Re: How can we submit code patches that implement our (pending) patents?

From: Nico Williams <nico(at)cryptonector(dot)com>
To: "Tsunakawa, Takayuki" <tsunakawa(dot)takay(at)jp(dot)fujitsu(dot)com>
Cc: 'Craig Ringer' <craig(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com>, "pgsql-hackers(at)lists(dot)postgresql(dot)org" <pgsql-hackers(at)lists(dot)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: How can we submit code patches that implement our (pending) patents?
Date: 2018-07-09 10:47:56
Message-ID: 20180709104751.GA7474@localhost
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On Thu, Jul 05, 2018 at 01:15:15AM +0000, Tsunakawa, Takayuki wrote:
> From: Craig Ringer [mailto:craig(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com]
> > I'm assuming you don't want to offer a grant that lets anyone use them for
> > anything. But if you have a really broad grant to PostgreSQL, all someone
> > would have to do to inherit the grant is re-use some part of PostgreSQL.
>
> Your assumption is right. No scope is the same as no patent; it won't help to defend PostgreSQL community against rival companies/communities of other DBMSs. Or, I think we can set the scope to what OIN states. Fortunately, anyone can join OIN free of charge.
>
>
> > I guess there's a middle ground somewhere that protects substantial
> > derivatives and extracts but stops you using some Pg code snippets as a
> > freebie license.
>
> Are you assuming that developers want to use PG code snippets for
> non-PostgreSQL or even non-DBMS software? I believe that accepting
> patented code from companies would be practically more useful for
> PostgreSQL enhancement and growth. PostgreSQL is now a mature
> software, and it can be more corporate-friendly like other software
> under Apache License.

Suppose I have my own patches, not yet contributed to PG, and that I'm
using them in production. Can I use my patched version of PG with your
functionality?

Suppose I am developing my own PostgreSQL derivative, with my own secret
sauce perhaps, and perhaps I'm using it to build a proprietary cloud DB
service. Can I use my patched version of PG with your functionality?

I suspect your answer to the latter would be "absolutely not".

Maybe the first one would be OK if you can somehow distinguish it from
the latter?

Anyways, as a user of PG and occasinal hacker of PG, I would have to
insist on a ./configure way to exclude all functionality not licensed to
me for my use cases, and I would have to insist on all such code being
very well segregated (I don't want to look at your code!), and I would
insist too on any free configuration being highly tested.

If I were a core developer I would have to think long and hard about
whether I could meet user requirements and still have your code in-tree,
and I'm not sure I could do both of those.

Nico
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