DOM DOM binding considered harmful, discriminates against open source

As currently construed, the DOM Java binding (the packages rooted at org.w3c.dom)
cannot be used in any Java application that claims to be open source.  Similarly,
the other DOM bindings cannot be used in open-source applications either.
This is a severe problem for open-source developers who wish to either implement 
or use the DOM in their applications.

The problem arises because the DOM bindings are considered part of the DOM standard,
which may not be modified per its copyright notice.  The Open Source Definition
(, clauses 3 and 4, requires that modifications be
allowed to the source code of any open-source program.

The reason that has been given for denying a license to modify the bindings is
that modified versions would not comply with the DOM standard.  However, this problem
can be overcome by adding the following clause to the DOM standard's license:

	However, modified versions of the DOM bindings may be created
	provided that:

		the W3C copyright notices are not removed;

		a comment is added that the modified binding
			does not conform to any W3C standard;

		in the case of the Java binding, the package names
			are changed to be no longer in the org.w3c package.

I raise this point here because the DOM is directly affected, but it is really
going to be a problem with any W3C standard API.  It therefore is probably appropriate
to escalate the problem to a W3C-wide level.


John Cowan
Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! / Schliess eurer Aug vor heiliger Schau
Den er genoss vom Honig-Tau / Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.
		-- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)

Received on Tuesday, 9 November 1999 16:07:44 UTC