Adding Fortuna as a new prng

Russ Allbery rra at
Fri Aug 20 19:52:13 EDT 2010

Nicolas Williams <Nicolas.Williams at> writes:
> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 04:40:45PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> It's an unsettled area of copyright law, [...]

> Well, it works for SQLite, for example (and they offer versions with
> copyright and license for customers who don't believe public domain will
> work for them, but these are not distributed publicly).

It depends on what you mean by "works."  The failure mode, of course,
never happens if the person granting public domain rights (and their
heirs) all honor that grant.  The failure would be if SQLite suddenly
decided that their work wasn't under the public domain and that everyone
using it needed to pay them money.

I don't believe it's ever been litigated, but the problem with there being
no clear legal way to put something into the public domain is that there's
some chance that they would be successful in litigation if they ever did
that, on the grounds that their release of software into the public domain
is not legally possible.  They would, of course, have estoppel issues, and
doubtless it would be complicated.

But I'm sure that they're offering versions with a copyright and license
precisely because risk-adverse corporations with intellectual property
counsel don't believe that their public domain statement is sufficient
legal protection for the company's use of SQLite.  And I suspect MIT
Kerberos would run into the same issue if it embedded software from a
public domain library.

Russ Allbery (rra at             <>

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