[arch-dev-public] Moonlight in Arch Linux

Daniel Isenmann daniel.isenmann at gmx.de
Tue Dec 22 13:28:44 EST 2009

On Tue, 22 Dec 2009 11:40:28 -0600
Aaron Griffin <aaronmgriffin at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM, Pierre Schmitz
> <pierre at archlinux.de> wrote:
> > On Tue, 22 Dec 2009 11:12:30 -0600, Aaron Griffin
> > <aaronmgriffin at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >>>> However, isn't there some legal issues with Moonlight? I saw
> >>>> recently that Microsoft "pledged" not to sue Moonlight users....
> >>>
> >>> There are no issues as software patents do not exist for us. :P
> >>
> >> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/ForbiddenItems#Moonlight
> >
> > Moonlight is licensed under the GPL. Who cares what patent problems
> > it might have in the US?
> >
> > Of course this plugin is quite useless anyway (only works with
> > firefox and those few sites using silverlight only seem to support
> > the microsoft implementation). But I am fine with it if Daniel
> > wants to maintain it.
> Well, there are those of us here in the US and we do have US users and
> mirrors. From a reading of the Groklaw piece[1], I see it as
> "Microsoft can sue any users of the software that did not get
> Moonlight direct from Novell". The "Downstream Recipients" part of the
> covenant seems to NOT cover mirrors. This says to me that we'd be
> opening up our mirrors to being sued for redistribution of patented
> material.
> As for the "Who care's what patent problems it might have in the US?"
> part - I care. US users care. US mirrors care. We've already taken
> steps to specifically appease the German audience (remember: we
> removed Analytics because of some German law), why doesn't this door
> swing both ways?
> 1: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080528133529454

I have talked to the moonlight developers. The posted covenant on the
Microsoft website is the old one. This has been updated some days ago
and it's now safe for everyone to use/distribute moonlight without any
fear to be sued by Microsoft. 

Miguel has blogged about it some days ago:

"Microsoft has an updated patent covenant that will covers third party

Another linked article from Miguel is here which clears the situation
even more: http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reports/6932/1/
(Novell Moonlight 2.0 Gets Microsoft's Blessing / Moonlight for all
Linux Users):

"They can take the source, do any patches they need to do to make sure
it integrates with their system, and redistribute the binaries," De
Icaza told InternetNews.com. "Anyone can take Moonlight and run it on
any platform that they want and they can even modify it without Novell
involvement and without the fear that Microsoft might not like that."

While Moonlight itself is open source and now covered by the extended
Microsoft patent covenant, the media codecs necessary for audio and
video will continue to be treated differently. Moonlight includes the
Microsoft Media Pack, which is a set of proprietary codecs that
Microsoft has licensed from their own patent holders and makes
available to Moonlight users, free of charge.

So we should be safe to distribute it and do what we want with the

@Aaron: You were right with the old covenant, but with the new one we
have nothing to worry about. I will wait with the packaging after they
updated the website with the new one.


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