Re: Patent issues and 8.1

From: "Marc G(dot) Fournier" <scrappy(at)postgresql(dot)org>
To: Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>
Cc: PostgreSQL-development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgreSQL(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Patent issues and 8.1
Date: 2005-01-25 23:23:17
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On Tue, 25 Jan 2005, Bruce Momjian wrote:

> pgman wrote:
>>> Not yet --- I suggested it but didn't get any yeas or nays. I don't
>>> feel this is solely core's decision anyway ... what do the assembled
>>> hackers think?
>> I am not in favor of adjusting the 8.1 release based solely on this
>> patent issue. I think the probability of the patent being accepted and
>> enforced against anyone using PostgreSQL to be very unlikely. I would
>> also like to come up with a procedure that would scale to any other
>> patent problems we might have. What if someone finds another patent
>> problem during 8.1 beta? Do we shorten the 8.2 development cycle too?
>> What I would like to do is to pledge that we will put out an 8.0.X to
>> address any patent conflict experienced by our users. This would
>> include ARC or anything else. This way we don't focus just on ARC but
>> have a plan for any patent issues that appear, and we don't have to
>> adjust our development cycle until an actual threat appears.
>> One advantage we have is that we can easily adjust our code to work
>> around patented code by just installing a new binary. (Patents that
>> affect our storage format would be more difficult. A fix would have to
>> perhaps rewrite the on-disk data.)
>> One problem in working around the GIF format patent is that you had to
>> create a file that was readable by many of the existing GIF readers.
>> With PostgreSQL, only we read our own data files so we can more easily
>> make adjustments to avoid patents.
> I did not see any reaction to my ideas above. Is this a good plan?

No, as an 8.0.x is mean to be for minor changes/fixes/improvements ...
'addressing a patnt conflict', at least in ARC's case, is a major change,
which is why we are looking at a short dev cycle for 8.1 ...

Marc G. Fournier Hub.Org Networking Services (
Email: scrappy(at)hub(dot)org Yahoo!: yscrappy ICQ: 7615664

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