[Fsfe-ie] Leaders Call Community to Show Opposition to Software Patents

teresahackett at eircom.net teresahackett at eircom.net
Thu Oct 20 18:01:53 CEST 2005

 From Seth Johnson via A2K list.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: FOSS luminaries call to worldwide vote against software
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2005 04:08:18 +0200
From: "Florian Mueller" <florian.mueller at nosoftwarepatents.com>

French version:
German version:


Richard Stallman, Tim O'Reilly, Alan Cox, Rasmus Lerdorf and
Monty Widenius endorse Florian Mueller's candidacy "because he
runs on a NoSoftwarePatents ticket, and that is the message we
want to reinforce"

Brussels (20 October 2005) -- A group of Free and Open-Source
Software (FOSS) celebrities has weighed in on the election of the
"European of the Year 2005" by calling on "software developers
and users around the globe" to vote for Florian Mueller, the
founder of the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign, in a public online
poll. The illustrious consortium consists of--in alphabetical
order of last name -- Alan Cox, Red Hat Fellow and Linux kernel
maintainer; Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of the PHP programming
language; Tim O'Reilly, book publisher and conference organizer;
Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation (who
in 1984 began the work that produced today's popular GNU/Linux
operating system); and Monty Widenius, creator of the MySQL

In a NoSoftwarePatents press release, the community leaders today
expressed their support for the voting recommendations that
NoSoftwarePatents.com has published in more than a dozen
languages: http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/en/m/ev50/vote.html
Participants in the poll are required to make a choice in each of
ten categories, and the voting list provided by
NoSoftwarePatents.com explains the role that various candidates
played in the software patent debate so that voters can reward
the opponents of software patents and penalize pro-patent

On 22 September, Florian Mueller was nominated for the most
prestigious award in EU politics, the "EV50 Europeans of the
Year". The jury thereby recognized his political efforts against
a legislative proposal that in his opinion would have legalized
software patents in Europe. The European Parliament rejected the
bill on 6 July by a landslide of 648-32 votes. Mueller, who
stressed that he owes this nomination "to our entire community
and especially to the Foundation for a Free Information
Infrastructure (FFII)", is credited with founding a multilingual
campaign website, speaking out in the media and at public events,
and lobbying MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) as well as
governments and parliaments in select EU member states.

The European Voice, a major EU-focused weekly, is now conducting
an Internet poll in which Mueller runs against such famous
contenders as U2 frontman Bono, Bob Geldof, Harry Potter author
J.K. Rowling, and political leaders including British prime
minister Tony Blair, the outgoing German chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder, and Schroeder's successor designate Angela Merkel. The
poll is open to the worldwide public until 11 November.

Mueller's endorsers pointed out that the FOSS community has
played a particularly active role in the fight against software
patents, but that software patents "threaten us all because they
don't discriminate based on programming language, operating
system, or licensing model". The group is "disconcerted by early
reports" that the EU is now looking at alternative ways of giving
software patents a stronger legal basis in Europe, such as an EU
community patent regulation.

The press release underscored the fact that "this is a campaign
for a cause, not for a person": People are asked to vote for
Mueller "because he runs on a NoSoftwarePatents ticket, and that
is the message we want to reinforce". The NoSoftwarePatents.com
label is right next to Mueller's name on the ballot

The endorsement furthermore stated: "Some other nominees also
stand for valid concerns and noble causes. However, those issues
and individuals have already received a lot of coverage in the
mass media, while the implications of software patents to the
whole world, including developing countries, still require much
more public awareness. In the sense that software patents
monopolize mental steps, they are also a human rights issue."

Mueller is confident that he can win the title of the "European
of the Year" against his famous competitors in the light of the
"indisputable e-campaigning power of the anti-software patent
movement". In addition to a campaign statement and voting
recommendations, the website provides an email form that allows
supporters to spread the information
(http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/en/m/ev50/notify.html), and
(http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/en/m/ev50/banners.html). The
two main slogans of the electoral campaign are "Vote against
software patents" and "Vote for your right to program".

Should he win the popular vote, Mueller said that "everyone is a
winner". He promised "to donate the Microsoft-sponsored prize
money to the FFII", without which he says he "probably wouldn't
have become involved, let alone succeeded, in this political

The EV50 winners will be announced on 29 November. A gala evening
at the Palais d'Egmont in Brussels will be hosted by former
European Parliament President Pat Cox, who was hired by US
corporations to lobby for software patents in the build-up to the
6 July vote. The EV50 awards are supported by Belgian Prime
Minister Guy Verhofstadt. Sponsors include PR and lobbying firm
Burson-Marsteller, software maker Microsoft Corporation (a major
owner and backer of software patents), and pharmaceutical giant
Novartis. The European Voice is a publication of the Economist

NOTE: Florian Mueller founded the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign
in 2004 with the support of three corporate sponsors (1&1, Red
Hat, MySQL AB), and managed it until March of 2005. He then gave
his website to the Foundation for a Free Information
Infrastructure (FFII), the leading European pressure group that
opposes the patentability of computer programs.


Florian Mueller
florian.mueller at nosoftwarepatents.com

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