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[xml-dev] Why RAND RF May Be A Good Idea

The alledged tolls are already there.   Proprietary products 
are available and popular.   The flaw in this discussion is 
the inability of the participants to discriminate between a 
standard and a specification.   If the goal is interoperability, 
then standards are needed for the technologies that facilitate 
that.  These are usually low level technology (wherever that 
line is drawn).  They are not needed for the products that do "useful work" 
in all cases.  Flash, PDF etc prove that these technologies do 
useful work, are popular and in no way shape or form need the 
W3C imprimatur for those parts of the technology that are 
patentable.   Yet these patented technologies do in fact 
provide for system stability as the market converges on them 
as the de facto "standard of use", really, a product standard. 

Specifications should be issued if the technology is really 
new and in need of multiple implementors or if after some years 
of development, no convergence has occurred.  Note that in many 
cases, the adoption rate of such specifications may be at the rate 
of what is common in research projects making it possible for 
proprietary technologies to surpass and colonize (similar to 
the SGML/HyTime vs HTML history) by dint of simpler and more 
targeted applications.
The W3C should be quite particular about which areas of technology 
it selects for candidates of specification.  It should be quite 
thorough in uncovering the related patents.  This will limit the 
W3C's activities to only those areas where facilitating emergence 
is necessary.  Its role will be similar to DARPA's and in fact, 
it will work very closely with organizations such as DARPA even 
as it does now on the Semantic Web, an effort which is helping 
the commercialization of technology which DARPA has been facilitating 
for many years, and for which, patents probably exist.

Getting all of the companies and individuals who hold patents 
to commit to only RF specifications is a noble goal.  I think 
it will limit the role of the W3C in managing technology 
emergence and market development appropriately.  Such a limitation 
will help to stabilize the web while making sure that research 
and market emergence for well-developed products occurs outside 
the control of the W3C.