KDE can help FFII fight threat software patents

Ante Wessels vitanova2 at softhome.net
Tue Jul 27 12:11:01 BST 2004

Hi all,

As we all know, softwarepatents can hurt open source projects enormously. If 
you only have 20 seconds, http://webshop.ffii.org will convince you. About 
anything can be patented. Open Source projects do not have the resources to 
fight softwarepatent infringement claims. One absurd claim can kill a 
project. KDE makes a wonderful product. KDE has come so far, it is 
intolerable to see it threatened. The time has come to defend what this 
community has made. Through my involvement with KDE I ended up at the FFII 

The FFII has had a major influence on the European Parliament. The influence 
on the Council of Ministers was less strong, may 18 it reached a political 
agreement pro softwarepatents. Still, that first round isn't over. The vote 
has to be formalized. In the Netherlands a motion was adopted, urging the 
minister to withdraw the vote. In Germany, the Deutsche Bank has published a 
report that says softwarepatents are bad for innovation, they ask the 
government to oppose softwarepatents. More things will happen. These things 
often happen at the national level. The coming months will be crucial. In my 
opinion, prior to the Council meeting in which the vote will be formalized, 
the FFII needs to be a fast moving organisation that can get a message from 
the center to all the capitals. Unfortunately, the FFII isn't as strong in 
some countries as it is in others. KDE is better localized in Europe. 

And now, well, I have a Dream. My dream is that the FFII can sometimes tap 
into some of that (wo)manpower KDE has in Europe. Sometimes texts need to be 
translated, a letter to a parliament send. It would be great if some KDE 
contributors and users would join the national lists of the FFII: 
http://swpat.ffii.org/group/todo/ , pl-parl, fr-parl, etc. It would be great 
if the aKademy would pay attention to softwarepatents. 

"Everything of worth is vulnerable" the Dutch poet Lucebert wrote. IMHO, we 
have to stand up to defend it. It may be one of the last summers we can enjoy 
KDE as it is. Why not issue a KDE call to arms? If the Deutsche Bank moves, 
KDE can march.

The only thing we have to fear is the future, if we do not shape it ourselves. 

Together we can do it,



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