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Here's why:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 01:08 AM
>> why work is done on such things rather then on full OpenDocument support (frames), on performance (startup-time), the OpenDocument-testsuite or on better desktop-integration?

>> WHy don't we set up a MS Excel conversion tool to OpenOffice?

DISCLAMER: IANAL, but this is what I get from the facts. Please enlighten me if I'm wrong.

As per the GPL, if company A develops program Wootp and integrate it in a GPL code, the Wootp source must be distributed. But distribution might be forbidden if it violates corporation Monopolius patent.

Now, if no one creates program Wootp, all is ok in Paradise. But, if company A gets exclusive authorisation from corporation Monopolius, it can distribute freely the source.

And everyone can get the source so the GPL is satisfied. Company A did obey the GPL; on the other hand nobody can redistribute the source code, because such distribution would be illegal, and Monopolius would sue.

So, anyone can make free software and sell and make money -- and, in a way, become owner of the free software (which now cannot be called free). In essence, company A is paying corporation Monopolius to prevent others from using the source code for new commercial use.

Company A has an exclusive product now. It "contributed" back to the community, as per the GPL, but no commercial enterprise will be able to profit. This situation is a kind of communist version of the GPL, because it prevents competition and capitalism.

The GPL spirit is contrary to this and favours competition and small companies, but this arrangement between company A and Monopolius effectively prevents the GPL use.

Mind you, Monopolius can even extend the authorisation to anyone (and collect money for that) and proclaim to be non-discriminatory!

For Monopolius, the main gain is that the freedom to redistribute has been restricted.

Everyone now is not free to redistribute software, but has to ask corporation Monopolius (and pay them).

Is this what the creators of the "patent" idea intended?

Is it ok for a corporation to gather money on tradition rights only?

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