I probably won't have a lot to say about this issue, but I did want to blog two useful links in this discussion. I will say that I think the IETF is reaping what it has sown. RAND (Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory) licensing is fine for the corporate world, but death for open source and public standards. I'm glad W3C came down on the side of RF (Royalty-Free).
Disclosure: I used to work for small software companies that would have been effectively exterminated by RAND. I no longer work at any such company nor do I hold their stock. I retain my political opinion based in part on my personal experience.
People automatically assume that RAND means "free" or "near-free" but what IBM and MSFT consider "near free" is spine-breaking for startups and small businesses. RAND just says you charge everyone the same price, not that the price is itself affordable.
Link one is Netcraft's coverage of the story. If you are interested in getting updates there's a "Subscribe" link at the bottom of the page.
Link two is the Apache Software Foundation (ASF)'s position letter on the matter. It includes in whole Lawrence Rosen's analysis of why the Microsoft proposal is antithetical to the tenets of open software development and licensing. Both the ASF letter and Rosen's remarks are clear and non-polemical.Posted by dr. wex at September 3, 2004 06:34 AM