Patented standards = stifling innovation

As a representative of free software I find it very disturbing that you
consider allowing patented technology become a standard.

One of the problems with patented technology is that it cannot be used in
free software. Several developers have made free software that contained
patented code. These developers have been threatened to stop developing
their software. An example of these is 8Hz' MP3-encoder.

The sine qua non of the Web revolution is the open and patent free
standards environment on which the Web is built. You would not have had
software like Apache become so widespread had it not been for patent free
standards. Without Apache the Web would not have been what it is today.

If you choose to decide against the users of your standards you will see
people start using other standards that are free from patents. This has
happened before and it will happen again. Here are just 3 examples to
refresh your memory:

  * PNG (because GIF required patented code)
  * Ogg/Vorbis (because MP3 required patented code)
  * JPG (because JPEG-2000 was patented)

If you allow patented standards you are playing with high stakes: If you
win (i.e. the standard is adopted) the patentholders will become rich. If
you lose (i.e. people start using other standards) your credibility as a
trustworthy institution will vanish.

Please listen to the software developers and not to the management and
their lawyers.


Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 09:29:09 UTC