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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: patent licenses on OASIS standards
Date Fri, 25 Feb 2005 03:29:43 GMT
Sam Ruby wrote:
> I see an understandable focus on patents.  However, patents are but one
> way in which standards may be encumbered.
> My concern is that this is a different bar than Apache has been
> (informally) operating under in the past.  Two specific differences are
> immediately apparent, both with examples from the JCP (the
> specifications relevant to the Apache implementations I have most been
> concerned about).
> 1) We have not previously concerned ourselves with the freedom to obtain
> or copy the specification itself.  For an example, try downloading the
> specification for:
> http://java.sun.com/xml/downloads/jaxrpc.html 

That specification is not available under an open source license. Java is
not an open standard. There is no reason to reopen the discussion here about
Sun's licensing strategy or Apache's agreement to live with it. I'm not
arguing that Apache should *only* adopt open standards; that perhaps ought
to be a case-by-case decision. But we should at least acknowledge that Sun's
Java standards aren't open. I don't know anyone who believes they are open,
by the way.

> 2) We have previously rejected requirements to carry forward
> requirements of compatibility and branding:
> http://www.mail-archive.com/license-discuss@opensource.org/msg07824.html

Such requirements are not a part of an open standard; they may not even be
compatible with antitrust law. If and only if we want to be certified would
we intentionally brand (e.g.) our J2EE implementations with Sun's
certification marks. Because we are open source, we can't and don't force
our downstream licensees to be certified or to remain compatible.

> My intent of raising these concerns is *not* to reopen the prior
> discussions, but rather to ensure that the positions we are now
> considering are not unnecessarily incompatible with the ways in which we
> have operated in the past.

I don't see them as incompatible.


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