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Subject: Proposal to address Open Source concerns

Both the XRI and XDI TC's were contacted directly by signatories to Larry Rosen's open letter (http://www.crynwr.com/cgi-bin/ezmlm-cgi?3:mss:9543:eipghffcblnbhjiggalm).

They knew that a number of open source developers participate in both TCs, and they asked for our input. We pointed out that both TCs have always had the commitment to RF in our charters, so there was never any question of the IPR mode for our specifications.

However it became clear to us in this dialog that there was a very real danger that those who find issue with RAND in open standards could "tar all OASIS TCs with the same brush". In other words, there is a danger that even specifications from those OASIS TCs who are committed to encouraging Open Source (tm) implementations and RF-on-limited-terms would become suspect in the larger community of adopters.

This possibility has us very concerned. 

To be clear, we personally understand that OASIS needs to offer multiple IPR modes to maintain the scope of its current work and we do believe that if OASIS did not provide RAND options, it would simply force certain work to be done elsewhere, perhaps in a less-open manner. However, we are also worried that the if OASIS does not respond to the concerns of the Open Source community, there may be strong incentive for potential Open-Source-friendly work to go elsewhere to avoid the controversy and confusion altogether. We discussed how we might address the concerns, and while we aren't going to please everyone, we did come up with a solution that seems practical and compatible with OASIS goals and current practice.

Our proposal is to have appropriate TCs use a prominent label/logo to indicate that the TC's output is is "Open Source(tm) Compatible". Any output of this TC would then have to be licensed in a way which explicitly allows Open Source implementation (which implies RF terms, among others). This very well might mean tweaking or replacing the new RF-with-limited-terms license mode.

Since the Open Source community already defines the meaning of "Open Source"we believe the best way to do move forward would be to engage the Open Source community (especially the attorneys and the people at the Open Source Initiative) to:

We suggest this may be a very fruitful avenue for discussion with the proponents of this letter, and invite the opinion of other Chairs on this approach.


Gabe Wachob, Visa International, Co-Chair, XRI TC

Drummond Reed, Cordance, Co-Chair, XRI & XDI TCs

Geoffrey Strongin, AMD, Co-Chair, XDI TC
Chief Systems Architect
Technology Strategies and Standards
Visa International
Phone: +1.650.432.3696   Fax: +1.650.554.6817


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