1. slef (~mjr@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  2. Topic for #uk-swpat-talk is "UK Software Patent Talk: Meets Tues/Weds. FFII: www.ffii.org.uk AFFS: www.affs.org.uk Info: www.softwarepatents.co.uk"
  3. Topic for #uk-swpat-talk set by slashroo!~slash@barney.alcoholicsunanimous.com at Mon Oct 13 18:13:18
  4. Glyn_ (~chatzilla@cpc3-flee1-4-0-cust142.glfd.cable.ntl.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  5. <Glyn_> Hey :)
  6. <slef> hi
  7. wolfbone (~wolfbone@host81-152-204-147.range81-152.btcentralplus.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  8. <slashroo> hi guys
  9. <wolfbone> greetings :)
  10. alexmacfie (~amacfie@genba.ffii.org) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  11. <alexmacfie> who
  12. <slashroo> imaginative greeting as always, mr macfie ;)
  13. <slashroo> is that a mark and lard impression?
  14. <alexmacfie> hello
  15. alexmacfie has quit (Quit: Leaving)
  16. alexmacfie (alexmacfie@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  17. <slashroo> welcome back ;)
  18. <alexmacfie> I've put up the new council page now
  19. <alexmacfie> Thanks :)
  20. <slashroo> yeah, i'm reading it now
  21. <slashroo> the dates are a bit ambiguous
  22. <slashroo> 23rd Oct vs. 10th Nov, I mean
  23. <slashroo> I don't think the length is terrible, but then I have a 19" flatpanel ;o)
  24. nickhill (~nick@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  25. <alexmacfie> Some of the text is ambiguous too... exactly who is meeting on 23 October?
  26. <slashroo> precisely
  27. <slashroo> should those dates be the same?
  28. <alexmacfie> Is it patent office reps internationally or in the UK ... or is it gvt ministers
  29. <slashroo> hi nick ;)
  30. <nickhill> Hi Who is slashroo?
  31. <slashroo> alexmacfie: are we talking about theory or practice ;)
  32. <alexmacfie> Theory
  33. slashroo is now known as alexh
  34. <alexh> theory I guess it's the minister who is responsible
  35. <alexmacfie> Which means it *is* by 23 October that we have to convince the minister
  36. <alexmacfie> And who is slashmoo? Not asking people to change their handles, just identify themselves ;)
  37. <alexh> it's my window at work, sorry ;)
  38. <alexmacfie> OK
  39. <alexh> where did the 10th November date come from?
  40. <alexh> ah, the council meetiong
  41. <alexh> I see now
  42. <Glyn_> How will MPs be able to that? I am booked in to see my MP on Friday, I am sure I can explain it to him but am unclear how he can really put any influence on the minister.
  43. <alexh> Glyn_: their job is to represent their constituents - he is your hotline into Government
  44. <alexh> He should at least pass on your views
  45. <alexh> what party is he?
  46. <Glyn_> Conservative.
  47. nickhill-mobile (~nick@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
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  49. <Glyn_> The reply from the minister is the leter you have on the new council page.
  50. <alexmacfie> That was there before, although not linked to from the council page
  51. Insti (~Insti@cpc3-cmbg3-5-0-cust171.cmbg.cable.ntl.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  52. <alexh> I'm amazed by their ability to peddle the 'status quo' line
  53. <alexmacfie> They think they have nothing to lose.
  54. <alexh> well, at least that much is true
  55. <alexmacfie> status quo is indeed a slippery argument
  56. <alexh> but it does seem to fly in the face of fact
  57. <alexmacfie> status quo: theory or practice?
  58. <alexmacfie> that's what makes it so slippery
  59. <alexh> well, it's only true in theory after what basically amounts to revisionism
  60. <alexh> it is obviously false in practice, of course ;)
  61. <alexh> has anyone sent a letter to them directly attacking that point?
  62. <alexmacfie> Question is do the ministers know they're peddling falsehoods? We know Hewitt is a puppet of the patent office but is she a willing one?
  63. TimB (~Timothy@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  64. <nickhill-mobile> I think a lot of this comes down to plain laziness
  65. <Glyn_> Its the same stuff that Malcolm Harbour is peddling, they know that they know more about the subject than the other MPs and MEPS so people tend not to question them on it, especially when they say the other side (AKA us) is lying. When I tried to bring him up on that point he ignored the question.
  66. <nickhill-mobile> It has to be made really obvious. THe result of the patent vote shows how many in power follow like sheep.
  67. <Glyn_> We dont realy have time for a long argument with the dti because by the time they reply the vote will be appon us. If you can get face to face with some one who has not already made up their mind you can easily explain it to them.
  68. <alexh> I think, to an extent, they are never going to have a personal view on this argument - they expect it to be formed for them by others
  69. <alexh> Those that have invested time in personal research appear to fundamentally misunderstand what software is also
  70. <alexh> Malcolm Harbour is a good example imo
  71. <slef> AIUI, software is not specified UK law? Only "computer programs" are defined in the copyright act, as a type of literary work.
  72. <alexh> No even strictly that, only partially
  73. <nickhill-mobile> So we need to take a moral high ground to lead the policy. Look like the ones banging the drums
  74. <alexmacfie> publicly embarrass the government...
  75. <TimB> Good Idea
  76. <Glyn_> MPs who are willing to arrange a face to face with the folks in charge would be great but I don't know if that's do able. Letters will be to slow. If we can do it with out them looking like they have climbed down from a position that would be much better.
  77. <alexh> Well, getting a meeting with them / time to do a presentation is a much better idea obviously
  78. <alexh> And their escape route is that they get their software patent directive
  79. <alexh> They're already claiming it as a victory in the press
  80. <Glyn_> Embarrassing might be hard to do and counter productive before the vote, after the vote if it goes against us then we have nothing to loose by embarrassing them.
  81. <alexh> Well, that assumes that the directive still exists post-Council meeting
  82. <alexh> There is a chance it may not afaik
  83. <Glyn_> Yep if you saw the press briefings after the first vote at the EU all sides where claiming that they had won and the press where not clued up enough to know any different.
  84. <alexh> alexmacfie: do you know if james is planning on joining us?
  85. <alexmacfie> I don't
  86. <alexmacfie> I rather assumed he would be
  87. <alexh> I said serious discussion wouldn't start til 19:30, so he may have thought he was avoiding much q&a
  88. <alexh> I don't suppose anyone has Hewitt/Timms as their constituency MP, do they?
  89. <Glyn_> Any one else think they could ask their local mp to arange a meeting with Hewitt/Timms?
  90. <nickhill-mobile> Hewitt: Leicester West Timms: East Ham
  91. <alexmacfie> Bit far away :(
  92. <alexmacfie> is it still worth organizing a conference?
  93. <alexh> alexmacfie: I was wondering whether or not it would be possible to get something together a la PITCOM
  94. <alexh> http://www.pitcom.org.uk/
  95. <alexh> Idea being to invite lots of interested MPs/etc. who might have a chance at actually influencing opinion
  96. <alexmacfie> What's the chance of getting one organized in 9 days?
  97. <alexh> Fairly low, to be honest
  98. nickhill-mobile is now known as nickhill
  99. <alexh> It might be possible to get a small meeting together, assuming someone was willing to phone up a few key people and badger them
  100. <alexmacfie> better chance to time it for 10 November
  101. <alexmacfie> Has anyone heard from Richard Allan recently?
  102. <alexh> Sheffield Hallam - no
  103. <alexh> Oooo
  104. <alexh> ding
  105. <alexmacfie> ding?
  106. <alexh> We could drag him to the RMS talk
  107. <alexmacfie> That's true
  108. <alexh> Or was that the reason you were asking?! ;)
  109. <alexmacfie> no, it's because he's shown an interest in badgering the gvt from his party's benches
  110. <alexmacfie> and I was wondering if he'd made any progress
  111. <alexmacfie> I'll email him
  112. <alexh> it appears he also has a blog
  113. <alexmacfie> http://www.sheffieldhallam.org.uk/blog/
  114. <alexh> Doesn't appear to have surgery dates, but he may well be 'at home' on the 25th
  115. <alexh> He's also standing down next election, so presumably doesn't mind kicking up a fuss
  116. <alexmacfie> Has a link to the blog of Labour MP Tom Watson... another who might have more of a clue than most?
  117. <alexmacfie> W Bromwich E
  118. <alexh> Tom 'The Yoof' Watson?
  119. <alexh> I thought he was a fictional character made up by Private Eye
  120. <Glyn_> http://www.tom-watson.co.uk/
  121. <alexmacfie> Never heard of that and I am a regular Eye subscriber
  122. <alexh> /teens.html - that is a piss take, surely?
  123. <slef> a useful conference in 9 days would be difficult
  124. <alexh> ah, it's changed since...
  125. <alexmacfie> with the warning at the bottom, yes I think it is ;)
  126. <alexmacfie> scroll further down
  127. <alexh> yeah, I see it now ;)
  128. <alexh> has anyone spoken to him about this topic before ?
  129. <alexmacfie> anyone a constituent of his?
  130. <Glyn_> Richard Alan is something of a geek (he runs RedHat 8.0 at home)
  131. <alexh> There must be people at wolveslug or london.bm
  132. <alexh> duh
  133. <alexh> birmingham.pm even :D
  134. * alexh goes to get coffee...
  135. <alexh> heh, you can continue to talk without me ;)
  136. jpm (noname@dial-62-64-172-131.access.uk.tiscali.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  137. <jpm> hello all
  138. <alexh> hi jpm
  139. <alexmacfie> look who's here
  140. <jpm> sorry to be late -- got the time wrong
  141. <jpm> anybody logging ?
  142. <alexmacfie> the clocks haven't gone back yet!
  143. <jpm> alexm: thx for putting the page up
  144. <alexh> jpm: yup
  145. <jpm> alexh: any chance of sending it email ?
  146. <jpm> so, where are we ?
  147. <alexh> we're talking about the various MPs we can 0wn in our effort to put pressure on the ministers involved
  148. <alexmacfie> Richard Allan, Labour MP Tom Watson who might have a clue
  149. <alexmacfie> ... and the possibility of organizing a conference in such a short time
  150. <slef> jono may be a good contact for wolveslug
  151. <jpm> if the Oct 23 or Nov 11 meetings decide to re-open the Nov 2002 draft, there's a chance we may get more time
  152. <alexh> jpm: how so?
  153. <alexmacfie> but it puts the ball back in europarl's court
  154. <alexmacfie> and then we have to make sure we have 328 MEPs for each amendment we like
  155. <alexh> ah, you're talking about ditching all amendments?
  156. <jpm> because they may then take more time to finalise a new Council draft
  157. <Glyn_> Does not need to be a conferance, we just need to have the mps we convince arange a meeting with Hewitt/Timms so we can get some face to face.
  158. <alexmacfie> conference would give more publicity to the issue... possibly
  159. <alexh> they have up to six months to respond to Parl, don't they?
  160. <alexh> Or am I thinking of the next stage after?
  161. <jpm> alexh: I think the council may be able to take as long as it likes
  162. <slef> jono at jonobacon.org
  163. <jpm> but the UK is currently v keen to bulldoze thro' the Nov 2002 version
  164. <jpm> Glyn: good thing about a conference is it's a peg for the media
  165. <jpm> useful just before Nov 11
  166. <alexh> wouldn't it be better for them to drop this one completely if nov2002 is their aim?
  167. <jpm> so they know what to look for after the meeting
  168. <jpm> alexh: ?
  169. <alexh> Are they going to bother trying to push it through parliament?
  170. <alexh> Wouldn't it be easier to route around parliament?
  171. <alexmacfie> Yes I think they're bypassing parliament
  172. <alexmacfie> just liek with eucd
  173. <jpm> EU parliament
  174. <alexmacfie> i se
  175. <alexh> heh, sorry
  176. <nickhill> In the longer term, we need to see a change int he activities of government so that public policy considerations are given more weight in patent policy matters. A page http://www.dti.gov.uk/patent_office/ gives information on the previous review of the patent office's policy role
  177. * alexh will preface the word next time ;)
  178. <jpm> they calculate that we won;t be able to get 328 MEPs behind each of our amendments at second reading
  179. <alexh> nickhill: it appears that the European route is now the way this stuff will be done, witness EU IP enforcement directive
  180. <jpm> especially if they play hardball
  181. <alexh> they could well be right
  182. <jpm> nickhill: nice letter back from Lord S
  183. <jpm> they really took some time on you!
  184. <nickhill> If people start looking at the role of the patent office, I think it scares them
  185. <jpm> judge and jury in their own court
  186. <alexmacfie> says ip is a "specialized area of law"... hehe
  187. <alexh> alexmacfie: it definitely is specialised; it doesn't exist ;)
  188. <jpm> but to change it, needs an issue to dramatise the problem. this is that issue.
  189. <alexh> are you talking something Eolas-esque, or something else?
  190. <nickhill> I feel they may back off somewhat if they think this casts them in the public eye. This is something new for the patent office.
  191. <alexmacfie> The nearest UK equiv is the schools patent.. but that doesn't come to court until next feb
  192. <alexmacfie> Bromcon
  193. <alexh> yup
  194. <jpm> how much do we think we can rip into the DTI gloss on the consultation ?
  195. <alexh> I think their status quo conclusion is completely unsupportable
  196. <jpm> that is currently their #1 line of defence
  197. <nickhill> If the patent office were more int he public eye, then patent law would need to mould far more around public policy issues and less to specialised interests.
  198. <jpm> nickhill: true. well, we need to get it there.
  199. <nickhill> alexh: Yes. That can be blown away.
  200. <alexmacfie> But that doesn't solve the problem of it not being accountable
  201. <alexh> this is why their consulation exercise is strong through, it's seen as accountability - vox pops
  202. <jpm> it is definitely a priority to produce our own pages assessing the consultation
  203. <jpm> we need to get another assessment into the public
  204. <jpm> rather than leaving them the stage
  205. <nickhill> Regarding Status quo, any ideas on short paragraphs which can hit home?
  206. <alexh> Perhaps we can get one of the business orgs to do their own?
  207. <alexh> nickhill: get a graph of swpat applications? that would clearly show theory vs. actuality
  208. <alexmacfie> that's the one at http://www.patent.gov.uk/about/consultations/conclusions.htm
  209. <jpm> I think the best line of attack is the patents themselves
  210. <jpm> to illustrate just what is being granted
  211. <alexh> jpm: isn't that slightly trying to prove a negative though?
  212. TimB has quit (Remote host closed the connection)
  213. <jpm> alexh: how so ?
  214. <alexh> well, you're trying to make the case all patents are bad by showing a select bad few
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  216. <alexh> that doesn't disprove the existance of good patents
  217. <jpm> the good patents I don't have a problem with
  218. <alexmacfie> proving that theh "technical" hurdle ain't a hurdle at all
  219. <jpm> But especially Vicom, Sohei, and Amazon Gift Ordering
  220. <alexh> I'm talking about their definitions, not yours
  221. <alexh> they may agree with you your examples are bad
  222. <jpm> these really bring home how empty their "technical" restriction is
  223. <alexmacfie> "status quo": they play on a misunderstanding of what that is...
  224. <jpm> alexh: they can't: Vicom and Sohei *are* the case-law
  225. <alexmacfie> jpm: any websites detailing those cases?
  226. <jpm> but no problem
  227. <alexh> Yes, but they will disagree with you what it means to exhibit a technical contribution
  228. <Glyn_> They also say that those patents are not granted by the bill.
  229. <jpm> alexh: did you see my page "what is technical" ?
  230. <alexmacfie> one has to show that they are... like the FFII pages on amazon
  231. <alexh> jpm: I think so
  232. <jpm> Glyn: no, they admit bill would not change system
  233. <alexh> And I seem to remember it being logically inconsistent
  234. <jpm> I have that on tape from the UKPTO
  235. <alexh> Are we talking about the mobile phone sourced one?
  236. <Glyn_> Ok I should say that differntly the conservates say that those patents would not be valid under the bill.
  237. <jpm> UKPTO focus group agreed unanimously they would be
  238. <jpm> those are the experts' experts
  239. <alexh> jpm: I think my worry is that they would retrospectively claim - for example - that Vicom should not have been granted, if you can successfully show it is bad
  240. <alexh> Rather than admit their rules for acceptance are wrong
  241. <jpm> The "what is technical" page of summaries from Beresford's book makes clear that they would be
  242. <jpm> The point is, they admit they aren;'t going to change the 'status quo'
  243. <jpm> vicom, sohei etc are the case law which are the status quo
  244. <jpm> if we can get them to renounce vicom
  245. <jpm> they'll need to write a new directive to do it
  246. <jpm> (or accept the parl amendments)
  247. <alexh> Yes, but my point is that they have to renounce Vicom while accepting the unamended directive allows it - is that possible?
  248. <jpm> ... this is what I was trying to write for the bit of the web page I didn;t finish, why Vicom et al are so important
  249. <jpm> the unamended directive allows it: no question
  250. <jpm> can we get them to renounce Vicom ?
  251. <jpm> that would overturn the base decision for 20 years of swpats
  252. <jpm> that actually *is* what we are setting out to do
  253. <jpm> all swpats since 1983 have been granted citing Vicom
  254. <jpm> Vicom was the case that destroyed the EPO anti-swpat guidelines
  255. <jpm> *that* is why it should be the key demand
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  257. <slef> I thought it was bromcom with a m?
  258. <jpm> Background: Vicom was the one where they rearranged a calculation (A o (B o C)) as (A o B) o C
  259. <alexmacfie> Of course it is ;)
  260. <jpm> a convolution
  261. <nickhill> In the broader picture, if we can create more opportunities for patent officers to publically defend themselves, their self justification will become increasingly absurd and thin. The status quo argument seems to be the only justification they have which they believe is universally acceptable.
  262. <jpm> pure software, but granted because it was working on 'physical data'
  263. <jpm> nickhill: status quo is their high ground
  264. <alexh> going away from status quo is going to be difficult
  265. <jpm> moving from status quo requires political 'courage' in yes minister speak
  266. <nickhill> The status quo argument is flawed. If we can present the flaw in front of them, they will be forced to move to other ground
  267. <jpm> But their consultation summary does argue that swpat is needed for big long-term software research projects
  268. <alexh> the danger is that we present the amended directive as a big change, which re-inforces their determination to remove it
  269. <jpm> ... something the small players don't do, so don't understand
  270. <jpm> alexh: that is the presentational dilemma
  271. <alexh> focussing on overturning case law is going to be *extremely* difficult to sell
  272. <alexh> i'm not sure it's a winning tactic
  273. <jpm> well, it's what we're trying to do
  274. <alexmacfie> it might be if we can show the law was not made democratically... that patent office is a quango
  275. <alexh> we are never going to remove the patent office from this argument to any significant measure in the time we have though
  276. <jpm> alexmacfie: I don;t think that's realpolitik
  277. <alexmacfie> i think of the way the trade unions were before Mrs T bashed them... a big vested interest
  278. <alexh> and the risk is that we lose a very good directive
  279. <jpm> Our strongest line (IMHO) is the economics
  280. <alexmacfie> we need first of all for that to be recognized then for someone to actually take it on
  281. <alexh> jpm: I agree
  282. <jpm> alexh: first we have to win the directive
  283. <jpm> but the point is: what is the difference between the parl text and McCarthy ?
  284. <alexh> if we argue pro-directive on the basis of being anti-vicom, I think we lose by default
  285. <jpm> answer: Vicom, sohei and amazon
  286. <alexh> they're good examples of the difference, but the problem is that they're case law
  287. <jpm> if we don't make the case, we can't convince anyone
  288. <jpm> epo case law
  289. <jpm> but this is the question
  290. <alexh> Yes, but you can't make the case without losing 'status quo'
  291. <jpm> just what should be patentable
  292. <jpm> alexh: that is why we say that McCarthy would 'legitimise' the EPO's bad decisions
  293. <jpm> which are dead against the EPC
  294. <alexh> Sure, but you need an awful lot of buy-in to sustain the argument
  295. <alexh> If you move to show that the original directive is bad because it enforces the status quo, we surely lose
  296. <alexh> I can't see how that argument can be sustained
  297. <alexh> (even if it's true)
  298. <jpm> Deny that it is the *legitimate* status quo
  299. <jpm> that has been the FFII line from the start
  300. <alexmacfie> because it isn't always enforced as such
  301. <jpm> and concentrate on the economics
  302. <alexh> I agree with the economical arguments, I think those are easily made
  303. <jpm> alexmacfie: afraid it is, in the UK anyway
  304. <alexh> And I think if Vicom was a hypothetical example, it would be useful
  305. <alexh> The problem (for me) is precisely using case law
  306. <jpm> so we concentrate on whether Vicom-like patents are good
  307. <jpm> and economically they're not
  308. <alexh> Yes - I think it's easy to show they're bad
  309. <jpm> alexh: it's high stakes, but it does at least make the issues clear
  310. <alexh> But presenting the amended directive as very different to what we have now must fatally wound it
  311. <jpm> which is what the other side habe been trying to blur
  312. <jpm> alexh: not necessarily -- we're talking to different people :)
  313. <alexmacfie> jpm: i was thinking of beyond the uk
  314. <alexh> We need clear blue water between our directive and theirs, but it needs to be staked out in such a way it's not threatening to them
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  324. <alexmacfie> ok
  325. alexmacfie has left #uk-swpat-talk ((nil))
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  327. <alexhu> gah, my connection appears buggered :/
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  333. <slash> hello again
  334. <alexmacfie> something went wrong there...
  335. <slash> um, yah :)
  336. alexhu has quit (Quit: Client exiting)
  337. * slash wonders about script kiddies
  338. <wolfbone> I was the only one left apart from Insti - did I cause it?
  339. <slash> probably - were you frobnicating at the time?
  340. nickhill- (~nick@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  341. <wolfbone> No saloominating
  342. <slash> heh
  343. <wolfbone> :)
  344. <slash> given services appear to be down I suspect something fundamental went for it's dinner
  345. <nickhill-> I lost connection on a server. I had to reconnect
  346. <slash> nickhill-: everyone did
  347. <alexmacfie> is everyone back yet?
  348. <alexmacfie> i guess not :(
  349. <nickhill-> Wann't obvious. Just no traffic
  350. *NickServ* This nickname is registered and protected. If it is your
  351. *NickServ* nick, type /msg NickServ IDENTIFY password. Otherwise,
  352. *NickServ* please choose a different nick.
  353. <nickhill-> ie no server timed out
  354. <slash> nope, we lost jpm, Glyn_, quinophex, maybe others
  355. <slash> ooo, services
  356. <slash> I think they probably needed to bring up firewall rules quickly in defence for something
  357. <alexmacfie> Should we put anything up for ./?
  358. <slash> ./ ?
  359. <alexmacfie> on lobbying MPs, a link to council.html
  360. <alexmacfie> sorry /.
  361. <slash> oh right
  362. <slash> yeah, probably
  363. <slash> it's clear the uk is something of a lynchpin
  364. alexh (~slash@barney.alcoholicsunanimous.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  365. <alexmacfie> probably should post anywhere vaguely related where one is able to post
  366. quinophex (foobar@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  367. jpm (noname@dial-62-64-172-131.access.uk.tiscali.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  368. <slash> oo, I think we're almost all back
  369. <alexmacfie> BTW i've emailed Jono at Wolves LUG (on Tom Watson)
  370. <slash> Cool
  371. <jpm> back in 5 mins
  372. <jpm> anything I need to think/say/do first ?
  373. <slash> nafaik
  374. jpm is now known as jpm_away
  375. <alexmacfie> does anyone have trade union contacts?
  376. <alexmacfie> some TUs elsewhere have come out against swpat
  377. <slash> I know people have whinged about the TUs being a bit apathetic on some of these issues
  378. <nickhill-> I gave a talk to a group of activists a couple of weeks ago. It was clear they were the type of people to camp outside the patent office greenham common style.
  379. <slash> (thinking more about free software in general, rather than swpat)
  380. <alexmacfie> an interesting thought nick :)
  381. <alexmacfie> most likely amicus-msf would be of interest
  382. <slash> What about the IT professional bodies - have they ever been approached? BCS etc.?
  383. <alexmacfie> no match on patents at BCS website
  384. <alexmacfie> they don't seem to want to know
  385. <alexmacfie> i did talk to someone about it at BCS YPG meeting a while ago, i gave him my card by he never got back to me
  386. <slash> I guess this is more proof that patents don't form part of the 'status quo' for ordinary IT professionals ;)
  387. <jpm_away> there was the ex-president of the BCS who spoke at the UKPTO european conference a couple of years ago wasn;t there ?
  388. <alexmacfie> how many ordinary it professionals think about it at all?
  389. <alexmacfie> was he for or against?
  390. <quinophex> most IT professionals are ignorant and would probably say they thought software patents were a good thing
  391. <jpm_away> alexM: against swpat
  392. <jpm_away> the only one at the conference
  393. jpm_away is now known as jpm
  394. <jpm> afair
  395. <slash> that would be interesting
  396. <alexmacfie> which woul dmean they don't understand what is being patented
  397. <alexmacfie> and that that is a direct result of having swpat
  398. <jpm> quin: the patents = innovation = growth thing is very ingrained
  399. <slash> alexmacfie: I think that's the case for the politicians too
  400. <quinophex> jpm: i know :(
  401. <slash> marking out software as something 'different' is a hard argument to make
  402. <jpm> that is why I think that one of our highest priorities is a better swpat horror gallery
  403. <alexmacfie> and people get confused between patents and copyright
  404. <jpm> with pictures
  405. <jpm> that even Bolkestein can understand
  406. <alexmacfie> you explain *why* it's different. i love RMS' point about if statements not rubbing against whiles :)
  407. <slash> oh, it's definitely an argument which is logically sustainable, but it's still hard to make
  408. <slash> actually, the SICP videos are quite good for this too - the section on complexity control
  409. <alexmacfie> without resorting to slogans
  410. <slash> well, without seeming academic
  411. <jpm> slogans - 1 product = 1 patent good
  412. <jpm> 100 patents = 1 product bad
  413. <jpm> a prettty fair summary of the economic analysis
  414. <alexmacfie> but even there one has to demonstrate why it's bad
  415. <alexmacfie> not many people read economic analyses
  416. <slash> economics is easier to grasp than philosophy though
  417. <slef> We have some EU TU people who are AFFS members. Shall I send slash details?
  418. <alexmacfie> any in the UK?
  419. <jpm> that's I suppose why you have to make it concrete
  420. <jpm> bring those landmines to life
  421. <nickhill-> jpm: Do we have a slogan gallery?
  422. <slef> I am also in contact with someone who seems to know about BCS things if we have no-one else as a starting point.
  423. <jpm> nickhill: the Belgians may
  424. <slash> exactly. resorting to academic arguments doesn't work, because physics is essentially maths but also a nicely patentable area in many respects
  425. <slash> slef: please do - members, or officials? stewards?
  426. <slef> alexmacfie: yes, in the UK
  427. <alexmacfie> but in physics things don't always work exactly as the theory would have it... in logic the practical == the theory
  428. <slef> slash: I'll check.
  429. <alexmacfie> slef: email me info please
  430. <jpm> alexM: you've been reading too much Xavi again...
  431. <slash> alexmacfie: but then you get into the difficult to sustain area - why should software be different?
  432. <jpm> slash: because the economics are different
  433. <slash> that's a different argument
  434. <jpm> because all patents are a trade off
  435. <alexmacfie> i know the Xavi-isms are hard to explain to laymen
  436. <jpm> and for swpat it foes the wrong way
  437. <jpm> goes
  438. <slash> I agree with that, the economics don't make sense
  439. <alexmacfie> and there is another assumption... that patents are somehow natural
  440. <slash> but that's not a counter to the 'software is special' argument
  441. <slash> or, "is not special", I should say
  442. <jpm> economics is the only reason to have patents in the first place
  443. <alexmacfie> one could counter with "why should software be the same"?
  444. <nickhill-> Software is incremental in nature. Small steps.
  445. <nickhill-> If all those small steps are patented, no development.
  446. <slash> alexmacfie: because it is technology, just like anything else. a software driven phone looks quite similar to a non-software driven phone
  447. <slef> Actually, it appears that contact details are public and he's a fsfe-uk poster. http://www.labourstart.org/contact.shtml
  448. <jpm> low barriers to entry ... software is cheap, as LAC would say
  449. <alexmacfie> or rather it *looks* like technology because the device it runs on is technical
  450. <alexmacfie> like saying music is technical because it's played thru a (technical) loudspeaker
  451. <jpm> a cottage industry which patents would destroy, according to the US Natl Academy of Sciences
  452. <slash> Yeah, but don't you see how this argument (although correct) is harder to explain?
  453. <alexmacfie> i do
  454. <alexmacfie> i find it very difficult to explain myself
  455. <jpm> btw slash: how did your man get on with Malcolm Harbour ?
  456. <slash> Well, as expected really
  457. <slash> Both sides explained their points, Malcolm clung to 'technical contribution'
  458. <slash> IIRC had many examples of patentable phone tech
  459. <jpm> did he show Harbour the list of what the EPO consider patentable ?
  460. <jpm> IIRC ??
  461. <slash> If I Remeber Correctly, sorry ;)
  462. <slef> of course, our man is not a phone tech expert, so that was particularly good tactics IMO
  463. <slash> "He thinks that the current amendments are dangerous because they add complexity" was interesting
  464. <jpm> Harbour had the details on the phone patents ?
  465. <jpm> ... from Tim Frain of Nokia presumably
  466. <jpm> slash: 'complexity' got into the tory standard line
  467. <slash> yeah, I think he was parroting it
  468. <alexmacfie> what do they mean by "complexity"?
  469. <slash> We suggested that we setup a discussion forum for them to meet anti-swpat people, and the response was " he thought it was all down to the (Council of Minsters)? now and nothing much could be done about it"
  470. <slash> alexmacfie: makes it more complex to get a software patent by pretending it's not?
  471. <jpm> alexM: law might actually mean something (complex !), not just a rubber stamp :-)
  472. <slash> Law does tend to strive for simplicity, not that it always achieves it
  473. <alexmacfie> But simple laws can lead to complex problems.
  474. <jpm> we did almost double the length of the main articles...
  475. <jpm> ... but then now they might mean something
  476. <slash> I think the problem would be that the potential outcomes of the law are more complex
  477. <slash> More likely to have side-effects; need to spend more time rigorously thinking about it, etc.
  478. <jpm> a complicated boundary takes more bits to describe than 100% all black
  479. <slash> oh, I agree
  480. <alexmacfie> it's not all-black tho', it's a lot of grey
  481. <alexmacfie> for the sake of being simple a lot was left undefined
  482. <jpm> but defined to be black by the EPO
  483. <slash> that's how we got in this mess ;)
  484. <jpm> anyhow...
  485. <alexmacfie> grey is the new black ... sorry couldn't resist
  486. <jpm> is there an agenda of issues we need to discuss ?
  487. <slash> There was the issue of attempting to get a meeting at Parliament, or involving parliamentarians
  488. <jpm> ... interesting as this philosophical digression might be...
  489. <slash> ;)
  490. <jpm> slash: that would be good
  491. <alexmacfie> that was the main one
  492. <jpm> would the select cttee on science and technology be the right ppl to talk to ?
  493. <slash> We probably also need a timeline on a website with the key dates on it
  494. <alexmacfie> but how easy is it to talk to MPs other than constituency
  495. <jpm> I think there are a few things we need on the website
  496. <jpm> alexM: get MPs to talk to MPs
  497. <jpm> starting with the ones we know
  498. <slash> jpm: I was thinking specifically of making sense of the 23Oct and 10Nov dates
  499. <slash> If we can find people in East Ham/ Leicester West, that could be very useful
  500. <alexmacfie> http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_and_technology_committee/science_and_technology_committee_members.cfm
  501. <jpm> There's a page at FFII now on the Council, which would give some context for the 10 Nov
  502. <slef> I used to work in the same uni as Ian Gibson, if we have no stronger in.
  503. <slash> SciTech ctte seem a bit biotech focussed atm
  504. <alexmacfie> [biotech has patent issues...]
  505. <slef> IG was dean of UEA School of Biology
  506. <slash> ;)
  507. jpm2 (noname@dial-62-64-206-136.access.uk.tiscali.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  508. <slash> jpm: FFII page almost seems self-contradictory atm
  509. <jpm2> dialups.... huh
  510. <jpm2> slash: why so ?
  511. <slash> "unless UK government ministers can be convinced otherwise by October 23rd", "Unless Government ministers can be convinced by 10th November to overrule the UKPO"
  512. <jpm2> I would make 10 Nov the deadline
  513. <slash> Why? Because we need more time? :)
  514. <jpm2> because Oct 23 is now too soon to do anything about
  515. * slef notes his patch was discarded
  516. <jpm2> slash: yes
  517. <jpm2> slef: no, it'll go in
  518. <slash> fair enough ;)
  519. <alexmacfie> ok we need to decide on dates... i think the page needs refinement anyway
  520. <alexmacfie> like being split up :)
  521. <slash> Why was Oct 23 originally on there though? And why can we set it aside now?
  522. <jpm2> Oct 23 is when the civil servants meet
  523. <alexmacfie> i see... we don't exactly have much influence over civil servants
  524. <jpm2> or rather the Patent Office experts from across Europe
  525. <alexmacfie> but we know what they're going to think anyway
  526. <jpm2> the "Working Party on Intellectual Property (Patents)" to be precise
  527. <jpm2> alexM: not necessarily
  528. <slash> Nov 10 is Council of Ministers?
  529. <jpm2> slash: yes
  530. <alexmacfie> jpm2: you mean there are turkeys out there who might vote for Xmas?
  531. <jpm2> it's possible the other Europeans may be having more success
  532. <jpm2> there are politicians who may even cook the turkeys
  533. <jpm2> .. but possibly not New Labour ones
  534. <jpm2> Our big goal is for them to decide to reopen the Nov 2002 text, and change it
  535. <jpm2> but it would probably take them months
  536. <jpm2> so they really probably don;t want to
  537. <slash> other likely alternative being what?
  538. <alexmacfie> they stick with Nov 2002 text
  539. <alexmacfie> so it goes back to EP
  540. <jpm2> and try to ram it through
  541. <slash> hmm
  542. jpm has quit (Ping timeout: 483 seconds)
  543. jpm2 is now known as jpm
  544. <slash> EP probably wouldn't get around to considering it til Spring then, I would think...
  545. <slash> brinksmanship
  546. <slash> I would think that extra time would now work in our favour rather than theirs, though
  547. <jpm> alexM: presumably the original EC proposal is still the baseline for amendments ?
  548. <alexmacfie> i think so... if that is what is sent back to EP
  549. <jpm> so Council amendments need to get 328 in the EU parl too ?
  550. <alexmacfie> eys
  551. <alexmacfie> yes
  552. <jpm> Nov 2002 != original EC
  553. <jpm> In particular Program Claims would need 328 ?
  554. <jpm> slash: extra time is ++good for us
  555. <alexmacfie> i think so... I'm not so expert on the procedure
  556. <jpm> st to check later
  557. <alexmacfie> my understanding was any amendments need 328.
  558. <jpm> anyway, so that is why letters which reach the dti before 23 Oct are especially good
  559. <alexmacfie> jpm: is extra time so good? Other side can work on fake compromises
  560. <jpm> & it's good to try to give writers a sense of urgency
  561. <alexmacfie> indeed
  562. <slash> When Parl reconsider the directive (assuming they get the chance), is the base the original EU, the EP amended or the Council amended?
  563. <jpm> extra time is good because like all Open projects, we take time to get going, but then we snowball
  564. <alexmacfie> slash: i think we'll have to ask on bxl :(
  565. <jpm> slash: original EU (I think)
  566. <jpm> with Council amendments automatically tabled
  567. <slash> so they would revote on every amendment? that sounds crazy
  568. <alexmacfie> does not seem evenly balanced :(
  569. <jpm> and EP amendments tabled only if they get enough signatures
  570. <slash> that can't be right
  571. <alexmacfie> so revote only on the retabled amendments
  572. <jpm> but I would need to read over the EP rules
  573. <jpm> alexM: yes, I think
  574. <alexmacfie> how many sigs are needed?
  575. <alexmacfie> to table an amendment in 2nd reading
  576. <jpm> EP can only retable previously accepted amendments
  577. <jpm> alexM: I think same rules as 1st reading
  578. <jpm> but not at all sure, need to check up on all of this
  579. <alexmacfie> and anyway we need to get back to the immediate issue
  580. <alexmacfie> how to get UK gvt to overrule patent office
  581. <jpm> 1st question: how much more do we need to do, before we really snowball the letter campaign
  582. <slash> I would think bringing some MPs onside could not hurt if possible
  583. <alexmacfie> wse need to get a lot more publicity for the campaign
  584. <jpm> letter campaign must get going soon
  585. <alexmacfie> submit it to the usual websites
  586. <jpm> alexM: when we're ready
  587. <slash> Is it worth asking people to write letters not only opposing software patents, but attacking specific bits of pro-swpat illogic?
  588. <jpm> we send the first sections as an FFII alert to the 30,000 email addresses we have on the petition
  589. <slash> For example, getting business people to write that 'as far as I'm concerned, the status quo always has been...'
  590. <jpm> slash: how close to okay is the text now on council.html
  591. <jpm> ?
  592. <jpm> does it need to give people more flexibility ?
  593. <jpm> having mailshotted our supporters, we then try and slashdot the page as well
  594. <slash> I'm thinking about having people mention some very specific arguments the other side has made
  595. <alexmacfie> it should mention the status quo point
  596. <slash> Directly countering the form letters
  597. <alexmacfie> that is definite
  598. <jpm> & *hope* we can instill a sufficient sense of urgency that some of them write
  599. <alexmacfie> the hewitt.html page is an attempt at doing that
  600. <wolfbone> slash: Adopt a bad patent / bad argument?
  601. <slash> alexmacfie: exactly
  602. <jpm> I hoped people reading the council.html page would automatically check the Hewitt page
  603. <slash> wolfbone: yeah, something like that. It would be difficult to try and cover them all in one letter ;)
  604. <wolfbone> heh
  605. <alexmacfie> needs more prominence... page needs better design
  606. <jpm> but it does ping the 'consultation' argument as something to specifically challenge
  607. <slash> jpm: even just writing "You may want to consider countering these arguments in your letter" or something would cover it
  608. <slash> It's currently a purely informative page, not something to be actioned, if you see what I mean
  609. <jpm> slash: how about a section on points to include ?
  610. <jpm> slash: even today's version ?
  611. <slash> yeah, something like that, although I would avoid making it to prescriptive.
  612. <slash> Today's Hewitt page?
  613. <jpm> today;s council.html page
  614. <jpm> tomorrows will have the english fixes from slef :grin:
  615. <slash> It implies letters should counterpoint her view, not directly address it, to me.
  616. <slash> Colour coding on Hewitt.html could be better too, btw
  617. <jpm> Personally I think we could probably do a lot better than Hartmut's style sheet
  618. <jpm> Is there something to be said for a Wiki, like the AEL site ?
  619. <slash> Actually, I think it's because my browser is barfing on the styles, or something is overriding them
  620. <slash> They are not red italic ;)
  621. <slash> AEL site is okay, but the navigation is a bit unique
  622. <jpm> slash: a bit .. organic
  623. <slash> yeah, definitely
  624. <jpm> red normal face, double blockquoted would IMO be better for the Hewitt reply
  625. <slash> yeah
  626. <jpm> but in terms of approach, you're saying the new council.html is still not direct enough ?
  627. <slash> CSS needs to be fixed first though - does it work for you now?
  628. <jpm> no idea.. just use the last Moz on Win95...
  629. <jpm> was the css broken ?
  630. <alexmacfie> style sheet can be changed easily
  631. <slash> well, it's not having the intended effect here
  632. <slash> I'll break it down and see what's causing it
  633. <jpm> slash: the css or the text content of the page ?
  634. <slash> I suspect it's the <!-- on the inline style
  635. <slef> jpm2: sorry. I get used to being discarded.
  636. <jpm> we need to turn the council.html into something that really works, and soon.
  637. <slash> that would probably cause my browser to ignore it ;)
  638. <jpm> slef: I wasn;t discarding you, I was just going to trust your instincts and make your changes
  639. <slash> Resources + Hints'n'Tips should probably come after the call for action, rather than mixed in
  640. <jpm> but Alex could only go with what he had
  641. <slef> jpm: use current council.html as background and do a clean rewrite.
  642. <alexmacfie> should be on a separate page really
  643. <slash> They're only useful once you've decided to write the letter
  644. <slef> jpm: I know, I know.
  645. <slef> jpm: I was apologising for assuming otherwise.
  646. <jpm> this *was* my rewrite...
  647. <slash> Ditto finding out the address in a way...
  648. <slash> Perhaps we could turn it into a flow, a bit like shopping on a website?
  649. <slef> jpm: hrm, it looked similar in structure to the old one.
  650. <slef> slash: hrm, won't we infringe on the amazon patents?
  651. * slef runs
  652. <jpm> slef: okay, well it was adapted then
  653. <alexmacfie> we'd probably end up infringing on the SBC frames patents
  654. <alexmacfie> [because if you have a flow you have to be able to go to a place]
  655. <jpm> slash: the capsule summaries in "Resources" actually carry the weight of the argument as to why swpat is generally bad
  656. <slash> if only the patent stopped people using frames...
  657. <jpm> that's why the section is in there straight after the call to action
  658. <alexmacfie> well there are other ways of doing similar thing
  659. <jpm> so maybe s/Resources/Why swpat are bad/ ?
  660. <slash> Yeah, that makes more sense
  661. <slash> I would drop the faux Contents bits too, tbh
  662. <jpm> the contents of the Further Information section ?
  663. <jpm> I guess the page just got so long I felt it sort of needed st like that
  664. <jpm> ie problem is 'page got so long'
  665. <alexmacfie> which is why I want to split it :)
  666. <jpm> but back to the Q: how near is it to usable ?
  667. <slash> Not far, but I wonder if it can be simplified a fair bit
  668. <jpm> ... not just by changing the css into a smaller font ?
  669. <jpm> (like eg the default Times the browser comes with ?)
  670. <jpm> But so: what needs to be done to it ?
  671. <slash> Actually, a smaller font would probably help, I wouldn't make it serif though
  672. <jpm> Or, if you were to do a full clean rewrite, what would go in ?
  673. <slash> Re-ordering some of it would probably make a big difference, thinking about it
  674. <alexmacfie> Most of it is in Times
  675. <slash> Not here it's not ;)
  676. <jpm> alexM: oh well, there goes that fix then....
  677. <alexmacfie> Only headings and Hewitt are in verdana
  678. <slef> jpm: well, what is the most important thing?
  679. <alexmacfie> actually most of it is no font specified, so it would go with default
  680. <slef> jpm: "Write to your MP or the software industry gets it"?
  681. <jpm> okay slef, go on...
  682. <slash> I would have four sections: "Write a letter!", "Reasons/Resources", "Hints/Tips", "Correct Addressing"...
  683. <alexmacfie> put that as a big banner on the front and a link to council
  684. * jpm is too mild and polite to write good agitprop
  685. <jpm> slash: I thought the point about writing to MPs, not ministers was important and should go up-page
  686. <slef> jpm: 1mo, seeking image
  687. <jpm> but otoh, slef's one-column flier has so much more impact
  688. <slash> I would guess if you've bothered to write a letter you could bother to find out how to write on the envelope
  689. <alexmacfie> MPs need to know the counter-arguments as well, so they can quiz the ministers
  690. <jpm> AlexM: MPs never read the thing, they;re just the postbox
  691. <jpm> okay they possibly do, but I doubt they lose much sleep
  692. <slef> damnit... can't find a hand gun pic under a RF licence
  693. <slef> anyway
  694. <alexmacfie> hand gun?
  695. <slash> that might not be a great idea with the current focus on gun crime, I don't know...
  696. <slef> alexmacfie: I'd put it on the page with a caption of "Software patents will force all developers to play Russian Roulette" or similar
  697. <slef> slash: heh. suggest alternatives, but we need a pic hook
  698. <slash> hehe - Derren Brown, software developer...
  699. <quinophex> hehe
  700. <alexmacfie> slef: good general idea, landmines might be another
  701. <slef> as well as mandatory boring pics of software development to get the press interested
  702. <alexmacfie> along the same lines
  703. <slef> alexmacfie: that hooks onto the RMS quote, doesn't it?
  704. <alexmacfie> indeed
  705. <slash> Hang on - who are we aiming this at?
  706. <quinophex> slef: i have guns here and a half decent digicam :)
  707. <alexmacfie> people minded to take action against swpat
  708. <jpm> 30,000 petition signees
  709. <jpm> and anyone we can pull in from slashdot
  710. <slef> just in UK?
  711. <slash> Sorry, what demographic are we aiming at? Geeks? Business people?
  712. <alexmacfie> yes just in UK
  713. <slef> alexmacfie: I like it
  714. <slash> I think someone will have to have some kind of interest in swpat to write a cogent argument
  715. <alexmacfie> anyone strongly against swpat. Could be geeks, could be pointy-headed bosses or economists
  716. <wolfbone> academics too
  717. <slef> headline "Write to your MP or the software industry gets it"
  718. <alexmacfie> hence we have quote from RMS and Laura Creighton, and links to economists letters
  719. <jpm> the minister might even get shown it
  720. <slash> But if we're aiming at Joe, we probably need to vastly simplify the arguments and not require research, because the goal is then volume, surely?
  721. <alexmacfie> OK Laura's not a pointy-headed boss but she's a businesswoman
  722. <slef> subhead "UK minister likely to vote to annul Parliament decision"
  723. <alexmacfie> sounds good slef
  724. <jpm> slash: those links were the best expositions I could think of
  725. <jpm> the SME statement is esp good
  726. * chriscroome just got in, will try to read logs later...
  727. <jpm> and the parliament speeches are pretty easy to understand
  728. <slef> lead para "The European Parliament voted to restrict software patenting, but the UK government are expected to vote to annul that democractic decision in the Council of Ministers. We need to convince them otherwise before they meet on 10th November."
  729. <jpm> Good stuff slef
  730. <slash> I don't think anyone who is going to bother to write a letter is going to do research to the degree of reading speeches though
  731. <slash> That seems a high barrier to entry
  732. <jpm> they were only 2 minutes each
  733. <alexmacfie> they can help people get their own arguments straight
  734. <slef> subhead "What is the UK position?"
  735. <slash> they could, if people read through all thirty six of them
  736. <jpm> I did highlight the six I though were most use
  737. <jpm> & I thought these were the key resources to cite
  738. <quinophex> joe public is ultra lazy though
  739. <alexmacfie> probably they need to be isolated. we skim thru them and get the choice quotes out.
  740. <alexmacfie> Rather than let the reader search
  741. <alexmacfie> quiophex: u are so right...
  742. <slash> we obviously need to go a step beyond form letters, which immediately means most people will drop out
  743. <slef> "UK ministers are thought to support the UK Patent Office's amendments that would promote software patenting and are based on a November 2002 draft, instead of the September 2003 European Parliament version."
  744. <jpm> quin: but if we write a form letter, that;s all they;ll send, and the MPs will just bin it
  745. <slash> But, we need to pick up as many stayers beyond that as possible
  746. <quinophex> jpm: well is having form letters sent better or worse than having no letters sent?
  747. <jpm> slef: thought ? bollox -- they say they do. in black and white in the Hewitt and Sainsbury letters
  748. <slash> quinophex: probably makes no difference
  749. <quinophex> amnesty international provide sample sound bites and ask people to work them into a real letter, that seems to work quite well, cold we do somethng similar?
  750. <jpm> quin: a few good letters *may* be better than a mountain of form letters
  751. <quinophex> i don't think that we will even get a mountain of form letters though tbh :-/
  752. <slash> I think the idea is to obviously structure things as much as possible without it being a form letter
  753. <jpm> quin: that was kind of my intention with the 'points we need to make' section...
  754. <slef> "Replies from ministers often claim that the UKPO consultation 3 years ago produced results which were "broadly in favour" of this position. In fact, views of software professionals were overwhelmingly against software patents, but numerically outweighed by the responses of patent professionals and others."
  755. nickhill (~nick@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  756. <slef> jpm: apologies. edit to fit, based on your greater knowledge.
  757. <jpm> they weren't even numerically outweighed
  758. <jpm> slef: sorry, go on
  759. <slef> ditto, but link numbers and sources from the page as evidence
  760. <jpm> slef: as I said, I don;t really have a sharp enough touch for writing material
  761. <jpm> so you go on
  762. <alexmacfie> it was the "economic majority" type argument
  763. <slef> jpm: I don't know all the facts accurately, so need editing by people who do.
  764. <slef> alexmacfie: we can quote DTI figures about the importance and size of SME sector back at that.
  765. <alexmacfie> those who wer epro-patent supposedly spoke for "the industry" rather than being free sw types
  766. <alexmacfie> supposedly
  767. <slef> subhead "Are software patents good for software developers?"
  768. <alexmacfie> "software industry versus patent industry" fit that in somewhere
  769. <slash> I wouldn't refer to the patent industry necessarily
  770. <slash> They're lawyers, people understand that
  771. <alexmacfie> You have a point, it does sound like one has an agenda (think of people who talk of the "race relations industry")
  772. <slash> I also wouldn't discuss whether or not swpat is good; I would tell the reader directly why they are bad
  773. <slash> Well, if we're aiming at average people this is not language they would understand
  774. <slash> It's a form of jargon, almost
  775. <quinophex> not almost, it is
  776. <jpm> back in a bit
  777. <slash> Also, there's a difference between presenting the argument, and presenting resources
  778. jpm is now known as jpm_away
  779. <slash> I would say anyone writing a letter is going to be fairly convinced of the argument already
  780. <alexmacfie> But they don't necessarily know how to express it.
  781. <slef> "No. One of the most interesting articles for anyone who believes that it would be good is "e-Patents and financial investing" by Laura Creighton, software venture capitalist, published in Vrijschrift.org. It explains how software patents can damage the industry and cites many other references.
  782. <slash> alexmacfie: hence my point about presenting resources, not arguments
  783. <slash> Technically, we're not arguing with these people that swpat is bad
  784. <slef> "We also suggest that people read this open letter by leading economists and the rationale of this petition by leading computer and software scientists.
  785. <slash> We're actually arguing that their original directive isn't strictly defined enough
  786. <slash> Everyone is supposed to agree that software patents per se are bad
  787. <slef> slash: head off FAQs; don't use latin
  788. <slash> sorry??
  789. <slef> provide resources without saying "Here is a long list of references. We want to be an academic journal. We are too clever and dull for you to read this."
  790. <slef> I'm explaining the aim I'm going for
  791. <slash> I don't understand your last three sentances.
  792. <slef> subhead "How to contact your MP"
  793. <slef> #include Do/Don't list that seemed pretty good
  794. <slef> #include how to find the address
  795. <alexmacfie> perhaps group Do's and Don't's together
  796. <slef> key points should be merged into there without repeating the previous text
  797. <slef> slash: that's nice dear. Anything in particular?
  798. <slef> probably should note the success of the EP campaign somewhere too
  799. <alexmacfie> has links to FFII press release
  800. <alexmacfie> oh no that's on the index page
  801. jpm_away has quit (Quit: Leaving)
  802. jpm_away (noname@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  803. <alexmacfie> back so soon :)
  804. * slash is going soon
  805. <slash> some of us have work to do ;)
  806. <alexmacfie> I have to eat! [I'm in the office, no food]
  807. <slash> heh
  808. <quinophex> hehe
  809. <alexmacfie> OK so I'll come up with something based on the ideas herein
  810. <quinophex> is anyone logging this?
  811. <slash> yup
  812. <slash> I think we have to remember, though, that anti-swpat arguments are not actually going to make much difference
  813. <slash> The focus has to be on supporting the amendments within the directive
  814. <alexmacfie> sounds like the text should be rearranged and the front be made more user-friendly with some nice slogans
  815. jpm_away is now known as jpm
  816. <alexmacfie> but I'm no graphic designer, so can't make pictures
  817. <slash> pictures are easy
  818. <jpm> the key amendments though are the ones on scope of patentability
  819. <jpm> -- defining what is and what is not technical
  820. <jpm> to argue for those is to argue against swpat
  821. <alexmacfie> should there be an analysis of the amendments or can we just point to already-existing ffii material?
  822. <slash> jpm: I wasn't talking about actually discussing the amendments, but ensuring that the argument was that the directive was only good with the amendments
  823. <slash> no, don't analyse the amendments
  824. <slash> dull dull dull
  825. <jpm> no, not the ffii material
  826. <alexmacfie> If people are going to argue effectiveluy for *our* directive they prob need to understand how it's different from the original
  827. <jpm> far too dense
  828. <slash> exactly
  829. <slash> Focus on the differences: that the original has too loose definitions, and that simple things make technical contributions
  830. <slash> The practical difference is much more interesting than the wording
  831. <jpm> this is what I was trying to get to in my points to make para
  832. <slash> Arguing against software patents is probably going to be seen as a straw man argument
  833. nickhill has quit (Ping timeout: 483 seconds)
  834. <jpm> but swpats are what these amendments are about
  835. <jpm> real, concrete swpats
  836. <jpm> like Vicom and the Jpeg patent, for algorithms
  837. <alexmacfie> the ones swpat supporters say they're against
  838. <slash> If we say the original allows swpat, and then proceed to argue against swpat, the argument will be dismissed because politicians are likely to believe the rhetorical that the original only allows technical patents
  839. <slash> That's what I mean by it being a straw man argument
  840. <jpm> so we hit them with the UKPTO transcript
  841. <jpm> this directive codifies current practice
  842. <jpm> even the minutes said that
  843. <slash> I'm not denying that, but that's not going to come into play in a letter writing campaign
  844. <jpm> the point is to cut through this fog
  845. <jpm> and get to brass tacks
  846. <jpm> which patents does the Nov 2002 allow
  847. <slash> I don't think Vicom is your brass tacks though, I'm afraid
  848. <jpm> and which does the EP allow
  849. <jpm> but Vicom is exactly the sort of bad swpat
  850. <jpm> that is what the debate means
  851. <slash> You know that, I know that, but I'm not sure they can be convinced
  852. <jpm> who ?
  853. <slash> You're trying to ensure the minister believes the original directive is bad because it allows Vicom, yes?
  854. <jpm> Sainsbury and Bolkestein ?
  855. <slash> We're putting pressure on the Government to look at this issue critically, surely?
  856. <jpm> I think that is what we should try to launch a lot of letters to convince him, yes
  857. <jpm> that the original directive is bad because it allows Vicom
  858. <jpm> that for me is the absolute heart of what we are trying to do
  859. <slash> That's pushing every possible boulder uphill though
  860. <jpm> I don;t see any other way to get it there
  861. <jpm> unless we go to the heart of the debate, we get lost in the smoke and deceptions
  862. <slash> We have to address the key issues of data processing, interoperability and technical contribution
  863. <slash> Arguments against patents in those areas stand on their feet
  864. <jpm> no, those issues are marginal
  865. <jpm> not worth writing about
  866. <slash> They are key in the difference in the directives though
  867. <jpm> the key difference is in the definition of technical
  868. <jpm> which excludes patents like vicom
  869. <alexmacfie> but the minister will bring up the issue of technical contribution... as McCarthy did in Labour MEPs form letter
  870. <jpm> interoperability is a side issue
  871. <alexmacfie> so that at least will have to be addressed
  872. <slash> Well, just address technical contribution then
  873. <jpm> the ministers won;t buy it, but the commission does
  874. <alexmacfie> data processing is something that can be held up as something as inherently "non-technical" I think a reasonable person can see that point without difficult
  875. <alexmacfie> y
  876. <slash> exactly
  877. <jpm> the easiest way to address technical contribution is with examples of what is technical ac the EPO
  878. nickhill (~nick@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  879. <slash> arguing against Vicom means you're taking a radical position
  880. <jpm> actually for most people "data processing" = "big iron 1960s IBM mainfames" = totally technical
  881. <alexmacfie> and we're back there onto old (for us) arguments :(
  882. <jpm> arguing for the "law of physics" amendment is taking a radical position
  883. <alexmacfie> people are easily blinded by science
  884. <slash> I daresay it is, certainly in terms of UK law
  885. <alexmacfie> but it passed
  886. <alexmacfie> in the european parliamebt
  887. <jpm> it's just that;s what the words 'dp' mean
  888. <slash> Wouldn't fly over here though, I think we'd agree
  889. <alexmacfie> only because no parliamentarian has ever had the chance to debate these issues here
  890. <jpm> With different language, or more precise definitions, it might
  891. <jpm> the key -- I still think -- is to push the economic case that pure software patents are bad
  892. <jpm> pure software patents means things like Vicom
  893. <slash> That doesn't support the directive versus the original though
  894. <jpm> which is what the EP text rules out.
  895. <jpm> and the Nov 2002 text doesn't.
  896. <slash> but they _believe_ the original rules it out too
  897. <alexmacfie> practical effects are certainly easier to argue than theory of why software is unpatentable
  898. <jpm> no, they *really don;t
  899. <alexmacfie> slash: who's "they"?
  900. <slash> UKPTO & associates
  901. <jpm> the UKPTO don't, their advisers don't
  902. <slash> pure swpat they do
  903. <slash> Not Vicom, obviously
  904. <alexmacfie> they know exactly what they're doing... pretending it doesn't when they want something that does
  905. <jpm> if anybody else does, they are staking out an *incredibly* weak position
  906. <jpm> this is why we have to talk specific patents rather than words
  907. <slash> Sure, but once you move away from 'status quo' you lose the argument
  908. <jpm> and *fight* for the definition of the term "pure software"
  909. <jpm> slash: then we have no argument
  910. <slash> Absolutely not, I'm just talking about stating it differently
  911. <jpm> our argument does not depend on 'status quo'
  912. <slash> No, but that is the basis on which it will be judged
  913. <jpm> because the minister knows full well that the EP text is not the status quo
  914. <jpm> if we argue for status quo to the minister, we argue against the EP text.
  915. <slash> I thought you said the UKPTO thought it codified current practice?
  916. <slash> Or are you talking about the amended directive?
  917. <jpm> the McCarthy report codifies current practice
  918. <jpm> the EP text radically alters it
  919. <alexmacfie> ok I need to go as I'm tired and hungry
  920. <jpm> that is why we have to make a radical case
  921. <jpm> smoke and deception is not going to work against UKPTO civil servants
  922. <slash> I think we have to outline it has a practical case, because it's easy to show the McCarthy report doesn't achieve the stated aims
  923. <jpm> which aims ?
  924. <slash> That pure software not be patentable
  925. <jpm> what is "pure software" ?
  926. <slash> Exactly - that is the difference
  927. <jpm> that which has no "technical effect"
  928. <alexmacfie> now we're going round in circles...
  929. <jpm> ie a non-functional poem in perl
  930. <jpm> that is all the McCarthy report is intended to exclude
  931. <jpm> to expose that, we have to talk about real patents
  932. <jpm> and fess up, that Vicom is the issue
  933. <jpm> and trust our supporters to back us on fundamentals, not "status quo"
  934. <slash> and you think they will go away from 'sq' (as supported by their consultation), the practice of the last 20 years, the Vicom case as it went before EPO, etc?
  935. <slash> Rather than just take the arguments as supporting material that the amended directive is undesirable?
  936. <jpm> that is the case we are trying to prove
  937. <jpm> that is what we persuaded the EP
  938. <jpm> I just can't see any other way
  939. <slash> hmm
  940. <slash> My position is more along the lines of: I don't care whether we prove it or not; the amended directive is the goal
  941. <jpm> our case is that these software patents are bad news, and should not be granted
  942. <jpm> but the minister knows what the amended directive means, in terms of a radical change
  943. <alexmacfie> are you sure the minister has a clue what it means?
  944. <jpm> if he doesn't, you can bet the UKPTO are telling him
  945. <jpm> "this will invalideate 80% of C.I.I. patents...."
  946. <jpm> "overturn decades of UK practice..."
  947. <jpm> we're getting that back already in his letters
  948. <jpm> that is why we have to make the case for the change
  949. <jpm> not pretend there is no change
  950. <slash> jpm: forgetting about Vicom, I agree we have to convince them that it would invalidate cii patents
  951. <slash> After all, that was the point of the exercise
  952. <slash> Even from their perspective
  953. <jpm> well no
  954. alexmacfie has quit (infrared.oftc.net keid.oftc.net)
  955. Insti has quit (infrared.oftc.net keid.oftc.net)
  956. wolfbone has quit (infrared.oftc.net keid.oftc.net)
  957. <jpm> they aren;t intending to invalidate *any* patents
  958. <jpm> still here ?
  959. <slash> no, but they realise the situation isn't clear, and I can't believe that they would think that they could bring in something new which all patents would neatly fall in
  960. <slash> yep ;)
  961. <jpm> -- and the McCarthy directive wouldn;t
  962. <slash> Invalidation is a side-effect, not an intention
  963. alexmacfie (alexmacfie@ has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  964. Insti (~Insti@cpc3-cmbg3-5-0-cust171.cmbg.cable.ntl.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  965. wolfbone (~wolfbone@host81-152-204-147.range81-152.btcentralplus.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  966. <slash> back ;)
  967. <slash> I would have thought even McCarthy would invalidate some
  968. <jpm> but the McCarthy report literally codifies the current EPO rulebook
  969. <slash> There must be some sufficiently badly written
  970. <slash> I didn't think it was quite that weak, is it?
  971. <slash> I thought it was *slightly* stronger?
  972. <jpm> nope
  973. <jpm> no definition of technical
  974. <alexmacfie> or of industrial
  975. <jpm> & just requires a technical effect beyond normal running on a computer
  976. <jpm> -- just like the EPO guidelines
  977. <slash> I thought it had some extra exclusion or something
  978. <jpm> less memory, more speed, better user interface etc etc etc all technical
  979. * slash searching for the specific thing he's thinking of...
  980. <jpm> you're thinking of McCarthy's article 4a
  981. <jpm> technical effect beyond the normal operation of the computer
  982. <jpm> it's actually *weaker* than current UK law, becuase it codifies the EPO doctrine that all CIIs ipso facto have "technical character"
  983. <jpm> (the UK has thrown out as non-technical CIIs which support "methods for performing mental acts"
  984. <jpm> The whole *purpose* of the McCarthy report from the UKPTO perspective is to legitimise the current EPO policy
  985. <jpm> The only person who believes otherwise is the chump McCarthy herself
  986. <alexmacfie> so you think she's misguided not evil?
  987. <slash> no-one is evil
  988. <jpm> I like to try to think the best of people :-)
  989. <alexmacfie> sure...
  990. <alexmacfie> "see" y'all later, send me log, whoever's logging :)
  991. jpm2 (noname@dial-62-64-214-128.access.uk.tiscali.com) has joined #uk-swpat-talk
  992. <jpm2> boing
  993. <slash> <alexmacfie> "see" y'all later, send me log, whoever's logging :)
  994. alexmacfie has left #uk-swpat-talk ((nil))
  995. <jpm2> me too please :)
  996. <slash> hehe
  997. <jpm2> I should be going
  998. <nickhill-> Me too
  999. <jpm2> how are things being left ?
  1000. <nickhill-> Send me a log. Thx
  1001. <jpm2> Who's going to write the page to launch 2000 MP letters ?
  1002. <slash> We need to finish the council page & also decide now whether or not to try and get a meeting with Ministers
  1003. <jpm2> of course we should try to meet them
  1004. <slash> I'll pull stuff out of the logs & post to ffii-uk tomorrow I guess
  1005. nickhill has quit (Quit: Client exiting)
  1006. <jpm2> like Richard Allan said, "high powered delegation" that went to see him is what we need
  1007. <slash> I should invite him to the RMS talk
  1008. <jpm2> for sure
  1009. <jpm2> it;s in his back yard
  1010. <slash> exactly
  1011. <slash> Do we know who the previous delegation were yet?
  1012. <jpm2> um... no
  1013. <slash> Or how they got in?! ;)
  1014. <slash> Bizarre
  1015. <jpm2> or why he thinks they came from us ?
  1016. <jpm2> alex cox perhaps ???
  1017. <slash> Because we're the people who hounded McCarthy
  1018. <slash> Alan Cox surely ;)
  1019. <slash> Might have been
  1020. <slash> Not sure if he's communicable atm tho :(
  1021. <jpm2> try telsa
  1022. <slash> I know he is very much off message
  1023. <jpm2> off message ?
  1024. <jpm2> off mailing lists, yes
  1025. <slash> He's unsubscribed from the thousands of lists he's on
  1026. <slash> ;)
  1027. <slash> he used to be everywhere
  1028. <jpm2> MBAs are more than a little demanding
  1029. <slash> er, yes, indeed
  1030. <jpm2> but Telsa is interested in swpat herself
  1031. <jpm2> so she might know if Alan had gone to London
  1032. jpm has quit (Ping timeout: 483 seconds)
  1033. <slash> I have seen him at the Dti before
  1034. <slash> hmmm
  1035. <slash> anyway, to bed I think :/
  1036. <jpm2> I should go
  1037. <slash> :)
  1038. <jpm2> yup.
  1039. <slash> continue on the list
  1040. <slash> maybe alex can turn mods off :o)
  1041. <jpm2> back to the call I interrupted an hour ago saying back in 15 mins
  1042. <jpm2> she didn;t believe me...
  1043. <slash> hehe
  1044. <jpm2> so who's writing the page ?
  1045. <jpm2> slef ?
  1046. <jpm2> yourself ?
  1047. <slash> anyone
  1048. <jpm2> alexM ?
  1049. <slash> what's our deadline?
  1050. <jpm2> anyone == noone
  1051. <jpm2> about 2 weeks ago
  1052. <slash> anyone ==collaboration ;)
  1053. <slash> Let's say it needs to be done by this time tomorrow, then
  1054. <jpm2> ready for a mailshot and slashdotting on thursday then...
  1055. <slef> well, you have my suggested structure in the irc log, pretty much
  1056. <slef> but it seems that I don't understand the argument terribly well
  1057. <slash> We need to include something about the points to cover though
  1058. <jpm2> ? how come slef
  1059. <slef> which I blame entirely on how confused I am by the existing material
  1060. <slash> it is ridiculously complicated
  1061. <jpm2> soz....
  1062. <jpm2> but true
  1063. <slef> slash: that either needs to be in the do/don't or in the rationale IMO
  1064. <slash> Rationale
  1065. <slef> jpm2: not just council.html but swpat.ffii.org et al too
  1066. <jpm2> we need FAR better support material
  1067. <slash> The aim should be at least partly to rebut the nonsense they're sending out
  1068. <slef> no, you need far better structure
  1069. <jpm2> swpat.ffii.org is horrific
  1070. <slash> there is a vast amount of data on there though
  1071. <slef> I get lost on both swpat.ffii and AEL
  1072. <slash> i wouldn't want to be the person restructuring it ;)
  1073. <slef> but I don't really know what's there, as I've not been tracking it properly
  1074. <jpm2> only Hartmut knows
  1075. <jpm2> but that is why we've done so badly so far in this country
  1076. <slash> right, I'm really gone now.
  1077. <slash> see you all
  1078. <jpm2> we desperately need a solid pull-together of the most important points
  1079. <jpm2> council.html was my attempt, as far as it went
  1080. <jpm2> but not good enough
  1081. <slef> there seems to be some confusion over exactly what we are calling for
  1082. <slef> and the reasons for it
  1083. <slef> council.html is mostly "why swpat is bad"
  1084. <slef> and not enough "why the EP result is good"
  1085. <slef> It also shares swpat.ffii's wordiness.
  1086. * slef notices the length of the swpat.ffii opening sentence
  1087. * jpm2 puts off his phone call for anothe 15 mins
  1088. * slef compares to the German
  1089. <jpm2> sorry to be so wordy
  1090. <slef> sok... it's common, but both web and fliers don't flow nicely with it
  1091. <jpm2> & to write sentances that run on and on and on
  1092. <jpm2> yup
  1093. <slef> In some places, it's considered good style
  1094. <jpm2> I find it tricky to get the argument over otherwise
  1095. <slef> For the flier, the main thing I did was chop out what seemed less important. After that, I try to remove sub-clauses as much as possible.
  1096. <jpm2> Oh the 1st version was totally unfocussed
  1097. <slef> English speakers generally cope well with 3 clauses per sentence max
  1098. <jpm2> what you did on the flyer was superb
  1099. <slef> thanks... the material I was working from was pretty good, I think
  1100. <slef> let me just look for any concise notes I have
  1101. <jpm2> Otoh, I was looking at "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", and the sentences go on for ever, but are *incredibly* easy to follow
  1102. * jpm2 fears he isn't a Gibbon
  1103. <slef> Depends if they are longitudinal
  1104. <jpm2> ook
  1105. <slef> would you believe, I only passed GCSE English with difficulty? ;-)
  1106. <jpm2> nope.
  1107. <slef> I really like linguistics, though.
  1108. <jpm2> As regards "why the EP result is good"
  1109. <jpm2> the most important answer to me, by far, is because it rules out swpat, and swpat is bad
  1110. <jpm2> hence the construction of the page
  1111. <slef> others here seem to disagree slightly on that?
  1112. <jpm2> & then I was going to add in a bit to say *how* the EP text rules out swpat when the Nov 2002 text doesn't
  1113. <jpm2> I don;t think we can win this by smoke and mirrors
  1114. <slef> points from these notes that you might like to consider:
  1115. <jpm2> but then I've been repeating that like a stuck record...
  1116. <jpm2> ok: points...
  1117. <slef> The first paragraph should contain all the key elements of the story. You have seconds to make an impact. A good test is to imagine whether the reader can immediately draw a picture from your words.
  1118. <slef> If in doubt, keep it straight and simple.
  1119. <jpm2> yes.
  1120. <slef> Later paragraphs should expand the story, offer a quote, pointers to relevant background and a call to action.
  1121. <slef> Check that the article contains the 6Ws
  1122. <jpm2> the first para is the point of the pyramid that journalists talk about
  1123. <jpm2> who what whom when where how ?
  1124. <jpm2> why
  1125. <slef> Always check facts, then check them again. Never assume. Never take anything for granted. Mistakes in basic facts destroy credibility.
  1126. <slef> Yes, but also the same reason as executive summaries are normally at the start.
  1127. <slef> And yes, those 6
  1128. <jpm2> this is useful. hope somebody's still logging.
  1129. <slef> Write for the reader first, you second. What is of interest to the reader? Who are you talking to?
  1130. <jpm2> hmmm... I suppose with that page first of all I was trying to put my thoughts in order... or at least, just down in text
  1131. <slef> Don't make it sound like an advert, or use jargon, because many readers will stop reading. Always expand unusual acronyms the first time you use them.
  1132. <slef> Hrm. I think that's all the useful parts from that folder.
  1133. <jpm2> good folder... what was it ?
  1134. <slef> News media session from my scholarship course.
  1135. chriscroome has quit (Quit: Lost terminal)
  1136. <slef> http://www.frugalmarketing.com/breakthroughcopywriting.shtml may be interesting too
  1137. <slef> http://www.frugalmarketing.com/copywriting101-10tips.shtml too, but they're both marketing-driven
  1138. <jpm2> ... which is what we're trying to do...
  1139. <slef> In a way, I guess. I'm normally a little wary of US marketing sites, but 3 years editing a zine makes you tired of "YES! You too can have a perfectly shaven monkey!" submissions
  1140. <slef> Hrm, not finding much else
  1141. * slef checks bookmarks
  1142. <jpm2> So how come you didn't put the boot into my text this afternoon, rather than spending so long subbing it ?
  1143. <slef> I didn't know what was wanted.
  1144. <slef> As a reference page, it's pretty good. Lots of info, lots of explanation, lots of links.
  1145. <jpm2> but not a call to arms
  1146. <slef> Most of the structure makes sense for that purpose. Just some bits seemed contorted.
  1147. <slef> If we want a call to arms, we need to be pointer and briefer. We probably need both pages, rather than try to make either the other.
  1148. <slef> pointier
  1149. <jpm2> I really do have to go
  1150. <slef> ok, ttfn...
  1151. <jpm2> Do you think, between the team, we can get a text sorted by tomorrow ?
  1152. <jpm2> Or two texts even ?
  1153. <slef> nfi... I'm booked during the day
  1154. <slef> erm, "No Firm Idea"
  1155. <jpm2> Things don;t seem very ... organised
  1156. <slef> ;-)
  1157. <jpm2> lol
  1158. <jpm2> teah right
  1159. <jpm2> yeah right
  1160. <slef> I don't know who's in charge of this. alexm? alexh?
  1161. <slef> you?
  1162. <jpm2> ... nfi ?
  1163. <slef> heh
  1164. <jpm2> it's alexm's site...
  1165. <jpm2> or at least that one is
  1166. <jpm2> but we need to be moving things along a lot quicker
  1167. <jpm2> ...
  1168. <jpm2> actually, basic organisation and roles is what we probably should have discussed tonight
  1169. <jpm2> at the moment we're not playing as a team at all
  1170. <slef> I admit, I was being a passenger as I didn't look at what the plan for this was.
  1171. <jpm2> I missed the first hour completely
  1172. <jpm2> so I don;t know if alexm or alexh set down any sort of agenda
  1173. <jpm2> but we're not getting the best out of people
  1174. <jpm2> or making it easy to contribute
  1175. * slef reads http://mail.gnu.org/archive/html/fsfe-uk/2003-10/msg00047.html
  1176. <slef> Do you want me to dump this log somewhere so you can see the first hour?