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

Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
On Fri, Jun 02, 2006 at 05:23:51PM +0200, Cesare Leonardi wrote:
I am for the radical way, to keep Debian completely free, libre.

If I'm understanding you correctly on this (i.e. remove from Debian
every software which has parts covered by software patents), this is
a complete nonsense. It will require removing basically *everything*
from Debian and will give people the power of vetting out from Debian
software only by depositing (uhm, not sure which is the English verb
corresponding to the "creation" of a new patent) a new software patent.

Uh, you are even more radical than me!  :-)

One of the terrible effect of software patents is that nobody knows if his program infringe some of them in some country. And, as you said, i think it's impossible to be completely patent-free as things stand now.

But it is possible to avoid patents that are known to be valid and can create problem. The mp3 ones are probably the most common. Otherwise, at least a clear rule should be defined to avoid the different treatment that trouble some packages. Since patents cover concepts not the implementation, if mp3 bases itself on several patents, then all codecs are covered by that patents. And so ffmpeg, mplayer, xine and vlc are not different in that sense.



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