Dear Sirs,
Ideally a standard should have two major characteristics:
1) It should be freely available to be used for the purposes 
that it describes itself as useful for.
2) It should be irrevokable.
The existence of "submarine patents" complicates this, as it 
becomes possible for a standard to be patented retroactively. 
In such a case the appropriate action is to mark it as 
deprecated.  I.e., not to be used by new products or proceedures.

The reason for a standard is to document the proper way for a 
thing to be done.  I.e., the standard method.

The existence of patents in "standards" is a blatant denial of 
the meaning of the term standard.  No group that endorses such 
should be called or considered a standards body.

The issuance of patented "standards", unless the patent is 
clearly and irrevokably make available without restriction for 
any standards appropriate use, is in and of itself sufficient 
reason to deny the usefulness of the "standards" body that 
issued it.

The recent actions of the W3C have called its essential purpose 
into doubt.  It has appearantly become a body "of the companies, 
by the companies, and for the companies".  This is sufficient 
reason to deny that it has any validity as a standards body.

I now consider the forking of the "standards" into actual 
standards, and merely W3C approved as most likely necessary. 
This will be quite inconvenient, and potentially expensive, but 
the inconvenience and expense pales in comparison the that to be 
expected if patented APIs are allowed to be considered 
standards.  And I won't do it.

As of now I do not consider the W3C as something that I consider 
a source of standards.  This is still subject to 
reconsideration, but I won't invest any time, money, or effort 
in following your lead until I am convinced that you have 
renounced this abominal foolishness.

For now, pending the creation of a reputable standards body, I 
will depend on the FSF and GNU software to define the standards 
that I use.  And I will not urge them to follow your lead, but 
rather conversely.
Charles Hixson

Copy software legally, the GNU way!
Use GNU software, and legally make and share copies of software.

Received on Wednesday, 24 October 2001 11:41:06 UTC