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From "Andrew C. Oliver" <acoli...@buni.org>
Subject Re: Rejection of any ENCUMBERED Microsoft Donation to POI
Date Thu, 17 Apr 2008 12:17:58 GMT
Ryan Ackley wrote:
> Andy,
> From my point-of-view you are pretty much asking for nothing less than
> Microsoft to go beyond the OSP for POI. Correct?

Actually not exactly (a patent grant for POI and its derivatives) or to 
fix the OSP to clarify conformance especially "best effort" conformance 
(read: bugs) is acceptable.

> From a practical standpoint you're asking for Microsoft to re-write
> the OSP to your satisfaction. Because If they do it for Apache it
> would pretty much apply to everyone because anyone could just say
> they're software was derived from POI, therefore it was covered by the
> new OSP just for POI.

The OSP probably offers no coverage.  Even sam said something along the 
lines that it is at best helpful and probably "harmless".  I'm asking 
for a patent grant that allows us to distribute under the terms of the 
OSD.  (I was earlier confused to believe that the CLA-C offered this 
coverage, Nick tells me that I'm wrong and while I don't profess to 
fully get it, I read his explanation and trust him on that issue)

> I respect your position. POI is your baby and caution is most
> definitely warranted when dealing with Microsoft.

POI is not my baby alone, POI is the users and the people that supported 
it (developers too).  It is them that I'm attempting to look out for.

> Some facts to consider: I've never heard of a case of Microsoft using
> their patents offensively. Also, there seems to be a general consensus

I guess you need to read the news a little more often :-).  In addition 
to the most famous issue, Microsoft has used the patent system to harm 
open source through third parties in the past.  Thus far they have 
primarily aimed at Linux.

> in the community that the OSP is "good enough" protection. There are

That is not true either and you missed the doc that Nick posted that 
explains the problem from a legalistic point of view around "conforms".

> several other open source projects that don't seem to be worried about
> it, including OpenOffice.  Finally, anytime a single line of code is
> committed to an open source project, there is a risk of it infringing
> some frivolous patent somewhere. It's a sad reality of our IP laws.

A special issue is that Microsoft is contributing through a third party. 
  Which I have NO PROBLEM WITH AT ALL so long as they 
properly/legally/etc contribute all of the IP that they contribute to 
the implementation of.  There is no reason, in my mind, for them not to 
give POI a grant for all of the IP they fund the implementation of.


> -Ryan
> On 4/16/08, Nick Burch <nick@torchbox.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, 16 Apr 2008, Andrew C. Oliver wrote:
>>> I totally don't get the CLA-C argument.
>> It's a bit subtle, and it took me a little while to understand :)
>> Let us imagine that Acme Corp holds three patents, patent A, patent B and
>> patent C. Acme Corp has a ccla on file, as does its sole employee, Jim, who
>> also has an icla on file.
>> Jim starts contributing to Apache Foo on company time. He writes some code
>> in an area covered by patent A. All users of Apache Foo now have a grant
>> covering patent A. However, they don't have any rights on patents B or C.
>> Now, you are also an Apache Foo contributor. You write commit some code,
>> which is in an area covered by patent B. However, as no Acme Corp employees
>> have worked on that bit of code, there is no grant covering patent B, so we
>> potentially have a problem. We still have a grant on patent A, but nothing
>> for patent C.
>> Jim now submits some patches to your contributions. Now, we do have work
>> from Acme Corp in the area covered by patent B. So, there's now a grant
>> covering patents A and B. However, there's still no grant on patent C.
>> Does that make sense? If we got a ccla from Microsoft tomorrow, it wouldn't
>> make any difference to POI, as Microsoft don't own the copyright on any
>> contributions to POI, so there will be no patent grants.  In order to get
>> patent grants under the ccla, we'd need Microsoft to both file a ccla, and
>> have their employees work on POI. This is why many of us feel that the
>> Microsoft ccla issue is a red herring.
>> Do shout if that's still not clear enough, and I'll have another try at
>> explaining it all!
>> Nick
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