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Re: LZW patented file left in .orig.tar source package?

On Wed, Oct 23, 2002 at 11:40:19AM +0200, Chris Halls wrote:
> Can someone say whether I may leave a file that implements a patented
> algorithm (LZW compression for GIFs) in the source tarball for
> OpenOffice.org?  The file is not built or distributed

Well, if it's in the .orig.tar.gz, of course it's distributed.  It gets
mirrored all over the world.

> - I have patched the build to use a dummy version of the class that
> does nothing [1].

If it violates the DFSG, it should be pulled from the package, source
and binary alike.

Patents are tricky because in and of themselves they aren't necessarily
violative of the DFSG, both because a patent license may permit
DFSG-free implementations, and because of jurisdictional issues.

I think it is probably better to yank the LZW code from the .orig.tar.gz
and roll a new one.

Whether the DFSG and Social Contract actually *require* you do so,
though, I'm not sure about.

G. Branden Robinson                |     Never attribute to malice that
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     which can be adequately explained
branden@debian.org                 |     by stupidity.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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