[linux-elitists] Rick Moen uses gifs on the sly (but don't feel to proud)

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Wed May 9 19:47:03 PDT 2001


Apache is non-free.

The standard Apache distribution includes (apache-common on Debian) 84
GIF icons. 

I discovered this after noting that Rick Moen's webpage was serving me
up gifs I couldn't read through a sanitized graphics viewer.

Rick quickly owned up to running Debian on the box, so I've done my own
inventory of packages including GIF formatted images on my own box.  I'm
coming up with a nice, round, 100 packages (of 783 installed), having up
to 649 GIFs apiece (mswordview).  Not all of these are free packages
(yes, I do have realplayer installed - 145 GIFs).

I'm concerned about the free status of the software that's shipping with
GIFs.  I've already reported a bug against apache-common, I've withheld
reporting the other 100 packages.  However there are several
implications:

  - Users of these packages may be infringing the UNISYS LZW patent,
    requiring a $5000 licensing fee, payable to UNISYS.

  - Developers of these packages may be infringing the UNISYS LZW
    patent, requiring a $5000 licensing fee, payable to UNISYS.

  - Debian distributions may be infringing the UNISYS LZW patent,
    requiring a $5000 licensing fee, payable to UNISYS.

  - Debian CD vendors may be infringing the UNISYS LZW patent, requiring
    a $5000 licensing fee, payable to UNISYS.

  - Debian mirror sites may be infringing the UNISYS LZW patent,
    requiring the payment of a $5000 licensing fee, payable to UNISYS.

  - Debian users assisting installfests by hosting installation servers
    may be infringing the UNISYS LZW patent, requiring the payment of a
    $5000 licensing fee, payable to UNISYS.

I believe this is a problem and that actions should be taken to remove
all GIFs from the DFSG-free packages.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>    http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/         http://www.kuro5hin.org
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