by Mike Masnick
Wed, Apr 2nd 2008 2:22pm
MySQL's execs have always been outspoken critics of software patents. Back in 2004, we wrote about the company CEO's well-reasoned article about how software patents had become the nuclear stockpiling of the modern era. Companies were forced to patent everything just to have enough ammo to make sure others didn't sue them for patent infringement, and the end result was huge legal bills and wasted money that wasn't going towards innovation at all. Since then, the company has remained vehemently against software patents. However, now that Sun has purchased MySQL, the company is apparently being pushed to cut back on its anti-software patent stance. Someone who prefers to remain anonymous sent in some blog posts highlighting how Sun has removed MySQL's anti-software patent page. To be fair, among larger companies, Sun has certainly shown a much better understanding of how patents can be anti-innovation as well as how the patent system is often abused. But, at the same time, it also has a bunch of patents and has demonstrated in quite explicit fashion just how those patent nuclear wars work. So, of companies out there, Sun seems less bad concerning software patents than other firms. But it's still rather disappointing to see it erase MySQL's excellent public stance against software patents from the web -- even if it did make a silly April Fool's joke about open source software this week.
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