so... did anyone involved in mesa ask S3 already if it's ok to have a free implementation, or do we have to speculate for the next 50 years whether there might be some legal problems or not?
I presume by "S3" you mean "HTC"....?
The issue here is that HTC needs patents to fight off the patent trolling of the steves (jobs and balmer). If S3TC gets freely implemented under an open source license with the blessing of HTC, then all the steves need to do to defang that patent is to publish the source to that very small subset of their code.
In fact, if you ASK HTC for permission, they will *DEFINITELY* say no. If you IMPLEMENT it after asking and being turned down, they MUST litigate to protect the validity of the patent. If you do NOT ask but DO implement it, they have the freedom to "turn a blind eye".
I think it is Russian Federation now. And I already heard they managed to cripple new release, so the distro is basically dead. Anyway, russians contribute to worldwide distros directly and mostly do not use russian-owned distros(like AltLinux etc)
Magea should be from France.