The FOSS Force Poll
While it’s good to know that voters in our poll are aware that software patents remain very much a threat to free tech, the small number of people who voted might indicate a lack of awareness on the issue by newcomers to FOSS.
Another poll with results that aren’t a surprise. In this poll we wondered if you thought that software patents remain a threat to Linux and FOSS. Yup, you do. The results were pretty lopsided and not at all difficult to interpret.
In recent years software patents haven’t been nearly as much in the news as they once were. This is partly due to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice Corp. vs. CLS Bank which took a slew of patents off the table. Also, thanks to the efforts of companies such as Newegg to duke it out in court instead of rolling over and settling, many patents that had been successfully leveraged by the trolls for years have been invalidated.
In this poll we offered four answers: “Very much,” “It’s better, but still a threat,” “Not much, it’s under control,” and “Not at all.” Not many of you voted in this one, only 164 votes were cast, but those who did voted overwhelming for the two answers that indicate you think patents are still something to worry about.
A total of 92.6 percent of those who took our poll answered “Very much” or “It’s better, but still a threat.” The former answer received the most votes, 87 or 53 percent, with the later getting 65 votes for 39.6 percent of the total,
Those who think that software patents aren’t much of a threat anymore were in a distinct minority. Seven voters, or 4.3 percent, chose “Not much, it’s under control,” and only 5 voters, representing 3 percent, thought that patents are “Not at all” a problem for Linux and FOSS anymore.
This would be encouraging if not for the low number of people who chose to vote in this poll, which might indicate that software patents are no longer on many Linux and FOSS users radar. While it is true that the threat has been somewhat reduced in recent years, it hasn’t gone away. The big gains that have been made on the patent front could quickly disappear if the FOSS community were to let its guard down.