So Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine and gave it away for free. Today we patent the shit out of a rounded corner rectangle and those who infringe it, we fight them to death.
Jonas Salk story is so inspiring that it almost sounds naive. Imagine a world where every time you are asked who holds the patent to your life changing invention, you answer is "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?". Now if something as important as the polio vaccine is not patented then software patents are a joke (see 1-click patent).
You must have seen website that prevent you from right clicking, or copying text on the page. How much value is in their content anyway? Why do we hold so tightly things that have almost no value? Let it go. Sharing is caring.
Developer of Polio Vaccine, Jonas Salk. wikipedia
As you mention in passing, there are huge differences between Salk's vaccine and 99.999% of programmers. Salk was the head of a research lab, which got tons of government money. When I worked in a government-funded lab (with a steady paycheck, and certainly far less than Salk made), I had no interest in patenting my code, either. Salk's work saved millions from a crippling disease. If you can't use the key idea in my program, the worst you'll suffer is a tiny bit of annoyance.
Startups and indie programmers need funding, and angels and VCs care primarily about how easy it would be for someone else to copy your work, and patents are a key part of that equation. Pay me as much as a medical doctor at a top research lab in a field that the government is pouring millions of dollars into, and I'll forget about patents, too. (I can say this with authority because I've been in a similar situation but paid much less than that, and I did.)
Salk wasn't nicer than us. He was already fairly rich. You might as well say "Bill Gates gives away a billion dollars a year to charity". That's great for him, but you can't expect me to do the same, unless you have some way to make me the CEO of Microsoft first.
Gerry, your argument falls short when you suggest that Salk didn't patent polio because he was rich. Rich people/companies do patent code or useless things. The article refers to the rounded corner patent. If you had read any further you would have seen that it is owned by Apple.
Forgive me but apple is freaking rich!!!
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