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Thread: Samsung Properly Open-Sources exFAT File-System

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluefang View Post
    If MS tried to revoke the licensing rights, I doubt they'd have much of a leg to stand on.

    1)

    As far as I'm aware, the generally accepted convention is that software patents only become enforceable once the code is compiled and run on a 'general computing device'. I believe that's the reasoning behind many codec projects not distributing binaries.

    Patents cover the exclusive right to restrict others from "making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing" the invention. Source code alone does not allow someone to do any of those things. So the practical application of source code is patentable, but source code itself is only covered by copyright.

    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/dapp/pdf/ciig.pdf


    2)

    Patents, by their very nature, require enough specificity for someone to implement the invention. Someone should not be able to learn anything from source code that they couldn't already learn from the parent itself.

    3)

    If the current licensing agreement didn't grant users of the code the ability to practically use the code, that (if I understand the wording) would violate the GPL. But that doesn't mean the GPL symbols couldn't be replaced and the project re-licensed ( la the ZFS FUSE implementation). Though, at that point, there wouldn't be much incentive for Samsung to keep the project open-source.
    Regarding 3, the obligations of the GPL only applies to the users you are distributing the binaries to.
    Samsung only distributes the binaries on ExFAT licensed devices, so the users have the right to modify Samsung's code AND use it (and, with GPL, have the right to redistribute the code).
    Samsung has zero obligations to the rest of the world.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by smitty3268 View Post
    Germany says hi! And Japan, and Australia, and...
    Germany doesn't say hi here. AFAIK in germany software patents are only valid if they are glued to hardware. As you can install exFAT on any hardware you want (HDD, SSD, USB Sticks, RAM Discs, ...) it is not glued to hardware and as such not valid.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke View Post
    If MS was ever dumb enough to sue a private individual for using an ExFAT camera with Linux, sales of cameras, possibly ALL digital cameras would plunge as customers avoided them no matter what OS they had. That's the ultimate FUD: confirmed legal attack. Vendors would respond by stripping out ExFAT support from all their products, and ExFAT would go the way of the .gif photo format. The owners of the .gif format sued websites for embedding .gif images without payment, and the resulting fear killed the format. Instead of paying, website owners stripped out the images and switched formats. That's why MPEG-LA dares not sue someone for an "illegal" video like one of mine on a website. In fact, that's why MPEG-LA decided to issue a temporary blanket license to all nonmonetized over the web users of H264. MS would be smart to do the same.

    Suing people for using your product is a good way to ensure people won't buy your product and sure as hell won't buy it with a credit card, use a shopper loyalty card, or send in product registration cards,
    To clarify my point: It's a driver, and a kernel driver, not a user-land one, at that. The one to get sued for it's use would be the distributions and the big corporate backers and users, not the individual end users.
    The reason kernel modules were designed in the first place was to circumvent licensing issues. But this case is probably even worse.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by erendorn View Post
    Regarding 3, the obligations of the GPL only applies to the users you are distributing the binaries to.
    Samsung only distributes the binaries on ExFAT licensed devices, so the users have the right to modify Samsung's code AND use it (and, with GPL, have the right to redistribute the code).
    Samsung has zero obligations to the rest of the world.
    People seem to keep saying this, but it's not true. If you distribute GPLv2 material commercially, you have two choices. You can distribute the source code alongside the binaries (section 3(a)), or you can include an offer to provide the source code on request (section 3(b)). 3(a) means you only have to provide source code to people you ship the binaries to, but nobody ships products like this - you'd need to include an extra DVD in the box, and basically nobody would care. So everyone ships under 3(b), and GPLv2 clearly states:

    Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code
    the key being "any third party", which includes people you didn't give the binary to. Samsung didn't include a copy of the source code with the device, therefore Samsung were distributing under GPLv2 3(b), therefore Samsung has obligations to the entire world.

  5. #35
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    Michael, benchmarks of this coming up?

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grogan View Post
    Fuck Microsoft, and their patents. It is wrong to patent something like a filesystem in the first place, to hinder interoperability with free software. Especially since it's not especially innovative, it's of poorer quality than FAT32. It supports larger volumes, larger file sizes and has some arbitrary limits removed, but has very poor fault tolerance. (not even any backup copies of the file allocation table)
    Does the invalidation of earlier FAT related patent have any bearing on ExFAT patents?

  7. #37
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    Default Distros are easily kept out of the lawsuit line of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by c117152 View Post
    To clarify my point: It's a driver, and a kernel driver, not a user-land one, at that. The one to get sued for it's use would be the distributions and the big corporate backers and users, not the individual end users.
    The reason kernel modules were designed in the first place was to circumvent licensing issues. But this case is probably even worse.
    Protecting distros is simple: No distros install it by default, at worst none have in in any repo hosted in a vulnerable location, nor under their own name. You can't sue Debian because somewhere else there's a repo anyone can add to Debian containing libdvdcss. Libdvdcss, in fact, is an example of how to handle an especially "hot" piece of software. Nobody's been able to get it off the whole internet, and nobody's bothered for using it if they are not a coporation vulnerable to external inspection (by an employee,fired for trying to organize a union perhaps).

    Hell, you could put Libdvdcss, all the codecs, even Flash and prop drivers in Trisquel if you really wanted to, and a lawsuit against Trisquel because someone put libdvdcss or ExFat into their system based on it would probably be laughed out of court.

    Big corporate users are being advised by Mint and other such distros not to install codecs either. Only someone using a big still camera with an unpatented raw format for everything will need ExFAT but not need the patent-busting codecs just to read the camera files. As a result, the importance of the ExFat patent is limited by the fact that patent-busting codecs are in most of the same workflows that need the ExFat driver.

    There remains a reason to boycott cameras that support ExFat at all: to deny Microsoft revenue from the license purchased by the maker of the camera. Make sure it does not support camera cards over 32GB, just use "seamless recording' to start new files every 4GB-it works fine.

    Also, once we have to use external repo kernel modules to handle "jerk" fileystems like Exfat, every kernel update is going to require a DKMS run, but that only slows down kernel updates, no every single read of a camera card. It's probably too late to kill ExFat commercially, the real fix would be custom firmware or OS images for common cameras that would use our own filesystems-and our own codecs. A camera shooting ogv or VP8 video onto an ext4 camera card with custom firmware would be damned fine with me. Ideally, you would be able to install free software on every device you own and thus blacklist every last piece of patented software.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke View Post
    A camera shooting ogv or VP8 video onto an ext4 camera card with custom firmware would be damned fine with me. Ideally, you would be able to install free software on every device you own and thus blacklist every last piece of patented software.
    In other words, a camera that shoots Lib-Ray directly? Alternatively, if you really need that Windows compatibility, UDF could be used as the base file system.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by c117152 View Post
    The reason kernel modules were designed in the first place was to circumvent licensing issues. But this case is probably even worse.
    Do you have any historical proof about that? Because the intuitive reasons are avoiding the need to recompile the kernel when programming on non-core pieces, and the ability to distribute smaller packages for drivers instead of the whole kernel (and to avoid having multiple, different kernel images or a huge one including everything).

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjg59 View Post
    People seem to keep saying this, but it's not true. If you distribute GPLv2 material commercially, you have two choices. You can distribute the source code alongside the binaries (section 3(a)), or you can include an offer to provide the source code on request (section 3(b)). 3(a) means you only have to provide source code to people you ship the binaries to, but nobody ships products like this - you'd need to include an extra DVD in the box, and basically nobody would care. So everyone ships under 3(b), and GPLv2 clearly states:



    the key being "any third party", which includes people you didn't give the binary to. Samsung didn't include a copy of the source code with the device, therefore Samsung were distributing under GPLv2 3(b), therefore Samsung has obligations to the entire world.
    Also, even if Samsung doesn't have such obligation with the entire world, Samsung must give it to whoever they distribute binaries to under the GPL, and that means anyone receiving it is free to share it, or merge it in a GPL compatible project.

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