Linus Torvalds Isn't As Anti-Patents As You May Think

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 15, 2012

In case you missed it, Slashdot recently hosted a question-and-answer online event with none other than Linux Torvalds. Readers were invited to send in questions, and Torvalds addressed a baker's dozen of them. Among his more interesting and unexpected responses, it seems that he is not so against patents as some people might think.

Earlier this year, Torvalds recieved one of the technology commmunity's highest honors: He was named a Millenium Technology Prize laureate by the Technology Academy of Finland.  Always popular as an online draw, Slashdot readers asked him about software patents, drawing this response:

"So I like copyrights, and even on patents I'm not necessarily in the 'Patents are completely evil' camp. When I rant about patents or copyrights, I rant against the *excesses* and the bad policies, not about them existing in the first place. The patent problems people on slashdot are probably familiar with: the system is pretty much geared towards people abusing it, with absolutely ridiculous patents being admitted, and it hindering invention rather than helping it. The failures are many, and I don't know how to fix it, but much stricter limits on what can be patented are clearly needed."

Continuing with his response to the question, Torvalds added this: "Quite frankly, there are a lot of f*cking morons on the internet."

It's worth reading Torvalds' Q&A session. If his comments on patents seem at all surprising, keep in mind that from Transmeta to other companies, Torvalds has been directly involved with patents and copyrights himself for years.