[Fedora-packaging] (Un)packaging partly patented software

Patrice Dumas pertusus at free.fr
Thu Dec 28 17:29:44 UTC 2006

On Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 06:15:37PM +0100, Axel Thimm wrote:
> Hi,
> I think I had read somehwere, or we just discussed it (?), that for
> tarballs carrying potential patent infringing bits it is not enough to
> build/package the other parts, but that also the src.rpm needs to be
> kept clean.

Indeed, and it is similar for packages with non-free parts, or parts with
conflicting licenses.

> Am I remembering correctly? Do we have something like a procedure in
> the wiki on creating these modified tarballs and commenting the
> specfile approriately (I couldn't find anything when searching for
> "patents", but there were perhaps too many hits ...).
> If not shouldn't we come up with one? The procedure needs to be
> documented and be reproducable for reviewers to be able to confirm
> that the tarball "matches" upstream indeed, since they won't have any
> nice md5sum method to compare.

What I do is that I provide a script in SourceXX, which can be used to
unpack, remove the offending files and repack. Then a reviewer may do a 
diff to verify that the remaining files are the same.

If the patented code is mixed with non-patented code, it becomes harder,
maybe you can then make a diff and post it somewhere where patents are not
problematic and point to that diff in the bugzilla ticket. I don't know
if it is legal to put the url of the diff in a comment in the spec file.
Even in the bugzilla ticket I don't know.

You can have a look at the cernlib and grads packages for examples.

Maybe this could be more formally stated.


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