W3C - turning it's back on the reasons that the Internet has thrived?

These comments represent my own opinions and not necessarily those of 
IBM Canada Ltd

I am deeply concerned that the W3C is considering abandoning the 
principles that have allowed the WWW to expand and thrive.

Proposing to add RAND licensing to the W3C standards will raise the 
barrier of entry into the Web, squeezing out the smaller developers and 
limiting the possibilities of innovation in the WWW. While I can see the 
short-term financial gain to be had by major commercial players in the 
WWW by requiring fees to be paid or RAND patents to be exchanged between 
major players, I believe this will lead to a balkanization of the web as 
we know it today, leaving everyone outside the major commercial 
interests either staying at previous Royalty-Free architectures or, as I 
believe is more likely, developing a new 'forked' specification to avoid 
the patents and license fees that the W3C will include if this proposal 
is accepted. This forked standard is in nobody's interests in the long 
term - the most likely 'victims' of such a split will be the end users 
on whom the W3C members depend for their incomes, who will be faced with 
an increasingly loose minefield of competing standards as the Web fragments.

The World Wide Web, as initiated by Tim Berners-Lee's vision, has been a 
success because its ideas and technologies have been freely available to 
all. Independent developers, both in Open Source software and in small, 
innovative companies have greatly enhanced the availablity and access to 
the WWW in ways that would never have occurred with a 
commercially-burdened standard. This has been to the advantage of all 
concerned, from the smallest backroom developer to the largest behemoth 
software companies, and to degrade that vision now with RAND licensing 
is a short-sighted, poorly thought out and eventually financially and 
technologically disasterous idea.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Toby J.W. Haynes PhD MA
Staff Software Developer for IBM Canada Ltd.

Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 13:46:25 UTC