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Re: No mention of "patents" in DFSG

2007/10/5, Francesco Poli <frx@firenze.linux.it>:
> The following might help, maybe:
> http://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html#disclaimer

Thanks for the Link, this is actually the first reference to a
statement towards this issue. I'll quote the relevant section here,
for further discussion:
Some software might infringe patents in jurisdictions in which
so-called software patents are allowed. Even though only end users
actually run the software, and distributors do not in fact actually
engage in the patented process, distributors might be held liable in
such a jurisdiction. Debian makes no serious attempt to check for
patent violations, and handles this issue in a haphazard and
case-by-case fashion. (In fact, checking for this is in practice
impossible. If everyone checked for software patents, all software
production would grind to a halt.)

But in my opinion this is to little of a statement. I believe that
whenever a package is removed from the repos, there should at least be
a list of the incedents that lead to the opinion that the affected
package needed to be removed.

> > Is there a consensus in the debian community about how to deal with
> > "Software Patents" and the inclusion of software into the debian
> > archive?
> [...]
> AFAICT, the Debian Project worries about software patents only when
> there's known history of active enforcement of the patent the package
> infringes on *and* there's no permissive patent license available to the
> general public.

Unfortunatly all I know about these "histories of active enforcement"
is from rumours, and from people whose opinions are partly shaped by
"FUD" I am afraid. Since some of those packets removed, contributed
significantly to the interoperability with both hardware and software
widely available, I believe that such packets shouldn't be removed
based on the doubts and opinions of anyone. There should be a
repeatable process to deal and document such actions.

> This is a practical rule, due to the fact that, should the Debian
> Project refrain from distributing any package infringing on at
> least one patent in at least one jurisdiction, well, there
> would *not* be a Debian system at all!

Thanks for pointing this out, this is my opinion as well, therefore I
would really like to see specific reasens when a package IS actually

Does anyone know who is the person responsbile for such decisions, or
who is familiar with how a process to verify the removal of packages
due to the above mentioned reasons could be set up to fit into the
debian community process?


Are you teaching the What and the How but without the Why and the When?

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