RE: the web client interface was RE: Two link questi
From: Rick Marshall [mailto:rjm@z...] >yes the whole IP thing is complex. what i think happens is we get a >conflict of expectation. IP in and of itself is not complex. What is happening is a social phenomenon (open source communities) is emerging to challenge the business processes by which software has been manufactured. IP tainting is one of the issues which that community must manage. The risks of IP suits have always been there and that is why the indemnification clauses are built into the RFP/Proposal/Contract processes. This is not new at all. >like all of us i've got valuable ip - it must be i make a good living >from it. Excellent. Do you take steps to protect it? >where the difficulty comes is understanding what are core things, >controlled by standards, left to be implemented by open and close source >companies/individuals, and from which the whole computing community can >draw on. I agree in part. But one has to ask, for example, is a browser a core technology? I don't think the answer is simple because it depends on how one wants to treat network services to content handlers. I agree that there is little money to be made selling core technologies. That is one reason IE became dominant. It is 'good enough' like most MS products and it ships bundled with a lot of other 'good enough' technologies at a price which is affordable in both low and high end products. If one is accustomed to getting this stuff for free, then there is a serious expectation issue. The computing community is competitive. Tell me which parts of the core you expect to obtain for free? If there is little profit in the core, then someone pays the bills for innovation out of time and materials or cash. Do you expect standard system components to be innovated? How? If that is open source, and I do like that model, then it is clear that the costs should be shared across the community. If it is innovation of the type that requires high development costs, then it becomes IP if the innovator has brain one in their head. IP has a trading value and that is what the large companies are using to protect themselves and to create trading relationships. A sort of patent keiretsu is emerging because say in the case of IBM, if they are sued, they look at their catalog then answer back that they are willing to cross-license rather than dip into cash on hand. It makes enormous sense for those who have IP. What IP can the open source community draw on in these situations? IBM as a member of that community can. Red Hat? In short, given IP, open source is just as much in the control of a BigCo that can protect it as any proprietary product. What they share with the other community members is the engineering costs of small version improvements. What they gain is better cash position. So once again, the rich get richer. Ok. What do the small companies sans IP get from open source? Real freedom from control? What is their cost for maintaining a position in the open source community? Can they afford that or are they free riders on the members who can afford it? >msphobia as you call it comes from ms deciding they want to control >something, often something that was open source or subject to >international standards. Sure and in some cases they have failed miserably when they tried that. VRML is an example. In other cases, such as the browser market, the competitors did not have the deep pockets to sustain a competition even when they used the same tactics of embrace and extend. Had they obtained IP along the way, they could have made a better fight of it at least. In fact, when Netscape was collapsing, IE was also building a better browser. If they fail to continue that, they are risking market share, but if they fail to do that and their competitors obtain IP by innovation, they may also not be able to regain it. If the open source community wants a better competitive position, it could work out the means to obtain and protect IP or admit it has to rely on the companies that have these portfolios. >so eg, what happens if ms (or sun, or ibm if we want to be fair), >decides that they like xml, but really want it to be a bit different to >the standards because it suits one of their goals. they build the new >functionality into their products and market them to their developers >who start using the non standard components because they're really good >(or the developers don't know they're non standard) and now all the >standards complying software doesn't work anymore, so now you have to >use proprietary products. Right. That is the ConciseXML (Water) model. Extend XML in the syntax where it is most vulnerable, blame SGML because to blame XML is to degrade the brand they are co-opting, and then claim to have innovated. If they obtain IP and market share, they can make that work. In fact, XML protects itself because of the basis in syntax. It is easy to prove Water is not XML and that in fact, one may get some gains from using the proprietary product, but the advantages of the standard are lost. But MSPhobia (We Must Kill IE) is dumb. This is just one set of product advocates out to get another. Spy vs Spy. Where are the standards conflicts? What has them upset is that to get new versions of IE, one will have to buy the operating system. So what? That will drive people to download Moz. They should be opening champagne and celebrating the failure of their competitor to understand the market advantage. They must also understand, however, that browsers aren't the ultimate evolutionary animal for hypermedia on the web. If MS has decided to pursue another path of development, that is MS's risk to manage. >and all the good work of people like yourself is now put aside as one or >two giant companies start dictating the new standards. I'm not scared. I predate XML and know just how hard the first generation had to fight to keep markup alive. I also know that in the world of heterogeneous systems, there are only 1.25 ways to keep it open and keep it cheap. Markup would have triumphed regardless of XML or SGML. Loose coupling is just another way to say 'batch' and that approach has been well-understood for a very long time. XML is comma-delimiting one step up the evolutionary and complexity scale. The real deal is common object models for application languages. Standardizing these is much much harder but important. I am dismayed by the desperation I see in the XML open source leaders and the lack of general understanding of the business models they need to compete. >to be a phobia it needs to be largely unexplainable, those of us who >have been bitten several times really have a fear rather than a phobia. It's a fear if the threat is to what one fears losing. It is phobia when it is the knee jerk means to raise a rabble because they are afraid of losing market share. If Moz is really demonstrably clearly to any user better, it can hold its own. >so i support ip, open source, proprietary products, and most importantly >standards. but in the end the big companies and the markets will >determine which, if any, of these things have value. Me too, but given our business model, the bigCos are there to enable us to manage risks for our customers, to enable us to sell based on the applications we build and the types of content we manage, and not on spending cash assets to obtain core technology without IP advantages. We will lose if we go down that path. >buying based on who you can sue is basically admitting failure before >you've even tried success. that might explain a lot of large system >failures Failing to protect your customer from lawsuits is going to fail a lot faster. It's simple risk management. We have not had a single system fail or be returned to us, and haven't lost a single bid to open source alternatives, because in our business, there are none. It is only down at the level of core technology that open source is competing seriously (open office not withstanding) and there they do it without IP management which reduces their overall credibility. Thanks for responding. This isn't fun but it is serious stuff and we should become better acquainted with the issues. len
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