[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
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"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 experienceï¿½it'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 productï¿½customers 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
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 applicationï¿½so 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
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
interoperabilityï¿½they 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, folksï¿½it's open standards."
GNU/Linux Registered User #190585
Key fingerprint = 478B C11B 3802 D151 CDB1 309E 69BF 6F02 352C 9ED3
KeyID = 352C9ED3
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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"
IBM's Linux Technology Center
Please DON'T send me m$-WORD, m$-EXCEL or m$-POWERPOINT attachments.
Use instead an open file type/format like the one provided by the
Multiplatform OpenOffice.org - http://www.openoffice.org
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let's wake up the ECHELON....
"Kill the President" , "nuclear", "assassinate" , "Roswell", "UFO" , "enigma"
, "saucer" , "grudge" , "the farm" , "snowbird" , "dreamland"
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