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That was before software patents, Mike. Now the race is on
to publish vendor/consortium standards that not only bake
in the design, but will include RAND and RF patents that
will preclude others doing work in some areas. As a result:
1. Open source must work within organizations capable of
managing IP contributions.
2. Open efforts not under such organizations become ever
more risky to support given the lack of indemnification
and the lack of support for due diligence.
3. Unless the participation agreements exist and are
clear as regards contributions and management of IP,
don't use the technology.
4. There is and will continue to be frantic efforts
to acquire and defend IP rights in any technology that
has a promise of being profitable soon including search
and next-generation GUIs.
Open source per se has to cope with this. Examine carefully
the organizations and individuals with whom one does this
work to determine the status of their participation agreements.
The combination of IP ownership and standards activity has
a way of limiting the field of candidates those feet get
to vote for. The good news is that the lines are clearer
than they have ever been. The bad news is that we are on
the cusp of the development and standardization of next-
generation clients and items such as XUL, XAML, and so
on are the last-generation clients in XML, so we aren't
yet seeing what is really behind the curtains, nor do
the combatants here actually understand what they should
be patenting for fair or foul intents.
From: Michael Champion [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
a) the riff-raff will eventually be the ones voting with their feet for
or against it, and b) if you think the collaboration of Microsoft and
IBM will set the standard, so you should stop worrying and learn to
love the bandwagon effect, you are not old enough to remember OS/2.