Feeds

OpenForum Europe rejects Perens charges

We are not and have never been an OSS rep

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

This week, Linux evangelist Bruce Perens criticised OpenForum Europe for supporting software patents in the European Community. Graham Taylor, Director OpenForum Europe, has penned this open letter in response.

As you will be aware OpenForum Europe was recently a signatory to a letter organized by EICTA in support of the revisions proposed by Arlene McCarthy relating to software patents. OpenForum Europe draws its members from both the business user and supplier communities (including HP, IBM, Red Hat, SCO, SuSE and SUN) and has consistently adopted a pragmatic approach to the perceived business needs of users as reported by our members and by independently commissioned research.

Unfortunately this pragmatic approach is not welcomed in all quarters and our recent support of proposed revisions on software patents at the EU has created much negative and extreme comment from some members of the OSS community, based on incorrect information on our position. As a result we are today posting the following response on the website and writing to Bruce Perens and others clearly explaining our position and credentials. We hope this will provide greater clarity on our thinking and true beliefs.

“Comments in the press may give the impression that OpenForum Europe (a) seeks to represent the Open Source Community, and (b) supports proposals for software patents in Europe.

OpenForum Europe wishes to make it clear that it does not attempt or ever has attempted to represent the wider Open Source Community.

Suggestions made to the contrary are false.

OpenForum Europe can only seek to represent the opinions and interests of its members.

OpenForum Europe was invited to comment on software patent proposals currently under consideration by the EU, a task which was undertaken with some misgivings in light of the acrimonious nature of the debate, which it observed was damaging the presentation of OSS in the quarters where influence was most necessary. It sought to find a consensus amongst its members, the members comprising representatives from corporate OSS development and supply companies and business users of Open Source Software.

Informal discussions indicated the degree of polarisation and concern that surrounds the software patent debate. There are clear and real concerns on the potential impact if Europe follows the same route as the US. Political soundings made it clear that a position which denied all software patents was unlikely to either succeed in Europe, or be viable in isolation with the rest of the world. As a result, representations were made by OpenForum Europe in January to ensure that the software patenting process made strenuous efforts to support the interests of Open Source developers; that patents should only be granted by exception where real innovation and technical contribution had been made and could be evidenced. Furthermore if any such patent was to be included in any interoperability standard then there must be special rules on licensing which allows free access for such purposes. Copyright would be the preferred mechanism rather than patenting which should not be applied without rigorous scrutiny by people with real skills and experience in software development.

OpenForum Europe's position is that a lack of clarity about the intent and purpose of software patents would be potentially even more damaging to the interests of European software developers. Our focus is to ensure that as much as possible is done to ensure that any patents are carefully granted and not used in anti-competitive ways; in particular they should not be used to prevent the development of Open Source alternatives to proprietary products. It is this respect that we are supporting the positive revisions proposed in Arlene McCarthy’s opinion now being considered by the European Parliament for the granting of patents.

OpenForum Europe was set up as a not-for-profit, independent organisation to accelerate the take up of GNU/Linux and OSS by business. It does this by using business language to explain the opportunities and tackle the business issues that its research highlights are the main obstacles to progress. It sees the OSS opportunity to improve business efficiency and effectiveness as immense – it is nothing to do with anti any one company – it is all about achieving a new improved business model – more effective, lower cost, more choice. No evangelism – just hard business sense.”

Yours sincerely
Graham Taylor
Director
OpenForum Europe

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.