A program on a computer is just a list of instructions for solving a particular problem. The fact that they may well become patentable is bad news for everyone using a computer, in particular those using products not backed by a company with a large stock of patents to allow them to 'cross patent'. In particular users of free and open source software would be affected, as large corporations start to use their muscle to elbow out any alternative model to industrial capitalist software production. As ffii say:
"If Haydn had patented "a symphony, characterised by that sound is produced [ in extended sonata form ]", Mozart would have been in trouble."
See excellent coverage at ffii , and the recent story from slashdot