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On Thu, 2003-08-14 at 07:09, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
> We sign the indemnity clauses that are not excessive.
> That is not a problem for my company. It would be
> better to do business with like-minded vendors.
> I'm sure other middle system vendors will agree.
> As for companies that move ahead without managing their
> risks, the fast moving Internet world is still writing
> off the costs of their losses. Excuse me, the losses
> of their investors are being written off. Many of their
> managers retired on the money they took from them.
> The folks who taught us how to manage development
> risks were Germans. They built systems that put
> man on the moon without a single failure, and they
> still build Mercedes. You should acquaint yourself
> with Meredes' policy for feature analysis.
> Because of it, they have an outstanding warranty
> and a booming business for high cost, high quality
> Whoever solves the indemnity problem for software systems
> wins the market. Simple and sure.
there is no indemnity problem. there is only a common business,
personal, and life requirement that we use our best endeavours to
provide what we promised, that we promise what we are trained to
deliver, and that we stand by our work. that's the lesson of all
professional life. learn it or be destroyed by it.
somehow, somewhere we decided to treat ideas like real estate. there's a
limited number of them and if we can assert a claim on one we can turn
it in to capital and sue the pants off everyone who violates our claim.
hence len's obvious paranoia.
at this stage in the information age we are trying to claim ip over
things that equate more closely to the language. imagine medieval
england and you get a patent on english syntax (ignore the lack of
patent office for this thought experiment) in a period where spelling
and syntax were still sorting themselves out. along comes william
shakespeare and king james who produce definitive works (again i'm going
to choose to ignore the authorship questions as they don't relate to
this argument) that happen to infringe my patent on "assembling words
into meaningful sentences".
fortunately that didn't happen. instead these great works served as
examples and helped set a (loose) standard of expression that has served
us well to this day.
the works themselves have been subject to copyright, but not the way of
there was not even this problem when early computer languages were
developed. fortran, algol, cobol pascal, c, etc may or may not be
standardised at any particular time. however specifications (legitimate
subjects of copyright as an expression) of the languages wee published
and a booming industry in compiler development emerged. and to this day
it is still healthy as it is the basis for companies such as oracle.
they sell an expression of the sql standards.
i see doom and gloom if the work of standards bodies and language
developers (which is what xml is really all about) is somehow the
subject of ip rather than a base from which companies can develop ip -
expressions of the standard.
i still have trouble with the pride that determines someone had the idea
"first" rather than understanding that the expression of ideas is what
comes from many, many people talking and discussing ideas. that i have
an idea first is my good fortune today, and maybe you'll be lucky
tomorrow. who was first - newton or liebnitz? etc that doesn't really
matter. but i'd sure hate to be paying royalties every time i wrote a
sentence or used integration to solve a problem!
could shakespeare have written his plays without chaucer and hundreds of
other early authors? would he have to pay royalties? we don't apply that
standard to literature or art even today and yet we seem hell bent on
applying it to information technology.
if that's where you think the world is heading - that's very depressing
and i predicate the demise of innovation.
meanwhile i'm going back to doing the best job i can, sue me if i don't,
and i'm turning my focus back to my next project which is based on
semantics - the integration of process and data - and for which i'm
hoping the good work of all these xmlers will add to my database work by
providing other ideas and lines of inquiry.
ps fwiw i only deal with customers who value results over process. how
else can you deliver?
pps if staying with this debate is what it takes to make sure xml and
it's derivative standards remains a free and open standard against which
we can develop tools to process data better to solve our business
problems - i'm in.
> From: Elliotte Rusty Harold [mailto:email@example.com]
> I just don't buy that. Your company may act like that, Len, but if so
> then the companies that make technical decisions based on technical
> constraints rather than fear of lawsuits are going to eat your lunch.
> The more I work in American business, the more cases I see where
> lawsuit avoidance is crippling businesses and severely impacting
> their bottom line. The ones that succeed, especially in the fast
> moving world of the Internet, are the ones that move ahead with good
> ideas without consulting the lawyers, or worrying excessively about
> being sued.
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