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   RE: [xml-dev] Patented XML Compression Techniques (WAS RE: [xml-d ev] Bi

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From: Rick Marshall [mailto:rjm@zenucom.com]

>just for the record len, seeing as we've spent a lot of time on this....
>redhat is now suing sco, essentially for mischief, for claiming ip when
>none exists

Yes I read that in the evening paper here.  They are also setting 
up a defense fund for others.  So now, they are willing to pay 
the legal costs for customers rather than expose them to the GNU obligation 
to defend themselves.  An odd twist on indemnification insurance.  
I think the open source vendors are in trouble although 
not open source itself.  Customers will reconsider GNU.

In the next story, they were touting that a version of 
linux has finally been certified for higher security mission 
critical systems at a cost of half a million dollars, but that 
this only improves the market position for government buys given 
the dearth of desktop products and the continuing complexity of 
working with linux on the desktop.  At the same time, the indemnity 
issue for government buys is getting increased notice as the 
procurement officials realize that GNU makes them the litigated 
party.  I doubt it's fatal but a lot of people will keep an eye 
on those suits and counter suits.  

>so ip can protect what you've done, it can also, it is alleged, be used
>as a threat and to manipulate the market

Welcome to business.

>imho the w3c needs to be very careful about this binary business

That is what some are trying to work out.  One common approach is to
ensure that each document in the process covers the contingencies 
for the next step.  For example, the workshop is a little dangerous 
if any of the presenters provide information which taints further 
work.  In an RFP, one details all obligations for submission including 
for example, recognition that the submitting the material obligates 
the submittor to the IP policies of the organization posting the 
RFP.  If a submittor takes exception to any provisions of the RFP, 
they must do so in a cover letter so that the RFP evaluator can 
assess these and decide whether or not to open the body of the 
proposal.  This avoids trip wires.  I suspect no one has thought 
through these issues for a workshop. This does not mean that good 
technology won't be offered.  It means that the offerors who
are basing the offer on IP they own have to acknowledge in advance 
that they are accepting the terms and conditions of the W3C.  

>i'd rather see the rdbms model where the external view (rows) and the
>access method or api (sql) are are ascii and in the case of sql - a
>standard; while the storage of data - possibly binary, and the
>optimisers that go with it are as proprietary as you like with all the
>ip and other stuff that suits

To me, that is almost the same thing as saying XML binaries (the 
XML infoset items such as elements, attributes, etc) use a completely 
open specification or standard even when compressed.  Because technically 
we must do this, the text node content data types can be treated 
individually.  For example, in X3D, geometry compression is treated 
individually.  I still want these to be open.  I'd rather bite the 
bullet on performance than pay the toll, but that is my opinion only. 
I believe 'good enough' technology will be offered for that and that 
binaries for some XML application languages are inevitable.  The 
question is what is sharable among them.

>the important principle being that the data access and interchange are
>not ip owned by any one company or individual

We can state that principle but can't make it stick unless an offeror 
signs up to the IP policy of the W3C or any other organization working 
with it.  Remember, it can mean standardizing on 'good enough' and 
then watching proprietary solutions walk away with the market.

>xml really should stay the same - the formats are public and specified.
>if a company wants to develop and market a system for high speed
>transfer of xml data between systems - good luck. if they want to
>release a high speed xslt processor - good luck. if you want to offer a
>publicly available service - then stick to the ascii, xml 1.0 and

Even today, nothing stops a company from copyrighting a DTD or Schema 
or even patenting based on that.  It just can't be submitted to the W3C 
unless Tim Berners Lee allows it.  The W3C patent policy still comes 
down to Director's choice.  I'd hate to have that job but I'm glad 
he does.  TimBL has a long history of doing the right thing.

>fwiw i think standardisation in this area will only limit innovation and
>increase the costs of participation for smaller companies and

At some levels and for some companies and individuals, yes.  As 
with gif, if any company pays the license costs and others buy the tools, it

isn't that much of a problem.  What is happening is that for core
that reach a large scale of acceptance, there is very little if any profit 
or incentive for individuals or small companies to produce these.  The 
fact of standardization at scale limits innovation.  I don't see that 
doing bad things to the market; it is doing bad things to companies who 
don't get off the lily pad before it sinks.  Commoditization favors the 
large vendors in any market.



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