Re: [dev] Re: LZW patented file left in .orig.tar source package?
Speaking as the "upstream" - it would also be definately much better if
everyone used just the same one tarball and there wasn't a "normal source
tarball" and "source tarball sans 'K' files".
On Wed, 23 Oct 2002, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 23, 2002 at 09:58:50AM -0700, Walter Landry wrote:
> > Chris Halls <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 - I have patched the
> > > build to use a dummy version of the class that does nothing .
> > You have to take it out of whatever Debian distributes. I can
> > download the the .orig.tar.gz file, so it can't be in that. Even if
> > the .diff.gz takes it out.
> To be clear, does the .orig.tar.gz include a *GIF*, or source code that
> implements LZW compression *for* GIFs? The first is clearly allowed; the
> second, I think, is also allowed, so long as we aren't using it in our
> binaries. AFAIK, thhere is nothing legally questionable about
> distributing the code, only about using the algorithms that this code
> implements. Debian actually takes a hard stance against GIFs that far
> outstrips the actual legal risks involved, IMHO, and in so doing makes a
> statement about the need for unencumbered file standards; but I don't
> think this necessitates putting our packagers to extra work to keep such
> patent-encumbered code out of source tarballs.
> Steve Langasek
> postmodern programmer
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