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Re: Mounting NTFS

Mark Haney wrote:
> I also believe there was some worry about including it in the distro in the 
> same vein as including java in previous versions.  Licensing, or some such 
> thing.


As I wrote elsewhere in the thread, the NTFS problem is that Microsoft
is supposed to own key patents (and won't license them under suitable
terms for Open Source or Free Software -- allowing recipients of
recipients of software to exercise the patent license). The US legal
system discourages people from talking about the patents too openly --
if you know about patents and still infringe them, then you are liable
for triple damages.

Patents can be infringed even if you work completely from scratch,
having no knowledge of the patent -- if you do something the same way as
the patent specifies, you infringe the patent. It's believed that NTFS
works in such a way that you *have* to infringe Microsoft patents to
make it work.

If this is so, then both the in-kernel NTFS driver and ntfs-3g infringe
the patents -- it's just that we now have the Open Invention Network
making it impractical for Microsoft to sue.

The Java problem was copyright -- Fedora was legally free to distribute
an unmodified "official" Java if the project complied with Sun's license
terms. Unfortunately, Sun wouldn't allow Java to be modified except
under certain terms (it still had to pass compatibility tests), which
meant that Sun's Java wasn't considered Open Source or Free, and Fedora
will only distribute Open Source and Free Software.

However, Fedora was perfectly entitled to write a Java-compatible Open
Source implementation from scratch, and this has mostly been done (with
other interested parties).

When Sun's Java is released under the GPL (which hasn't happened yet),
Fedora can incorporate it. It looks like this will happen for
Fedora 8 -- it will be released too late for Fedora 7.

Hope this helps,


E-mail:     james@ | Users are not like normal particles; they wave when you
aprilcottage.co.uk | observe them.
                   |     -- Andrew Dalgleish

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