Software patents

Francois Gouget fgouget at
Fri May 13 10:09:29 CDT 2005

On Thu, 12 May 2005, gslink wrote:

> The whole business of software patents is very likely to explode at any time.

I assume this is somewhat related to the Winelib article on Slashdot:

Winelib Hobbled by Exception-Handling Patent

If not I'll make just a few comments about that article anyway.

  * The Slashdot summary makes it sound like Wine is infringing on the 
patent and that we will have to remove some code.
    This is absolutely not the case. The infringing piece of code does 
not belong in Wine so noone ever even tried to put it there. Exception 
handling belongs in gcc and some patches exist to add this feature to 
gcc. But obviously the gcc developers (who are pretty strict about this 
stuff) never allowed this code to get into the gcc codebase. This means 
Wine cannot assume it's available or use it.

  * Some posters on Slashdot seem to think it's a recent discovery.
    It's not. This issue was discussed more than a year ago. I'll let 
interested parties dig the wine-devel archives for the relevant threads. 
This also means there's no need to worry about 'plausible ignorance of 
th issue', it's been discussed already so the cat's out of the bag 

  * Some posters on Slashdot seem to think this 'discovery' is related to 
the recent news about Eben Moglen helping Wine.
    It's obviously not the case since this issue was known long before 
the agreement with Eben was even in the making.

Francois Gouget         fgouget at
      Linux, WinNT, MS-DOS - also known as the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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