[wilhelmtux-discussion] offene standards

Alex Schroeder alex at emacswiki.org
Fre Jan 17 11:51:02 CET 2003

Maybe we want something like the following on the website?

There are formats for which readers are available, but even then we
have various types of control:

1. Controlled by a standard body, so extensions usually are introduced
   by various players, and some make it into future versions of the
   standard.  The standard body requires all extensions to be
   patent-free or to be licensed without restrictions for Free
   Software.  This is OK for Free Software, eventhough sometimes
   standards are very complicated and require complex software, so all
   things being equal we should favor the simple solution, because it
   is easier to implement by volunteers!  Example:  HTML by W3C.

2. Controlled by a standard body, but patents are allowed.  Sascha
   Brawer <brawer at acm.org> mentioned patents before on this list, and
   RMS is also on a crusade against software patents because these
   remain killers for Free Software.

3. Controlled by a company, but the necessary information is
   available.  This is bad, because now Free Software will always be
   lagging behind.  And patents could be introduced at any time.
   Example: PDF by Adobe, if I remember correctly.

4. Controlled by a company, with no information availabble.  This is
   even worse, because now Free Software is not always lagging behind,
   it also has to reverse engineer the specs!  In some countries,
   reverse engineering has become a serious crime under certain
   circumstances, so this is the worst solution -- even if we
   currently have readers available.  Example: Microsoft Excel and
   Microsoft Word.