November 23, 2004 8:04 AM PST

Torvalds trashes EU patent proposal

Linux creator Linus Torvalds has appealed to the EU Council to oppose a directive that would make software patentable in Europe.

Torvalds, as well as MySQL co-founder Michael Widenius and PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf, said in a statement Tuesday on an anti-patent Web site that software patents must not be legalized.

"In the interest of Europe, such a deceptive, dangerous and democratically illegitimate proposal must not become the Common Position of the member states," said the three open-source luminaries. "For the sake of innovation and a competitive software market, we sincerely hope that the European Union will seize this opportunity to exclude software from patentability."

Torvalds, Widenius and Lerdorf were not immediately available to confirm the statement, but MySQL co-founder David Axmark said all three had confirmed the statement by e-mail to him.

In the statement, Torvalds, Widenius and Lerdorf laid out the risks of the software patent directive--known as the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions --including concerns that it could damage the European economy.

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