"The theory is that writing -- including the writing of software -- is like scientific advances: It has an inevitability; if I don't discover it
today, you will tomorrow, and therefore my discovery today oughtn't be mine. (Whether this theory holds up, whether the supposed
inevitability exists, is highly questionable, but let's let it pass for now.)
So it is said, too, of patents -- all discoveries are destined to be made, so the first person there oughtn't be rewarded.
There's a terrible flaw in all this, though: It's manifestly wrong. The profit motive, as codified by intellectual property ownership, is the
reason in many cases why research and development were undertaken to begin with." Full column at LinuxPlanet.