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  • #76
    Originally posted by Wingfeather View Post
    I believe this is a fallacy. First of all, an algorithm is not the same as an abstract mathematical expression.

    It is effectively the design plan of a computing machine. Now, the designs of machines can be patented, and this is a perfectly reasonable state of affairs.

    If they could not, it would be difficult to justify inventing many of them, and harder still to justify the publication of their workings to all and sundry.

    The patent system is intended to promote the publishing of design plans so people can study how they work, and it is very good at this. The inventor is given a monopoly on their invention to recoup the investment they made in building it, which provides the incentive. This is fair, and the world is better off overall for having the patent system.

    The fact that people (mostly free software zealots, it appears) want corporations to spend huge sums of money developing these things and then to just give them away for free is unreasonable and illogical.

    Just because software is not a physical good does not mean it did not cost money to make, or that the inventors don't need/deserve to recoup their investment.

    Second of all, the argument that "software == mathematics" is getting very tired.

    Almost anything (including things which are, and should be, patentable) could be conceptually reduced to a series of logical statements if you think about it the right way, so there is no real relevance.

    Mathematics is the statement of abstract truth, whereas software is a machine which produces a specific result. From this point of view there is very little similarity.
    say What ! OMG "Wingfeather said:First of all, an algorithm is not the same as an abstract mathematical expression.

    It is effectively the design plan of a computing machine."

    erm... for instance Babbage would disagree there, this is a patentable "computing machine".


    "The analytical engine, an important step in the history of computers, was the design of a mechanical general-purpose computer by English mathematician Charles Babbage. First described in 1837, in its logical design the machine was essentially modern"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytical_engine

    and just like Babbage's son You too can run an algorithm on that patentable "computing machine" such as a Pi algorithm.

    "pi is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter"

    "In 1910, Babbage's son Henry Prevost Babbage reported that a part of the mill and the printing apparatus had been constructed and had been used to calculate a (faulty) list of multiples of pi."

    Now the only so called "abstract" thing about any given algorithm is that you can get many, they all take that same input and provide the same output as per al these for instance.

    and this is the important bit about any given algorithm in case anyone missed it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Pi_algorithms
    "
    B
    Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula
    Bellard's formula
    Borwein's algorithm
    Buffon's needle

    C
    Chudnovsky algorithm
    G
    Gauss–Legendre algorithm
    L
    Leibniz formula for pi
    Liu Hui's π algorithm

    M
    Machin-like formula
    W
    Wallis product
    "
    and that's just 10 separate Pi algorithm as listed , each taking the same input and providing the same output given the same data.

    each and everyone of these given algorithm are automatic copyright of the given person weather they submitted and got a patten or not OC, in these cases they all did....

    now here's the important thing people here seem to be missing, Anyone even today can write another new Pi algorithm and so get's automatic copyright and a potential patent If there's no Prior art on that explicit algorithm, so if there's a patent an a given algorithm, then write and use another one that provides the same functionality and is your copyright+patent if you can be bothered

    for instance this S3TC algorithm everyone keep's bringing up and given the above, its clear that for instance the FFmpeg version that does so called DXT1 and DXT3 but not DXT5 as yet (as no one bothered to write that code yet and the S3TC entry is old too not touched since 2007, so get to it and make it better ) see:
    http://ffmpeg.org/doxygen/0.5/s3tc_8h-source.html and
    http://ffmpeg.org/doxygen/trunk/s3tc_8c.html

    is fine to use as your base today and its not even an algorithm as such but using different parts of the code base to simply provide the encode/decode bit exact input/output as required by the standard, with no algorithm patent problems to date.

    Comment


    • #77
      Originally posted by Thatguy View Post
      I am going to patent electricity tommorow. Just the currently used 60hz 120volt Ac standard here in the us. You'll have to pay me royaltys BTW to decode the electricity as I also will be patenting the AC to DC SMPS and other rectification technologys.

      If you want to make a toaster you'll have to pay me for that privilige. How about a furnace or a AC motor.

      you know why most of those patents got tossed ? Becuase they made no sense. some patents make sense but most do not, especially when we consider how damaging they become.
      well that's your perogative OC, but everyone knows that UK PAL 50hz 240V AC is the Far Better Option in today's digital world , and you dont end up with crappy video rates that cant use/do simple round number's like 24,25,50,100, and 200 multiply's.

      so you end up having to deal with the ever present crappy NTSC 23.976, 29.97, etc legacy problems all over again in the 21st + century , and all for the sake of just being dicks/different and not using the Original world standard UK PAL 50hz 240V as developed by real engineer's that took all that round number maths nonsense into consideration before they Actually used it in even small scale production

      Comment


      • #78
        Good reading:

        http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/li...per/71647.html

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by Wingfeather
          I believe this is a fallacy. First of all, an algorithm is not the same as an abstract mathematical expression. It is effectively the design plan of a computing machine. Now, the designs of machines can be patented, and this is a perfectly reasonable state of affairs. If they could not, it would be difficult to justify inventing many of them, and harder still to justify the publication of their workings to all and sundry. The patent system is intended to promote the publishing of design plans so people can study how they work, and it is very good at this. The inventor is given a monopoly on their invention to recoup the investment they made in building it, which provides the incentive. This is fair, and the world is better off overall for having the patent system.
          As I understand it (this is all from Wikipedia), Turing machines are one of the various possible formal definitions of algorithms (others include recursive functions, lambda-calculus and post-Turing machines). I guess Turing machines is what you have in mind when you say that "[algorithms are] the design plan of a computing machine", i.e. the design plan of a particular Turing machine. Could be, but you are abusing the meaning of "machine" in your next sentence, when you refer to the patentability of machines in general. A computing machine (in Turing's sense) is a thought experiment, not a physical object. That Turing used the word "machine" for his theoretical device does not mean that Turing machines should be considered and treated like pulleys or steam engines. With this in mind, the rest of your reasoning about how benefitial and reasonable patents are is irrelevant to the subject being discussed.

          Originally posted by Wingfeather
          The fact that people (mostly free software zealots, it appears) want corporations to spend huge sums of money developing these things and then to just give them away for free is unreasonable and illogical. Just because software is not a physical good does not mean it did not cost money to make, or that the inventors don't need/deserve to recoup their investment.

          Second of all, the argument that "software == mathematics" is getting very tired. Almost anything (including things which are, and should be, patentable) could be conceptually reduced to a series of logical statements if you think about it the right way, so there is no real relevance. Mathematics is the statement of abstract truth, whereas software is a machine which produces a specific result. From this point of view there is very little similarity.
          Free software zealots are very vocal against software patents, to the point of getting boring at times. But they have some company, contrary to what you claim. For starters, software is not patentable in good parts of the world. You probably are aware about the situation under EU law, a jurisdiction concerning some 500 millions of people. Nobody in their right mind would say that the EU is known for forcing "corporations to spend huge sums of money developing these things" to "just give them away for free". Capitalism in Europe is alive and well, software hippies haven't taken over yet. Other countries have their own patent law, which doesn't necessarily align with the US case. But it gets better, because not even in the US are algorithms patentable (wikipedia). In summary, patent law is a complex, changing subject which depends on the jurisdiction considered. The only unreasonable and illogical thing is your caricature of the positions of those who oppose software patents.

          To finish, your post is full of value judgments and unsubstantiated claims ("this is a perfectly reasonable state of affairs", "it would be difficult to justify...", "it is very good at this", "the world is better off overall having the patent system" and so on). Of course, I don't have anything against anybody having their own personal opinion on whatever, but you make it sound like those not sharing your views are ideologically biased ("free software zealots"), as opposed to your objective, fact-based positions. Now, some people believe that imposing artificial obstacles to the dissemination and use of ideas is not benefitial to society as a whole, while others argue about the supposed rights of inventors (actually patent holders) to control something called intellectual property. The reality is that all this issue is purely ideological, whatever side you are in.

          Comment


          • #80
            "MPEG LA Announces Call for Patents Essential to VP8 Video Codec"

            http://www.mpegla.com/main/pid/vp8/default.aspx

            Patents are used primarily to hinder competition. Our nice patent system can easily lead to monopolies.

            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by yotambien View Post
              As I understand it (this is all from Wikipedia), Turing machines are one of the various possible formal definitions of algorithms (others include recursive functions, lambda-calculus and post-Turing machines). I guess Turing machines is what you have in mind when you say that "[algorithms are] the design plan of a computing machine", i.e. the design plan of a particular Turing machine. Could be, but you are abusing the meaning of "machine" in your next sentence, when you refer to the patentability of machines in general. A computing machine (in Turing's sense) is a thought experiment, not a physical object. That Turing used the word "machine" for his theoretical device does not mean that Turing machines should be considered and treated like pulleys or steam engines. With this in mind, the rest of your reasoning about how benefitial and reasonable patents are is irrelevant to the subject being discussed.
              You're basically right with respect to Turing machines, but register machines are similarly flexible, and it's certainly possible to build an actual, physical register machine. I would argue that that's insufficient to permit algorithm patents on its own, though, because the process of transforming an algorithm into a register machine can actually be mostly automated. If you come up with a clever way to do it that's better than any automated approach, sure, that's probably patentable and arguably should be. But the mere fact that such a transformation is possible shouldn't extend patent protection to the algorithm side of it.

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