Potential Patent Infringement Threatens To Doom Highly Anticipated Open Source Project

from the promoting-science-through-patents dept

John Carmack, the guy behind the Doom series of games, has alway been a supporter of open source software. He has in the past released the source code for the original Doom and Quake to the open source community. This open access has led to Doom and Quake being used in a variety of ways and has allowed numerous people to learn how to make games. It has really come as no surprise that Carmack has decided to open source the code for Doom 3. What is surprising though is that move has been held up due to an old patent infringement suit.

Back in 1999, Creative Labs filed for a software patent for a 3D shading technique called “depth fail”. When Carmack was developing Doom 3, he independently invented the same technique. This led to some patent troubles that eventually ended with Carmack licensing the patent from Creative Labs. This old wound is now causing pain for Carmack once more. Because his lawyers are not willing to risk another lawsuit over the patent, Carmack is being forced to code a new solution to the 3D shading technique in order to work around the patent. This is holding up the the release of the code to the open source community.

Although the patent issues are a pain in the butt for those in the open source community, one nice thing is knowing exactly what patents you are infringing and exactly what areas of your software need to be reworked to avoid the problem. This is something that other patent holders are not willing to grant to those they are threatening, Take for example Microsoft and its claims that Linux and Android violate its patents. If MIcrosoft would just tell the open source community what it thinks is infringing, then the developers could just work around those issues. Instead, Microsoft insists on using its patents as a weapon to threaten companies into licensing deals. This behavior is well outside the bounds of the US Constitution’s clause to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts”.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: creative labs

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Potential Patent Infringement Threatens To Doom Highly Anticipated Open Source Project”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
20 Comments
Mike42says:

Re: Re: Re: Late in the game...

Actually, all he did was change it back to the slightly less efficient way to calculate volume shadows, which eats an extra clock cycle. Thus, a 6 line change.
John WAS a staunch supporter of open source, and didn’t patent any of his techniques, because he believed in the golden rule: “I’d be really pissed if I couldn’t do something in code because of a patent.” (paraphrased from “Masters of Doom” and filtered through my faulty organic memory.)
I’ve been noticing some non-open vibes coming from him since ID was bought out. (Endorsing DirectX over OpenGL is one.) I’d be interested to know if he’s intending to open-source Tech 5 whenever he develops Tech 6.

vegetamansays:

See, the patent system encourages innovation!

See, the patent system does encourage innovation!

Now John Carmack has to innovate a way to get around a patent somebody else filed on an idea he managed to independently discover around the same time.

/sarcasm

(Seriously though, John Carmack is awesome in my book. Open source software all the way!)

Paulsays:

As a start up you have limited chances....

I found an article here advizeing on how to avoid patent infrigment.
Nice read, but the conclusion I get from this is that a 2,4 or10 man team these days stand no change on creating something new without a lot of cash to begin with or luck.
The amount of effort to try to create something that is not patent Infringeing is more than it will take to inplemet the idea.
In the end I don’t think you can avoid patents so I guess for all developers out there just go and work for big corporations and propose your ideas to them in the end you will get a 5% salary raise and the CEO will get a 5% increase in stock value, I think its a fare thing to do.

Leave a Reply to :Lobo Santo Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it