1997-02-05 - Re: Silly Americans

Header Data

From: Rick Osborne <osborne@gateway.grumman.com>
To: Bill Stewart <stewarts@ix.netcom.com>
Message Hash: 9728786b12823e46121e017206a68d35961bbce0506f170317c4d652c53f838b
Message ID: <>
Reply To: <199702051527.HAA28821@toad.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-02-05 18:51:14 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 5 Feb 1997 10:51:14 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: Rick Osborne <osborne@gateway.grumman.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 1997 10:51:14 -0800 (PST)
To: Bill Stewart <stewarts@ix.netcom.com>
Subject: Re: Silly Americans
In-Reply-To: <199702051527.HAA28821@toad.com>
Message-ID: <>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>At 09:37 PM 2/4/97 -0500, Rick Osborne wrote:
>>a philosophical note, why *do* we allow the government to regulate
>>algorithms?  (Implementations, I can understand, but *algorithms*?)

At 03:33 AM 2/5/97 -0800, Bill Stewart wrote:
>Because they're bigger than we are and better-armed?
Okay, I can accept that ...

>Because there's lots of money to be made by people patenting things?
This i have a little more trouble with ... Sure *one* company can make alot
of money, but *one* company making money doesn't stimulate the economy.

>Because big companies can use it to interfere with competition?
Once again, this is non- and even counter-productive.  Pure competition is
great, but if only one company has a product, there is *no* competition.

>Because it's good for the economy because it encourages inventors
>of algorithms to publish them and make money by doing so?
No: many companies using the same algorithm with different implementations
is good for the economy.

It's like this: say that way back when the first electronic spreadsheet was
produced, someone patented it.  It then evolved into Excel.  Now, no one
else can do any kind of electronic spreadsheet, because Microsoft has the
rights.  There is no competetion and anyone who wants to use an electronic
spreadsheet has to use Excel.  This would be great for Microsoft, but
horrible for everyone else.  Lotus 1-2-3 would have never existed, etc,
etc, etc.

The constant chatter about the expiration of the Diffie patent proves my
point: if everyone was satisfied with what there was, then no one would be
gearing up to produce their own products.

Competition is a *good* thing.  You can't evolve without it ...
_________ o s b o r n e @ g a t e w a y . g r u m m a n . c o m _________
Once a Junior Programmer interrupted a Great Guru of the Sun to ask a
Question of no importance. The Great Guru replied in words which the
Junior Programmer did not understand. The Junior Programmer sought to
rephrase the Question, saying, "Stop me if I appear stupid." The great
Guru, without speaking, reached over and pressed L1-A. The Junior
Programmer achieved Enlightenment.