Got up early this morning for my team concall (it was cancelled 6 hours ago, after I'd gone to bed last night... hmmm) and while in the mental bringup process I found an email from Hal Stern
(amazingly cool bloke) about OpenDocument. The actual announcement itself is at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/office/ipr.php
, but the gist of it is this:
[Sun] gave a non-assertion convenant to [Sun's] patents for the OpenDocument file format standard, which is developed under the aegis of OASIS. A simple paraphrase of the covenant is: "You can infringe on [Sun's] patents in order to implement the X standard/specification, as long as you don't sue [Sun] or anybody else for infringing on your patents while implementing that standard/specification."
As another person expressed, it, that means that Sun
won't shoot first.
I don't see this as a giveaway of technology or patents or rights. I see it as a belief that implementing this standard by as many [people,products] as possible is too important to humanity
to let it be screwed up by legal issues. I also like that it's a complete and public response to Microsoft's fud (see Simon Phipps
and Tim Bray
for more on this). We're making this clear and simple. Don't get distracted.