JAN
6
2005

kde.ie Website Launched

KDE.ie has been launched by the new KDE representative in Ireland, Barry O'Donovan. If you are a KDE developer, contributor and/or enthusiast in Ireland then please join the kde-ie mailing list. If you know of any KDE contribututors, commercial supporters or candidates for case studies please contact kde-ie.

Comments

Esp. I like that he links to the Software patent issue as the Irish Goverment plays a negative key role in the EU. The Irish presidency fought hard in favour of swpat and there are no organised Irish Pressure Groups as in other EU member states.

http://lists.ffii.org/mailman/listinfo/ie-parl


By gerd at Thu, 2005/01/06 - 6:00am

Speaking as an Irish citizen, I have to wonder if you even know what you're talking about.

The idea that the Irish presidency was determined to push on with software patents is one which I first saw in an uncharacteristically uninformed article on lwn.net. Clearly the author then, and you now, did not realise that "presidency" in fact means chairsing meetings: which involves deciding agendas and who gets to speak when. It does not confer any significant executive power; in fact, Ireland has less voting power than quite a few countries in the EU, including Poland which is leading the patent fight.

I do concede that the country relies to a large degree on outside investment, even in IT, and is therefore sensitive to the needs of such countries. However the political system has been cleaned out to such a degree in the last 10 years that it is entirely unplausible that any one business could shape government policy (whose current manifestaion, while tolerating ineptitude in the case of some ministers, is being kept on the straight and narrow by its coaltion partners, the "Progressive Demoncrats")

Don't forget the President of the European Parliment up to mid-2004, which agreed on what was considered to be an acceptable a software patenting scheme, was himself and Irishman: Pat Cox.

In short, the Irish government has played no more negative a role in the software patents issue than several other countries in the EU, and has been significantly more progressive in the IT sphere than our closest neighbours, Britain (though Britain's stance owes a lot to Mr. David Blunkett).

With regard to the lack of an organisation to combat patents, this is true, though it is not necessarily due to a lack of interest (try looking at the first article on http://www.linux.ie, or read through the discussions on http://www.boards.ie). The people in Ireland, unions aside, aren't particularly demonstrative: there has only been one major IT effort, and that's been to lobby for decent broadband support, something which only became available to the average consumer in the last nine months.

I don't know you, and I don't recall any of your previous posts. You could well be a very nice guy. However it would be appreciated if you checked your facts before you choose to insult an entire country and denigrate an effort (kde.ie) which could in fact generate the kind of patent discussion you feel is lacking.


By Bryan Feeney at Fri, 2005/01/07 - 6:00am

Well, you seem to be a little bit nationalistic, I mean a criticism of a government or government officials is no offence against the Irish people.

It is no Irish conspiracy but in fact the IE presicency fought very hard in favour. And the chair usually can set the agenda E.g the Tanaiste put DK under pressure to agree to a bogus compromise proposal from the Commission ("German proposal as amended in a slight technical way").

Council 18-05-2004

IE: And Denmark? Can I hear from Denmark please?
DK: I would really like to ask the commission why they couldn't accept the last sentence put forward by the Italians. Which was in the original German proposal.
[the Italian minister Buttiglione earlier mentioned it was fraud, Bolkestein just affirmed his position and did not answer his questions]
IE: I think the Commissioner already answered that question, I'm sorry Denmark. So are you yes, no, abstain?
DK: I think we wouldn't, we're not hap...
IE: Can I assume you're a "yes"?
DK: We're not happy
IE: But are you 80% happy?
DK: But... I think we...
IE: We don't need you you to be totally happy. None of us are totally happy.
DK: I know that, I know that.
IE: If we were, we wouldn't be here
Crowd: Laugther
DK: I think we're not very happy, but I think we would, we would...
IE: Thank you very much
DK: ... we would like to see a solution today.
IE: Thank you very much, Denmark.

http://www.elis.ugent.be/~jmaebe/nobackup/council/v003.ogg
oder video
http://christian-leber.de/~ijuz/bkaindl/


By gerd at Fri, 2005/01/07 - 6:00am

Having listened to it all, and watched it, I don't think Mary Harney (the chair) was particularly biased one way or another. The representative from Denmark could always have simply said "We would like more discussion on the Italian issue. Until then we have to vote no". If you look at the video the Danish representatives were laughing along with everyone else - it wasn't the fierce badgering it appears to be in print. He was put under pressure to give a straight answer, not to vote one way or another.

Which I can understand: he was trying to raise a point at the end of the meeting, instead of when the point was being discussed. Having sat through a few marathon meetings myself, I can understand where Ms. Harney was coming from.

With all that said however, I possibly overreacted in my comment above (which could have done with a bit more proof-reading!), I was just upset to see that the _very first_ post to what should have been a nice story was so negative.

As for criticising a government, it's always a different issue when it's someone from outside your country doing it: the natural emotive reaction is to take offence.


By Bryan Feeney at Fri, 2005/01/07 - 6:00am

In fact Ireland as the UK is strong pro.
Many delegates complained about the rush.
In fact the German government was to be blamed as they radically changed their position in the break. BTW: The German representative Hansjörg Geiger is a former head of both the the secret services in Germany. The amended German proposal was introduced in short-term and rushed through.

The dk diplomate didn't know what to do and the minister was absent. Also take a look at his fingers.

What I like about the Irish politicians is the straight decision-oriented way. McCreevy statement before EU Parliament was also the only phrase-less.

The same day the community patent failed, Ireland was forced to present a success.

I believe that organisation is very important. Having a KDE.ie is just great.


By gerd at Fri, 2005/01/07 - 6:00am

For Free Software Engineering only the signature of
Cambridge University supporting Polish Government
is an asset.


By llllll at Fri, 2005/01/07 - 6:00am

> However it would be appreciated if you checked your facts before you choose to insult an entire country and denigrate an effort (kde.ie) which could in fact generate the kind of patent discussion you feel is lacking.

Bryan, please re-read Gerd's post. He didn't insult kde.ie. He was praising it for linking to swpat.ffii.org.

The current pro-software patent position of the EU council was formulated by the Irish gouvernment. Of course several other EU countries agreed with the Irish position. In most of these countries, there has been fierce criticism of the government policy afterwards. Why should we exempt the Irish gouvernment from critisism, if we critisise all other pro-software patent gouvernments?

It is important to have Irish sites talking about the dangers of software patents, and this is why I join Gerd's praise of the fact that kde.ie has swpat.ffii.org as one of the hot spot links.


By falonaj at Sat, 2005/01/08 - 6:00am

"The idea that the Irish presidency was determined to push on with software patents is one which I first saw in an uncharacteristically uninformed article on lwn.net. Clearly the author then, and you now, did not realise that "presidency" in fact means chairsing meetings: which involves deciding agendas and who gets to speak when. It does not confer any significant executive power; in fact, Ireland has less voting power than quite a few countries in the EU, including Poland which is leading the patent fight."

Maybe you should have emailed the author to inform him of the "uninformed" arguments rather than making unsubstantiated sweeping accusations on the web? I wrote the article that I think you're referring to, and where I made reference to the Irish presidency of the EU Council, I did so based on the analysis of the FFII as well as my own knowledge of EU politics. Though having the presidency doesn't confere any significant _formal_ power, it does increase the country's influence and it's ability to set or change the agenda, and the terms of the debate. The Irish representatives in the Council worked hard to push the directive through, and the background about the software industry in Ireland is extremely relevant to this point. Of course one business isn't pushing a corrupt government around - I never suggested it was - but do you not think it possible or even likely that a major industry would lobby and eventually persuade a democratic government? It happens all the time in all democracies on all kinds of issues, Ireland is no different. It's not even necessarily insiduous, since if it is genuinely in the interests of the Irish IT industry to have software patents then it makes sense for the Government to listen to what the industry is saying and then take that into account when it votes.

The EU Parliament, on the other hand, couldn't be swayed so easily. I confess that I don't know how the Irish Parliamentarians acted on the September vote, but certainly the presidency gives a country far less power on an issue that aroused so little interest in the majority of the Parliamentarians. Furthermore, unlike in the Council, which is more or less inaccessible for activists, Parliamentarians were easy to lobby, be it by letter, phonecall or personal visits to their offices. I myself talked to a few Irish MEPs whilst in Brussels.

To highlight these facts isn't to attack Ireland, nor the efforts of Irish KDE developers. I don't see why you think anyone is insulting "an entire country"? I routinely criticise my government (UK), not least for their stance on software patents, which has been one of the worst in Europe.

Finally, to be fair and to add to your list, the Irish branch of the Free Software Foundation did a fair amount of work lobbying on software patents. As the original post says, it is also wonderful to see the new Irish KDE web site promoting the issue.


By Tom at Sun, 2005/01/09 - 6:00am


By Barry O'Donovan at Tue, 2005/01/25 - 6:00am


By Barry O'Donovan at Thu, 2005/03/17 - 6:00am


By Barry O'Donovan at Thu, 2005/03/17 - 6:00am