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Re: Could someone clarify this...

Kevin Mark <kevin.mark@verizon.net> writes:

> Hi,
> I was just reading an interview[0] of someone from the 'Freetype' project
> and he said:
> ...
> Also, I still don't understand why Debian and Ubuntu keep distributing
> patent-infringing code in FreeType, while they keep MP3 and DVD playback
> out of their normal installs. I'm not even sure it's DFSG compliant... 
> ...

Almost any interesting program, free software or otherwise, infringes
some unknown, non-zero number of registered software idea patents. If
that were the only criterion for a software work to fail the DFSG,
Debian would be pretty much empty.

My understanding is that Debian declares a work non-free if a holder
of a software idea patent is *actively enforcing* a patent that covers
the work, such that Debian cannot distrigute the work as free

Fraunhofer has a track record of actively enforcing software idea
patents against the algorithms in MP3 encoding software. Thus, such
works cannot be redistributed as DFSG-free software by Debian.

Ditto the DVD-CCA actively enforcing against DeCSS.

I don't know whether that is true for any of the software idea patents
that cover FreeType.

 \        "Somebody told me how frightening it was how much topsoil we |
  `\   are losing each year, but I told that story around the campfire |
_o__)                          and nobody got scared."  -- Jack Handey |
Ben Finney

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