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Re: Red Hat's "Cowardice" against Software Patents

Warren Togami <wtogami redhat com>:
> Eric, you are completely divorced from reality if you truly think this
> is safe and prudent.  You are essentially asking Red Hat to become a
> martyr and destroy itself.  Would that really be good for the community?

Negotiating an MP3 license with Fraunhofer (to give just one possible
example) would not constitute self-destruction.
> What you advocate will not win this war in the long-run.  These are not
> technical or community growth problems, but tough political and legal
> issues that we cannot simply ignore because it would be convenient.

Funny you should say that. "Ignore this issue" is exactly the response
I seem to be seeing from most of the Fedora list.
> The actions and resources Red Hat uses to fight software patents and
> protect the future of FOSS is "corporate cowardice"?

No, but refusing to carry MP3 decoders when there is no patent block
on them is. 

Whether there is such a patent block or not has been disputed.  I
originally believed not, persons on this list have claimed there is,
the person who made the "corporate cowardice" accusation says they're
full of crap and suggests that I challenge them to produce a patent
number.  I think he's making an unrealistic demand -- but it is a fact
that SUSe carries encoders.  If SUSe can do it, why not Red Hat or

> Red Hat engages in substantive actions to fight software patents.
> Do you?

Yes, as a matter of fact.  I invented the basic logic of the
reciprocal patent-termination clauses now used in several open-source
licenses.  And it's partly because of my jawboning that IBM opened up
a patent pool.
		<a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

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