[wilhelmtux-discussion] Begriffsdefinition "Offener Standard"

Sascha Brawer brawer at acm.org
Don Jan 16 13:25:16 CET 2003

Nicolas Iselin <nicolas at iselin.ch> wrote on Mon, 13 Jan 2003 22:59:17 +0100:

>'free format' (free speech, not free beer)
>[A free format has no restrictions whatsoever. Encoders/decoders
> may be incorporated into both proprietary products and
> open source software. GPL.]

Someone could patent a technology required for implementing a format,
publish an open-source implementation, and wait for the format to gain
acceptance -- the more widespread the better. Finally, when everyone is
used to the format, they start collecting license fees.

==> A format is not any more or less free because of free implementations.

It's not that hypothetical, by the way. Unisys started to ask for money
only after GIF had become really popular. (GIF is an image format that
uses the LZW compression technique, which had been patented by Unisys).

-- Sascha