[Mageia-dev] Mirror layout

andre999 andr55 at laposte.net
Fri Dec 10 21:15:40 CET 2010

nicolas vigier a écrit :
> On Fri, 10 Dec 2010, Wolfgang Bornath wrote:
>> 2010/12/10 Romain d'Alverny<rdalverny at gmail.com>:
>>> Ok, but you still take into account SP in your answer. :-p (we would
>>> have come to that, but the idea was to think about it from a naïve,
>>> software-patent-free perspective).
>> If there were no software patents anywhere what would be the issue of
>> this discussion?
>> IMHO it makes no sense to discuss something which does not exist
>> If Mageia were a project fro French users only we would no have this
>> discussion. But as it is a worldwide project the probelm exists and
>> pretending it does not makes no sense, not even from a theoretical
>> POV. because the theoretical POV is "No SP, no discussion".
>> Ok, anyway.
>> I see the strategy in your proposition but:
>> 1. We know from the start that there ARE packages with software which
>> is patented in some countries. So, the "let's start empty and see what
>> comes up" is already done with.
> Being patented does not mean that patent is valid and enforceable.

We should remember that patents are a civil right accorded by rules 
differing from country to country.  Many countries don't offer patents 
on software.
Patent holders have to use the courts to enforce these rights, who often 
deny or limit patent holder's claims.
So in addition to any theoretical rights of software patent holders, 
there is the consideration "is it worth the money and effort for the 
potential gain in royalties" ?
In that, free software (in both senses) has a considerable advantage 
compared to other parties who could be considered in infringement of 
software patents.

>> 2. In some countries mirror maintainers can not wait until somebody
>> raises his hand, there are lawyers who write nice "cease and desist"
>> letters, attached is a bill you have to pay. In Germany this is called
>> "Kostenpflichtige Abmahnung"  and has grown to a habit of some
>> lawyers.
>> Meaning: you can't wait and see what happens, you have to make sure
>> that it does not happen from the start.

"cease and desist" letters are just warnings.  Any attached "bill" would 
only have effect if validatated by a court.
As I understand, lawyers have the same habit in the U.S.
Wouldn't the amounts accorded be based on the supposed benefit that the 
supposed violator has received ?  (At least that is part of the equation 
in the U.S.)

And how does that translate for free software ?
In the U.S., software patent holders have avoided attacking targets 
without a lot of financial resources.
The only Linux-associated target I recall is Novell.
Mpeg patents are pursued, but the several PLF mirrors in the U.S., with 
openly indicated patented packages, are ignored.

>> I mean, opinions about software patents set aside for a minute,
>> software patents are protected by official law in those countries. You
>> can not break the law on the basis of "let's see what happens".

Again, this is not "breaking the law", but potentially infringing on a 
civil right.  Which must be validated by the courts.

> The problem is that we don't know for sure if we violate the law. We
> should not be too paranoid about this. Microsoft claims that the Linux
> kernel violates 235 of their patents :
> http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033867/index.htm
> Should we trust them and remove the kernel from the core repository ?

Yes indeed.  Off to "tainted" we go :) :) :)

> I'm wondering how much mirror admins are concerned about patent issues.

In the U.S., not much, and with reason.  Not even the PLF mirror sites 
there are pursued.
Which is convenient for us in Canada : often the closest mirror is 
across the border.

> If we split the packages between core and "tainted" repositories, how
> many will filter it ?

We all know that packagers don't have enough work.  Don't we ? ;)

> If only a few will do it, maybe it's not really
> worth it and we can still have enough mirrors. It seems that Debian has
> mirrors in many countries, while hosting patented software in its main
> repository.

Including the U.S.
Interesting that Debian discussions about patent issues seem to focus on 
what will be accepted in U.S. mirrors.  Who have yet to be impacted on 
patent issues.
It seems that the few spectactular cases against rich players in the 
U.S. has distorted the perception of the legal reality there.

- André

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