Patent-free software where it makes sense

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


On 10 June 2015 at 18:55, Michael Catanzaro <mcatanzaro at gnome.org> 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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