Re: Very good discussion by me of Intellectual Property Rights ;-)

Spike Jones (
Tue, 22 Dec 1998 20:48:47 -0800

> Tim Bates, writes, regarding software patents:

> > There should be no software patents whatsoever. I argue that there is
> > nothing in software which is not obvious, it is all "obvious".

tim, there is a monster piece of code developed by lockheed in the 60s that predicts the accuracy of a ballistic missile. it takes into account the jillions of variables that effect the trajectory, and by god, it *accurately* predicts where that hummer will land. it really works. now, that simulation contains hundreds, perhaps thousands, of person-years of some of the most advanced scientists and engineers that the cold war could produce. it took in experts in about every field you can name. it was written back when memory was scarce, computers were slow, and comment lines were nonexistant. consequently it is filled with tricky math and programming hocus pocus, technology which has long been lost. that code still works, still fortrans away, it has never been improved upon.

ive seen that code, and neither i nor anyone else knows exactly how it works. i was the last person to find an error in that work, in 1991, but the error was in the documentation, not the code.

is the information in this code obvious? where does it fit in your software patent theory? spike