Turns out I liked the uncertainty better.
It looks like the Linux kernel maintainers are frowning on the FatELF patches.
Some got the idea and disagreed, some didn't seem to hear what I was saying,
and some showed up just to be rude.
I didn't really expect to be walking into the buzzsaw that I did. I imagined
people would discuss the merits and flaws of the idea and we'd work towards
an agreeable solution that improves Linux for everyone. It sure seemed to
be going that way at first. Ultimately, I got hit over the head with package
management, the bane of third-party development, as a panacea for everything.
After a while it sort of felt like no one was actually understanding a
single thing I said. A lot of it felt like willful ignorance, but I suppose
It's all moot anyhow: the Software Freedom Law Center never replied to my
request about the software patent thing. I suppose they still might; it's
only been a few days, but for some reason, I fully expect to never hear from
them. Based on current feedback, I'd say paying a lawyer to talk about
software patents at this point would be like setting money on fire.
Even if I persuade the kernel people to apply the patch, the next step is
getting glibc to accept patches, so FatELF shared libraries could work. I
wonder how Ulrich Drepper would feel about committing those patches? Let's
check the crystal ball... http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2009-October/msg01118.html
...my sources say no. Do I really want to go through this twice?
I'm more than a little discouraged by this endeavor. I think I'll declare
FatELF done for now. I'll leave the project page up, but I imagine it'll
only be for archeological purposes.
I'm surprised by how angry I am about this whole thing. That's life in the
NBA, though. If you don't like it, don't play. I'll definitely think twice
before trying to contribute again, especially if it addresses the status quo.
Open source is a lot more gratifying when you are working on your own project.
Contributing to other projects? Not so much fun, it turns out.
Had I checked my mail one more time before posting, SFLC got back to me:
I refer you to our Legal Guide section on dealing with patents available
from our website. I also refer you to our amici brief in Bilski, where
we argue that patents on pure software are invalid. If a patent is
invalid, there's no reason to consider whether it is infringed."
I don't think this would have helped my case, but I would still love software
patents to go away.