One of the leading anti-patent campaigners in Europe has given up his battle, to return to his job as a software developer.
The fight against patents is far from over, with the directive due to be passed to the European Parliament for a second reading next month. But Florian Mueller, the founder of NoSoftwarePatents.com, said on Wednesday that he has made a personal decision to return to his original job as a software developer.
"For almost a year, I have been spending virtually all of my working time on the political fight against software patents," said Mueller. "[But] the time has come for me to step down from my responsibility as a full-time campaign manager, and to resume a game development project in which I had previously invested almost two years of work."
"Obviously, most people will in the greater scheme of things consider the software patent issue more important than a game. However, that game is my project, so I had to make a personal choice."
As one of the key figures in the anti-patent campaign, Mueller advised politicians about the directive and spoke at events across Europe.
He was responsible for a high-profile campaign in which Linux founder Linus Torvalds, MySQL co-founder Michael Widenius and PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf spoke out against the European directive. He also led the campaign calling for a recount of the EU Council's vote on the directive after a change in the voting weights of EU members meant that those supporting the directive no longer had a majority vote.
Mueller said on Wednesday that he believes the fight against patents is still important and hopes that the European Parliament's second reading will either reject the proposal, or amend it so that it excludes software patents. This is a view shared by the FFII, which said on Wednesday that it has written to all 732 MEPs asking them to either amend or reject the directive.
Mueller has handed over the responsibility for the NoSoftwarePatents.com to the FFII, who will maintain the Web site.