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Re: Answers to your questions about W3C patent policy


On Wed, Jan 01, 2003 at 01:05:00PM +1100, Francis Whittle wrote:
> of your brain.  Hopefully, we can avoid some problems by making our
> standards more extensible and more standard... and integrating
> features of new [patent pending] "standards" being designed and
> developed into existing open standards, which saves the hassle of
> trying to develop an entire new standard that does a few things more
> than an existing standard.

I don't think that this will work. In the US, to the best of my
knowledge, you get patent protection from the point where you filed
your patent. So if you hear a rumour that there will be an invention
XYZ you might want to see implemented in Open Source, nobody will
stop you from creating a piece of code to do it. But if at some later
time the patent gets accepted, and it was filed before you published
your code, then you have lost.

> debian] to name but a few), we already have the community, we already
> have the expertise, and we have even the appropriate licensing, and

Sorry, I don't always think so. There's a consistent impression to me
that the "basic" things were invented free, but the more advanced
things are invented in "for-fee" circles. Just consider web services.
Standardization in that area seems to be driven by the needs of
large corporations to interoperate. As of today (while not being
current with their developments) I don't see that the casual end
user _needs_ to use such stuff. So most of us are imho just very
likely to not even be able to talk to prospective users of such
standards in a way that would enable us to find out what's in the
bush, what problems need to be solved, and then to implement and
maybe even test a possible solution.

I happen to see lack of funding and market power hampering an
otherwise very promising development in the at first sight
unrelated area of business software. Just try to find out how
far Compiere is away from being the Open Source'd Navision
(or Siebel) right now 8-|, or see how slowly the Mozilla and
OpenOffice projects are gaining (?) ground. We're talking about
basic day-to-day operations here, not inventing standards
which are even more intangible.

> Writing and promoting open standards is something we shouldn't give up
> on, but should work harder at.  Get the alternative out before the
> patented, and make sure everyone's using the one we can use ;)

Yes. The only question is "how"?


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