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    SubjectRe: CONFIG_VFAT_FS_DUALNAMES regressions
    Hi Alan,

    > James reply was based on the fallacy that vendors will keep the source in
    > their tree. They don't do that *today*, look at their trees.

    You keep talking about what is done about patents in other parts of
    the free software world as though it is a good model to follow. It
    isn't - it is a complete disaster.

    The only weapon we have to fight patents right now is our collective
    ability to find smart solutions to problems. The "every vendor for
    themselves" approach that you seem to be so keen on makes that
    collective approach pretty much impossible.

    You talk about media players and other software being crippled in the
    US and other countries as though this is a good thing. You talk about
    vendors ripping out large slabs of functionality as though you want it
    to happen.

    I don't want that. I want to *fight*.

    So how do we fight these and all the other patents that threaten
    Linux? We implement the damn functionality anyway, finding a smart way
    to make it work despite the patents. It has been so disheartening over
    the years to see people say things like "oh, the XYZ codec is
    patented, we can't use that". Patents don't work like that. They
    patent very specific steps, and if you learn to read them properly
    then you can find ways to get the functionality you need without just
    applying an axe to a whole slab of useful features.

    The patch I've posted is a good first step in showing the kernel
    community how to do this. I'd like to see us apply the same approach
    outside the kernel too. I'd like to see us produce implementations of
    the 'patented' codecs that meet the same high standards for being
    clearly non-infringing as the patch that I've posted for VFAT does.

    I've been applying this approach in Samba for years, and it
    *works*. Samba is extremely functional. We have not once had a user
    complaint about a missing feature because of a patent workaround. How
    do you reckon we achieved that?

    We, as a technical community, have the very best possible set of
    resources for actually beating the patent system at its own game. Far
    better than any company in the world by a very large margin.

    We can also teach patent holders that filing a patent suit against the
    Linux community is a _really_ bad idea. Patent holders will soon find
    out that when they do that then there will quickly be a public
    workaround to their patent posted. That public workaround can then be
    used by not just the free software community, but also by the normal
    proprietary vendors that these agressive patent holders make their
    licensing money off.

    So patent holders will learn that taking on the free software
    community over patents loses them income from patent licensing. They
    risk a huge, very talented, very motivated community of engineers
    focussing its attention on their patent and finding a way around
    it. They will learn that it is better to go after softer targets.

    Short of a political miracle, that is the only way we are going to
    beat the patent system.

    Let's stop whining about the unfair patent system and start fighting

    > So why have the vendors not commented on list ? If they will want to
    > apply the patch why don't I see supporting email from them ?

    I'm pretty sure you were at RedHat during a couple of patent
    suits. What is the first thing that happened? I bet the lawyers told
    everyone not to talk publicly about the patents.

    That is standard practice within companies. How should we react to
    that? We should react by helping them when they need the help. When we
    need the help some day perhaps they will help us.

    > I can't comment on the advice I've seen directly, but I will point out
    > that every vendor I am aware of *removes completely* any source material
    > which they view with concern. You can download the packages and review
    > them if you doubt it.

    oh yes, I've seen it, but unlike you I didn't jump with joy at the
    sight of Linux users losing features because of the patent system. I
    fumed at the fact that the vendors and projects involved did not have
    the knowledge and skills to apply a more subtle, and much more
    effective, approach to beating patents.

    We can teach each other those skills, and we can learn to beat

    So please Alan, think about whether the approach that has been taken
    for so long is working. Think about how it stops us using our brains
    to solve problems that we're good at solving. Think about how much
    worse things may get.

    Then join me in trying to fight the patent system for real.

    Cheers, Tridge

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