[ANSOL-geral]Sun exec: Open-source is irrelevant - tb sobre patentes

Ricardo Jorge Godinho Nunes rjgn arroba netc.pt
Tue Sep 16 22:04:02 2003

Hash: SHA1

"Sun exec: Open-source is irrelevant

Open standards matter far more, he argues

Opinion by Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president, Sun Microsystems

SEPTEMBER 12, 2003 ( COMPUTERWORLD ) - Last weekend, I went to go look up a 
patent filing at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). It was a really 
engaging experience�it's a fascinating site, with filings dating back to 
1790. Just for yuks, I decided to explore what it takes to file a patent. I 
was in for a rude surprise: The site, and the PTO, demand that all online 
patent applications be submitted using Microsoft Word.

Now, why is that a problem?

Well, it's a problem because my company doesn't use Microsoft products. Nor 
can most people afford them. And if you don't have a copy of Word, does that 
mean you have to pay Microsoft for the privilege of submitting a patent 
application? To protect your own intellectual property? And the government 
has mandated that? Something must be wrong here.

One school of thought says, "Open-source will stop this nonsense."

I don't buy it.

To me, open-source is irrelevant to the discussion. And as the industry's 
single largest contributor to the open-source movement, I don't say that 

The issue for patent submitters isn't the licensing convention used to build 
the word-processing application. At least for my customers, purchasing 
decisions are never made on the basis of the licensing convention used to 
build the product�customers care far more about product quality, 
price/performance when compared to the competition, and (especially of late) 
their security attributes. None of those issues have anything to do with 
open-source any more than whether Sun employs left-handed engineers to build 
the products, or marketing folks who work weekends (we do, both).

What's at stake isn't whether the source code to Microsoft Word is available. 
Even if it were, you'd still need a copy of Microsoft Word to submit a 
patent. And you'd have to pay for the brand, or be smart enough to build the 
source tree.	

If the file format used to submit a patent were publicly available, it'd be up 
to me to determine how I elected to submit my application�so long as I 
followed the standard. And if I stopped liking the word processor I was 
using, I could move to another that supported the standard. My choice. And if 
the standard were royalty-free, such as those formats available through 
OASIS, then any organization that wanted to interact with the PTO, or with 
the patent submitters, could do so without fear of dependency upon 
proprietary technology.

Now a variety of technology companies are delivering proprietary technology 
into the world, and they're creating dependencies while hiding under a shroud 
called "open-source." Don't be fooled, they're shirking the very open 
standards that guarantee interoperability. Why? Because they don't like 
interoperability�they like dependency.

As the supplier of the only cross-platform office productivity suite on the 
market, StarOffice, I don't say the following lightly: Ignore the fact that 
StarOffice is open-source. It's an irrelevance.

Focus on the open standards we follow.

They matter far, far more.

Jonathan Schwartz is executive vice president of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s 
software group, which includes the Solaris operating systems, the Java 
technology platform, Project Mad Hatter and Project Orion. This column 
expands on points he made in a LinuxWorld keynote address.
The issue isn't open-source, folks�it's open standards."

Ricardo Jorge
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"Some things -and an operating system is one of them- are just too fundamental
 to be locked up in a box.
 It's basic infrastructure and basic infrastructure must be shared technology"

Daniel Frye
IBM's Linux Technology Center
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Please DON'T send me m$-WORD, m$-EXCEL or m$-POWERPOINT attachments.
See http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html
Use instead an open file type/format like the one provided by the
Multiplatform OpenOffice.org - http://www.openoffice.org
- - ----
let's wake up the ECHELON....
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