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

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

From: Horatio Davis <horatio@qpsf.edu.au>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 17:32:57 +1000 (EST)
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.31.0110021556430.12741-100000@sasquatch>


I'm just beginning a PhD. If I am ever to have anything more than abstract
theory, the years ahead must involve transforming my ideas into useful,
robust and interoperable code. The recommendations nurtured and matured by
the W3C are a boon to such as I - a gift of tools and infrastructure
beyond price. I rubbed my hands in glee and laid plans to use it. Wouldn't

Now this.

Do not mistake me. I am an open-source pragmatist, not a Free Software
zealot. But seeing the term "reasonable and non-discriminatory royalties
or fees" used in cold blood by the W3C is almost enough to make me believe
in the GPL. It's definitely enough to put me squarely in Alan Cox's camp.
It is ironic that one of the motivations for the Patent Policy is
apparently to _reduce_ fear, uncertainty and doubt. It hasn't for me.

Will I be able to build the things I wish to build on the foundations held
in trust for the Web community by the W3C? Will I want to, if the doubts
and outright flames expressed on this list reflect reality? There are a
lot of those, some expressed by people who have earned the right to
be listened to. That alone would worry me if nothing else did.

The IETF doesn't seem to have this kind of problem. I've never heard of
patents on parts of an RFC. A pity it's not feasible to start a Web Area
of the IETF and shift the open and essential work needed to lead the web
to its full potential over there, where it would be safe.

Or is it?


Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 03:33:07 UTC

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