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From Dirk-Willem van Gulik <>
Subject Re: Legal concern: Are we getting to close ot a "division of markets" conversation?
Date Mon, 06 Jun 2011 10:34:56 GMT
On 6 Jun 2011, at 10:51, Sam Ruby wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 4:45 AM, dsh <> wrote:
>> If IBM has legal concerns in this regards they may involve their own
>> IP and patent attorney stuff IBM-internally.
> I really didn't want to participate in this thread, and like Greg wish
> it would end, but I will state a number of things:
> (1) that I have not (yet?) heard this particular concern from IBM
> attorneys on this particular project
> (2) I am quite willing to talk to IBM attorneys (and those that know
> me also know that I am quite willing to tell them in straight terms
> what the ASF is, and is not, willing to tolerate)
> (3) The ASF that I know would never tell a project that they can't do
> something for which there are volunteers simply because similar
> functionality is available under a less permissive license.
> (4) Finally I will (re)state my vision[1]:
> Part of this vision is also that participants don't block one another.
> If IBM, for example, has a proprietary value add they should not be
> able to block somebody else from contributing substantially similar
> functionality to the ASF under a more liberal license. Similarly, if
> LO has some CopyLeft value add, they should not be able to block
> others from contributing substantially similar functionality to the
> ASF under a more liberal license.

Right - but I think we're now sidestepping another conversation  - should we, that is the
community, worry about being *perceived* by larg(ish) organisations as having enough of a
dominance in a market that they feel they should regulate how they work with us. Or is there
a risk that regulators misunderstand us - and talk to those larg(ish) companies about that.

IMHO - if there is any such risk - we 1) should both help the regulators understand the situation
better and 2) do this in such a transparent way that members of our communities are better
equipped to have their part of that conversation. And this is nothing new or special - plenty
of (industry) standards bodies have had this issue - and the drive for open standards and
readily accessible documentation, both from a regulatory point as well from a post-damage
repair perspective, is now well understood and common.

We got fairly close to these issues some 10-12 years ago - but (I personally think that we)
where saved by the fast growth of java and other projects (and the fact that the internet
was still tiny as an industry). And hence we never really addressed this. But perhaps it is
time to do so.


Dw (who is happy to commit to making a stab at this on the East side of the atlantic).
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