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

RAND is not bad, but we're concerned about the W3C

From: TopXML - Mark Wilson <markwilson@topxml.com>
Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2001 11:01:02 +1000
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BCEOLILKBPOOPDAGOFBMCEBODHAA.markwilson@topxml.com>

RAND in itself is simply an attempt to force companies to *declare* if they
have patents and perhaps clarify which patents will be free and which pose a
patent risk.  RAND is not bad, it is a good idea.  We do need to know who
owns what and get clarity on this.

What we're seeing in the responses is not actually a response to RAND, it's
2 thousand people standing up and saying to the W3C that it should not be
involved in patented standards.  It's not that the people responding are
replying to the wrong question, it's that the W3C has asked the wrong
question!  If the W3C had asked: "should we be assisting and promoting
patented standards" then the response would have been even louder.

The W3C may choose to push ahead with RAND and hope that we rally around the
non-patented recommendations they make.  In fact I imagine they are hoping
we do push the free standards and ignore the patented ones.  But let me ask
you this, how did IE beat out Netscape?  Was it because it was a better
browser or because it was installed and Netscape required a HUGE download
over slow modems.  History is littered with companies doing what THEY want
and not what WE want (dropping Java, XP licensing are two recent examples).

We could support the patent-free standards, but that doesn't mean we'll get
a browser on our desktops which has no patents in them, or get a development
IDE which cuts patent-free XML/XSL/SVG/CSS code.  Approval of RAND is
therefore going to fork the web into W3C patented (and free stuff too) and
into a complete monolithic free movement studiously free of all

Developers are not dumb - they can see where this is going.  Fighting RAND
is our way of telling the W3C to completely ignore all patented standards in
any way shape or form.  The W3C now needs to be both visionary and leader.
If they compromise, they will lose.

Mark Wilson
Received on Saturday, 6 October 2001 20:56:08 UTC

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