The software patent monster impedes innovation

Bruce Perens tells us that patents impede innovation his article, The Monster Arrives: Software Patent Lawsuits Against Open Source Developers:

Patents were created as a means to get inventors to disclose their inventions, rather than keep them secret. The disclosure of an invention was supposed to allow others to more easily build on that invention, thus creating more inventions. But the patent system has evolved into something useless for the purpose of disclosure, and engineers are now instructed to avoid looking at other companies’ patents because if the victim of a patent lawsuit can be shown to have known of a patent, the award to the patent holder is tripled. There have been no reliable studies that show software patenting to have encouraged innovation, and there is much evidence that they actually impede it.

Mongrel web server

Here’s an interview with Zed Shaw, the author of the Mongrel web server — a web server for the Ruby programming language that is good for use in combination with Ruby on Rails and other Ruby-based web-app frameworks. It’s interesting in that it’s fast, secure, cross-platform, and it’s not a heavyweight solution (compared to Apache). Why is it more secure than Apache at the HTTP protocol level? Mongrel utilizes the Ragel State Machine Compiler
to generate the protocol parser, “and that is very strict and seems to block a huge number of attack attempts simply because it is so exacting.”