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Thread: S3TC For Mesa Is Talked About Some More

  1. #11
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    I'm joining the choir of people who don't understand why they must be penalized for the authoritarian laws of other countries (as others have pointed out, it's not only the USA to have this problem, but this doesn't change the fact that many countries still don't have it).

    Linux is full of patented technology (as others have pointed out, FAT is such one, so according to the no-patents theory, the whole world should immediately stop using *all* USB sticks from Linux, or connecting their Android phones to their PC, and if they don't do that, they're a bunch of criminals).

    FreeType managed to hide patented technologies behind compile-time switches for years and I don't think anyone has ever sued them, aren't the sellers of Linux devices the only responsible for the patent compliance of the software they sell?

    I'm a bit disappointed to hear replies such as "you're ignorant people, you should as well admit that you're all criminals". I do acknowledge that I am ignorant, but for this reason I'd appreciate if somebody who isn't explained to me why this patent problem can't be avoided, by people who live in more liberal countries, in the same way it was done back when the USA had those crazy laws about strong cryptography.

    Is it perhaps because the GPL doesn't allow you to redistribute code exploiting patented technologies you don't own? Then why does the Linux kernel contain the patended FAT "long file names" algorithm? And isn't mesa under the X license?

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by peppepz View Post
    Is it perhaps because the GPL doesn't allow you to redistribute code exploiting patented technologies you don't own? Then why does the Linux kernel contain the patended FAT "long file names" algorithm? And isn't mesa under the X license?
    Nah, this has nothing to do with the license. It's just that the companies responsible for Mesa development aren't interested in supporting it. I guess they don't have any customers outside the areas these patents are valid that care about it.

    I said it before, and I'll say it again. Intel is the only company with enough clout that might eventually decide they want this. If we can convince them, everyone else would fall into place. If not, it's never going to happen. Or at least not until 2020 or whenever the patents expire.

  3. #13
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    FreeType managed to hide patented technologies behind compile-time switches for years and I don't think anyone has ever sued them,
    Your missing subtleties. Plus you don't understand how patents works.

    Having open source code that is patented is NOT a problem. Nobody is going to sue you.

    USING open source software that is patented IS a problem. People can and actually DO sue for that.

    Understand?

    I'll give you a simple example: MP3.

    Mp3 format requires patented concepts for compatibility. There exists many pieces of software that implement the concepts. A big one is LAME.

    The author programming MP3 support is fine. The author actually using it is illegal. Shipping a product using it is illegal. You using it is illegal. Unless you obtain a patent license.

    Get it?

    aren't the sellers of Linux devices the only responsible for the patent compliance of the software they sell?
    Yes. So they would be forced to remove s3t support if they want to ship it and still allow people to use it as open source software.

    If they pay the patent license and ship it to you, that does not cover all your possible activities. You copying the software to some other device may still be illegal. You using the software source code and compiling it and shipping it in your own products is illegal. That's why it's fundamentally incompatible with open source/Free software. It makes it illegal to use the software as open source software unless your patent license covers all possible uses for that open source software.


    By shipping Mesa with s3tc enabled by default it is creating a legal landmind for users. It would be the same as if the developers through up their hands and said:

    "You may get sued if you use this software, but it's not our problem."

    Does that sound responsible to you?


    Also notice that while the patented features of freetype actually do exist, they are not shipped on by default. You have to recompile it.

    Just like how Mesa allows for s3tc if you add a external library. It's actually easier (when you have good drivers) to use Mesa with s3tc as you don't even need to recompile.

    The dispute is whether or not s3tc support is _shipped_ enabled by authors or distributions, not that it exists.

    Mesa support exists and it has for a long time.

  4. #14
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    Also while patents abound and most software violates patents in some manner.. the only really troublesome ones are patents that people are actually enforcing and collecting licensing fees from.

    Mp3 is a troublesome one.
    Type setting patents are another.

    S3tc patents are also patents that people are actively enforcing and are collecting patent fees on.

    It's bad policy to go out and seek out patents you may violate. Ignorance is bliss. But it's far worse policy to try to ignore patents that people are actively enforcing.

  5. #15
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    Default Duh.

    Quote Originally Posted by drag View Post
    Your missing subtleties. Plus you don't understand how patents works.

    Having open source code that is patented is NOT a problem. Nobody is going to sue you.

    USING open source software that is patented IS a problem. People can and actually DO sue for that.

    Understand?
    Yes. That's not a subtlety, that's the entire freakin' point. Devs aren't put at risk of "infringement" for distributing the source code. Put the code behind a switch-wall and you're out of risk of "enticing infringement", too, as the FreeType project demonstrates.
    I'll give you a simple example: MP3.

    Mp3 format requires patented concepts for compatibility. There exists many pieces of software that implement the concepts. A big one is LAME.

    The author programming MP3 support is fine. The author actually using it is illegal. Shipping a product using it is illegal. You using it is illegal. Unless you obtain a patent license.

    Get it?
    Only in places where the patents apply. Which is the reason people are p**sed - if China bans IM clients that enable encryption and prevent them from policing on its citizens, is Ubuntu, fedora etc. going to pull any OTR-enabled client from its repos? Of course not. At best, they'd put up a warning that software available may run afoul of local regulations and ensuring compliance is the user's responsibility, which it is. Why do YOU want to cripple the mesa experience for millions of users around the world just because some of them may be in jurisdictions that prohibit this?
    Yes. So they would be forced to remove s3t support if they want to ship it and still allow people to use it as open source software.
    Yes, that's what everyone wants. Why is this a problem?
    By shipping Mesa with s3tc enabled by default it is creating a legal landmind for users. It would be the same as if the developers through up their hands and said:

    "You may get sued if you use this software, but it's not our problem."

    Does that sound responsible to you?
    It's what ffmpeg, x264 and just about every codec project does - put the patented tech in a container (switch-wall, separate lib/package, whatever) and put a huge Caveat emptor warning, saying, essentially: This code is covered by the usual license and we grant you all freedoms as usual. Do note however, that functionality in this code is covered by several patents in some countries which we do not hold and obtaining a license for these allowing your desired use is your responsibility.

    Also notice that while the patented features of freetype actually do exist, they are not shipped on by default. You have to recompile it.
    BINGO! That's what we're trying to accomplish for MESA. Having a separate branch for this is a PITA and far from easy. Upstream adoption would allow easier enabling of these features by any user who cares. Mesa-float and mesa-s3tc packages in repos like medibuntu ensue.

    Just like how Mesa allows for s3tc if you add a external library. It's actually easier (when you have good drivers) to use Mesa with s3tc as you don't even need to recompile.

    The dispute is whether or not s3tc support is _shipped_ enabled by authors or distributions, not that it exists.
    No. From TFA (emphasis mine):
    The push there was for mainlining the S3TC and OpenGL floating point support but to not build it by default if not using the hidden --enable-patented option.
    Mesa support exists and it has for a long time.
    Not as an optional part of mesa from a development POV. Any commits that would break s3tc would go into mesa without problems and without anyone noticing until trying to build s3tc. As for FP, it's a completely separate branch so it's inherently lagging behind the mainline mesa, and if your distro included any tweaks to mesa for their version, you're left to trying to shoehorn the FP into the distro version, or shoehorn the distro's patches into the FP branch. The average user is pretty much screwed.
    The dispute is whether to put floating point textures behind a switch-wall or leave it in a separate branch. I haven't read a good reason why the former is not an option. In the spirit of "the beatings will continue until morale improves", these ramblings will continue until we get an answer to this question:
    Why can't you do fp-textures like FreeType and be done with it?

  6. #16
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    @myxal

    Your completely mental and it appears unable to string together two rational thoughts, much less carry out a decent conversation. 'Yelling' about it is just making you look stupid.

    Please stop that and try to re-read things until you understand it. Otherwise your only going to give yourself a headache and make yourself look foolish.

  7. #17
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    Sorry for the yelling, the last "question" is more addressed at the mainline mesa devs/maintainers rather than you.

    I stand by my claim that the issue here is NOT about shipping patented tech by default. If anyone is claiming that (your previous post puts you into this group), they misunderstood the Lucas', Marek's and other devs' proposal. That's definitely NOT their intention.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by peppepz View Post
    FreeType managed to hide patented technologies behind compile-time switches for years and I don't think anyone has ever sued them...
    Close but not quite. FreeType didn't hide the functionality, it was clearly there (in the code) for anyone who cared. They even directed users who wanted to be legit in using the patented tech to the respective licensors, who acknowledged this development/distribution model as valid and non-infringing. I'm baffled that mesa maintainers would apparently rather hide their heads in the sand rather than talk to people at FreeType responsible for legal matters for insight and patent holders to arrange a working model.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by drag View Post
    Your missing subtleties. Plus you don't understand how patents works.

    Having open source code that is patented is NOT a problem. Nobody is going to sue you.

    USING open source software that is patented IS a problem. People can and actually DO sue for that.
    Nice, then it is possible (and legal) to implement patented features in source form and protect them from illegal use via compile-time switches, as FreeType did. This is good news to me.

    Perhaps it could be done at runtime, too, by downloading "unrestricted" binaries from servers in patent-free countries only if the user declares, under his sole responsibility, that he resides in a patent-free country? Or would this put the distributors residing in patent-ridden countries in danger of being sued because of providing an "easy way" for dishonest users living in patent-ridden countries to illegally run patented software?

    Quote Originally Posted by drag View Post
    Yes. So they would be forced to remove s3t support if they want to ship it and still allow people to use it as open source software.
    Why, that's exactly what would make me happy (in a pretty egoistic perspective): a compile-time switch to enable users who aren't restricted by patent legislation (or who have obtained a legitimate license for the patented technology) to access those features.

    Quote Originally Posted by drag View Post
    That's why it's fundamentally incompatible with open source/Free software. It makes it illegal to use the software as open source software unless your patent license covers all possible uses for that open source software.
    In my opinion this should be a matter to be resolved between the users of the software who live in patent-ridden countries, and the legislators that they elected to make their laws. See what the GPL says (I know, it doesn't apply to Mesa, I went to read that just to try to understand, in general, the opinion on the matter of the writers of the GPL, who must probably be among the most ardent supporters of the freedom of software):

    8. If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in
    certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the
    original copyright holder who places the Program under this License
    may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding
    those countries, so that distribution is permitted only in or among
    countries not thus excluded. In such case, this License incorporates
    the limitation as if written in the body of this License.
    It is clearly not possible to know in advance, when writing a piece of software, each and every patent it might infringe in each and every country in the world. The only alternative would be not to write software at all, as is somehow proposed once in a while by some people when they say that, although this can't be proven in court, "you can't write a video codec without infringing on some of h.264's patents".

    Quote Originally Posted by drag View Post
    "You may get sued if you use this software, but it's not our problem."

    Does that sound responsible to you?
    It definitely sounds broken, but its brokenness only reflects the inherent brokenness of software patent law. Furthermore, it's the de-facto situation in which we're currently living: when I installed my Linux distribution, I had no notification whatsoever that I can be sued by Microsoft if I dare attach a thumb drive / sd card / phone / photo camera to my computer while I'm running Linux. Yet, for what you taught me, this seems to be the case.

    Note that I don't want distributions to ship patented software by default; I understand their position (and their users').

    Quote Originally Posted by drag View Post
    The dispute is whether or not s3tc support is _shipped_ enabled by authors or distributions, not that it exists.
    Thanks, the mistake was that I hadn't understood this. I had the impression, instead, that the dispute was whether or not authors should support patented features, that distributions could disable, at all.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by peppepz View Post
    Linux is full of patented technology (as others have pointed out, FAT is such one, so according to the no-patents theory, the whole world should immediately stop using *all* USB sticks from Linux, or connecting their Android phones to their PC, and if they don't do that, they're a bunch of criminals).
    I'm sure the world would stop using windows too. Btw. can you name some more than just the one patent?

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