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Talk:Why focus only on software

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[edit] who is "i"

who is "i"?

That's a mistake. There should be no "i". I think I started that page by copying an email I wrote. I'll remove the "i"'s now. Thanks. Ciaran 06:28, 5 May 2009 (EDT)
done. Ciaran 15:07, 5 May 2009 (EDT)

[edit] what about patents on mathematical algorithms?

I see this as even more fundamental than patents on software per se, especially since it has been stated many times and in many places that mathematical algorithms cannot be patented, and yet they are quite often patented. For example, United States Patent 6,859,816 - Makino, et al. February 22, 2005, (assignee: Sony Corporation), filed January 25, 2001 - is a patent for a case of the Fast Fourier Transform. There are also a number of (eg.) patents on algorithms used in data compression and patents on algorithms used in elliptic curve cryptography. Penguian 04:50, 7 May 2009 (EDT)

Thanks for these links. Math should indeed be free from patents. I've edited the intro to mention this, but my text isn't great. If you think you can improve it, be my guest. Ciaran 17:18, 7 May 2009 (EDT)
OK, how about "executing mathematical algorithms"? Mathematical algorithms can be executed by hand using pencil and paper, abacus, slide rule, but are usually not except in "small" cases or for the purpose of learning the algorithm.
Mathematicians, scientists, engineers and others devise and improve algorithms all the time, all over the world, and often do this collaboratively. And yet many algorithms are patented.
For example, one may wonder what would have happened if cryptographic algorithms were unpatentable in the USA. See "The birth of a new industry" for a rosy picture of what actually happened (at least from the point of view of the firms involved). See "ICS 54: History of Public-Key Cryptography" for some of the history of public key cryptography. One of the effects of the patents on cryptography was the disclosure of algorithms that may otherwise have been kept secret. Penguian 21:31, 7 May 2009 (EDT)

It's not just a case of the FFT, at least claim one of 6,859,816 reads on Cooley-Tukey, a technique invented in 1805 by Gauss. -- 20:54, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Difference between hardware and software

The hobbyist makers of hardware is mostly irrelevent because it's a corner case and is never or almost never litigated against. For example, 10-50% of the software in the world is written by people who are not being paid directly for the act of software development. For watches, the percentage of watches made each year for which the maker wasn't directly paid contains a decimal point and a fistful of zeros. Secondly, for the few watches that are made by hobbyists just for fun, they are probably never litigated against. Holders of watch patents are interested in suing swatch etc. but they're not interested in suing some guy in his garage who makes watches for himself and his family members.

Comparing this non-issue with the issue of patents on software is blowing things way out of proportion.

However, it's good that this issue was raised so that the article can be made clearer about why software is diffrent. Ciaran 19:03, 1 June 2009 (EDT)