There has been active opposition from the Open Source Software (OSS) community against the emergence of a system for software patenting. As discussed earlier in Section 8.2, the assumption that open source software products allow inspection at a syntactic level does not imply a greater risk for infringement detection. To establish that this risk would be higher requires a very clear understanding of what constitutes an infringement of a software patent and how to establish such an infringement. As discussed earlier, exactly this understanding is missing. On the contrary, OSS producing companies or individuals may often afford to distribute quite vague functional specifications using the fact that their user community is willing to take some risks and to accept some trial and error, whereas producers of closed software components need to specify in meticulous detail what is to be expected from their products and this may even give better clues for those who search for potential patent infringements. We see therefore no reason why the authors of open source should be more (or less) worried about the potential implications of software patenting for their business than the authors of closed software, from the perspective of establishing infringement.
It is true, however, that the distributed development model of open source rests upon a legal infrastructure-open source licenses-that assume that individual authors own, and thus have the right to "give away", whatever they write. While this works in the copyright system, it is incompatible with patents, since individual developers can no longer assume that they own what they write, and can thus never know whether they have the right to "give it away" through open source licenses. This is a subject of further research in the course of the on-going study.
Many commercial manufacturers are now disclosing sources under limited licensing schemes while making use of substantial copyright protection. The variation of licensing schemes has much impact on the economic models used and only some licenses lead to the much debated cost reduction that many people consider typical for open source software. Source pricing and source disclosure are independent matters: open source software may even be quite expensive in some cases. If that were not the case (in principle) the whole patenting system should be considered irrelevant as such because it only protects users and producers of disclosed information.