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How is a dozen or so lines of XML going to run afoul of the patent office? That XML is meaningless unless freetype is compiled appropriately.
Blame for all this should not point to the patent office, but to open source developers who choose, for purely ideological reasons, to pretend they're right and everyone else is wrong, while not producing an equivalent alternative to the patented code. The truth is fonts on Linux machines are better than they were but still not good enough.