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From robert_w...@us.ibm.com
Subject Re: Legal concern: Are we getting to close ot a "division of markets" conversation?
Date Mon, 06 Jun 2011 15:21:32 GMT
Dirk-Willem van Gulik <dirkx@webweaving.org> wrote on 06/06/2011 04:27:04 
AM:
> 
> On 6 Jun 2011, at 09:13, Andreas Kuckartz wrote:
> > Am 06.06.2011 09:25, schrieb Greg Stein:
> > One of the main topics of the whole discussion regarding the
> > OpenOffice.org incubation proposal was and is collaboration with TDF /
> > LO. And now the first "initial committer" from IBM in the proposal
> > states that some ways of collaborating with TDF /LO might be illegal 
and
> > should not even be discussed.
> 
> 
> I think that this is a very *very* valid concern. And one I've 
> certainly heard expressed in recent months more regularly than in 
> the years past.
> 

Absolutely nothing wrong with collaboration.  As I've said elsewhere, I 
look forward to it.  But I see a distinction between:

A) An Apache project's members sitting down among itself and deciding on a 
product focus and direction and degree of external collaboration, as 
freely determined by the project members to further their individual as 
well as mutually agreed communal goals; And

B) Another open source project arguing in blog posts, twitter, articles, 
massing on this Apache list, etc., that they are bigger and have more 
momentum and therefore the Apache project should not even exist, then 
suggesting that the project might be marginally acceptable, but only if 
the project first agrees to divide the market, i.e., not work in some 
areas.

It is quite possible that the project, once its membership is known and 
has the opportunity to discuss, will come to a similar conclusion as B. 
But the methods used to get there matter.  Ask yourself, if Microsoft or 
Oracle or Google or IBM did B, and suggested that an open source project 
stay away from a given market segment, what would your reaction be?

So let's continue with the discussions on collaboration, but be wary of 
things that might seem to reduce consumer choice and competition.  And 
let's not invent false dichotomies, just because they are easier to 
debate.  For example, this is not really a choice between:

1) LO serves end users
2) Apache serves end users
3) Both serve end users in a redundant way

The optimal outcome might be:

4) Both serve end users, but in a differentiated way, with different 
tradeoffs in terms of performance, feature set, ease-of-user, integration 
support, platform support, release frequency, languages supported, 
documentation included, support given, templates and content provided, and 
any of the dozens of other factors that might distinguish end-user 
offerings in a competitive market.

We have multiple email clients, multiple web browsers, multiple windowing 
systems, multiple operating systems, and even multiple open source office 
suites.  This is not a problem.  Collaborate, yes.  But we fail to serve 
the user and fail to serve open source, if we also fail to compete, 
including with other open source projects.

-Rob



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