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


From: Jim Conway <jconway@macprosinc.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 23:36:38 -0500
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <8F6B16E6-BE01-11D5-A7AF-0030656D3566@macprosinc.com>
First of all, just so I'm perfectly clear - While most of your Patent 
Policy Framework is understandable and probably necessary, the RAND 
proposal is unacceptable to me. Royalty Free or leave it to the open 
source/free software developer community to come up with an alternative.

The comments from Gilmore, Raymond and Perens sum up my concerns nicely.

Far more intelligent heads than mine have already thoroughly commented 
on the dangers of RAND, so I'm going to talk about a more personal 


I teach a four week web design course. Each month I start out with a new 
class of students, profession designers for the most part, who want to 
start creating for the web.

My approach is platform and technology agnostic, backward and forward 
compatible is my motto. (just like HTML)

My class talks about virtually all the front end aspects of designing a 
web site:
mechanics of JPEG compression, hand coding HTML, keeping the audience in 
mind when choosing both layout and available technology, browser 
compatible code, organizing information, FTPing site files, setting up 
shopping carts, CGI scripts, forms, tables, CSS etc.

I also lay part of explosive success of the internet (and the web in 
particular) at the feet of open standards, open source software AND free 
software attitudes - HTTP, Apache, BSD etc. (the exponential technology 
gains of the last 10 years didn't hurt the process)  I explain the GIF 
situation and why PNG is a good idea even if slow adoption means still 
using GIF's for now.

While I am not an open source zealot, (my main computers are Macs and I 
do teach Flash and Photoshop) I don't believe the basic standards of the 
web should be encumbered in any way by proprietary concerns. If you want 
to make a proprietary plug-in for your content - knock yourself out. I 
support open source, open standards whenever I can and I actively 
encourage others to do the same.

(You do remember the lead balloons that were Microsoft and Apples' 
homespun, proprietary network communities. For AOL it was offer the full 
web or die)

My class also visits the W3.org web site for the final word on HTML, CSS 
etc. We try out the HTML and CSS validators and I explain how they are 
useful for troubleshooting and testing.

I tell my students you can be trusted because you are committed to 
universal access and open standards - that they should petition browser 
makers to follow your recommendations.

I have always taken you at your word in regards your stated goals.

Thanks for reminding me to always watch my back.

It's not really so much the RAND proposal (which is unacceptable, but 
forthrightly presented, the developer community could just say no, RF or 
nothing) but how this was handled. Your actions make me suspect your 
motives. I worry that you thought, for even a moment, that this RAND 
proposal would meet with any kind of approval from anyone other than the 
corporate sponsors. I worry that you couldn't see the very real dangers 
RAND offers to the principle of a free and open web (the only kind of 
web I will support).

I thought we were on the same page here.

Your move.

Jim Conway
Received on Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:36:00 UTC

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