Free Software Representatives Join W3C Patent Policy Board

Posted 13 Oct 2001 at 00:19 UTC by BrucePerens Share This

I have accepted a position on the W3C Patent Policy Board. Eben Moglen of FSF was also offered one and I think he's accepted.

Bruce Perens

Good!, posted 13 Oct 2001 at 04:11 UTC by Fefe » (Master)

Well, I actually believe them that they didn't mean harm. The real issue is not the W3C but software patents in general. As long as software patents exist, there is no good stance towards them. What if IBM suddenly finds out that HTTP infringes on 200 of their older patents? Should W3C then declare HTTP obsolete and rush to make a new standard? I think not. W3C needs to do everything in their power to make this not happen, of course. I think they actually do try to meet this goal.

Now, what really has to happen is:

  1. W3C should ask all members (and other large institutions) to declare their current and future patents void in relation to W3C standards.
  2. Software patents must be abolished altogether.

That's Awesome, posted 13 Oct 2001 at 11:51 UTC by aicra » (Journeyer)

It's good to know that there's someone like Bruce Perens there! and Moglen (if he accepted)!


Openness on More than just Patents, posted 13 Oct 2001 at 21:47 UTC by db » (Master)

All of us here at Advogato are surely glad to know that there are some firm Free/Open software representatives in a position to affect this particular W3C policy -- that's great news.

But I kind of hope that's a "foot in the door" with respect to other related issues at W3C. These patent issues are only the tip of the iceberg, in many ways, for W3C problems related to non-Open development models.

It can be painful to get W3C to respond to issues, much less do so promptly and publicly, without ponying up lots of cash to become a "member". That's absolutely the wrong development model for core web technology. In the same way, there's way too much hidden on "members only" lists. The organization is just not set up to want to (or be able to) leverage community contributions at all effectively. The "BigCo" at W3C has excessive leverage, and even top quality contributions from independents have little chance of affecting development unless they are somehow able to commit BigCo levels of resources over sustained periods of time.

We need to see a lot more openness at W3C, and I hope that in some way this particular opening can help trigger that kind of change there.

I agree, but..., posted 14 Oct 2001 at 03:07 UTC by robla » (Master)

As a longtime W3C insider, I agree with db. I've seen vendors say things behind closed doors that I don't think would hold up to public scrutiny. I think a more open process would lead to better specifications, even though the politics would be slightly less managable.

I've often wished that there was an individual membership level. However, I think it'd be more difficult to get companies to pony up the cash for the big memberships if they could slide by with individual memberships, so I can't entirely fault the W3C for their current model.

Thank you!, posted 15 Oct 2001 at 19:31 UTC by Nygard » (Journeyer)

Bruce, we all know how busy you are. Taking on this added responsibility cannot be easy. I for one would like to thank you for your tireless efforts (even if HP is paying for some of them now <grin>!)

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