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Maybe in the US, but it's a different story in the EU, for example. You cannot patent scientific theories or mathematical methods here, all you can do is try to patent the procedure, if it has a certain level of technological value and represents a patentable invention.
You can patent an algorithm (but I will hate you for that ) and for sure you can write some software that uses that algorithm and sell it...
But the best thing you can do with it is writing an article about in CP!
I'm not questioning your powers of observation; I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is. (V)
My name first appeared in the About-Box of a fairly well-known consumer software program (Cricket Draw 1.1, Macintosh) in 1987, so I am up there with you in terms of years-in-the-saddle-and-on-the-sauce.
How have things changed ?
I'd have to say we have gone from using square wheels to using octagonal wheels, and we do move eight times faster, but the ride is just as bumpy as it ever was, and human nature, "red in tooth and claw," has not changed a jot or a tittle.
How do we as programmers, go about converting code into cash?
A byte at a time.
« I had therefore to remove knowledge, in order to make room for belief » Immanuel Kant