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Re: [fielding@apache.org: Review of proposed Apache License, version 2.0]

Scripsit bts@alum.mit.edu (Brian T. Sniffen)

> And, as it happens, companies do grant free patent licenses: it's
> common practice when working on a standard which must be approved by a
> standards body with a RF policy: typically, the patent is licensed for
> any use which implements that standard.

A patent license that applies only to implementations of a specific
standard is not free (as in free speech).

> This is an interesting restriction on modification-and-use: you can
> modify the program to use the patented technology outside the scope of
> the standard, but you can't compile and use that code without
> infringing on the patent.  I *think* the result can be Free Software,

I think it is clear that it is not.

> But for the case of Apache, for example, it's enough for every
> contributing company to grant a universal license to their patented
> technology for use in web browsers, and for the ASF to refuse
> contributions to the mainline Apache from anyone who doesn't agree.

If ASF makes public an intention to include in upstream Apache
patented code that cannot be used in X servers, desktop calculators or
Forth compilers, then we can never be sure that the next minor
upstream release will still be free software. Of course the Debian
maintainer for apache *may* choose to audit each new upstream release
to see if non-free patents have crept in, but I would advise moving it
to non-free right away to avoid future trouble.

Henning Makholm                             "... and that Greek, Thucydides"

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