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Re: nomarch-1.2 - Problems with RLE patent 4,586,027

On Tue, May 21, 2002 at 04:11:24AM -0700, Jim Lynch wrote:
> > This project needs a backbone.
> OK. Hire the lawyers necessary to support the claims you're making 
> rather than suggest that debian should just go ahead and break the
> law without thinking. It looks like every one of these patents you've
> mentioned have prior art. The backboney thing to do is get those patents
> recinded, all of them. BTW, maybe the symlink patent could stand up
> if microsoft owns unix and unix invented symlinks... you would need art
> prior to unix.

If Debian needs a lawyer to determine that something like a patent on RLE
or a Save-As feature are bogus and not worth worrying about, then we
should all leave the project now since we can't get anything done
whatsoever.  I can find patents which the Linux, BSD, and HURD kernels all
violate if I try.  Hell, Microsoft has a patent on SYMLINKS!

Either Debian must decide that these things are bull and ignore them or it
must cease to be.  Those are the only two options available to us.  These
patents are ridiculous and meaningless.  The holders of these patents know
it, and they don't actually enforce them because they realize how stupid
it would be and how easily prior art could be proven if necessary.

They simply use these silly patents when they're threatened or need to
license other silly patents.  It's a form of legalized extortion in which
corporations find that it is easier to strike a deal than take the chance
that the other corporation may not be bluffing and risk losing a court

These patents are patently ridiculous and every single person on this list
with half a brain knows it.  Now if you will all kindly develop the other
half of your brain and make the logical connection that these things are a
complete non-threat, we can all get back to making Debian a good operating
system.  Or we can continue jumping at shadows until someone gives us a
patent number which makes apt a patent violation (it exists) or the same
for the kernel itself (also likely to be an easy search..)

When I joined Debian, RSA was patented and this could have severely hurt
our ability to even sign our uploads.  What did Debian do about this?
Well, RSA was patented in the US - so we had a server outside the US with
RSA on it.  Two versions in fact.  The first was for use in the US (and
should never have been allowed outside the US.  How did it get there?
Well, we didn't care!  It was there and we got hold of it, that was
enough...)  Sure RSA was patented, but we didn't let that get in the way
of Debian.

Today, if RSA were patented and someone posted an ITP for PGP 2.x, it
would go into a list of packages which cannot be made because of the RSA
patent.  Debian has become cowardly.  And any backlash toward me for
saying so is directly related to the fact that others refuse to admit the
truth.  We no longer try to fight these things passively or otherwise.  We
have given up as a project.  The patent holders have won because we've
lost the will to work around their patents.

> (btw... is anyone besides me wondering what could happen if microsoft
> buys redhat (and therefore cygnus and arsdigita)? Now that redhat is
> publically traded, it could happen)

I know what would happen.  First things first, gcc would fork.  But Debian
would immediately go into a panic and need to have some company donate
lawyer services to help the project figure out what if any impact this
would have on our ability to use gcc for compiling Debian.

If you think I'm exxagerating things a bit, I think you haven't been
reading the lists very closely.

Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@bluecherry.net>       Now I'll take over the world
<Dr^Nick> SGI_Multitexture is bad voodoo now
<Dr^Nick> ARB is good voodoo
<witten> no, voodoo rush is bad voodoo :)

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