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Subject: Re: [office] ODF Reciprocal License Allegation

Hi Eduardo,

Thanks for responding.  Your explanation makes sense, but the shills and lackeys are off and running wild with this new discovery that “Sun has secret patents on ODF”.   Yes, they went full throttle, zero to sixty in under four seconds. 

By next week this latest conspiracy theory will likely go the way of other myths that got some noise, and then into a vast echo chamber that otherwise intelligent people reference in shamelessly self serving ways to justify the next conspiracy theory.  I can hear the deafening refrain now, "There were so many reports that Sun had patents on ODF and that it's not really open, that you have to stop and think".

I wrote a response to  Brian Jones, and sent it to PJ for review.  But the truth is, today is the first time i ever had to think through the licensing issues.  The interesting thing is that it's easy to circle false arguments, and set them spinning, even without having a clue as to what i'm talking about :)  At the end of the day they will become the fateful victims of their own wishful and self serving exuberance.   Such is life when you have no sense of integrity, trust and truth.  And don't understand that when push comes to shove, trust and truth are the only things that matter.  Push came to shove in Massachusetts, and everyone got to see, up close and personal, who they really are.  Not a pretty sight.  +1 Open Standards.  +1 Open Source.  Transparency rules.

Your arguments though have the truth of being there.   Would you mind if PJ published your comments?  I know that's asking a lot, especially since there's far more at stake than needing to respond to the lies and deceits of the MS Office 12 gang.  But your response is clean, clear, and to the point.  Groklaw does have one loud and booming voice.  And PJ is the kind of do gooder who doesn't like FUD.  She usually does an excellent job of exposing and slamming away lies, deceits and distortions.

There is the distinct probability that things will get worse.  I for one am quite surprised by the heavy handed, uncompromising take no prisoners ferocity Microsoft has shown regarding the Massachusetts decision.  ODF though is a silver bullet, and the shot Eric Kriss and Peter Quinn took at all proprietary, platform and application bound file formats found it's mark.  Finally.

The day before the final decision was made, i had a chance to speak at length with Peter Quinn.  They were hoping against hope that Microsoft would respect their decision and make the necessary accommodations to provide OpenDocument files. Sadly it was not to be, but for sure Microsoft was given every consideration. Deserved or not.

Peter did ask if i would participate in his panel discussion session at the upcoming NACIO conference in San Diego. They expect excellent attendance from every state. He's trying to get someone from Microsoft, but so far they are refusing to participate. So i asked him if it would be okay if showed up with a few hundred OpenOffice.org CD's to pass out. He told me i would need more than that :) Apparently the line behind Massachusetts is both long and ready.

I also asked if he and Eric would kindly autograph my copy of the OASIS OpenDocument v 1.0 specification. He said of course, but then asked if i could get him a copy autographed by all the engineers and TC members who worked on OpenDocument. That would be a very nice thing to do Eduardo, but could Sun help me put something like that together?

Thanks for setting things straight,


Mary McRae wrote:
To Michael, Gary, et al,

  I'm forwarding this to the TC list on behalf of Eduardo Gutentag.



-----Original Message-----
From: Eduardo Gutentag [mailto:Eduardo.Gutentag@Sun.COM] 
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 8:54 PM
To: Mary McRae
Subject: Re: [office] ODF Reciprocal License Allegation

Mary, since I am only an Observer of the Office TC, could you please forward this to Gary and the rest of the TC, written in my
capacity of Sun's primary representative to OASIS? Thank you.


Gary, others,

can you spell FUD? Yes, I knew you could ;)

There are a few things that should be made clear, since the goal of FUD is always to make things unclear.

What Sun posted as an IPR promise in 2002, as anyone in this field knows, including Brian, was a conventional short form assurance
that, if we turned to have any patents that read on the specification, we would license them RF.
We have never turned up any patents reading on the specification, so there has been no need to compose, let alone grant, a license.
(Let me remind you that the issue here is an XML schema, not software; the very idea of patenting and enforcing patents against
schemas is really more someone else's style and idea of fun than Sun's.)

The whole point of that assurance was to voluntarily remove FUD, by making it clear there would be no licensing obstacles.

We have all come a long way since 2002.  After some aggressive uses of asserted patents and sub-licensing issues-- again, not from
us -- the open source communities are now very cautious about precise license terms. This is actually good. And many vendor
companies have also become more sensitive to the needs of the open source communities. This is even better.

To make implementors' analysis actually simpler, we at Sun are dotting the i's and crossing the t's on something which will be made
public sometime hopefully within the next few days and that we believe will satisfy everybody. Well, almost everybody; certainly not
those who are spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

By the way, those criticisms about reciprocity and sub-licensing are flat wrong.
On sublicensing, they looked at the wrong rules. The 2000 OASIS IPR policy that governs OpenDocument has no sublicensing bar. Their
conments about reciprocity were so far off as to be surreal. Yes, Sun reserved a reciprocity right; so does Microsoft; so does
everyone else in this industry. It's a non-issue and no obstacle to free (or otherwise) software. We could go much deeper into the
tedious details if needed, but it's not needed. There's no real issue here.
Only made-up ones.

On 09/26/2005 08:39 AM, Gary Edwards wrote:
Hi all,

Pamela Jones of Groklaw.net just contacted me about the license of the 
OpenDocument format. She pointed out a blog from Microsoft's Brian Jones:


<MS Brian Jones quote>
While we're on this topic, I think it's important that you all take a 
look at the comparable situation with Open Document. A lot of folks 
just seem to assume that since it's a standard, there are no IP issues 
and everything is very straightforward. Well, take a look at this:
http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/office/ipr.php Sun seems to be 
saying that it may have IP in the Open Document spec. While Sun says 
it is willing to provide a royalty-free license, one would still need 
to ask Sun for a license. The license is not posted. It would be 
interesting to see, and I'll probably try to see if I can find it. The 
statement on the site alone reveals that at a minimum, they have at 
least one condition - you have to give Sun a reciprocal license.

<OOo Discuss quote>
We need a response to this MS allegation that there are IP issues with 
ODF.  And whether ODF is GPL-compatible. It is hard to imagine it not 
being GPL compatible, since it's being used by KOffice, which is GPL.  
I hope Gary can give us an answer.

Any thoughts on this?  Before the day is out i will try to speak with 
Peter Quinn, the CIO of Massachusetts about this.  No doubt Microsoft 
hopes this issue falls right on his head.  But i think the OpenDoc TC 
has to be prepared to respond.




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