Richard M. Stallman was one of the founding members of the Free Software movement, and one of the original programmers in what would become Linux today (a name he hates). He is a passionate critic of software patent laws, as well as other restrictive computing laws and practices.

Software patents are a joke, Literally. Most programmers detest them, for the avalanche of bureaucracy it drops on them (even a few lines of code you thought were original can get you sued). It appears that a number of the patents in the new Oracle/Apple suit were written at Sun in a secret cynical competition to get the most ridiculous patent approved – and sadly, many were.

These laws fail on every front. They’re not popular with producers or consumers. They add enormous amounts of money to the cost with very little demonstrable benefit. And they have all the moral basis of Feudalism. I’d tell y’all to just go out and break them at will, but everybody already is, almost daily. The one exception of course is the Linux crowd – we don’t have to break ’em – all our software’s free already.

Richard Stallman speaking at the University of San Francisco (Google Video, one hour). This was the shortest and most passionate of the speeches of his I found – if you want to hear more, there’s plenty of llinks to 2-hour+ talks.

End Software Patents – Massive collection of resources and arguments against software patents.