W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > October 2001

patents & standards

From: Andrew Tridgell <tridge@samba.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 17:38:38 -0700 (PDT)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <20011002003838.C2473482C@lists.samba.org>
Dear W3C,

I write as a user of web technology and as the developer of a number
of web-based free software utilities.

I strongly oppose the introduction of the RAND concept in
standards. As has been shown many times in the past, what is
considered "reasonable and non-discriminatory" to one group of people
is often well beyond the means of other groups. The requirement of
even a very small fee in order to implement, deploy or distribute an
essential piece of a web standard would seriously impact on the
continued development of the freely available implementations of web
software and would also seriously undermine the role of poorer nations
and groups in the further development of the web.

While I could imagine a situation where commercial interests provide
some relief from these fees for high profile free software projects
such as Apache, I am very much afraid that any RAND style fees could
kill the development of the multitude of smaller free software
projects that provide essential diversity and fill important niche
roles in the web infrastructure. For example, I am the author of two
small special purpose web servers "JitterBug" and "SWAT" that provide
web services for specialist applications within the free software
community. While these projects aren't nearly as important in terms of
market share as projects like Apache they do play an important role
within their niche. Right now they are minimalistic implementations
that just implement what is needed to inter-operate with current
browsers, but I would be very unhappy if I could not update these
utilities to use newer web standards as they become widely deployed
because of a patent licensing fee that I have no way to pay.

Up to now the web has developed a very strong presence in the worlds
information infrastructure above competing proprietary standards
largely because of the availability of open implementations. Please
don't let the commercial interests of companies that can only see as
far as their next years fiscal results destroy this marvelous system.

Regards,

Andrew Tridgell
President, Samba Team
Received on Monday, 1 October 2001 20:41:25 GMT

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