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Comments on RAND

From: Bernhard Rosenkraenzer <bero@redhat.de>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 19:10:15 +0200 (CEST)
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
Cc: <comment@openphd.net>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.33.0109301844180.17865-100000@bochum.stuttgart.redhat.com>
Hello,
I have just heard about the suggested RAND draft, fortunately just in time
for sending a comment.

I believe the adaption of possibly non-royalty-free standards by W3C would
be a fatal mistake. Please take the time to consider the implications:

- Non-profit organizations or individuals, such as open source developers,
  can no longer implement the w3c standards, effectively making browsing
  the web from open source operating systems impossible.
  Right now, projects like Konqueror, Mozilla, Lynx, Links and even your
  own Amaya are doing a pretty good job - but they can't continue if they
  have to pay to implement the next set of standards.
- Non-profit projects aside, it will also be much harder for a new company
  to get started because the barrier of entry will be much higher.
- The Internet got where it is solely because it is based totally on open
  standards.
  If you have been on the net long enough, you will have noticed that all
  attempts to create a similar infrastructure based on closed "standards"
  have ultimately failed (e.g. Europe Online, NetLink) or turned to open
  standards, basically becoming an ISP and an internet portal (AOL,
  Compuserve, MSN)
- Consider what happened with the unisys patent and compressed gif
  graphics. When unisys started wanting royalties for gif pictures, pretty
  much everything on the net had to be converted, even though gif was
  never officially endorsed by w3c.
  The problem becomes much bigger once someone starts charging royalties
  for something that is even a w3c standard (imagine some company finding
  a reason for charging royalties on the a href= html tag).
- There are already open formats for almost every purpose out there.
  If, for example, you can't get a guarantee that the SVG format will
  never require royalties, create/use an alternate standard. For an
  alternative to SVG, starting from Kontour (http://koffice.kde.org/)'s
  XML based vector graphics format comes to mind.

I can understand the reasoning behind allowing RAND; yet I think it will
cause far more trouble than it's worth.
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 13:10:34 GMT

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