Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patents in a Standard and Standards That Won't Inter-operate

Digistan has just published an open letter signed by some high-level figures. It calls for people to adopt the right approach in the embrace of open standards. It's worth a quick glance.

Industry has always depended on standards and traditional industries have built their standards as part of a slow, controlled, top-down approach to innovation. Industrial-age standards are often heavily patented, complex, and large. They can be expensive to implement and therefore are implementable only for large established firms.


Here too you have a person who is leaning towards the BSD, but nonetheless recognises the importance of patent-free standards. Pay careful attention to what is said about proprietary data and file formats such as OOXML.

Bodom: What is the your think about OGG Vorbis?

David: I have never used Vorbis myself (because I use WavPack), but I am happy to see support for it starting to appear on portables. It's great to have a free and open alternative to the "big boys".

Bodom: What is the your think about the Open Source?

David: I don't have particularly strong feelings about open source. I think open source is great (I use Linux at home), but I think there is nothing inherently wrong with commercial software and I even have some ideas for software applications I might write and try to sell in the future. However, I do feel strongly about open standards. I think that proprietary data and file formats are inherently monopolistic and do not serve the public well, and I have been happy to see governments (like the state of Massachusetts) start to understand the importance of this and move to require that state business be done only with open standards.


Last but not least, here is an article that parses through BECTA's public statement and turns it into an IDG piece which is titled quite sensibly:

Microsoft Faces Another Interoperability Complaint in Europe



[...]

As part of the first of those two investigations, the Commission said it will look at whether the Office Open XML document format used by Microsoft Office is sufficiently interoperable with competitors' products. BECTA has now sent its complaint and evidence to support that investigation, it said.


Standards are a very important and essential stepping stone on the path to Free software adoption. That's why Microsoft is faking standards, just as it attempts to hijack "open source" at the moment.

"The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC just heard arguments in the Bilski case, where the appellant (Bilski) is arguing that a completely mental process should get a patent. The fact that this was even entertained demonstrates why the patent system has truly descended into new levels of madness. At least the PTO rejected the application; the problem is that the PTO now allows business method patents and software patents. Once they allowed them, there's no rational way to say "stop! That's rediculous!" without being arbitrary."

--Bilski: Information is physical!?

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