|| ||Tres Melton <email@example.com>|
|| ||RAND Licenses|
|| ||Thu, 15 Aug 2002 04:11:56 -0700|
Dear LWN readers,
There has been much discussion on the net - and particularly within the
free software / open source community on the issue of Reasonable and
Non-discriminatory Licenses. It has been pointed out that these
Licenses are discriminatory when it comes to free software. I also
believe that they are more discriminatory to smaller software publishers
than they are to the large ones. Especially the ones that are large
enough to have an arsenal of patents that they can use to manipulate
better arrangements with the holder in question.
I have a suggestion of what I would call a truly nondiscriminatory
license: Let's base it not on dollars or dollars per unit but on a
percentage of profit. For example if a new protocol were to be
developed to serve WWW pages and it became so prolific that all of the
major WWW servers (IIS, iPlanet, Apache, AOL, etc.) needed to
incorporate it to stay competitive then they should all be able to
license it in a way that made since to their business plan: whether
motivated by profit or not. If all of the WWW servers were forced to
license it for say 2.5% of their net sales then it would work out.
Apache is free. Two and a half percent of nothing is nothing. Problem
solved. Even AOL would score under this proposal as I believe that they
made the source code for their WWW server open source long ago. However
companies like Micro$oft - who charge lots of $$$ for their software -
would have to pay 2.5% of that some to the patent holder of said
On the same note suppose someone developed NaI-HTML (New and Improved
HTML), patented it, and licensed it using this new RAND License.
Mozilla would obviously be able to use it for free (they charge nothing
for their software). Opera would be able to include it in the free
version of their software but may have to pay a small percent to include
it in their commercial version (or should I say
commercial/advertisement-free version) because they charge for it. The
tricky part would be Micro$oft's IE. If on the one hand it is solely
contained in IE and IE is given away for free I suppose that they would
be able to not pay. But, on the other hand if they embed the protocol
in Windows, so their other applications can understand it, then it
becomes part of a non-free system and they should have to pay. If they
chose to add the functionality to the Office suite then they would for
sure have to pay for it.
The tricky part is something like Mandrake distributing Mozilla: they
do charge for Mandrake but not for Mozilla; should they have to pay for
including a free program that uses the RAND protocol in their non-free
distribution? What about the people that download the ISO off off the
Internet and don't pay them anything for that - surely Mandrake cannot
afford to pay the RAND fee in that case.
Micro$oft is documenting many protocols at this very moment in its
attempt to comply with its anti-trust settlement. Further they are
trying to claim that by using a (current) RAND proposal that their
protocols are open to everyone. We, in the open source community,
understand that we are being discriminated against but we need a way to
articulate that point to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly and others that
have the political power to affect change. Especially to organizations
such as the W3C who are getting stuck in the middle of a bad situation
by overpaid patent litigators.
P.S. This, by no means, means that I agree with the prospect of
patenting software. This is just an idea that would make it taste a
little bit less bitter.
Comments (3 posted)
|| ||"Anand Srivastava" <Anand.Srivastava@ascom.ch>|
|| ||Debunking DMCA myths|
|| ||Tue, 20 Aug 2002 11:48:26 +0200|
I think that your article is of the same type that a German would have
written when Nazi's had started. Yes we know that Prof. Felton would not
have been prosecuted, but you know if the present trend continues for
another 10 years, the then Prof. Felton will not be given any warning and
would be prosecuted when presenting the paper and then he will go to
Jail. You think things are not that bad, only Russian employees are getting
Jailed. You will say that Skylarov broke the law, but no his company broke
the law. Do you think if you were a scientist for a brewing company, and
that company tried to sell the brew into some country where its prohibited,
and you happen to be in that country, should you be jailed. Skylarov was
just giving a presentation, like Felton would have been giving a
presentation. Ofcourse, if we take the German and Nazi example he was just
a jew, they won't do that to a German right.
I think your profession is also under the firing line. But you think that
you would be able to recognize a gun held to your head, right.
I think at the end of the article you get to the point of understanding
that this just a point in the battle and of course the proponents of DMCA
would much rather have Prof. Felton in jail. They just know that its not
possible with the current state of legislation. They will much rather wait
till they get to the next 10 steps.
I think Orwell's 1984 is coming, it would just be delayed some 25-30 years.
Comments (2 posted)
|| ||Leon Brooks <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|| ||You left off...|
|| ||Tue, 20 Aug 2002 15:04:41 +0800|
> Several governments, including those of France, Germany, Britain and
> even Peru,
...China (one and a half billion people), Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Argentina,
Malaysia, the EU itself (e.g. their document standard is shaping up to be
OpenOffice with extra tags), Norway, England, India (another billion souls),
Pakistan, and I'm sure I could think of others.
> Since that commitment, IBM has only E*trade to offer as a high-profile
> case study.
...oh, and that IBM has more than made that billion back already...
> According to IDC figures, Linux sales on servers are falling.
(1) a single study does not a trend make
(2) you just finished pointing out that Linux costs less
(3) perhaps, even given support for the study and ignoring the unit
price impact, more companies are installing their own Linux?
> But the hype around Linux appears to be inversely proportional to
> reality. The idea of free software sounds great, but the practicalities
> of implementing it across a bank or a car plant are another matter.
Good choice of industries. European banks use it, and Korean car plants. (-:
> it must be done without billion-dollar research and development budgets,
> which is what made Unix and Windows the platforms they are today.
To wit, obsolete on the one hand (too slow to adapt), and expensive,
unreliable security colanders on the other?
> But we should beware of vendors simplistically hyping Linux as the
> next great enterprise-wide technology.
We should be wary of vendors hyping _anything_ as the next great technology.
Remember the extreme agony (multiple tries, multiple faux pas, and several
times as many servers for the same job) Microsoft themselves went through to
get Hotmail off the ground on Windows instead of FreeBSD? Think back further:
do you remember a program called `The Last One?'
Linux isn't the _next_ great enterprise-wide technology, it is the _current_
great enterprise technology. 95% of the tools you need exist now, are being
used in worldwide enterprises, and - as has been said in many places - are
getting better faster than anything else around them.
My little corner of the market is already to busy for me to deal with, the big
problem is to get enough ex-Windows people up to speed on Linux to cope with
Oracle have just realised that they're undermined, Sun is panicking because
they're a bit brighter than Oracle and really have seen the writing on the
wall, SCO have essentially vanished from the map (less than 12 months between
`Linux is a fad, ignore it' to being bought out by a Linux company), and the
screams and thrashing from Microsoft are kind of self-evident.
SGI jumped on the bandwagon early, although they still seem to be unsure how
to ride it. Gartner don't seem to know what to make of it. Every new report
seems to work against the last.
http://www.cyberknights.com.au/ Modern tools, traditional dedication
http://slpwa.linux.org.au/ Member, Linux Professionals West Aus
http://conf.linux.org.au/ THE Australian Linux Technical Conf:
22-25 January 2003, Perth: be there!
Comments (1 posted)
Page editor: Jonathan Corbet