Keith -- I share your general opposition to software patents, and I've
been following the GIF issue closely. It has been the subject of
endless discussion on certain mailing lists. Before the same thing
happens here, let me make one clarification that was lost in the shuffle
in many such discussions:
The patent only affects compression, not decompression.
This means that a MIME tool that reads GIFs is almost certainly fine,
but a MIME tool that *generates* GIFs may be in trouble. A MIME tool
that uses an external tool to generate GIFs is probably not vulnerable,
since there's no way for it to tell if such a tool is legal or not.
This isn't intended to be an argument for or against removing image/gif,
just a clarification of the situation as I understand it. I also
predict that Unisys will never collect any money worth speaking of. --