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

An open standard is only open if it's free

From: Simon Brooke <simon@beesianum.jasmine.org.uk>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 17:58:19 +0100
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <01100217581901.00753@gododdin>
Like Alan Cox I am deeply disappointed that this issue is even being 
discussed. It clearly violates the whole spirit and principle of the 
Web, and seeks to exclude the very people who have made the Web a 
success.

Who do you propose is going to pay the 'reasonable and non 
discriminatory' licence fees on behalf of, for example, the Apache 
Foundation, custodians of the world's most popular Web server (indeed, 
of the server that serves W3C's own website)? Who is going to pay on 
behalf of the Konqueror browser? The PHP scripting language? PERL? 

The Web is built on open source code. But the open source projects are 
not members of W3C because membership costs a minimum of US$5,000 per 
annum and most open source projects have no money at all. This smells 
very strongly of the technology companies who make up the majority of 
the membership of W3C seeking to eliminate competition with which they 
could not otherwise compete.

Frankly, whatever the motivations behind this proposal, however honest 
and well intentioned they were, it will not and cannot be perceived by 
the Web community as anything but deeply corrupt: an absolute rejection 
of the principles on which thec Web was built and of the community 
whose resources and energy W3C has been happy to use. To quote Tim 
Berners-Lee:

  "Anyone who slaps a 'this page is best viewed with Browser X' label
  on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the
  Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on
  another computer, another word processor, or another network."
  [in Technology Review, July 1996]

This proposal is essentially to divide the Web into two: a closed 
proprietary web best viewed with those commercial tools which have 
payed the 'reasonable and non discriminatory' fees, and the World Wide 
Web, no longer guided by W3C and necessarily separate.

-- 
Simon Brooke    ::    scaffie ltd    ::    http://www.scaffie.co.uk/
+441556640181   ::    what's fresh?  ::    http://www.scaffie.com/
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 12:58:55 GMT

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