[Mageia-dev] Mageia repository sections, licenses, restrictions, firmware etc

Marc Paré marc at marcpare.com
Wed Oct 13 02:31:29 CEST 2010

Le 2010-10-12 17:45, Tux99 a écrit :
> Quote: marc wrote on Tue, 12 October 2010 19:31
>> The safest route is to offer FOSS software (they are well known and
>> many
>> have had their code audited) and leave the "fringe" softs on a repo
>> that
>> is left to the users' choice as install.
> Marc, FOSS has nothing to do with whether a particular software infringes
> on patents in some countries or not, don't confuse the COPYRIGHT license
> with patents issues.
> There is plenty of pure FOSS software that is infringing on some patents
> (primarily in the US with their free-for-all software patent policy), in
> fact given the amount of software patents granted in the US I wouldn't be
> surprised if most FOSS software (actually most software, not just FOSS)
> infringes some patent in the US (heck, even MS Office just got caught
> infringing on some patent held by some patent-troll).
> This starts from the Linux kernel all the way to apps like OOo, there is
> simply no way to make a distro that is patent-safe according to US laws.
> Why do you think Canonical is incorporated in the UK and not in the US?
> Why do you think Novell made the patent-protection agreement with
> Microsoft?
> The only major commercial Linux distro that is based in US is Redhat and
> that's probably only because at the time they were founded the patents
> issue in the US didn't exist yet (at least not like these days).
> We cannot base our distro on the ridiculous patents laws of the US, first
> of all there is no legal reason to do so, and second why should users all
> around the world suffer US patent laws despite they don't apply to them?
> Having separate plf repos IS A MAJOR OBSTACLE for new users (and for
> packagers probably too), first of all because most have no idea that these
> exist and then even if they find out you need to consider all those users
> on dialup for whom downloading many megabytes of replacement plf packages
> is a major problem.
> So again, I suggest we include all the important codecs and
> drivers/firmware that help the user to have a great out-of-the-box
> experience with Mageia, but we add a question during installation so the
> user can decide if he wants to install them or not.
> This should keep everybody happy, I don't see why this couldn't be
> agreeable for you.

Hi Tux99:


Hmmm ... let's see now, I started collecting this list at 20.11h and it 
is now 20:13 and all I did was Google "2010 movie lawsuit"; 2010 codec 
lawsuit"; "2010 mp3 lawsuit" and the list is realistically longer.

If you and others are willing to indemnify Mageia users and installers 
against any lawsuits due to packaging unlicensed software/codecs/etc , 
this would go a long way to giving people like myself piece of mind.

When packaging an OS distro, we (as a community) should assume that the 
product that our community devs and distro planners will not in the end 
be cause of concern.

If RedHat is able to maintain corporate headquarters in the US, then I 
would suggest we examine closely their packaging repos. Mageia touts 
itself as an international distro. You cannot claim international status 
if you package a distro that is legal in one country and then illegal in 
another. Some of the software packages have been reverse engineered to 
circumvent patent laws while others are still in the grey zone and 
others are not supposed to be installed due to their legal status.

This is why, in my opinion, Mageia should try to steer itself away, as 
much as possible, from grey and illegal areas and leave it to the end 
user's choice whether or not to install these packages. There is nothing 
wrong in also adding the Codeina/Fluendo option for those who would 
rather use this service. We are trying to build a great package. Why 
would the Mageia team put in peril its existence and the people's income 
(through potential expensive lawsuits)? If users decide to use this 
technology then they put themselves in this position and not the distro.

We can let users know of the existence of these "questionable" pieces of 
software, there is nothing wrong with this, especially when we offer 
users a perfectly legal way of gaining use of codecs, libs etc. Whether 
the users decide to use the "legitimate way" or the "other" way is 
completely up to them and not Mageia's responsibility.


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