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Thread: Patches Published For Merging S3TC Library Into Mesa

  1. #1
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    Default Patches Published For Merging S3TC Library Into Mesa

    Phoronix: Patches Published For Merging S3TC Library Into Mesa

    It's a slightly more interesting Sunday than usual. Besides working on a large file-system comparison (Linux 2.6.38 w/ EXT3, EXT4, XFS, JFS, Btrfs, etc) and new OpenBenchmarking.org features, there's an interesting development regarding the topic from earlier today about patented OpenGL support within Mesa. Not only has the email thread about integrating floating point textures support been resurrected, but another developer has now pushed patches that would integrate the S3TC texture compression library in Mesa while living behind the --enable-patented switch...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTE3OQ

  2. #2
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    "Open"GL.

    Actually, I'm not very happy of the compile switch solution instead of external dlopen() libs, as it makes way more difficult for external repos to add support for patented features, which I would like to remind, are not such in most of the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by r1348 View Post
    "Open"GL.
    Actually, I'm not very happy of the compile switch solution instead of external dlopen() libs, as it makes way more difficult for external repos to add support for patented features, which I would like to remind, are not such in most of the world.
    I was thinking this too, unless they make them into modules which are easy to build separately a merge would actually make it harder rather than easier for most people to aquire (assuming the distro doesn't compile it in.) Of course Gentoo users will be happy, and distros which don't cater to a US market.

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    Would it be safe to assume that people in the USA have a patent license to use (but not distribute) S3TC if they have an AMD/NVIDIA card and have ever used the proprietary driver with it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by grantek View Post
    Would it be safe to assume that people in the USA have a patent license to use (but not distribute) S3TC if they have an AMD/NVIDIA card and have ever used the proprietary driver with it?
    No. The software implementation is patent-encumbered, not just the hardware implementation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plombo View Post
    No. The software implementation is patent-encumbered, not just the hardware implementation.
    That's where the "proprietary driver" comes in - by purchasing a card you also purchase a license to use the proprietary driver, which includes the patented software implementation. I have no idea how software patent licenses transfer to an end user though. Is there anything regarding patent licenses in the proprietary driver EULAs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by grantek View Post
    Would it be safe to assume that people in the USA have a patent license to use (but not distribute) S3TC if they have an AMD/NVIDIA card and have ever used the proprietary driver with it?
    No. The S3TC license applies to a hw/sw combo.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by grantek View Post
    Is there anything regarding patent licenses in the proprietary driver EULAs?
    From ATI_LICENSE.TXT:
    5. No Other License. No rights or licenses are granted by AMD under this
    License, expressly or by implication, with respect to any proprietary
    information or patent, copyright, trade secret or other intellectual
    property right owned or controlled by AMD, except as expressly provided in
    this License.
    So does that mean an end user cannot execute the S3TC parts of the driver without infringing on a patent? To me, it's either illegal to use fglrx in the USA, or legal to use an open-source implementation of S3TC (just not distribute it). Section 8 of the license also completely limits liability from AMD over any patent infringement by the end-user.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by marek View Post
    No. The S3TC license applies to a hw/sw combo.
    That could be the legal key I'm looking for, but where is the license transferred to the end user?

  10. #10
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    grantek, I think your reasoning here is flawed. From what I've been able to gather, patent licenses for end users are usually implied rather than explicit. I don't know the details of how an implied license is scoped, but it seems like the safe assumption would be that it's a narrow license that only covers use of the product.

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