Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ now available

July 9th, 2011

The Debian Project is pleased to announce the availability of the Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ, a document meant to educate Free Software developers, and especially distribution editors, about software patent risks.

The FAQ has been prepared by lawyers at Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) at the request of and with input from the Debian Project. While the document does not constitute legal advice, it provides insights on dealing with software patents, which might be applicable to other community-driven Free Software distributions.

The Debian Project maintains a critical stance towards software patents: we consider software patents a threat to Free Software and we believe they provide no advantages in promoting software innovation.

At the same time, given the de facto possibility of patenting software related ideas in several countries around the world, it is important for Free Software developers and distributors to neither underestimate nor overestimate software patent issues. Patent FUD is a serious problem, as is the risk of patent aggression against Free Software, said Eben Moglen, founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center. SFLC is pleased to work with Debian to help volunteers for community distributions everywhere understand the real risks, and real solutions, without being disheartened by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

We believe that the Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ helps in that respect and we are glad to make it available to others. Debian, as many other community distributions, has often had troubles in assessing the risks of patent aggression toward volunteer developers. I'm glad and thrilled about the opportunity we have of collaborating with SFLC to shed some light on these matters. said Stefano Zacchiroli, Debian Project Leader. We will do our best to disseminate our findings, in a humble attempt to minimize the damages that software patents, and some of their myths, cause every day to Free Software.

About Debian

The Debian Project was founded in 1993 by Ian Murdock to be a truly free community project. Since then the project has grown to be one of the largest and most influential open source projects. Thousands of volunteers from all over the world work together to create and maintain Debian software. Available in 70 languages, and supporting a huge range of computer types, Debian calls itself the universal operating system.

Contact Information

For further information, please visit the Debian web pages at or send mail to <>.