Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
Posted 21/12/99 10:41am by Graham Lea
Nader slams MS pricing, licences, demands Office ports
Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate who brought General Motors to its knees over car safety failures ("Unsafe at any speed"), has been talking and writing about Microsoft's "poorly designed products" that were "prone to crash" at the Bazaar, an open source software event in New York. He drew attention to the narrowness of the DoJ case, which ignored "a plethora of issues" relating to the desktop monopoly, MS Office, and licensing issues. Nader has previously arranged two conferences on Microsoft which focussed public attention on the company. Nader is much admired by Microsoft president Steve Ballmer's mother, who was concerned that her son was doing something that was criticised by her hero.
Rant on: Stallman is right, and this is a very important issue indeed. Software patents issued by a maverick patent office, such as the US Patent and Trademark Office, should be overturned, and in the interim, they should not be recognised elsewhere. The European Patent Office shows signs of similar weakening towards software patents in the face of pressure from corporate patents lawyers desiring to lock- up intellectual property that properly belongs to the world, and not to corporations. The Association for Computing Machinery never envisaged that the algorithms it published be patented, for example, and nothing has changed. It would be a good if WTO member states negotiated that if the US wants TRIPS (the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights) to be extended, it should reign-in its abuses of intellectual property patenting. Rant off