STUPID: Facebook granted a patent for a list of information.
So the crapdamn US Patent Office again showed how irrelevant it is and how little it knows about technology when it recently granted Facebook a patent for the “the feed,” which refers to that list of information happening on Facebook. This is the patent claim:
A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising: monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment; storing the plurality of activities in a database; generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.
Why was Facebook granted a patent for this? More to the point, why do software patents exist at all? Does anybody at the patent office have even the slightest goddamn idea of what it means to make software? Do any of these crapasses even have computers?
Here’s my question: Aside from the fact that this patent, like a great number of sofware patents, is vague and relates to activities performed on a great majority of sites for a really long time (prior art, much?) it’s all built on existing languages, and all that anyone can do when building software is use existing languages and systems. And before any of you bastards say:
But, Walt, a developer could use existing tools and APIs, but they could also develop their own languages!
Let me say:
Sure, Facebook could, in this case, write a new language to power the feed. They wouldn’t in this case because it has to work on the internet, but even if they did, so what? It all eventually goes down to Assembler, and ultimately, binary. How can any piece of software imaginable not be negated due to prior art? Answer: It can’t. Software patents are stupid.
And this is aside from the fact that a patent if enforced could mean that people who develop something on their own, in private, would be prevented from actually, you know, enjoying the fruits of their labor simply because they didn’t take the time to patent what is just their daily work, or because someone else did it first, or because some jackass got a patent through that is so vague it could reflect nearly anything.
In conclusion, software patents are stupid and should be destroyed. Make it happen, crapcakes. Make it happen.