Patent-free software where it makes sense

Ahmad Samir ahmadsamir3891 at
Wed Jun 10 17:59:05 UTC 2015

On 10 June 2015 at 18:55, Michael Catanzaro <mcatanzaro at> wrote:
> On Wed, 2015-06-10 at 16:04 +0200, Alex Puchades wrote:
>> I'm not simply proposing this software to be added to the installer,
>> but I'm proposing to discuss the reasons involved and if there's a
>> legal reason where simply pointing users to RPMFusion, for example,
>> would mean that Fedora is breaking patent laws.
> Hi,
> The short answer is that patent-encumbered software is only excluded
> when there is high legal risk. If we were to enable freetype's subpixel
> rendering, Red Hat would have to either pay $$$$$$$$ to Microsoft or
> else prepare for the inevitable lawsuit. The MP3 situation is better,
> since the last known patent expires in September; we'll include it in
> F23 unless the lawyers give us some unexpected reason not to.

The funny thing about the MP3 patent expiring is that really MP3 is
going away, and has been going away for some time now; AAC encoded
audio in an MP4 container is becoming more prevalent these days, and
of course AAC is another codec you can't legally add in a distro that
resides in the u.s. .... so it looks like a race, one that Linux is
losing unless users add 3rd party repos that can package those
patent-encumbered codecs; 3rd party repos have a lower risk of getting
sued, since they're individuals and suing them wouldn't bring in that
much money anyway (you need to sue a big wealthy company to justify
the lawyer hourly fees :)), of course IANAL, so don't take my views on
legal matters to heart.

(Sorry if I got a bit too philosophical :) ).

Ahmad Samir

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