A Linux distribution not based in the USA, and which is not sold in the USA for profit, has no reason to follow US laws.
Originally Posted by curaga
Problem is, though, that many major distributions ARE based in the USA, and thus MUST follow US laws. Listing the ones from the distrowatch.com top list:
- Ubuntu (UK, but makes profit in the USA)
- Red Hat, Fedora (Raleigh, NC, USA)
- Suse (Provo, UT, USA)
- Debian (France, but is a widespread distro and has major download servers in the USA, possibly can risk losing them, probably better not)
- Mandriva (France, but makes profit in the USA)
- Linux Mint (Ireland, possibly could risk it)
- PCLinuxOS (Houston, TX, USA)
- Slackware (Herndon, VA, USA)
- Gentoo (doesn't have to care, they just make download and compile scripts and shift the problem to the user)
- CentOS (Belgium, probably could do it, but they normally don't make their own packages but just rebuild RHEL ones)
- FreeBSD (doesn't have to care MUCH, they can opt to not redistribute it like Gentoo by simply disabling package creation for it in the ports) (BTW: I know this isn't Linux, and number eleven but distrowatch lists it in the "top ten", so do I)
Among these, only Linux Mint, Gentoo and FreeBSD are likely to include US patent infringing code, all others would face a severe risk if doing so.