I’ve been very busy in assignments through the end of semester and am still. But, there are few things that grab my attention. Too important to miss, should be expressed on this note. As usual, comments except spams are welcomed.

One thing that got through my attention is the Bilski Case held by US Supreme Court (In re Bilski). For economics, this would end up many business practices including patent troll. From law perspective, this redefine what should be covered by Intellectual Property law. For computer scientists, Ubuntuers and Free Software practitioners, this means we can have true freedom. For lechers, this means we may have MP3 codecs in default install in the coming years.

Some of you may laugh about patents and said about the other GPL (Glodok Pirated License). But, with the recession going on, some company will go extra hard to have its top leaders Christmas bonus paycheck. Many great inventions getting stuck and reduced to ashes thanks to the patents. GNU/Linux system is one of them.

Many of today’s free software are built upon technology that covered with patent (patent encumbered). For instance, the font hinting on your desktop is a patent of Apple Co., x86 instruction sets are patents of Intel, MP3 algorithm is a patent subject. So, this is the real issue why your GNU/Linux desktop setup by default sucks.

Hey, don’t we have open standards?

Yes, we have a standard body that ruling out technologies. Organizations like  IEC/ISO, IETF/IEEE, Khronos Group, ITU, W3C, etc. are doing it. The problem is, many of these standard bodies include standards that eligible to patent claims. Some even went deep enough to be part of its core requirement. This may restricts access to certain technologies.

I’m not saying about OOXML. It already has a sister, the ODF. I’m talking about OpenGL, for instance. Some of you may have been questioning why on earth 3D drivers in X.org sucks. Well. that’s because some of the core functionality in OpenGL 3 is eligible to patent claim. Mesa, the open source implementation of graphics driver, is trying to sort out these problems by using varying methods.

One of the recent news in kernel is the hesitation of the inclusion of Nouveau driver into the mainline kernel. Nouveau is a free implementation of NVidia  based GPU cards. It supports Gallium3D, the next 3D open source technology that enables 3D state tracking, kernel mode-settings, RandR 1.2 extensions, etc. Some of the driver’s code are a binary firmware that was created in clean room reversed engineering. NVidia, however, doesn’t complain about it nor endorse it and remain neutral about it.

Patent subjects are supposed to protect people and give them time to fruit their hardship thorough investments in their research. But, there is an exploit that makes people making money out of simple algorithm that could be used to improve many technologies. Some even are too greedy that there was even a time when a patent can be held into infinity minus one day.

I know that this post is few years ahead, so I think I should stop now. Not many of you interested in this topic and this topic is an off-topic right now regarding the situation here in Indonesia where law enforcement is something in the crap room. But, for you who got interested, here are some problem that I want you to address:

  • Data ownership in Internet.

  • Free/Software business ethic eligible by law.

  • Copyright infringement and when it should be voided in terms of public affair.

  • End user agreements  and protecting the user from overuse.

  • Protecting open standards as an open standard.

Like Stallman said, free software is not free as in gratis but free as in freedom. The are social aspects and ethics that were trying to be answered by the movement. I hope this note will open your mind that there are more than meets the eyes ™.