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Fria programvara ramt af patenter

Here is a list of free software projects that have been affected by software patents. If you know more please email Ole Tange.


As a workaround, xpdf converts PDF-format LZW data to compress-format LZW data. (The standard UNIX compress utility also uses LZW, but with a slightly different file format.) This conversion does *not* decompress the data; it simply converts it to a different file format. Xpdf then calls uncompress to actually decompress the data. Reference


gzip was developed as a replacement for compress because of the UNISYS and IBM patents covering the LZW algorithm used by compress. I have probably spent more time studying data compression patents than actually implementing data compression algorithms. I maintain a list of several hundred patents on lossless data compression algorithms, and I made sure that gzip isn't covered by any of them. In particular, the --fast option of gzip is not as fast it could, precisely to avoid a patented technique. Reference


RSA is included as of GnuPG 1.0.3. (as the patent has expired)

The official GnuPG distribution does not contain IDEA due to a patent restriction. The patent does not expire before 2007 so don't expect official support before then. Reference


Although his LZW compression code no longer appears in gd, the authors wish to thank David Rowley for the original LZW-based GIF compression code, which has been removed due to patent concerns. Reference


To avoid problems with GIF's patent holder, the GIMP no longer ships with GIF support by default. You can download a plug-in. But you will have to pay for the GIF-license if you use it in a country where the patent is valid. Reference

One of the serious problems with color management is the patent situation. EFI owns a number of patents and is not shy about enforcing them. I think we should be thinking about patent liability issues both for individual efforts and systemically. Reference


We have received an email from Fraunhofer (as have more developers) to negotiate the licensing for the MP3 encoder. As we are poor students, paying the license is not really a viable option." Fraunhofer wanted $25,000 a year from the two students. The Register

MP3 can not be GPL

Because the GPL (General Public License) allows all software licensed under it to be sold, this may mean that "freely distributable" MP3 players cannot be licensed under the GPL.


Due to the patents regarding mp3 technology, I can not distribute BladeEnc in executable form from this page. Luckily though, there are many countries where these patents are not enforceable or just not in effect yet and some people living in those countries have graciously put up Binary Distribution Points for BladeEnc. Reference


OpenSSL was developed in countries where the RSA-patent was not valid. It is used as a library for encryption. Primarily used for encrypting HTTP. In countries where the RSA-patent was valid it was impossible to get a license for RSA for OpenSSL. You would have to buy a product that included a license for RSA instead.

Ogg/Vorbis Ogg/Tarkin

Ogg/Vorbis is a sound compression format like MP3. It was developed solely because the free software community wanted a royalty free sound format. A lot of work has been used to avoid software patents. Yet the patent holders of MP3 claims that Ogg may infringe their patents.

Ogg/Tarkin is a video compression format like DivX. It was developed solely because the free software community wanted a royalty free video format. A lot of work has been used to avoid software patents. Approximately 1/7 of the mails on the mailing list is about software patents.

Panorama Tools

Interactive Pictures Corporation (IPIX) has been threatening anyone who distributes software to create 360 degree panorama images, including free software developer Helmut Dersch. While Dersch's free tools (including a Gimp plug-in) are back online, he has had to remove information about creating high-quality panoramas. Reference


Microsoft patented the file format of its ASF streaming video and forced a halt to development of VirtualDub, an open-source project, which would have used ASF. OsOpinion


I'm guessing Daniel Phillips is referring to NetApp/WAFL issues. NetApp's WAFL filesystem (IIRC) implements something which is kinda sorta if-you-squint- your-eyes philosophically similar to tux2's phase tree. Only

  1. It isn't *really* all that similar
  2. Daniel has prior art going back to the 1980's
  3. NetApp has more lawyers on staff than Daniel does

Linux, memory

Alan Cox pointed out that a number of the techniques being discussed are covered by SGI patents. In fact, a closer look by Daniel Phillips shows that a number of existing Linux technologies, including reverse mapping in general and the buddy allocator, are covered by these patents.

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