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Re: [xml-dev] Cutting special deals for open source developers --noway!

Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:

> That is in fact, the climate you do work in.  Patents
> have been applied for and granted.  In general, the
> W3C has been specifying technologies that are for the most
> part based on work done previously in government groups,
> universities etc and some of these are patented.  The MIT
> suits are an example.

Patents may be granted, but their 'force' depends at least in part upon how
they are acknowledged. The mere possession of a patent means nothing - in
and of itself - rather it is the threat of legal suit, actual force of law,
or simply the reaction of the community that makes a patent more than a few
scribbles on a piece of paper somewhere.

W3C Recommendations intended to be an agreed upon standard practice. The
Internet/WWW community does not need to accept such practices if they are
truly proprietary, and more importantly the Internet and WWW communities
_should not_ give credibility to the vast majority of these patents.

> That is something you
> may want to look into.  The claims of a norm for freely
> giving away company assets to engender company profits
> is to put it mildly, extraordinary.

What is your point? Are you suggesting that every proprietary piece of VB
code become a standard? We really really need to think about what ought to
and what ought not become a standard. What is so extraordinary about
demanding that any language that we _standardize_ for intercommunications be
freely implementable?

> Commerce One just laid off almost half of its work force.
> Did freely implementable ideas help that to happen or
> prevent it?  Was it a factor at all?

How have W3C Recommendations _hurt_ CommerceOne? If there were no Internet
there would be no CommerceOne in the first place. This recent stockmarket
bloodbath was the direct result of alot of misconceptions regarding the
Internet (IMHO), particularly the one that any one company could in some way
"own" a significant piece of the internet (hence justifying the initial craz
ed valuations). Imagine software patents didn't exist. Would every VB demo
have been worth 2 billion dollars? No raised expectations, no crash.

> This is why special deals for open source developers are
> unwise.  It suggests that the value of assets can be
> applied in ways counter to their intent which is to
> exact licensing fees.  Fair for all or none.

I agree with this point. Standards should be freely implementable by all.
Requiring a conformance test -- e.g. as Sun has done with XPointer -- as
long as such a conformance test can be reasonably specified, is fine, but
anything a candidate for _standardization_ should be openly and freely