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Re: deregulate/purge "non-free"; merge "contrib" & "main"

On Wed, 23 Jun 1999, Darren O. Benham wrote:

> > The issue of what goes into main has always been an issue of the license,
> > not local laws, or the degree to which the product is bug free. Trying to
> > keep contrib packages out of main just because they don't work is bringing
> > in issues not related to licensing freeness.
> Where do patents fit in this?  If I write somthing that uses a patented
> formula but license my code as BSD...?

The license is still free, even though the code may "legally" infringe on
someone's patent "rights".

Patents don't fit into licensing issues. Patents should NOT be an issue
for software, which is a "free speech" issue. This is, again, another
legal issue that impinges on the end users rights, but has nothing to do
with the actual license, or whether the software is free.

With the standard IANAL, I must say that, as a private indiviual, for
private use, I can construct any patented device, and run it, without
infringing on the rights of the patent holder. It is only when I try to
sell, or otherwise distribute that patented item that I _do_ so infringe.

The rub, for me, is that, lets say the patent is on a machine, like a
wheel barrow. I can write a book that describes in detail all of the
technical details of this patented device, and I am not infringing on the
patent holder's rights. When an encryption algorithm gets patented, I can
still talk about that algorithm to everyone, in writing, and in detail,
but the law says that I can't talk to my hardware about it. What kind of
illogical nonsense is that!

In any case, patents, like munitions export restrictions, are conditions
imposed outside the license, and are beyond the control of the original
copyright holder. As a result, they have no bearing on deciding whether
the license (and hense the software) is "Free". 

>From a different point of view, we gain nothing by incorporating such
legal restrictions into our own decission framework. It only muddies the
waters, as it is doing now ;-)

Waiting is,

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