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   Re: [xml-dev] What should be open/free? (Was: Low-end Office 11won't do

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Hi Andrew,

On Sun, 13 Apr 2003 AndrewWatt2000@aol.com wrote:

> Implicitly, it seems to me that by putting "our" data into a data container
> which belongs to Microsoft (as it happens to be in this case) we are creating
> what I (provocatively?) might term "jointly owned data". The data, held in
> Microsoft format, has more value (to us, to our customers) than raw data.

With the greatest of respect, this is possibly quite the most ridiculous
suggestion I've heard in a long, long time!

Consider: if I buy a spade from GardenCo to dig my garden because the
spade is more effective than using my bare hands, am I implicitly entering
into a "jointly owned" relationship with GardenCo, who now have some
notional ownership over the freshly dug soil?

I don't think so.

So, then, why should the data I create with a tool bought from Microsoft
belong at least partly to them?

If GardenCo were to claim some ownership over my plot of land, we would
call them crooks and thieves, and say that they are overreaching the
limit of a simple contract. (The same is true even if I only borrowed or
leased the spade from them.)

I fail to see why the same shouldn't be true of Microsoft software. They
may obfuscate things, dress things up with fancy licensing agreements,
claim that software is a totally different ball game to digging a garden,
but at the end it boils down to one thing: a tool shouldn't place unfair
constraints on the stuff you use it on.

(Extend the analogy into just about any walk of life: I think it's only
computing in which the vendors have managed to get away with this absurd
notion, and it has quite clearly set the industry back and hindered
development signficantly.)


Andrew Savory                                Email: andrew@luminas.co.uk
Managing Director                              Tel:  +44 (0)870 741 6658
Luminas Internet Applications                  Fax:  +44 (0)700 598 1135
This is not an official statement or order.    Web:    www.luminas.co.uk


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