ZFS License and Future

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at infracaninophile.co.uk
Sun Nov 7 17:17:32 UTC 2010

On 06/11/2010 16:10, Chad Perrin wrote:
>   Will Oracle lawyers
> find some patent related to the creation of that software the company
> "owns" and use that to sue you if you fork the project to ensure the
> survival of your own development projects?  It seems somewhat likely,
> somehow.

Oracle couldn't sue for patent violations on software that they (or
their predecessors) had released and that people were using as-is.
That's legitimate use under license from the software's originators.

Nor could they sue successfully over some completely novel
implementation that avoided patented areas.

An interesting question is: could they sue over use of patented feature
'foo' in a forked copy of the software, where the code implementing
'foo' was still identical to the original version and where any
substantial novel work was on other, unpatented, areas?  This flies in
the face of the original intent of granting patents; that innovators
should be able to claim the benefits of their own work in order that
innovation be encouraged.

I doubt that any free software project would have sufficient funds to
pursue such a case through the courts.

I take comfort from the example of OpenBSD and CARP vs. Cisco and HSRP.
 Open source projects have been here before, and survived by doing what
open source projects do best: writing code.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
                                                  Flat 3
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey     Ramsgate
JID: matthew at infracaninophile.co.uk               Kent, CT11 9PW

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