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

No to RAND as it is proposed

From: Marc Verwerft <marc.verwerft@pandora.be>
Date: Tue, 09 Oct 2001 23:05:05 +0200
Message-ID: <3BC36681.BF82D064@pandora.be>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Dear W3,

As a proponent of the openness of standards and supporter of free
software I feel obliged to let you know my opinion.

Allowing for patent rights in the standards to come will lead to
oligopoly. Only a few will have the right to implement the standards and
as often will be the case it won't be long before there will emerge a
new cartel that will enforce their standards, implementations,
conditions and prices. You probalbly know that already. But as a
consumer, I feel like being thrown back ten to twenty years. 

As has been proven more than enough by the current speed of development,
the richness of features, the stability of open source programs/efforts
in combination with open standards, we have a major winner here. Think
of TCP/IP implementations, HTML + Apache, XML, Sendmail, etc.

Open standards already exist for a long time, open implementations on
the other hand were scarce up until about 8 years ago when Linux started
to emerge. From then on we have seen a whirlwind of new, sometimes
amazing combinations that generate more then enough income for major
companies without having to resort to pay for patented implementations.
Open standards and open source produce the best of breed. They enhance
and compliment each other. And if producers think they can improve still
beyond that, they are free to go ahead and give it a go.
If you separate open standards from open source, I predict that we will
fall back to the 'speed' of ten years ago, which is VERY slow. Maybe
your plan will generate revenue on the short term for companies but on
the longer term they will loose significantly.

Therefore, I cannot and will not support the new direction the W3C has
taken if this implies that open source will be ruled out. I fully agree
with the 'Open Source Initiative' that if the big companies want to turn
back time, they should make an exception for open source.

I strongly believe that the people involved in open source will fight
this initiative and more to come. And I want to assure you that, even
though I only speak(hmm, make that write) as an individual here, I am
convinced that a lot of my collegaes have the same opinion. You must
understand they also have seen the advantages of open standards and open
implementations. And although they may work for a company that supports
your RAND, they may not.

Sincerely yours,

Received on Tuesday, 9 October 2001 17:13:09 UTC

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