An unfortunate description
Posted Mar 15, 2012 21:09 UTC (Thu) by rqosa
In reply to: An unfortunate description
Parent article: Idealism vs. pragmatism: Mozilla debates supporting H.264 video playback (ars technica)
> I know how the whole thing worked from personal experience
So does anyone who remembers compiling the OpenSSL-enabled variants of programs (e.g. Lynx) that existed back then.
> BUT THESE VERSIONS WERE ILLEGAL TO USE IN US BECAUSE OF RSA PATENT.
Well, I was actually talking about the former export restriction laws, not the RSA patent. But the same principle applied either way: the legal encumbrance only applied to the library that contains the algorithm in question, not to programs (or other libraries) that call into that library. In other words, if you distribute the program without bundling the legally-encumbered library it uses, you're free from any legal trouble.
That's the situation that Mozilla would be in if they made Gecko depend on GStreamer, and then distributed Gecko in only these three ways: as source code (thus not including GStreamer), as a binary built against OS-provided GStreamer (thus not including GStreamer), and as a binary bundled with a custom build of GStreamer that's had all its codecs and containers stripped out except for the ones Mozilla wants to support (thus not including the patented parts of GStreamer).
> Another, different version of program with PROPERLY LICENSED library was sold in US.
But there wasn't any legal requirement for the US version of the program (not the library) to be "different" from the non-US version. (If they were different from each other, it was because the cryptography libraries were being linked statically, or because the US and non-US cryptography libraries didn't use the same API/ABI as each other, or both of those reasons.)
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