FreeBasic legal issues?

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geokeyng
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FreeBasic legal issues?

Postby geokeyng » Jun 15, 2009 3:18

Since FreeBasic is based off of QBasic, does this have legal consequences if you wanted to make money off of FB (such as from a game or a website)? Will Microsoft come chasing after you because of patented syntax or anything like that? I'm not a lawyer and so was wondering about that. If there has been another thread discussing it, please direct me to it. Thanks.
1000101
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Postby 1000101 » Jun 15, 2009 3:20

Unfortunately for Microsoft, they do not hold any patents on the BASIC syntax (which predates the existance of their company). The only worrys you have are outlined in the license which is part of the download.
geokeyng
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Postby geokeyng » Jun 15, 2009 3:40

So the fact that FB was designed to be compatible with QB programs doesn't waive any type of rights, such as intellectual property rights, to Microsoft?

I see your point with Basic predating Microsoft, but since QBasic is a derivative of Basic, and has its own unique style, does that not make it its own type of syntax that can be patented?
thriller
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Postby thriller » Jun 15, 2009 7:55

In fact, there're thousands of BAsIC programs.
freebasic is free, so you can use it for free.
it's so beautiful that v1ctor and friends made this happen.
if you want to make money, don't worry about giving money.
that's fair.
Freebasic is spirit.
1000101
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Postby 1000101 » Jun 15, 2009 16:35

geokeyng wrote:So the fact that FB was designed to be compatible with QB programs doesn't waive any type of rights, such as intellectual property rights, to Microsoft?


There are 20 different flavour of DOS. None of them owe or have been persued legally by Microsoft despite Microsoft having bought the rights to the DOS operating system.
marcov
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Postby marcov » Jun 15, 2009 18:06

1000101 wrote:
geokeyng wrote:So the fact that FB was designed to be compatible with QB programs doesn't waive any type of rights, such as intellectual property rights, to Microsoft?


There are 20 different flavour of DOS. None of them owe or have been persued legally by Microsoft despite Microsoft having bought the rights to the DOS operating system.


While true, that is unlikely to help you if you do get sued.
1000101
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Postby 1000101 » Jun 15, 2009 22:09

marcov wrote:While true, that is unlikely to help you if you do get sued.


Actually it does. Patent law requires you to actively protect your patent. If you do not, then you risk losing your rights to it. There have been cases where the patent holder lost thier patent rights for waiting too long to file suit.

Anyway, this is all far from the original post and there is no threat from Microsoft as they don't hold any claim on the BASIC syntax or language (nor do I think they are worried about a dead OS or compiler).
Richard
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Postby Richard » Jun 16, 2009 0:18

A patent applies only to new inventions. BASIC is not new (novel) so it cannot be patented. If the compiler writer used some novel technique such as “tree structure” then the technique could be patented. To be patented the technique must be patented prior to first publication. Academics publish programming techniques long before any MS programmer even understands them. They are not still novel when they are used later by others. To defeat a patent you only need to show prior art and therefore prove that the invention was not novel when patented. A library search of programming literature would do that.

Copyright applies to the code patterns used to make the software operate or function. FreeBASIC was written by people who had not disassembled MS QB, so they would not copy it. They came up with a new and different work of art, that behaves the same or better.

A FreeBASIC program written by a user is a creative work that can be copyright. You place keywords and variable names in a new and original pattern. You then compile that pattern using a BASIC compiler and run it. The code generated by a BASIC compiler is a product of your source program and the compiler generated blocks. FreeBASIC blocks are different to QB blocks and your code makes the order of blocks different again, so the generated code does not breach any QB copyright.
marcov
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Postby marcov » Jun 17, 2009 10:06

1000101 wrote:
marcov wrote:While true, that is unlikely to help you if you do get sued.


Actually it does. Patent law requires you to actively protect your patent. If you do not, then you risk losing your rights to it. There have been cases where the patent holder lost thier patent rights for waiting too long to file suit.


While true to some extend, that goes for the same patent. Not to potentially unrelated products.

Anyway, this is all far from the original post and there is no threat from Microsoft as they don't hold any claim on the BASIC syntax or language (nor do I think they are worried about a dead OS or compiler).


I don't think the risk is particularly high either, but that doesn't mean one misrepresent the exact legal situation.

All this assuming there are patents on given products to begin with.
marcov
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Postby marcov » Jun 17, 2009 10:07

Richard wrote:A patent applies only to new inventions. BASIC is not new (novel) so it cannot be patented. If the compiler writer used some novel technique such as “tree structure” then the technique could be patented. To be patented the technique must be patented prior to first publication. Academics publish programming techniques long before any MS programmer even understands them. They are not still novel when they are used later by others. To defeat a patent you only need to show prior art and therefore prove that the invention was not novel when patented. A library search of programming literature would do that.


And find funding for the legal fees.
MichaelW
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Postby MichaelW » Jun 17, 2009 11:30

All this assuming there are patents on given products to begin with.

And that they are still in force after what could be more than 20 years.
McLovin
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Postby McLovin » Jun 17, 2009 15:19

My impression is that MS would want as many people as possible to begin programming and languages like FB are perfect vehicles to get new programmers into the system. Once hooked on programming, over time MS would try to lure them to their higher priced flagship visual studios. It's all about getting the customer into the funnel and positioning them for purchase.

:-)
Landeel
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Postby Landeel » Jun 19, 2009 16:57

Maybe someone who programs with FreeBASIC will end up buying something from Microsoft. Maybe. But there are so many free alternatives...

I seriously doubt MS has this kind of plan, as they are just too proud of themselves, they think FreeBASIC, and this kind of open source project is just too small to care about.

MS's focus is on the "regular user", not the "power user/programmer".

MS discontinued QBasic many many years ago. FreeBASIC is not a competitor to them.

FreeBASIC is written from scratch. Developers didn't disassemble anything from MS.

Beside the small number of developers, FreeBASIC is an open source community project. Who will they go after to issue?

PowerBASIC, PureBASIC and DarkBASIC are commercial products that mimic QBASIC a lot. They have been selling copies for many many years, and MS didn't go after them.

Edited as requested by counting_pine.
Last edited by Landeel on Jun 22, 2009 20:24, edited 1 time in total.
Kot
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Postby Kot » Jun 19, 2009 17:09

Landeel wrote:they think FreeBASIC, and this kind of open source project is just too small to care about.

There's nothing too small if they can squish a cent from it. That's why Windows Commander is now called Total commander, for example.
Landeel
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Postby Landeel » Jun 20, 2009 0:23

Yeah, but patents are much more complex than trademarks.

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