Welcome to DebianLinux.Net. This web site is meant to be a portal for interesting Free Software projects and software development in general. If you have some additions for this web site, send an email to: feedback [at] debianlinux [dot] net

Someone once said: "Liberty is the freedom to choose, and freedom is the result of the right choice". The Free Software movement has chosen to create freedom and equality for all software users. No matter where they live, what they do, how much money they have, or what their beliefs are. Anyone around the world can use, modify and (commercially) distribute Free Software, now and in the future, as long as they give other users the same freedom when they publically distribute the software.

One of the two things that really threaten the freedom of all software users around the world are software patents.

The US has software patents, but Europe does not allow for patents on software. Some individual countries (such as the UK), still want to allow patents on software ideas. Article 52 of the European Patent Convention (EPC) from 1973 is already very clear about what can and what can not be patented in Europe. Algorithms and software ideas can currently not be patented in Europe.

In the past few years national patent offices and the European Patent Organisation have nonetheless been granting thousands of software patents. This national software patent tolerance needs to be addressed, by making it clearer what the EPC has said before.

The software patent lobby wants to make the software field more exclusive, hamper the small to mid-sized software businesses, the free software developers, and increase their own revenue, all with one legal statement in the form of a pro software patent directive amendment. This will in return create an EU software market where especially the largest software companies have a clear advantage, because they can acquire and maintain their software technology monopoly. In addition, the European patent offices will benefit greatly, because of the - to be expected - software patents arms race. The legal counseling sector could probably also get more legal work due more software patent investigations, filings, and disputes.

So, to all European software users: please try to make your national government, and European representatives, aware of the dangers to freedom and innovation that software patents pose to our society. Please also sign the EuroLinux Alliance petition. There is also a mailing list dedicated to fighting EU software patent legislation.

The other thing that threatens hardware and software users is extreme Digital Rights Management legislation, like the DMCA law of the US, and the possible acceptance and implementation of the European DMCA-alike directive, called EUCD, by European countries. These new and proposed laws aren't needed for prohibiting unlicensed media distribution, since traditional copyright legislation already does that. Instead they try to give far-reaching legal instruments to commercial media distributors and national 'security' agencies to start prohibiting: fair media use (like: media backups and small-scale media sharing), personal privacy, reverse-engineering practices, and independent security analysis.

What's needed is a fresh look at the fundamentals of copyright law, privacy law and computer security law, in this information age. Again, please try to make your national government, and European representatives, aware of the extreme freedom crippling these laws try to achieve. Thanks for listening.