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Re: Software Patents: Was: Re: Re: Is anyone packaging `lame' ?

Reinhard Tartler wrote:
I don't think debian has decided on a more or less 'official' position
regarding software patents. There many packages in debian, which are
suspected to implement many ideas described by software patents. I don't
know of any case were debian had to explain in court. This causes a lot
of confusion about what and what not to upload to debian. E.g. it is
very unclear to the mplayer guys why xine, vlc, gstreamer etc is already
in debian.

I agree with you.
And this is very unclear also to many other people, not only to mplayer

Remaining on the multimedia side, if mp3 is covered by numerous patents
that implementing a codec cannot be avoided
(http://www.mp3licensing.com/patents/index.html), then every free mp3
codec has problems in country where the patents have legal value. And so
this should be a problem for the Debian project. And the same is true for AAC, MP4 and so on.

Since now i haven't really understood what makes vlc, xine, gstreamer,
ffmpeg, ect. acceptable in Debian. Or, that is the same, what makes
mplayer, lame and similar, not acceptable in Debian.
For me this continue to be a mistery and an incoerency issue.

Reading some discussion regarding the patent issue (expecially on the
multimedia side) and Debian, i have deduced that:
- if there are "doubtful" software already in Debian, they usually stay
in. Otherwise they do not enter.
- if something is covered by a patent that is not enforced by the
holder, it could enter or stay in Debian.

It is a matter destined to arise again and again until Debian will
adopt a clear and official (read written) position on that problem.

Indeed a difficult decision because following the radical decision to
not accept software covered by patents, could render the Debian system
less pleasant and with more frustrated user (that eventually will prefer
to abandon Debian). Whereas accepting them will render Debian less free
software friendly.

I am for the radical way, to keep Debian completely free, libre.
If necessary: www.debian-multimedia.org   ;-)
And i'm writing this while listening an online radio through an mp3
stream with vlc... *Sigh!*



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