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  • S3TC For Mesa Is Talked About Some More

    Phoronix: S3TC For Mesa Is Talked About Some More

    Discussions surrounding S3TC Texture Compression support for mainline Mesa (right now it's an external library) is becoming an increasingly common occurrence. Newer games and OpenGL applications depend upon S3TC support and open-source developers are unable to provide "out of the box" support due to patent concerns...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTIzMQ

  • #2
    finally, someone who has a fucking clue!
    lawyers will always say "there is a risk" because world is full of assholes who would abuse legal system as they abuse law enforcement system to screw you if they want even if you just standing still. sometimes you just have to take that risk which comes with job. unfortunately, Zack is on corporate job and it's corporate risk which comes first, of course he would say that. but if we talking about public OSS project and there is no detailed public info about that risk - it's just scaremongering and FUD.

    say, tomorrow patch would materialise that connects libsquish to mesa. will it be merged ? will libtxc_dxtn have code improvements, new releases and all official freedesktop support ? everyone sure that incorporating that code in mesa and only providing driconf switch ("disabled" by default) is not good enough ? if yes, it's enabled by default when library is present, right ?
    maybe external library from non-free repository is not that bad in theory but how it came that way so its support was abandon for ages where it even lost hosting ?

    Gordon said that distros now treat mesa as if it were "good enough". i say he's right but it's lesser evil in comparison how they treated it as useless garbage with "glxinfo" being its most useful part. now glxinfo is in separate tarball and mesa is not useless, let's hope they will find balance and hopefully support libtxc_dxtn or libsquish or whatever to render those fucking compressed textures.

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    • #3
      I very much agree with the comments on Zack's blog. Why is there no comment from any of the "officials" on the US-only status of this patent?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by curaga View Post
        I very much agree with the comments on Zack's blog. Why is there no comment from any of the "officials" on the US-only status of this patent?

        Many graphic devs are employed by US companies so this probably complicates things a bit.

        The only thing that needs to be done is to make it easy to activate the features.

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        • #5
          The clowns that own those patents should give them to the OSI or pledge not to sue OSS.

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          • #6
            It's simply that you can't reconcile Free Software with patents.
            Gotta call bullshit on that one. Linux has many patented items in it's kernel. It is a matter if the patent holder will allow a 'free' solution to be implemented.

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            • #7
              It's simply that you can't reconcile Free Software with patents.
              Talk to hand, then say that to the FreeType project with a straight face.
              You just can't add what amounts to arbitrary restrictions to your software and claim freedom.
              The ones adding restrictions is your legislation and patent holders, not developers/submitters. If China decides to ban IM clients that don't spy on their users, will distros remove them because they're now illegal to distribute in some legislations, despite developers placing no restrictions of their own on the software?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by deanjo View Post
                Gotta call bullshit on that one. Linux has many patented items in it's kernel. It is a matter if the patent holder will allow a 'free' solution to be implemented.
                The only things that ae patented are certain firmware blobs that may have been included in the Linux tree, but these can be stripped out by a build-time argument

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                • #9
                  may be a bit of a dumb question...

                  but isn't S3TC owned by Via now?

                  Has anybody suggested to Via that maybe the best way they can show they are serious about Open-Source development is to make the S3 patents available to Open-Source developers under an Open-License, or under terms allowing the royalty free usage there-of?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DeepDayze View Post
                    The only things that ae patented are certain firmware blobs that may have been included in the Linux tree, but these can be stripped out by a build-time argument
                    That's not true at all. MS has already successfully sued companies over using FAT support in the linux kernel.

                    And the firmware blobs would more likely violate copyright law than patents - at least that's my take. I don't think they actually violate either.

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                    • #11
                      I'm joining the choir of people who don't understand why they must be penalized for the authoritarian laws of other countries (as others have pointed out, it's not only the USA to have this problem, but this doesn't change the fact that many countries still don't have it).

                      Linux is full of patented technology (as others have pointed out, FAT is such one, so according to the no-patents theory, the whole world should immediately stop using *all* USB sticks from Linux, or connecting their Android phones to their PC, and if they don't do that, they're a bunch of criminals).

                      FreeType managed to hide patented technologies behind compile-time switches for years and I don't think anyone has ever sued them, aren't the sellers of Linux devices the only responsible for the patent compliance of the software they sell?

                      I'm a bit disappointed to hear replies such as "you're ignorant people, you should as well admit that you're all criminals". I do acknowledge that I am ignorant, but for this reason I'd appreciate if somebody who isn't explained to me why this patent problem can't be avoided, by people who live in more liberal countries, in the same way it was done back when the USA had those crazy laws about strong cryptography.

                      Is it perhaps because the GPL doesn't allow you to redistribute code exploiting patented technologies you don't own? Then why does the Linux kernel contain the patended FAT "long file names" algorithm? And isn't mesa under the X license?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by peppepz View Post
                        Is it perhaps because the GPL doesn't allow you to redistribute code exploiting patented technologies you don't own? Then why does the Linux kernel contain the patended FAT "long file names" algorithm? And isn't mesa under the X license?
                        Nah, this has nothing to do with the license. It's just that the companies responsible for Mesa development aren't interested in supporting it. I guess they don't have any customers outside the areas these patents are valid that care about it.

                        I said it before, and I'll say it again. Intel is the only company with enough clout that might eventually decide they want this. If we can convince them, everyone else would fall into place. If not, it's never going to happen. Or at least not until 2020 or whenever the patents expire.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          FreeType managed to hide patented technologies behind compile-time switches for years and I don't think anyone has ever sued them,
                          Your missing subtleties. Plus you don't understand how patents works.

                          Having open source code that is patented is NOT a problem. Nobody is going to sue you.

                          USING open source software that is patented IS a problem. People can and actually DO sue for that.

                          Understand?

                          I'll give you a simple example: MP3.

                          Mp3 format requires patented concepts for compatibility. There exists many pieces of software that implement the concepts. A big one is LAME.

                          The author programming MP3 support is fine. The author actually using it is illegal. Shipping a product using it is illegal. You using it is illegal. Unless you obtain a patent license.

                          Get it?

                          aren't the sellers of Linux devices the only responsible for the patent compliance of the software they sell?
                          Yes. So they would be forced to remove s3t support if they want to ship it and still allow people to use it as open source software.

                          If they pay the patent license and ship it to you, that does not cover all your possible activities. You copying the software to some other device may still be illegal. You using the software source code and compiling it and shipping it in your own products is illegal. That's why it's fundamentally incompatible with open source/Free software. It makes it illegal to use the software as open source software unless your patent license covers all possible uses for that open source software.


                          By shipping Mesa with s3tc enabled by default it is creating a legal landmind for users. It would be the same as if the developers through up their hands and said:

                          "You may get sued if you use this software, but it's not our problem."

                          Does that sound responsible to you?


                          Also notice that while the patented features of freetype actually do exist, they are not shipped on by default. You have to recompile it.

                          Just like how Mesa allows for s3tc if you add a external library. It's actually easier (when you have good drivers) to use Mesa with s3tc as you don't even need to recompile.

                          The dispute is whether or not s3tc support is _shipped_ enabled by authors or distributions, not that it exists.

                          Mesa support exists and it has for a long time.

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                          • #14
                            Also while patents abound and most software violates patents in some manner.. the only really troublesome ones are patents that people are actually enforcing and collecting licensing fees from.

                            Mp3 is a troublesome one.
                            Type setting patents are another.

                            S3tc patents are also patents that people are actively enforcing and are collecting patent fees on.

                            It's bad policy to go out and seek out patents you may violate. Ignorance is bliss. But it's far worse policy to try to ignore patents that people are actively enforcing.

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                            • #15
                              Duh.

                              Originally posted by drag View Post
                              Your missing subtleties. Plus you don't understand how patents works.

                              Having open source code that is patented is NOT a problem. Nobody is going to sue you.

                              USING open source software that is patented IS a problem. People can and actually DO sue for that.

                              Understand?
                              Yes. That's not a subtlety, that's the entire freakin' point. Devs aren't put at risk of "infringement" for distributing the source code. Put the code behind a switch-wall and you're out of risk of "enticing infringement", too, as the FreeType project demonstrates.
                              I'll give you a simple example: MP3.

                              Mp3 format requires patented concepts for compatibility. There exists many pieces of software that implement the concepts. A big one is LAME.

                              The author programming MP3 support is fine. The author actually using it is illegal. Shipping a product using it is illegal. You using it is illegal. Unless you obtain a patent license.

                              Get it?
                              Only in places where the patents apply. Which is the reason people are p**sed - if China bans IM clients that enable encryption and prevent them from policing on its citizens, is Ubuntu, fedora etc. going to pull any OTR-enabled client from its repos? Of course not. At best, they'd put up a warning that software available may run afoul of local regulations and ensuring compliance is the user's responsibility, which it is. Why do YOU want to cripple the mesa experience for millions of users around the world just because some of them may be in jurisdictions that prohibit this?
                              Yes. So they would be forced to remove s3t support if they want to ship it and still allow people to use it as open source software.
                              Yes, that's what everyone wants. Why is this a problem?
                              By shipping Mesa with s3tc enabled by default it is creating a legal landmind for users. It would be the same as if the developers through up their hands and said:

                              "You may get sued if you use this software, but it's not our problem."

                              Does that sound responsible to you?
                              It's what ffmpeg, x264 and just about every codec project does - put the patented tech in a container (switch-wall, separate lib/package, whatever) and put a huge Caveat emptor warning, saying, essentially: This code is covered by the usual license and we grant you all freedoms as usual. Do note however, that functionality in this code is covered by several patents in some countries which we do not hold and obtaining a license for these allowing your desired use is your responsibility.

                              Also notice that while the patented features of freetype actually do exist, they are not shipped on by default. You have to recompile it.
                              BINGO! That's what we're trying to accomplish for MESA. Having a separate branch for this is a PITA and far from easy. Upstream adoption would allow easier enabling of these features by any user who cares. Mesa-float and mesa-s3tc packages in repos like medibuntu ensue.

                              Just like how Mesa allows for s3tc if you add a external library. It's actually easier (when you have good drivers) to use Mesa with s3tc as you don't even need to recompile.

                              The dispute is whether or not s3tc support is _shipped_ enabled by authors or distributions, not that it exists.
                              No. From TFA (emphasis mine):
                              The push there was for mainlining the S3TC and OpenGL floating point support but to not build it by default if not using the hidden --enable-patented option.
                              Mesa support exists and it has for a long time.
                              Not as an optional part of mesa from a development POV. Any commits that would break s3tc would go into mesa without problems and without anyone noticing until trying to build s3tc. As for FP, it's a completely separate branch so it's inherently lagging behind the mainline mesa, and if your distro included any tweaks to mesa for their version, you're left to trying to shoehorn the FP into the distro version, or shoehorn the distro's patches into the FP branch. The average user is pretty much screwed.
                              The dispute is whether to put floating point textures behind a switch-wall or leave it in a separate branch. I haven't read a good reason why the former is not an option. In the spirit of "the beatings will continue until morale improves", these ramblings will continue until we get an answer to this question:
                              Why can't you do fp-textures like FreeType and be done with it?

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