W3C Patent Policy

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

    * 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) 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.
Please reconsider.

Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 20:38:25 UTC