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Re: Free way to decompress LZW archives?

On Wed, 25 Jul 2001, Dylan Thurston wrote:

>I recently came across some data published as a .LZW archive which I
>want to process.  It seems that the standard program for dealing with
>the archives, lha, is non-free.  I found a web page documenting the
>format; is there any obstruction to producing a free
>compressor/decompressor?  Has anyone tried to convince the authors to
>free their program?


Probably impossible.  lha is under the Sperry patent.  The Sperry patent
should sunset RSN: it was granted in 1985, 16 years ago.


shows how long a patent is for--20 years.

Until 2005, don't bother trying: you'll only be looking at a jail term.

>And what is the actual copyright on the lha program?  The 'copyright'
>file in the package just lists the authors, and the README file is in
>Japanese.  There's an old, English readme file giving permission to
>distribute; is that still current?

Debian needs permission to modify as well.  There has been a substantial
non-interest in .LZW decompressors since the Unisys thing in '94, so I
doubt that lha would be put in main even if the copyright license were to
be written by the committee of RMS, Bruce Perens, and ESR themselves
(assuming they could agree on a license and WOULD sanction a LZW
decompressor).  As far as the currency of a grant of license, it's current
unless there's a sunset date.

>	Dylan Thurston

FINE, I take it back: UNfuck you!

Who is John Galt?  galt@inconnu.isu.edu, that's who!

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