Re: Free way to decompress LZW archives?
Replying to my own message, with a WORKING colon key.
On Tue, 24 Jul 2001, John Galt wrote:
>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? firstname.lastname@example.org, that's who!