Linux Kernel maintainer 'barred' from patents meeting

Linux Kernel maintainer 'barred' from patents meeting

Summary: TalkBack: Now that the UK PTO's public meeting on software patents has been made public, software patent campaigners are up in arms at the invitation policy

TOPICS: Government UK
Alan Cox, sometime maintainer of the Linux kernel and well-known open-source advocate, is among those effectively persona non grata at the UK Patent and Trademarks Office (PTO) public meeting on software patents next week.

The meeting on the proposed Computer Implemented Inventions Directive, due to be held on Tuesday 14th December at the Department of Trade and Industry, generated controversy after it emerged that up to a third of people who had written to their MPs on the issue had not been invited to the invitation-only meeting.

The UK PTO had told ZDNet UK that people who had written to their MPs would receive an invite. Among those who still don't have one -- and so find themselves effectively barred from the meeting -- are prominent anti-software patent campaigners such as Alan Cox.

In a Talkback to ZDNet UK's earlier story highlighting the issue, Cox wrote: "I too was mysteriously overlooked despite having written to my MP and received an answer. It seems the patent lobby are desperately keen to continue running their government powered propoganda [sic] without wanting to hear the truth."

Cox, who has previously been invited to speak on software patents at the EU, said the Patent Office apparently fears "every word I have to say about their plans". He went on to add: "Unfortunately with all the underhand game playing both in the EU council of ministers and in UK government and patent circles it isn't the slightest surprise."

Others who said they had written to their MPs but had no invite were similarly scathing: "This is not a debate, it is a presentation of government decided facts and proposals which you can query to get clarification," wrote Steve Bell, who works in IT. "There is no mention or a debate or any argumentative process so why the wonder that those who disagree have been left out.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is asking those who have written to their MPs about software patents but who have not received invitations to the meeting to fill in a form on the organisation's Web site to help grasp the scale of the problem.

Topic: Government UK

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • absolutely typical of the those dirty lying motherf***ing scumbags the UK's Labour Party. The biggest threat to socialism since Bush Senior and Thatcher, Their under handed tactics are becoming a way of life in Britain... Anyone remember the Skye bridge? a small island connected to the mainland needs a bridge so Labour effectivly pay for one to be built (it was supposed to be a shared contract between govt and private industry) in the end the taxpayer footed a massively inflated bill and then the private co. Bank of America i think started charging a toll on the bridge even tho the British people had really paid for it and the Islands residents are some of the poorest people in Britain. Welcome to the brave new world, democracy is a complete farce and now what the people really need is anarchy (in the politcal sense). What I really mean by that is grassroots democracy where the public can depose any leader who stops representing their interests and an end to the party system replaced by entirely independent MP's. This whole issue of patents will become law because labour doesn't have any spine and ALWAYS bows to the will of business the bunch of pathetic brown nosers. F*ck 'em I'm voting Lib Dem
  • I was expecting that. Now that some Linux distribution are in the hands of BIG companies why not make it private, slowly avoiding theirs Lawyers.
    The Patent policy can be their way to do that, but not if the judge hear the other side.
    Let's not give up on their try to left us behind. Insistancy will be our plesure to play.
    Big mistake. The community is too big to be left behind.
  • It all sounds about right to me..."it is a presentation of government decided facts and proposals" Long gone are the days where there was a difference between fact and opinion. Now facts must be decided lest they be turned
  • This is symptomatic of bad leadership and outright bullying. I have this nonsense in my organisation all the time. Top managers surround themselves with sycophants, make life difficult for people with half a brain or more, and make unilateral decisions then call for a meeting which professes to elicit opinions while in fact it is nothing more than a bull session in which management tell everyone else that they're doing something wonderful. If you're the type that asks the right questions, you find yourself ignored after the first 2 meetings. It is also not unusual for 'planted' questions - some complete trsnger shows up and asks some question to which the response begins with "I'm glad you asked that question...", "That's a good question..." or some other unimaginative patronising malarkey.
  • I dont want to sound like an activist but what the F*** are we doing lets get moving get down the smoke and if needed kick the little cretins of of parliment and start again ,

    Do we not in this country have the power of a vote of no confidence in the government of the day that allows us to demand nah FORCE them OUT !..

  • Welcome to the Corporate Fascist Mafia, Global Division... dedicated to Raping You and Your Planet Out Of Existence As Fast As Possible.