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The dependency on patents can always be revived.
That said, the real problem is not having more than
one (Adobe) or two (batik) SVG viewers. That isn't
healthy. Even with RAND or royalty free, there
isn't much economic incentive to build a competing
free viewer, and without one, SVG belongs to Adobe.
That isn't wrong; just uncomfortable.
Most of the free/open formats result in a single
viewer dominating the niche. I'd be
thrilled to see an MS SVG viewer but I can also
understand why they might not consider it a good
X3D may also become a force although real time
3D has had a very hard time getting more than
a cult following despite the obvious efficiencies
and power of it.