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Elect NoSoftwarePatents as European Of The Year 180

Posted by Hemos
from the florian-4-life dept.
Aargh writes "Every year a public Internet poll is taken to vote for, amongst others, the "European of the Year". This year, the founder of NoSoftwarePatents.com has been selected as a candidate. Taken from the NoSoftwarePatents.com site: "We now have a first-rate opportunity to make political leaders, media and citizens all over the world realize the significance of our cause. Please give us your vote, and help us gain more votes, so that the founder of the NoSoftwarePatents campaign be elected as the new 'European of the Year'." Non-europeans can also vote, so why dont we unleash the slashdot hordes?" Mr. Mueller had been exchanging e-mails recently on this subject; thanks to an introduction from Kaj Arnö. I truly do think that given his, and the organization's work that they deserve to win. Check out the celebrity endorsements as well. *grin* Also, worth reading their voting guide if you are going to vote.
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Elect NoSoftwarePatents as European Of The Year

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  • by Fridgey (907481) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:05AM (#13914214)
    I'll just do what slashdot tells me to and vote anyway!1!
  • Since a block vote is, well, unconvincing.

    Many of the voting recommendations have more to do with politics than patents; when it has little to do with patents, it might be worth disobeying the recommendations in order to make a real vote, rather than simply boosting an arbitary choice.

    I wish in fact that NoSoftwarePatents.com had made no recommendation when the was no patent-related issues for that candidate. Such block-voting recommendations also make it easier for people to write this kind of idiocy [techcentralstation.com]

    • by ErrorBase (692520) <errorbase@hotmail.com> on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:11AM (#13914253)
      If you took the time to actually read the voting recommendations, you'll see that some of the proposed candidates are actually generated at random. actually encouraging to pick one of your own choice. but helpful for the decision impaired.
      • My mistake, in part (Score:2, Informative)

        by Morosoph (693565)
        When I went to the site a few weeks ago, I parsed "at random" to mean "arbitarily", so that a given random decision had already been made for everyone.

        Still: some of those which aren't "at random" are still political, and not a lot to do with software, such as a candidate which is not neutral with respect to the events in Israel/Palestine.

        Take care to make your own decision.

    • by pieterh (196118) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:27AM (#13914360) Homepage
      The kind of idiocy written by those in favour of software patents has nothing to do with block votes. It has to do with money, lots and lots of money, and the surprising effect this has on "journalists". Calling the FFII "communists" is a strange attack but then you have to realise that the author is Polish, and the Polish MEPs were one of the most single-minded blocks to vote against software patents.

      Software patents are being pushed hard by a rich, powerful, and ammoral machine built from lawyers, lobbyists, and large misguided software firms that have been beguiled by the arms race.

      Voting for Florian will send a strong signal that software patents are not a popular legal innovation but are rightly seen as a threat to the free market and open capitalism.
      • Vote for Florian (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Morosoph (693565) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:44AM (#13914455) Homepage Journal
        Voting for Florian will send a strong signal that software patents are not a popular legal innovation but are rightly seen as a threat to the free market and open capitalism.
        I agree that voting for Florian is a good thing. But how the signal will be read depends very much upon the beholder. Some, for example, will see it as a victory for democracy over the doctorine of property right.

        The more sophisticated amoung us see the issue of software patents as one of the artificial creation of monopolies and the unneccessary restriction of freedom, but from the pure propertarian perspective, this can look a lot like the slogan "property is theft". Lawyers know how complex a concept property is, but the average person, and it seems the average politician doesn't know this, and hear opposition as simple "rationalisation".

        • "but from the pure propertarian perspective, this can look a lot like the slogan "property is theft".

          That someone who would believe in perfect property rights would think that they have, through force of law, the right to tell others what they can do with their private physical property because they were the first ones to take an idea and run off with it to the government.

          There's a great argument to made from a strong property rights perspective patents and copyrights are indefensible. I'm not sure w

  • by vinlud (230623) * on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:06AM (#13914220)
    As the voting form requires to vote for all categories it is not a good thing to do this if you have no clue who all these people are. Even I, as a overaddict news consuming European, have no clue what to choose for most of the categories because here in Europe news sources are mostly nation minded and therefore very fragmented.
    • As the voting form requires to vote for all categories it is not a good thing to do this if you have no clue who all these people are.

      So, can someone with insight please line up the best patent-antanagonist choices in each categories (for extra credit: include motivations), so the crowd can wild...
      • There are some suggestions [nosoftwarepatents.com] on the NoSoftwarePatents site, if you're really stuck for choice. Obviously, read the justification under each one and see if you agree...

        • by vinlud (230623) * on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:23AM (#13914332)

          Business Leader of the Year: Anne Lauvergeon
          We have no particular problem with any of the five candidates, nor do we have a strong preference for someone. The recommendation above was made by a random generator.


          Well, this is exactly the way not to go. Instead of giving an advice people have to judge for themselves and that regarding the patents issue the candidates are equal they take a random recommendation!

          And ofcourse voting should have been possible with categories unselected, it is really a major error on behalve of the builder.
          • And ofcourse voting should have been possible with categories unselected, it is really a major error on behalve of the builder.

            Spot on. In my view, though, with such a large number of voters (hopefully anyway - come on slashdot) a random selection is the next best thing to "none of the above", as it will not favour any particular candidate. It isn't ideal, obviously.

          • by Znork (31774) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:53AM (#13914506)
            "Well, this is exactly the way not to go."

            The random recommendations are just that; random. New randomization each time you load the page. Try it a few times.

            Statistically, people voting using only the nosoftwarepatents recommendations should favor none of the candidates in the unrelated polls, so as far as avoiding any undesired deviations in a poll with these rules I think that's the best it can get.
          • Even worse is the vote for the Diplomat of the Year. They recommend Marc Otte on the basis of "he plays an important role in the peace process in Palestine".

            WTF???

            I actually LIKED that they weren't issuing recommendations except on the basis of their patent position. Listen, this award isn't just about software patents. When you're casting your vote, you're implying a position on scores of issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with IT. Be VERY careful before accepting their recommendations.

            Ultimately, t
        • Awesome. When Slashdot doesn't have the answer for what I should do, NoSoftwarePatents does. Yay! I can continue being a mindless lemming.
          • It's not our fault they lumped various categories of votable awards into one gigantiturd as oppose to allowing votes on individual polls. But it does work out in the end if people guess on the options they don't know, since statistically speaking, guessing washes out as noise.

            Now, mind you, from slashdot, that's a lot of noise, but noise nonetheless.
            • Ok, and what if you vote with the options given to you by NoSoftwarePatents.com, as I indicated in my original post.

              IE, people are not voting randomly... they are voting according to the whims of the website.
              • NoSoftwarePatents.com randomizes the vote selections it suggests that bear no relevance to the problem, as someone indicated in their original post.

                Hit your refresh button next time your at the suggested selection page.
                • Yes, but they make selections for you. They randomize a couple of the selections that they feel are acceptable. There is still a bias in there. Read the captions. They say things like "randomized out of the 2 we thought were ok."
                  • Okay, hold up a second. Are you high? Because they're suggesting you vote for people who believe software patents shouldn't exist, explaining their position and the candidates they have in mind, and you're saying their biased because the recommendations they give aren't completely randomized? Well duh! Of course their biased - towards people who don't want software patents! And two of the given candidates in one slot supported their efforts so they suggested both.

                    • Dude,

                      The political prisoner and journalists have nothing to do with software patents.

                      Seriously.

                      Read what you're talking about before accusing me of being high. I am accurate on this one. You can keep running down this trail, but it makes you no more accurate.
    • As the voting form requires to vote for all categories it is not a good thing to do this if you have no clue who all these people are. Even I, as a overaddict news consuming European, have no clue what to choose for most of the categories because here in Europe news sources are mostly nation minded and therefore very fragmented.

      Oh please, give me a break. There are a huge number of fantastic EU focused news-sites that have excellent coverage on all matters pertaining to the Union. Not to mention the EU's ow
    • by PhotoBoy (684898) on Monday October 31, 2005 @11:04AM (#13915468)
      Well here's an easy voting tip: Don't vote for Tony Blair in anything, he's pro-patents and he's a lying scumbag too. Just ask him where all of Saddam's WMDs are!
    • If you check out the link marked "Nominees", you will get
      - probably an ODBC error ;-) or
      - this page [ev50.com], where you can select each category and read some short blurbs about every nominee.

      I read that (remembered some of them in a "oh that was the name of the one who did foo" kinda way) and used that instead of the suggestions.
      The only category left where I didn't care about a candidate was "business leader".

      Oh, and don't vote for McCreevy as he is a bought hardcore supporter of SW patents.

      And lets ho
  • by NitsujTPU (19263) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:10AM (#13914243)
    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'

    [MySQL][ODBC 3.51 Driver]Too many connections

    E:\WWWROOT\WWW.EV50.COM\HTML\POLL\../include/dbhea der.asp, line 9
  • Making it mandatory for people voting to vote in each and every cathegory is a good way to create junk results in my opinion. Can someone tell me how I can vote if I have no clue of what most of those people did?
    • Roll a dice. And tell your friends to do the same, in the catagories they know nothing about. The combined effect of hundreds of random choices in those catagories will then not be biased towards any particular candidate.

      (Half joking....) :-)

  • by sznupi (719324) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:12AM (#13914261) Homepage
    You know, thsi reminds me of old joke...
    School teachear giving homework: "children, please write who's your idol, and why Lenin"

    Luckily the background isn't the same :P
  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:14AM (#13914273) Homepage Journal
    Why doesn't someone write a greasemonkey script to mark all these votes ?

    Then I can install it, click Vote and be done about it :D

    Or on the other hand, I could read up on who all these people are before voting. NOT !!!
  • Flawed voting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ceriel Nosforit (682174) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:16AM (#13914285)
    The form requires one to place a vote in all categories, even if I don't know who the people are or if I support none of them. This quite simply bullshit. To support one candidate I'll have support others I care none for.

    This is supposed to be politics. This is supposed to mean somthing! How can they err on such a simple thing as a flawed system of voting when it is the foundation of democracy?
    • Ssssssssssshhhhhhhhh. If you keep saying things like that, you'll limit the ability of despots to control us.

      Guess who's going to visit you in prison? Noone, since we can't visit you at their Guantanamo.
      • I should clarify that I don't actually believe that Guantanamo is being used like that. If I was running some variety of Illuminati, the prison would be super-secret, and impossible to find.
    • How can they err on such a simple thing as a flawed system of voting when it is the foundation of democracy?

      Please point out the one country you think has this correct in it's national elections. All "democracies" are self-imposed delusions. Once every four years? Pluuuease. All voting systems in use are flawed, but they work out well for those who know how to work the system, so it's alright I suppose...

      • Please point out the one country you think has this correct in it's national elections. All "democracies" are self-imposed delusions. Once every four years? Pluuuease. All voting systems in use are flawed, but they work out well for those who know how to work the system, so it's alright I suppose...

        None at all. I'm an anarchist, and I like to think I'm creating public awareness this way. And it's not alright, as is obvious by looking around a bit.
  • Tough choice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Killjoy_NL (719667) <`slashdot' `at' `remco.palli.nl'> on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:18AM (#13914293)
    It was a tough choice between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the no software patent guy.

    Voted for Florian though because I think that is the best choice for a more free economy.
    • by FlorianMueller (801981) on Monday October 31, 2005 @10:04AM (#13914994) Homepage
      It's great that you gave this some serious thought, because that's what our core group of anti-swpat activists did as well. Obviously, other candidates also stand for important causes. It's just that their stories are much more attractive to the general press than something as esoteric as software patents, and that's why we need this kind of publicity more than they do.

      As for Hirsi Ali's party, the VVD pushed for software patents like hardly any other political party in Europe. The whole directive project was started by Frits Bolkestein. On 1 July 2004, all of the Dutch parliament except for the VVD group supported a resolution that the Dutch government should retract its support to the EU Council's pro-patent proposal. And Toine Manders was a driving pro-patent force in the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe) group in the Europan Parliament. It was only toward the end of the process that he was burned out and (probably because Philips also wanted this) introduced a motion for rejection of the entire bill. On the day before the vote, I met him in an elevator in the European Parliament and we actually had a friendly discussion because we all wanted to go for rejection of the proposal, but let's face it: He's an intellectual property lawyer by profession, and he didn't call for rejection because he was against software patents. He just realized that his camp couldn't get its way, and then they decided to abort the process, which was perfectly fine with me.

  • by manojar (875389)
    this doesn't look like the first time Americans want to decide European policies!
  • Sweet irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by laurensv (601085) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:21AM (#13914321) Homepage
    poll in association with Microsoft.
    Imagine some bobo from MS handing over the prize to the guy from NoSoftwarePatents.
    (I know the organisation would let it come to that, but Microsoft would still be on all the promo material, press releases,...)
  • by TheTilde (709489) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:21AM (#13914322)
    please read their recommandations on their voting guide. The recommandations are sensible and argumented, and when they don't want to choose (business leader of the year) they generate a random choice. I found it quite funny.

    The issue is important.
  • Disagree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Da3vid (926771)
    I can't say that I agree with the idea to remove software patents. Where I can see that copyright will protect your program, what if its a novel idea in software design that you want to patent? It seems to me that copyrights protect individual works, but patents protect novel ideas and inventions. Perhaps what needs to be done is not to eliminate software patents, but re-define the borders of what is granted a patent and what isn't, and make it more difficult to obtain erroneous patents.

    -Da3vid-
    • Re:Disagree (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GigsVT (208848)
      Software is math. You can't patent math, why can you patent software?

      Note that even without software patents, it doesn't mean it's impossible to get patents relating to a software product, it only means you cannot patent the algorithms themselves.
    • The No Software Patents site says that copyright should cover everything that patents cover, and elsewhere that patents are used as guns against small software developers. Um, and copyrights AREN'T used this way? C'mon. If patents disappeared tomorrow, the lawyers would find a way of crushing you with copyrights, and you'd have a No Software Copyrights! movement in a minute.

      The problem is not with the protection of ideas, but with the execution of that protection in the business world. Maybe 20 years

      • The No Software Patents site says that copyright should cover everything that patents cover, and elsewhere that patents are used as guns against small software developers. Um, and copyrights AREN'T used this way?
        No. Copyright does not hold in case of independent development, while patents do hold. You cannot "amass a portfolio of copyrights" which then allows you to crush competition which wrote all code themselves. Someone else's patents on the other hand still apply even if you developed something entirely on your own.
        C'mon. If patents disappeared tomorrow, the lawyers would find a way of crushing you with copyrights, and you'd have a No Software Copyrights! movement in a minute.
        Software copyright existed before software patents. The companies behind the nosoftwarepatents.com campaign earn their money thanks to the copyright they have on their code. I don't see why they would want to abolish copyright. The people behind the nososftwarepatents.com campaign did not originally wage a "nocopyright" campaign and then just switched to patents because it's more contemporary. Please find another strawman.
        The problem is not with the protection of ideas, but with the execution of that protection in the business world.
        Can you please cite some scientific research which backs up that claim? Here's my collection of research [ffii.org] which indicates the contrary.
        Maybe 20 years is an inappropriate length for a patent in software; maybe two years would be better. Perhaps patent and copyright duration should be scaled based on the industry, or adjusted based on the commercialization/profit of the IP holder.
        The patent system inherently has a huge inherent overhead cost: filing applications, performing prior art research to avoid infringement, licensing deals, lawsuits, ... This is not about babies and bath water, but about determining whether it's all worth the trouble. It's not like the software sector needs software patents to function well, and there are an awful lot of indications software patents don't help increasing efficiency.

        Proponents of software patents have been claiming for years the whole system can be fixed by just making a few adjustments, but no one has been able to actually argue in economic terms that this is in fact true. And then there's still these pesky details such as the WTO TRIPs treaty, which requires a minimum duration of 17 years for all patents you grant.

        There are other ways of dealing with this besides chucking the whole system.
        We're not chucking anything, we're preventing the codification of the American system in Europe.
    • Protect? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Per Abrahamsen (1397)
      Patents don't "protect" novel ideas, they *prevent* ideas from being used for the benefit of society. They are evil and harmful, the only saving grace for patents is that secrecy may be even more harmful than a time limited patent.

      To defend software patents, you must find a software patent that has expired, is useful today, and is unlikely to have been invented independently during the patent period.
    • Re:Disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aim Here (765712)
      "what if its a novel idea in software design that you want to patent?"

      Then you should bugger off implement it and sell a product, and stop trying to monopolise thoughts and demand that other people pay you money for work they did.

      The software industry doesn't pay many people to sit around and think up ideas for other people to implement (computer games designers are exceptions, and a special case, really).
      There is a reason for that. Ideas are cheap and easy to come by. Implementing them is a bit more diffic
    • This is the whole problem. Novel for one person who was just introduced to a language is ancient news for another. The problem that will be faced is that the people who decide if it is "novel" or not, are NOT people who actually work in the field. These are not people with 10, 15, or 20 years of experience programming. You will be lucky to see someone who has 5 years experience, because lets face it here, no one with a decent amount of experience in software development/engineering (in other words the level
    • Re:Disagree (Score:2, Interesting)

      by J.R. Random (801334)
      One problem is that no one has figured out how to distinguish "worthy" software patents from the vast flood of trivial ones in a way that will work in real life, with government patent examiners who are paid a fraction of what lawyers get in private practice. I can think of a handful of genuinely innovative algorithms that have been patented, such as RSA and the Karmarkar LP algorithm. In all cases they were created by researchers who get paid for publishing their results. In other words, the ideas would
      • "No rational person can really believe that."

        Unfortunately rationality is in very short supply when it comes to the patent system - a deliberate policy as far as its administrators and direct beneficiaries are concerned. Conveniently for them this admittedly complex subject is now surrounded by a thick fog of fallacies, distortions and ignorance. I've come to view my own experience of it over the last two or three years as a terrifying insight into what the science research and education system might be l

  • Can anyone give me the rest of the answers?
  • Where is the "info about" link on that voting form?
  • Slighly off topic, but watch this video from SNCF about Ideas:

    http://www.zippyvideos.com/3940632471977606/ideas/ [zippyvideos.com]

    "we give it tools to exist somewhere else"

    "rather than on a piece of paper"

    Looks like SNCF taking a side swipe at how stupid patents have become.
  • They suggest voting for Spain's Zapatero. But wasn't Poland who blocked the software patents directive last time? Or was it DMCA-like laws? Heck, it's hard to keep track of all those freedom-butchering attempts. If anybody is better informed than I am, please clarify. Thanks.
    • by FlorianMueller (801981) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:42AM (#13914830) Homepage
      It's true that the Polish government was extremely helpful. However, the Polish candidate for Statesman of the Year wasn't helpful at all. He's the president, but all of the help came from the executive government, which is headed by the prime minister (at the time that was Marek Belka), and mostly from deputy minister Wlodzimierz Marcinski. We discussed the voting recommendations with our Polish activists who are quite familiar with how the decisions were taken within the Polish government.
  • A quick google search on "european of the year" has quite a few mentions of Florian Mueller on the first few pages, and *none* of any other candidate. Now that this Slashdot story is going to be added to that list pretty soon, and given that the poll is internet-based, I'm feeling quite confident that he's going to win. I wonder what the odds are now...? (skips off to local betting shop)
    • Your observations are correct. U2 called on its fans to vote for Bono (on the official U2 homepage), and some U2 fan sites made a similar call, but in terms of Internet publicity, we beat the rest of the field by a wide margin. A very solid majority of all participants in that poll has been sent to that poll by our PR and online campaigning activities. Slashdot is of course the biggest of its kind, but the site previously went down due to some of our mailings to registered opponents of software patents as w
  • by samureiser (903923) on Monday October 31, 2005 @10:04AM (#13914993)
    Let's all be good little Asimov robots and obey the leader, er, Slashdot. I, for one, welcome our new moderator overlords...
  • Here's a thought. The thing about patents is the give an organization exlusive rights over an idea for a product which prevents competition. Why not change it so that you can still have the primary patent holder, but also 2 additional qualifier slots to allow for competition. Whoever implements the patent best wins. Perhaps the primary would be given certain rights above the secondaries, but after an initial probationary period the secondaries would be allowed to license rights to other companies to use
  • I'm a US american voting for european of the year only because a slashdot article told me to, and I hate/fear software patents.

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