HP Supports Royalty Free Standards for Web, IBM Doesn't

Bruce Perens of Hewlett-Packard wrote about HP’s official support of royalty-free standards for the Web infrastructure, thus opposing the W3C’s RAND Patent Recommendation. HP is on the W3C Advisory Board.

. . . There are many reasons to dislike RAND, but the one I focus on as HP’s Linux and Open Source Strategist is the fact that a required patent royalty is incompatible with Open Source software. Open Source is by definition royalty-free. Thus, "non-discriminatory" patent licensing actually does discriminate against Open Source.

Over the past several years, all successful new software standards have had one thing in common: an Open Source implementation. In order to maintain the many benefits to the public provided by Open Source software, we must prevent it from being marginalized by interoperability "standards" in which Open Source may not participate. Thus, we must insist that our interoperability standards be free of any legal encumbrance that would prohibit an Open Source implementation.

Perens also mentions other company supporters, including Sun and Microsoft. A major proponent, however, is IBM. You can read IBM’s official stand on this at the W3C discussion list for this recommendation. There’s also an article about IBM’s view at the Register: IBM risks billion dollar Linux strategy with W3C RAND demands.

We ALL have an opportunity to write our comments to the W3C on this issue. I urge everyone to do so prior to the October 11 deadline. Because we spoke up, the W3C extended its earlier deadline to allow us to respond.

The W3C has also written an official response to our comments so far:
Response to Public Comments on the W3C Patent Policy Framework Working Draft.

I’ve listed some excellent resources in previous posts, including the W3C recommendation, where to write your comments, and much more:

W3C Patents Recommendation, Continued
W3C Patents Recommendation - Paying Royalties?!
Paying Royalties To Use CSS or XML? What?!

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Categories: Software, Standards

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