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From Murray Altheim <>
Subject XNode 1.1 API submission
Date Tue, 16 Sep 2003 21:58:36 GMT
Hi all,

This is a proposal for a metadata API for use in Xindice, though it can
be used more generally for adding an XML metadata wrapper around an XML
node. In short, it's SOAP-like, but *actually* simple.

Brian suggested I join this list and make the proposal here. I've included
my initial message below, unedited. (I've still not heard at all from Sun.)

Anyway, I'm wondering what is the easiest, lowest-pain way to approach
getting XNode 1.1 submitted to the Apache project. I'm under no IPR
commitments at the Open University (I checked), so I can freely fill
out whatever forms are necessary. If people want it, I can post the
API javadocs or send them to interested parties. It's pretty small,
7 files, 9K compressed.



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: XNode 1.1 API submission
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 20:33:01 +0100
From: Murray Altheim <>
Organization: Knowledge Media Institute
To: Brian Behlendorf <>
References: <>


I don't know if you're aware, but while I was still at Sun I wrote an
API to wrap XML documents in a SOAP-like wrapper to enable the attachment
of metadata. That API was com.sun.xnode.XNode. I'd originally written it
as part of a non-Sun project, as I was at the time involved with Doug
Englebart's group at SRI, where Lee Iverson (now at UBC) had floated
his "Nodal" project. I thought XNode was a Nodal-like thing for XML. Well,
I was wrong, but that's where it started.

So anyway, my boss was laid off and I found myself (and the rest of my
office) under Java management. I suggested using XNode and dbXML as
part of Sun's Registry project, as we needed an XML database and a means
of storing metadata. Long story short, the API was intended to be submitted
to Apache but due to office reshuffling and my leaving off to school, it
never happened. Sun still delivers com.sun.xnode.* as part of their
Registry project (part of JWSDP), but has never published the API nor does
there seem to be any interest in it. Likely below the radar, really.

I'd submitted the code to Xindice, but somebody pulled it off the server
because there hadn't been the proper paperwork from Sun releasing the code.
(No criticism -- that's what should have happened) So I sent a message off
to Sun's "feedback" line, and one to Jeff Suttor, but after two weeks I've
not heard anything at all. Like I said, probably under the radar.

Because XNode is a core API within my Ph.D. project Ceryle, I've gone
ahead and rewritten the API as "XNode 1.1". It is not quite backward
compatible with XNode 1.0, uses a different package designation (i.e.,
it uses the intended package of org.apache.xnode.*) and a different
XML namespace URI ("" rather than
"", noting the www/xml difference as well
as the version number). I've altered/improved the method names in a few
places, added a method to allow embedding of a DOM Element as metadata
rather than simply name-value pairs, and rewritten the documentation.

Now... what would it take for me to submit XNode 1.1 to Apache? I've
always intending to do this and perhaps now it can be done. I realize
there is some muddiness as to IPR, though several things keep that from
being a problem for you:

   1. the original API was never published publicly, except by me after
      leaving Sun, hence in theory I own the copyright (but not the IPR
      since I was under contract while at Sun)
   2. Sun has not patented com.sun.xnode.XNode, so org.apache.xnode.XNode
      is not an enfringement on copyright. You can't copyright ideas, only
      patent them, so the ideas in com.sun.xnode.XNode that resurface in
      org.apache.xnode.XNode are protected under Sun's IPR only insofar
      as they are Sun's ideas. In reality, XNode is a combination of Lee
      Iverson's NODAL and SOAP.
   3. I've rewritten the API so you'd be receiving a *different* API.
   4. They've never made any public splash about this, nor have they ever
      published anything about it either. They could potentially come
      after me for violating my IPR agreement (since in theory everything
      I've ever done or said is now owned by them, even going back to my
      birth), but there's no violation of copyright since they've not
      published anything (which is required of US copyright laws). As
      I mentioned previously, I actually beat them to it, so I in theory
      own the copyright on XNode 1.0.
   5. Sun has no history of going after things like this, esp. ones that
      are way below the radar, esp. since I'm an ex-employee with no
      resources, not Microsoft. They would not spend resources bothering
      with such a thing, even if they could figure out where there was
      any infringement (since I've not given away anything demonstrably
      Sun's, having been away from them for over a year and a half).

I've gussied the thing up, do you want it? :-)


Murray Altheim               
Knowledge Media Institute
The Open University, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK7 6AA, UK                    .

    "There have been ongoing problems with cockroaches getting on the
     floor... they can wreak havoc with 350,000 dominoes." -- Brian Kim,10821,1017133,00.html

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