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Re: MP3 decoder packaged with XMMS

On Tue, 12 Jul 2005, Diego Biurrun wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 12, 2005 at 02:38:29AM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > Debian policy governs the technical details of package creation.
> > This is a matter that's out of scope of the policy document; my
> > comments reflect the de facto policy of the ftp team as I
> > understand it.
> Maybe it's time to create some sort of patent/ftp/XXX policy then.

Feel free to propose one; however you should attempt to discover first
what the "effective" policy is that the ftpmasters are imposing upon
the archive. Otherwise all you'll do is continuing to tilt against

> The core of this thread revolves around the problem that Debian's
> stance towards patents is unclear and inconsistent.  Some programs
> are jugded impossible to package due to patent problems, while
> others aren't.

You can package whatever you want. The metric that is applied is
applied at the level of the ftpmaster, where they determine if the
risk of being sued for a patent violation is unreasonable for Debian
to undertake. This determines what Debian *distributes*, as it has for
quite some time.

The stance is fairly straightfowarward. If we're aware that the work
is covered by patents, and we know that the patent is being actively
prosecuted, it's likely that the work is not albe to be distributed in
Debian. However, if the work is only alledged to be covered by patents
which no one has heard about and it meeds the other parameters of the
ftpmasters, the package can enter the archive.

> This is further complicated by the fact that some MP3 encoders and
> multimedia applications are packaged while others are not, even
> though they do the same things and thus fall under the scope of the
> same patents.

Which packages exactly are being discussed here? [While many would
prefer not to discuss details of patents, I'd at least appreciate
being pointed to specific packages and ideally patent numbers
concerning them.]

Don Armstrong

Debian's not really about the users or the software at all. It's a
large flame-generating engine that the cabal uses to heat their coffee
 -- Andrew Suffield (#debian-devel Fri, 14 Feb 2003 14:34 -0500)

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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