Issues about Patent and Open Source

2 minute read

Open Letter to Mike Pall

Mr. Mike Pall, the author of Luajit seems to be upset about my claiming software patents and promoting closed source software.

With all due respect to his outstanding work, I would like to give an open response.

The sole purpose of my starting the project 10 years ago and all hardware development 5 years ago is that I am fed up with the massive privacy invasion of all existing commercial products, and the failure to make products even functioning properly because of those efforts.

And as the development goes on I realized that there is no other way to both survive and promote the idea.

The current problems of IoT is not a technological issue alone. It is more about the supply chain issue that the end-users have no control over.

This world is full of all sorts of conflicts of interest. Let’s not pretend those don’t exist. Let’s put everything on the table. Let’s analyze everybody’s role in it. I don’t care if someone is from Silicon Valley or Shenzhen or wherever. Let’s see how it goes.

I only care about the end results, i.e. what exactly the end-users get? Did anybody do the right thing for the end-users? For all the technologists, apart from open sharing of ideas and freedom of developers to express their ideas, did anybody ever forgot how they get paid, where does the money come from? While they share the same interests among themselves, do they always share the same interest with the end-users?

Again, let’s put every aspect of conflict of interest on the table and analyze it.

Here are the claims I often hear from the open-source community:

  • I only use the phone with the Android firmware I built for myself
  • I will never use IoT products that are not built by myself
  • And the claims go on and on

Did end-user benefit from any effort they did for themselves? Will they?

Some people say that our claims of privacy protection are not verifiable without open sourcing. Well, I would like to see every vendor making that kind of claim, too. Will they? Is that so difficult to do?

Personally, I don’t like the idea of software patents either. And I have a lot of respect for those who devoted their efforts to open source projects. As a matter of fact, Libre Home system benefited a lot from those efforts.

But again, open-source or not, technology can be used to serve any purpose. For everyone, sometimes, we don’t have too many choices.

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