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Re: Free way to decompress LZW archives?

On Wed, 25 Jul 2001, Dylan Thurston wrote:

>On Tue, Jul 24, 2001 at 11:17:27PM -0600, 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?
>> http//www.cpe.surrey.ac.uk/support/faq/gif_lzw.htm
>> Probably impossible.  lha is under the Sperry patent.  The Sperry patent
>> should sunset RSN: it was granted in 1985, 16 years ago.
>> http//www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/whatis.htm
>> shows how long a patent is for--20 years.
>> Until 2005, don't bother trying: you'll only be looking at a jail term.
>Just to be clear: the term is now 20 years from time of first
>application, right?  When was the patent applied for?

Yes, 20 years from date of application.  Unfortunately, the uspto's search
engine is down, so your guess is as good as mine as to when the patent was
applied for.  The cpe.surrey.ac.uk link says 1985, but it's unclear as to
when it was applied for

>Anyway, thanks for the pointers!  I'll try to convince the source to
>change their file formats.

Prolly the best thing to do anyhow.  .LZW is archaic and not all that
popular anymore.  Your best bets are pkzip or gzip, depending on if you
want to go with the most popular or the most socially conscious.

>	Dylan Thurston

FINE, I take it back: UNfuck you!

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

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