Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Rich Freeman <rich0@g.o>
To: gentoo-dev <gentoo-dev@l.g.o>
Cc: licenses@g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-dev] Guidance on distributed patented software
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2021 17:27:56
In Reply to: [gentoo-dev] Guidance on distributed patented software by Alec Warner
1 On Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 12:46 PM Alec Warner <antarus@g.o> wrote:
2 >
3 > Could we add some text to the license concepts covering patents? It
4 > seems to have been omitted?
5 > Is my understanding of how we manage patented software correct?
7 I think you have the gist of it. Is there actually anything in the
8 repo these days which is patent-encumbered? I realize this is a
9 little tangential, but I think this is probably why we don't have a
10 well-thought policy: it just doesn't come up much.
12 The situation comes up less often since everything is copyrighted by
13 default, but software patents in FOSS are relatively rare. (Partially
14 because they're such a minefield that it discourages even creating
15 FOSS in the first place. Partially because they're such a minefield
16 that people tend to favor non-encumbered algorithms for things that
17 are commonplace now.)
19 Things that used to be patent-encumbered that were prevalent in FOSS
20 in the past include:
21 1. The GIF file format.
22 2. FAT-based filesystems.
23 3. MPEG-related codecs (codecs might be a space where patents are
24 still relevant).
25 4. RSA
27 I'm sure there are others I'm not thinking of offhand. All of these
28 helped drive adoption of more open standards, which is why we don't
29 run into this stuff as often.
31 Another topic like this are encryption keys like for DVDCSS and so on.
32 Those fall outside both copyright and patent law, but are legally
33 troublesome. Then there are export controls like ITAR/etc - less of
34 an issue today but might still apply to some things.
36 --
37 Rich


Subject Author
Re: [gentoo-dev] Guidance on distributed patented software "Robin H. Johnson" <robbat2@g.o>
Re: [gentoo-dev] Guidance on distributed patented software "Andreas K. Huettel" <dilfridge@g.o>