.
.
5. vehicle jump

.
.
.
.
.
OK.

.
.
.
.
.

Now to what you possibly thought of:
1. Robots, Androids, Mars Rover, Moon Rover, sci-fi.
2. Kit, c’mon! – Knightrider, Speech recognition enabled automated driving cars
3. Flying cars, planes, remote-controlled hobby planes, Space Shuttles, vertical take-off
4. Amphibious vehicles, hovercraft, speedboats, submarines, motorboats, automated scuba gear, row-boats.
5. Boing! boing! Pogo sticks, motorbike stunts, Speed (Keanu Reeves), Dean Kamen’s “toys”.

All fine so far. Nothing new.

Now to what is really new.
In the late 1800s, all these words were present in popular conversation. Surely there was one thinker insane enough to have played around with these words in just this way. And surely, he was called stupid for imagining any meaning for those pairs of words. Today, are those things stupid? Aren’t those things technology and industry? Aren’t those things cutting-edge research?

So, what are today’s words that are apparently idiotic, but which will be tomorrow’s commonplace gadgets?

Sounds big, no?
Wait till we get into computer software.

——————-
templates.
wikis.
folksonomy.
search engines.
web services.
finance calculations.
CMSes (!!).
blog plugins.
IDEs.
Programming languages.
Domain names.

Now the fun begins:
——————-
Go to wikipedia.
Go to the Jargon File.
Go to the FSF software directory.
Go to Digg.
Go to Google Groups.
Go to sourceforge.net
Go to del.icio.us
Go to Debian’s package list.
Go to wikibooks.
Go to cetus-links.
Go to thinkgeek.
Go to slashdot.
Go to berlios.
Go to sarovar.
Go to answers.com
Go to dictionary.com
And anywhere else that there is a listing of technologies, ideas, concepts, terms.

But do not go to Google Patent Search in the hope of making improvisations to existing patents. No one will help you if you do just what mega-corporations and IP-only companies do – rob ideas.

Make a huge list of all the words you find.
Remove repeated entries.
Write down a small 100-line multiple for-loop program:

<?php
$words = file("list.txt"); //array of words
$words2 = array ( array ( ) );
/* for n words, n = 3 4,5,....
$words3 = array ( array ( array () ) );
$words4 = array ( array ( array ( array () ) ) );
$words5 = array ( array ( array ( array ( array () ) ) ) );
*/
for ($i = 0 ; $i < count($words) ; ++$i ) {
for ($j = 0 ; $j < count($words) ; ++$j ) {
/* more for loops for more fun
for ($k = 0 ; $k < count($words) ; ++$k ) {
for ($l = 0 ; $l < count($words) ; ++$l ) {
*/
$array[i][j] = array[i] . " " . array[j] ;

/* ************* SIMULATION OF THOUGHT ************ */
thought_simulation();
// this can be made pretty interesting,
// depending upon how much effort and detail you put into parameterizing the sources of information I mentioned above.
// By "parameterizing" I mean finding a few simple ways in which to get topic names and idea names from entire pages.
// You will get a big juicy list of word pairs (or phrases or bunches or whatever).
// When you analyze the results yourself, you will find that a large number of things are yet not done by anyone

/* ************* CRUX OF THE MATTER ************ */
// When you make a list of ideas like the terms-listing in wikipedia or the
// brain-mapping done by gnowledge.org and tagging by del.icio.us, digg, furl, etc.,
// you will see the completely frivolous nature of software patents.
// I request every single university and college student in every corner of the world
// with an internet connection, to do this research and sit down with your parents
// for at least one hour explaining to them how and why patents in software are a no-brainer and a comprehensive, exhaustive, unhumorous JOKE!
// As a programmer, you should think of making money by charging businesses
// at fair, competitive rates.
// Not by threatening other fellow programmers into submission by lawsuits.
/* ************* CRUX OF THE MATTER ************ */

/* ************* SIMULATION OF THOUGHT ************ */

} // end inner for-loop
} // end outer for-loop

?>

Make an n-dimensional structure of all possible n-word combinations.
Order of the words is _very_ important. So, permutation.

——————————————–
Go to SUN’s grid facility, rent a CPU for about 10-15 hours.
Compile the program and run it on SUN’s CPUs.
It costs totally $10-$15 USD. Maybe upto $50. Not more.
——————————————–
If you have a server or high-end computer, run it at home.

And then go file patents at the Patent Office in your country.
Flood the system and drown it in a Distributed glut of Patents “attack”.
We have had enough of DDoS attacks by spam bots and botnets.
Go, file software patents and stake your claim to “Intellectual Property”.
File software patents and spend the entire decade suing corporations off their mainstream budgets! Go sue them! Corporations, come, sue me!

Meanwhile, the goons will go around organizing themselves to commit mass crimes. After all, judging from the amounts sought in damages, software patent violations are more serious crimes and deserve much much more of the court’s valuable time than physical crimes committed by hardened criminals!!

This is 100% legal, ethical and moral.
Consider why:
a. I’ve got this idea.
b. I’ve been foolish enough to not think of making money myself.
c. I told you clearly that this is a GFDLed document.
d. This page has no illegal content.
e. This page has no unethical or illegal intent.
The style is called “satire”.

Hopefully, I’ve proved the uselessness of software patents to you.
To emphasize, the man who makes a patent application likely has all the tools needed to make the program as well. Especially since he presents pages upon pages of diagrams, text, voluminous terminology, and in-depth design specifications, just to distinguish between another existing software patent. The “FLOSS stack” is overflowing with completely free programs to do everything under the sun. Just go download all that you need, open the code, change it, redistribute it, make money from support, dual-licensing. (GPL allows you to do that as well.)
So, he has no effective protection to gain from filing a patent, because by virtue of having all the tools already at his disposal, he can make the finished product directly.
He needs no protection, definitely not so strong as the millions of dollars that are demanded as damages.

Laws must accept and factor in changes in technology and society. Otherwise the whole point of the law is defeated. If we still ask for paper copies of all our business emails for the purpose of records and simultaneously pass a bill on conservation of forests, what are we to call ourselves?

By the way, SUN too has been overflowing with free software initiatives. Even some chip designs are now open-sourced. Of course those chips are not as powerful as the latest chips, but everyone does not need the latest, speediest. If you want the latest in semiconductor, go buy it. Or assemble your own thing with OpenSPARC and FPGAs.
Your choice. That is crucial.

Legal firms should probably realize that their expertise in IT law can be monetized in ways other than by becoming notorious.
For example, you could sue companies violating the GPL in the embedded electronics market – mobile devices, smart phones, speech and image processing, or in any other markets where Java or OpenJDK is used. Lots of these violations come up every month and more are to be expected since the IT industry is now moving to a new platform – mobile networks. Since a lot of the code out there is already GPLed, code building on top of that will be either GPLed or illegal.
You could sue pirates on behalf of the BSA.
You could bring online scam sites and spammers to justice.
Do you see how the GPL is lawyer friendly also?
You can pick up a violation case, offer its programmer to fight for him for GPL violation and then either make an out-of-court settlement or ask for damages.
With corporations, you probably only get salary and perks.
And a bad name as well.

There is one entity that is making all of us fight amongst ourselves.
Why not all of us, lawyers, programmers, managers peacefully co-exist and reverse-sue that one entity?
Who’s got more money to shell out as damages?
Me and you? Or who? Think a little.

Back to non-lawyers.
Do you at least now, see the completely frivolous nature of software patents? IPR is one big phony theory used to preserve the market share in industry due to incompetence.

IP is everyone’s property.
Everyone was born with an intellect.
God gives brains to everyone.
God gives abilities to everyone.


Document edited on Thursday, January 24, 2007 at 02:15:00
The edit was necessary because it appears that this article is actually read by someone influential in the IT industry, dealing with real money, people and headaches.
In case you did not notice, the tone of the article was previously kept amateur in the hope that college students would read and be inspired or provoked to think about. Instead, apparently, industry has. And i have to explain. So, while I’ve edited out some kewl or l33t or hip-hop language, I have not changed the crux. Also, I’ve persisted with an amusing method of “declaring the idea free for everyone”. If I am silly, what do you have to say of companies trying to patent the internet, TCP/IP, “double click”, widgets, GUI, tax calculation, hybrid seeds, entire living pigs, and so on? Not only do these companies patent those things, some of *you* invest in their stocks. Without even demanding an explanation for such behavior from the executives you trust your fortunes with. So, the “i declare free” language is quite applicable. The first guy is a fool only upto the time that people start following. Then, he is a pioneer. I’m not the only one who got such an idea. I probably published it first. In any case, for every new idea that pops up in one mind, around the world, at least 100 hundred other minds have or will soon think about that particular idea.

About these ads

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: