Sadly, there's nothing genuinely new about this story, but a recent discussion on the Fedora Games mailing list demonstrates the sort of chilling effect on innovation and impoverishment of the intellectual commons that occurs today because of a broken, outmoded US patent system and its misapplication to software. I'm at a loss for words to express how absurd these "patents" are.
Red Hat Fedora Core currently at version 6 is a popular GNU/Linux distribution competing with the likes of Ubuntu, Knoppix and Mandrivia. With a large, active and well publicized development community via the Red Hat-sponsored Fedora project, the distribution is well balanced and user friendly with the expected applications and polish with graphically intuitive helper tools. The book Red Hat Fedora Core 6 Unleashed published by Sams and authored by Andrew and Paul Hudson reflects the many aspects of this rich platform in a grandiose 1100 pages, DVD included.
Here in the UK, there is a saying that was a quote from Virgil that was often quoted in the original Latin, “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentis”, which is usually mistranslated into the phrase “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”. It refers to the incident where the Greek troops hid inside a large wooden horse and gave it to the Trojans as a gift who promptly accepted it, then in the night the Greeks broke out of their hiding place, went to the city gates, and... Well, you probably know the rest. However, it is that phrase, or both of them in fact, that pass through my mind on seeing recent Microsoft and other corporate closed software companies’ press releases recently.
There are three that come to mind that have occurred recently...