I am no fan of software patents. It seems to me, as it has to many people vastly smarter than I am, program algorythms are not suited to patent protection.
Such patents are common these days, and a judge has just handed down an injunction against Microsoft which will prevent MS from selling Word, that well-known word processor in MSOffice.
Versions 2003 and 2007 contain the ability to import custom XML files, and that violates a U.S. patent held by a Canadian company i4i.
For years, the Linux community has been watching the progress of court battles surrounding the Unix company SCO. SCO may be in its last stages of bankruptcy proceedings. Now we’ll be able to switch our attention to this new litigation.
Word definitely isn’t open source software, but if sales of Word cannot be made (presumably also the Office suite with Word in it) maybe more people will take a shot and try OpenOffice.org when they cannot upgrade to the latest Word.
If you have been looking for a “talking point” with the school administrators, why not bring this issue up?