- Consult <http://orcmid.com/writings/2005/06/w050601b.htm> for the current status and electronic copies of the latest material.
- This version: Analysis 0.65 <http://orcmid.com/writings/2005/06/w050601e.htm> reflects the announcement by Microsoft to submit OOX to ECMA for standardization. Descriptions of the primary standards organizations are added. This version is not current. It is preserved for reference information.
- Previous version: Analysis 0.50 <http://orcmid.com/writings/2005/06/W050601d.htm> is not current. That version has been frozen and preserved for reference purposes.
- Next version: Analysis 0.75 <http://orcmid.com/writings/2005/06/w050601f.htm> reorganizes the main analysis to summarize what I make of the various licenses and how there is sufficient flexibility to move ahead toward adopting and using the emergent open formats.
- see also:
- Professor von Clueless: 2005-11-30 Open Standards are not Open Source
- Professor von Clueless: 2005-10-17 Magical Thinking and the Universal Document Elixir
- Orcmid's Lair: 2005-10-13 The Comfort of Open Development Processes
- Orcmid's Liar: 2005-10-11 Relaxing Patent Licenses for Open Documents
Orcmid's Lair: 2005-07-29 Consigning Software Patents to the Turing Tar Pit
Orcmid's Lair: 2005-06-09 Microsoft OX vs. OASIS OD: Is It Really Open Format vs. Open Standard?
Orcmid's Lair: 2005-06-05 Office XML's IP-Infringement Specter, I: Copyright (long)
- Professor von Clueless: 2005-06-02 Microsoft Cracks Open the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Formats in XML
I was excited about the June 2 announcement of the Office XML Open Format to become the default Microsoft Office document format. It is particularly pleasing that support for the format will be retrofitted to Offices 2000, XP, and 2003. There will also be licensing based on the current arrangement for the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas.
I was initially concerned that the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas license might not cover use cases that are important to me and, I think, that may be even more important to Microsoft. This lengthy entry started out to unwind as much as I could about how the copyright elements of the license can be made to work and where the restrictions of the license seem to pinch too much.
I end with the observation that itís great that Microsoft is continuing to open up its approach well ahead of the next Microsoft Office release. There is a sizable window where everyoneís concerns can be addressed before the formats and their license are locked down, and it looks to me that we are watching the unfolding of a convergence that will make widespread, permanent availability and preservation of electronic documents in public formats.
1. Introduction: The Specter Thing
2. The Proposed Benefits of OOX and the License
3. The Copyright-Leftness of the License
3.1 The Copyright Portion of the License
3.2 My Practices: A Specific Comparison
3.3 The Copyright-Mixing Bind
3.4 The Derivative-Use Bind
3.5 Open Formats vs. Open Standards
4. Further Discussion
A. Source Materials
A1. Available Materials and Licenses
A2. Proprietary Notices
A3. Other Resources
A5. Standards Organizations
1.1 I’m fascinated by the opportunity for other applications and services to inter-work with the “OOX” formats (my term for the new DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX). The same license also covers the current but non-OX XML formats usable with Excel, InfoPath, OneNote, Project, Research Services (from Office applications to research resources such as Encarta), Visio, and Word (i.e., WordML). The OOX formats are judged by their developers to be good enough and rich enough to become the default formats in place of the current DocFiles of key Microsoft Office applications Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Some of the other XML formats in Office are for specialized usage (e.g., imports into OneNote) and are not expected to receive the same attention in the march toward release of Office "12" (the working number of the next yet-to-be-named version) in 2006.
1.2 What’s this specter thing? I find myself having a weird emotional reaction (“feeling dirtied” off-and-on) over the license, and it appears to be because its language raises the specter of infringement. By that I mean that I am now wary of the prospect of committing an infringing act. That’s despite the license’s excusing of actions that could be infringing acts in the absence of the license. That’s what I mean about the IP-Infringement Specter.
1.3 The prospect of unintended (or IP-ignorant) infringement is the same as it always has been. Yet the fact that Microsoft provides a royalty-free, conditional and limited license that points out the prospect in its terms actually raises my anxiety level. My gut reaction is to keep my distance and not embark on something that would have me be tainted by the license strictures. (This aversion led me to think that I'd destroyed the CD-ROM that comes with the Shared Source CLI Essentials book, once I realized I could be tainted by examining its contents.) I have no idea how I end up in that mood, but I will bet small sums that I am not the only one who reacts in this way, and some will accompany that with speculations of dastardly Microsoft conduct and perpetuation of property-centered evils.
1.4 Because I think OOX is a big deal, and I would love to find out that it is safe to play with the formats and the opportunities they represent for novel application, extensions, and variants, I want to slay this demon of mine.
1.5 I propose to take the license apart, piece by piece and satisfy myself that I can work with it. This post deals with the copyright license. The patent license is thornier for me, and I'll address that in a cursory way here.
2.1 Microsoft Senior Vice President Stefen Sinofsky identifies the intended benefits in his Microsoft PressPass Q&A:“We have used [XML] as the foundation for the new Office XML Open Format, which is an open, published document format. In addition, we are publishing with it a royalty-free license, so any customer or technology provider can use the file format in its own systems without financial consideration to Microsoft. This will ensure that the new file format can be used by everyone to create, access, and modify documents in this format.”
2.2 I had no idea what there is about a document format that requires a license, and that’s all right. My initial thinking was that there’s not much harm in Microsoft being over-generous and providing a royalty-free license to something that maybe can’t be owned. I as licensee then don’t have to worry about whether or not there is a property right and which bits of the whole happen to be that property. I am very fond of licenses that allow me to remain unworried and have very simple compliance conditions.
2.3 The license they are referring to is not the copyright license on the specifications and schemas, it is with regard to programs that process the format. It's the patent situation that the royalty-free license covers. There are two licenses involved. One on the copyrighted subject matter and one on patent claims that might impact software that processes the format (or does something else, and relying on the invention covered by the patent claims).
2.4 Microsoft presents the offer as an important one, so it is useful to find out what it provides for. I’m aligned with the stated outcome: ensuring the ability to use the format(s) to create, access, and modify documents. I am learning, however, that “in this format” is actually limiting in unexpected ways.
2.5 My natural inclination is to discover the actual terms of the license, its limitations, and any conditions that must be satisfied. So I have gone looking. Here’s what I make of it. You can check the original sources, review my rationale, and apply your own yardstick.
When I think about licenses having to do with software, my first thought is about copyright and the range of licenses that interest the developer community. I include the range of Creative Commons licenses as well as those that satisfy the Open Source Definition (1.9).
3.1.1 Microsoft reserves all copyright in the specifications of the Office XML formats and of the XML Schema Definitions for those formats.
3.1.2 Along with Microsoft’s copyright notice, there is the grant of a perpetual, non-exclusive, limited copyright license that begins:
Permission to copy, display and distribute the contents of this document (the “Specification”), in any medium for any purpose without fee or royalty is hereby granted, provided that you include the following notice on ALL copies of the Specification, or portions thereof, that you make.
3.1.3 The specified notice is exactly the same as the one that Microsoft uses in its own copies, linking to the same license document. The required-notice exhibit is followed by this additional stipulation, making it clear what is not being granted::
No right to create modifications or derivatives of this Specification is granted herein.
3.1.4 The simplest well-known license with comparable limitations (based on copyright alone) is the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives license.
3.1.5 I have no problem with honoring these conditions exactly. Well, the specter comes up and I have to keep reminding myself that it is an illusion. As I work through some of these cases, I notice that the specter is fading.
3.1.6 There are some difficulties when I want to use the material in ways that I think Microsoft wants to encourage and where literal preservation doesn’t work (section 3.4). For those cases, a statement akin to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license would have me be more confident that I donít need to negotiate a specific license for each such occasion. In a situation where someone isnít willing to share derivatives, they are no worse off with a share-alike license than with the Microsoft no-derivatives version. Also, as the owner of the copyright, a share-alike provision does not constrain Microsoftís use of its own material in any way whatsoever. And if Microsoft isnít willing to accept the share-alike offerings of others, they are no worse off than anyone else in that situation. (For that matter, Microsoft is in a far better position to negotiate alternative licenses than are many smaller operations. If there's a non-specter downside to this for Microsoft, I'm not the one who can say what it is.)
3.2.1 I want to illustrate the practices that are required where these Microsoft-licensed materials are distributed as part of collective/composite works covered by different over-all licenses. I'm drawing on my own practices:
- 188.8.131.52 For the literary aspect of digital materials, I prefer to offer the Creative Commons Attribution license. An example of how I do that is at the bottom of each page here, and the specific practices and their motivation is described in an InfoNote here.
- 184.108.40.206 For software, I prefer to apply the open-source BSD License. An example of such application is here. One motivation for this license has to do with honoring community contributions that preserve the ability of that generous community to make proprietary use of their own work and its upgrades (as in the case of ODMA). I also want to make it easy for people to act in ways that do not raise the specter of copyright infringement. There is more about that in an incomplete license drafting here. I have found that the Academic Free License (AFL) is also a worthy candidate, and I recommend Larry Rosen's book on the subject for those who want to understand the fine points (Rosen 2005).
3.2.2 I want people to be able to make use of my works and, by applying very simple practices, to be unconcerned whether or not their use constitutes creation of a derivative work.
3.2.3 I am not lobbying for the adoption of this approach by others. These choices are merely single instance of the wide range of exclusive rights that copyright holders can exercise as they see fit. I bring up my approach here because it provides a grounded, worked set of comparative examples that I am completely familiar with.
3.3.1 When materials having different licenses are commingled in an electronic packaging, it is easy for a recipient to overlook the additional restrictions that may accompany some of the items. There is a fair amount of carelessness about that in open-source packages (and some commercial ones) that I have encountered. I don't want any recipient of my work to be led astray by how I package materials together. I apply two complimentary practices for making differences in licensing of companion materials very clear:
- 220.127.116.11 Materials with different licenses and conditions that must be noticed can be isolated in a way that makes the existence and applicability of the separate conditions clear and unambiguous. One way is to use an embedded container (such as a Zip archive) that contains a separate, well-identified license statement along with links to more-detailed information. I would do this, for example, if I wanted to distribute a selection of the Office XML Reference Schemas that are used in some package of mine that allows derivative works. I would also make sure that the manifest and license statements for the overall package emphasized and identified the portions that carried different licenses, especially more-restrictive ones.
- 18.104.22.168 Substantial restrictions can be made known and offered for review without requiring the related content to be accessed in any way without first knowing the restrictions. I want to avoid stealth exposures of recipients to materials whose license conditions might be unacceptable to them. I already make package manifests and usage requirements available for independent review before electing to download a package of materials. This same device could be applied for redistribution of a full set of the Microsoft XML Reference Schema materials, for example. I would take the same precautions in making a CD-ROM compilation of materials. I would include the manifest and license restriction information, along with instructions for how to obtain the materials. I would not include the more-restricted material on the CD-ROM at all.
3.3.2 Finally, when I am not authorized to redistribute material (or the recipient is not similarly entitled—the redistribution right is not transfered), I will apply the same methodology that I use in public software-development efforts that rely on available but non-redistributable materials. For example, the ActiveODMA development tree is being organized with a nodist subsection
- 22.214.171.124 that identifies materials that licensees or recipients are not permitted to (re-) distribute,
- 126.96.36.199 that are required in order to verify, duplicate, and rebuild the work, and
- 188.8.131.52 that are freely available (e.g., the Microsoft Visual C++ Toolkit 2003 and the Microsoft Platform SDK February 2003 releases).
3.3.3 The nodist subsection is for instructions on how to obtain the material and install it in a way that works for the open-source ActiveODMA development projects.
3.3.4 In this regard, the Microsoft license presents no greater burden for me than any other license that permits redistribution and is materially different than the license the containing contribution is under. I have the same difficulty packaging software that is created with the GNU Public License (GPL) in my distributions as I do packaging material under the Microsoft Office XML Reference Schema license.
3.4.1 The prohibition on creation of derivative works is a different problem. There is nothing I can do, short of negotiating a separate license (one that would likely not be transferable to recipients of my work) if I have a compelling interest in creating a derivative work. Unless there is some sort of share-alike provision, I can't pass it on and I would be reluctant to engage in such an arrangement. I would have to step out of the Open Source Definition and I am unwilling to do that.
3.4.2 There is no bind here without a compelling interest in making derivative use (including derivative works). In the case of OOX and the Office XML Reference Schemas, I think there are three important cases:
- 184.108.40.206 Appeal to elements of the Office XML Reference Schemas, and their namespaces, in derivative metadata based on Office XML elements. Search results delivered as XML (non-OOX) documents are a simple case. Where OOX-format elements are being provided in a search result, for example, it would be great to identify them as such in the (software-derived) schema for the search result itself. I think it would take extraordinary, counterproductive contortions to avoid creation of a derivative work. Interoperability and coherence in reliance on OX would be undermined.
- 220.127.116.11 Support for micro-content based on OOX-format elements. There is excitement about the ability to exploit the internal structure of OX documents in applications involving semi-structured and micro-structure content. This comes through in Brian Jones's Channel 9 presentation and on his blog as well as in the announcement materials. Again, one wants to preserve the OOX nomenclature, identification, and schema elements in preserving the nature, formatting, and distribution of such micro-content material. It is difficult to avoid having this be seen as creation of derivative works in persistent, recorded forms.
- 18.104.22.168 Creation of Specialized, Custom Application-Specific Documents. Users of Microsoft Office applications are accustomed to the idea of templates as a device for casting documents in particular forms that fit into work processes and specialized activities. The introduction of OOX formats creates a potential for specialized software applications to produce and ingest Microsoft Office-compatible documents that
- 22.214.171.124.1 have derivative XML schemas that limit and simplify the content,
- 126.96.36.199.2 have derivative XML schemas that force particular limited structure on documents of the application, and
- 188.8.131.52.3 introduce application-specific extension elements of the XML in ways that preserve the ability to employ the documents in Microsoft Office under the OOX format specifications.
3.4.3 It strikes me that these are valuable cases that can be claimed to involve the creation of derivative works. It might not be in Microsoft's interest to discourage some or all of these cases. I favor allowance of derivative works with an appropriate weakening of the license's restrictions. In particular, it provides a zone of safety for developers who are unclear when and whether an use constitutes creation of a derivative work.
3.4.4 Whatever the concerns that Microsoft has in this area, I notice two important opportunities that result from the early announcement and discussion:
- 184.108.40.206 It is easier to relax a narrow license than it is to retract a too-liberal one. There is opportunity to evaluate relaxations in the copyright license that address Microsoft concerns around preservation of the integrity of the OOX formats and any other concerns that are identified. Even experimental, limited relaxations can be undertaken simply to confirm where the ideal fit might be and to mitigate speculative risks.
- 220.127.116.11 There is ample time to explore and experiment with the OOX formats, identifying the important use cases that are in Microsoft's self-interest to encourage by liberalized copyright licensing terms where appropriate.
3.5.1 There is some chatter about Microsoft's Open Format not being truly open, and that true open-ness means no encumbering patents. Rather than argue the point, I think a reality check is called for. Here's what I have found by applying a modest level of diligence:
Table 3-1. Comparison of Specifications and Licenses: ODF and OOX with 2005-11-22 covenant not to sue and future ECMA/ISO Submission
with Microsoft OOX licenses (copyright and patent)
18.104.22.168 Type of specification for an electronic-document format (706 pages, June 2005) for an electronic-document format (only white papers and preview, plus Office 2003 materials as of 2005-11-22) 22.214.171.124 progenitors OpenOffice.org (OOo) XML Microsoft Office 97 through Microsoft Office 2003 default format and details 126.96.36.199 derivative work of specification solely for discussion and explanation excluded [future: ECMA standards typically have no notices, are public and freely available and are automatically copyrighted; ISO/IEC specifications have all rights reserved and sometimes are available electronically without fee] 188.8.131.52 schema methodology Relax-NG schema definition (504k) XSD: XML Schema Definitions (following guide and preview approach) 184.108.40.206 schema approach One normative (relaxed), one (non-normative) strict, including one Zip packaging specification and schema for manifests. Optionally, single or multiple XML documents serve as parts in the ODF representation of a complete OpenDocument document. family of XSDs cover the package, common elements, and product-specific structures for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Multiple XML documents serve as parts and relationships of parts in the OOX representation of a complete Microsoft Office document. The container approach is part of an abstract protocol (OPC) in which using a Zip package is one underlying implementation. 220.127.116.11 licensing of schemas none stated (Sun Microsystems and OASIS Open copyright notices in the files) not determined [current licenses applicable for now] same notice and copyright license as on documentation 18.104.22.168 specified compatibility some (forks earlier OpenOffice.org format); format support now claimed for some recent software releases; interchange and degree of conforming feature implementations remains to be assessed; no conformance-assessment mechanism has been announced (2005-10-09) round-trip fidelity with Microsoft Office binary-format documents, Office 2000-2003 and Office "12"; assumption: down-level behavior appears to be based on current default-formats approach (e.g., via "Word 97-2003 Document" format). 22.214.171.124 defined conformance yes not determined 126.96.36.199 minimal conformance some preservation requirements (MUSTs) and allowances (MAYs and SHOULDs). No minimum floor or "core" of elements and attributes is required of all implementations although this seems to have been required in the OASIS TC charter. not determined 188.8.131.52 foreign-element tolerance specific provisions for allowance and preservation of foreign elements, under non-duplication of ODF provisions (with it unclear what happens when ODF is extended) not determined 184.108.40.206 custom content not determined specific allowance for custom XML incorporation starting with Office 2003; it is conveivable that the package conventions are also usable for this purpose. 220.127.116.11 underspecified features Cursory 2005-10-09 examination reveals these: "2.4.6 Cursor Position Setting" and any other introductions of markup-embedded processing instructions; "6.3.10 Expression Fields" and other areas appealing to unidentified namespaces for formulae in the content of attributes (6.7.6 for text, 8.1.3 for table cells); "2.5.1 Scripts" again for appealing to unidentified namespaces, absence of script-language representation in the content of an attribute, and no identification of the document-model by which the script interacts with the document and anything else (also 6.6.6). The impact of this on conformance verification and contractual-specification of OpenDocument compliance is unclear. The coining of styles and formats may be more problematic, as may be reliance on macros and DDE. More systematic analysis is required. not determined 18.104.22.168 royalty-free patent licensing Sun Microsystems "essential claims" royalty-free license Sun Microsystems will not enforce any of its patents, present or future covenant not to sue applies, with or without following license conditions Microsoft "necessary claims" royalty-free license 22.214.171.124 patent-license scope limitation only where unavoidable in order to implement the specification, and only to implement the specification any implementation of ODF 1.0 and subsequent versions in which Sun participates to an extent that OASIS rules apply in regard to IPR under the covenant, those portions of a software product that read and write the format only where unavoidable in those portions of a software product that read and write files that are fully compliant with the specification of the schemas 126.96.36.199 patent reciprocity required Yes. No. License is terminated for any party that attempts to assert patent rights against any ODF implementation. No. Suing Microsoft or affiliates for infringement of a related patent claim will terminate the license for the complaining party. The covenant not to sue will also be voided with regard to the suing party. 188.8.131.52 patent-license notice none required license usable but not required under the covenant specific statement required
3.5.2 The Microsoft Office XML Reference Schemas license establishes open formats. One of the new openings that Microsoft celebrates is making it easy to repurpose documents in those formats, ingesting the formats without requiring Microsoft Office software. Likewise, one may produce documents in those formats as a repurposing of other material. This is not the same as what is called an open standard, in that the technical determination of the format is entirely by Microsoft, with primary attention on fidelity to the format as defined by Microsoft Office products.
- 184.108.40.206 In making comparisons with efforts such as the OASIS Open Document (ODF) 1.0 specification, as in Table 3-1, it is important to note that the the work on OOX is neither as visible or as fully-documented as ODF at this point.
- 220.127.116.11 Although it is some consolation to know that OOX will be fully grounded on running code and consistency with earlier Microsoft Office versions, that is not the same as having a public specification and a visible comment and review process.
- 18.104.22.168 The end-games may arrive at interchange, interoperability, inter-convertibility, and independent document processor implementations, but the journeys are different.
3.5.3 Although I think there is a speculative case for wanting to make derivative works of the OOX and ODF formats, I want to make it clear that Microsoft has provided what it promised: An open format. It's a proprietary open format the way TIFF, PDF, and GIF are. It's more open (or less proprietary, take your pick) than MP3 is. It is determined by a single specifier, the same as FORTRAN, C Language, and Java (and a lot more) were during their early lives. I think the same considerations apply to ODF, although it might make interchange barriers between implementations even more likely than it appears they already will be.
3.5.4 It's the ODF and OOX schemas that can't be "repurposed." That's what I am picking at when I claim there's a derivative-use bind. That may turn out to be unimportant. We need to find out.
- 22.214.171.124 I also notice, as I dig deeper into ODF, that there is a lot of room for repurposing the schema without changing it, since there is apparently no significant floor core and because foreign elements are allowed.
- 126.96.36.199 One polite way of accomplishing this kind of repurposing and inclusion of ODF-defined elements is by having an XML Document Type Declaration that constrains the schema-compliant material to the format for specialized use, with addition of appropriate foreign structure.
- 188.8.131.52 This sort of narrowed usage and dialect introduction hinges on technicalities. It might not qualify as an implementation of ODF and it certainly should not be claimed as ODF-compliant in the sense of providing interchange. Whether this is tolerated as an allowed use with respect to licenses depends on the reach that is intended for ODF application. That will have to be balanced with efforts to give ODF compliance some sort of statutory force along with the tightening of conformance to be demonstrated as part of qualifying implementations for use.
3.5.5 Is this the difference between (merely!) an open format and an open standard? Or is there no material difference?
- 184.108.40.206 In some sense, the OOX format schema is like the specification of a programming language. The idea is to program in it (use the format), not make new programming languages. Of course, people do make new programming languages based on the specifications of older ones, as witnessed by the survival of C Language in C++, Java and C#. It would seem that that is frowned upon for the Microsoft Office Open XML Formats and for the OASIS OpenDocument Format.
- 220.127.116.11 The presence of a more-open process with regard to public comment and having visible discussions is distinct from the product-development-tied review and discussion processes fostered by organizations like Microsoft. Of course, OASIS technical decision-making is confined to member organizations, so it is perhaps better to refer to W3C, OASIS, and similar processes as semi-open in contrast to the decidedly public-based development of technical specifications at the IETF. In any event, I find those open-discussion forums to be more inviting and rewarding as places for contribution of reviews and comments.
3.5.6 The term "standard" is being bent a little in comparing the Microsoft Office Formats and the OpenDocument format.
- 18.104.22.168 If there is any "standard" office document format, it is the one already implemented and preserved by the progression of Microsoft Office implementations since Office 97. It is the format that other products, including Microsoft Office 12, must deal with in order to be widely acceptable in the office-productivity marketplace. It doesn't get more "standard" than that.
- 22.214.171.124 Specifications become standard through their adoption in practice, not their publication. (This is different than standards and measures set by governments, as when "yard," "foot," were set by royal decree and "meter" was established by the French government. The current dispute is certainly ideological but not, I trust, by appeal to the divine right of kings.)
- 126.96.36.199 I am decidedly of the standards are developed and perfected and established in practice school, not the standardization by law or fiat (whether for the value of π or the adoption of ASCII in the U.S. Federal Government) camp.
3.5.7 That OASIS declares a 706-page unimplemented specification as being an "OASIS Standard" is fairly amazing.
- 188.8.131.52 It will take substantial effort to reality-check the ODF specification, and it will be a little while before anyone confirms multiple, interoperable implementations. The test suites that will be required will be impressive, I'm sure. I am also a little surprised that the schema is being defined using a Relax-NG OASIS Committee specification.
- 184.108.40.206 There will be a similar situation as different applications of OOX arise, although having the Microsoft Office implementations as an anchor will provide a different starting point. I am sure that documenting OOX for external application outside of the Microsoft Office Development team may present some of the same challenges. It's difficult to tell which avenue will be the most realistic before one considers how to promote OOX for wider use in standardized interchange of documents.
- 220.127.116.11 In a question about whether or not all "standards" organizations were essentially equivalent, I stated my preference for standards as mature, widely-implemented specifications. The IETF process is my rŰle model.
3.5.8 It seems to me that OpenDocument must be demonstrated to accommodate the Microsoft Office format, not the reverse. Can OpenDocument accurately represent documents created in Microsoft Office, preserving all of the features of those documents? Can faithful conversion be done mechanically? That's the legacy challenge that must be dealt with. It doesn't strike me that the burden of proof is Microsoft's.
4.1 I had considered further topics to be covered:
4. Copyrights vs. Patents
5. The Perpetual Patent Wraith
6. The Open-Standards Patent Finesse
7. The Microsoft Office XML License
8. Impact on Open-Source Distributions
4.2 I think it is better to develop these, and some of the material already here, for use independent of the OOX and ODF considerations and comparisons. That will be done as part of work on TROSTing.org. If I revisit either OOX or ODF in greater detail, that will probably be related to how these become interesting for document-management systems. That will emerge, at some point, on the DMware site and perhaps some ActiveODMA project.
-- Dennis E. Hamilton
2005 October 10
Microsoft proposes to make the OOX formats available under the same terms as existing (pre-OOX) Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. Current materials, license information, and previews are available for on-line access and download:
- A1.1 Office 2003: XML Reference Schemas. The package installs on Windows 2000 SP3 and later. There is no registration requirement. No EULA is presented. Click-through acceptance of a license is not required. Installation on my Windows XP configuration adds a folder at “Start | All Programs | Microsoft Office 2003 Developer Resources | Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas” which organizes 24 XML Schema Definitions (in folders of .xsd files) along with one documentation file in Microsoft HTML Help (.chm) format.
- A1.2 Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas License Overview This resource page provides a link to the legal-notice instructions for use of the schemas and their related specifications, to the patent license agreement, and to additional provisions that are introduced from time to time. So far, all changes have been additive and had the net effect of relaxing the conditions under which licenses are available.
- A1.3 Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas Product Information page (undated version updated periodically). In addition to other elements, this “portal” onto the reference schemas provides links to an overview of the reference schemas, to a Frequently-Asked Question (FAQ) page on the reference schemas, and to a Jean Paoli memorandum celebrating the announcement of the Microsoft Office Open XML Formats (what I have been calling OOX here). In November, 2005, coverage of the proposed submission for ECMA standardization was added.
- A1.4 Office XML Development Center. This equivalent of a portal for developers on the MSDN on-line site, provides access to all current developer materials and other guidance.
- A1.5 Office "12" Open XML Materials. Preview materials are available. When Office "12" moves to public beta 2, in 2006, there may be more information. For now there are these:
- Microsoft Office Open XML Formats Guide: 13 page overview in Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office Open XML Architectural Guide, 19 page Microsoft Word document with more detail on the technical structure of documents in the new format
- Office "12" XML Schema Reference PDC 2005 Preview, a set of XSD schemas and a document (or web pages) that provide extremely-preliminary versions of the schema with sketchy documentation
- Open Packaging Conventions: Specifications and Reference Guide, a draft that covers the important approach to packaging of the Office Open XML Formats in a generalized multi-purpose container. The current version, 0.70, is provided as a working document under a Technical Document Agreement for review and feedback and must be considered provisional and subject to change. For ways to participate along with the movement of OPC to public usability, follow the related Microsoft blog and the newsgroup on the topic.
A2.1 At the bottom of the Office XML Software Development Kit web pages and the HTML Help pages, there is a consistent notice (Microsoft 2003a):
- A2.1.1 A Microsoft Corporation copyright notice.
- A2.1.2 Accompanying text:
“Permission to copy, display and distribute this document is available at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/odcXMLRef/html/odcXMLRefLegalNotice.asp”
A2.2 In the XML Schema files themselves, there is also license text. The text is the same as that in the reference HTML version in the on-line MSDN Library linked just above. the following declaration is typical (from visio.xsd dated 2004-03-04-10:39):<xsd:annotation><xsd:documentation></xsd:annotation>Permission to copy, display and distribute the contents of this document (the “Specification”), in any medium for any purpose without fee or royalty is hereby granted, provided that you include the following notice on ALL copies of the Specification, or portions thereof, that you make:</xsd:documentation>
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Permission to copy, display and distribute this document is available at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/odcXMLRef/html/odcXMLRefLegalNotice.asp?frame=true.
No right to create modifications or derivatives of this Specification is granted herein.
There is a separate patent license available to parties interested in implementing software programs that can read and write files that conform to the Specification. This patent license is available at this location: http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/format/xmlpatentlicense.asp.
THE SPECIFICATION IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND MICROSOFT MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, OR TITLE; THAT THE CONTENTS OF THE SPECIFICATION ARE SUITABLE FOR ANY PURPOSE; NOR THAT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SUCH CONTENTS WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY THIRD PARTY PATENTS, COPYRIGHTS, TRADEMARKS OR OTHER RIGHTS.
MICROSOFT WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO ANY USE OR DISTRIBUTION OF THE SPECIFICATION.
The name and trademarks of Microsoft may NOT be used in any manner, including advertising or publicity pertaining to the Specification or its contents without specific, written prior permission. Title to copyright in the Specification will at all times remain with Microsoft. No other rights are granted by implication, estoppel or otherwise.
There are a variety of on-line resources with coverage of the Microsoft Open Office XML Format (OOX for short).
- A3.1 Brian Jones: Office XML Formats. Discussions about XML in Office and the Microsoft Office Open XML File Formats. An MSDN Blog.
- A3.2 Microsoft Makes XML the File Format for the Next Version of Microsoft Office. Q&A: Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky explains how making XML the default file format is likely to help customers cut costs for data storage and bandwidth, improve security and boost data recovery. Microsoft Press Pass, June 1, 2005. The sidebar provides useful links to available white papers and the initial press release.
- A3.3 Brian Jones – New Office file formats announced. MSDN Channel 9 video interview by Robert Scoble. 2005 June 1, 21:18 pdt. This video conveys much of the excitement of the developers for what is being accomplished in this work.
- A3.4 Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas Frequently Asked Questions. Microsoft Office System Product Information, Office XML Reference Schemas Licensing. 2003 November 17, updated 2005 January 27.
- A3.5 The Future of Microsoft Office: Be the First to Know. Microsoft Office Online. Set up in time for the 2005 June 6 kick-off of the Microsoft Tech-Ed 2005 Conference, this site accumulates more material over time. It and other locations were updated in conjunction with the Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference in September 2005, for example. The available white papers and an extensive FAQ on the new format are already available. There is also an RSS feed for receiving notices of new material as it is made available.
- A3.6 Steve Sinovsky open letter Announcing Submission of Office 12 XML Formats to ECMA International for Standardization. Microsoft Office Online. Accessed 2005-12-22T18:17Z. This memo proposes submission to ECMA International with eventual submission to ISO, a step already taken with the C# programming language and the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) from .NET. The irrevocable covenant not to sue is introduced as a way of reducing any lingering uncertainty in the availability of the formats for broad usage.
- A3.7 XPS Team Blog: XML Paper Specification and the Open Packaging Conventions. An important component of the Office Open XML format is the abstracted Open Packaging Conventions that are employed for OOX and as a generic, publicly-usable container model. Although the specifications are under tight review-and-feedback only licenses at this point, they are promised to become available under the same licensing as OOX and, presumably, will be submitted to ECMA along with OOX. This blog is an useful place to learn about the march toward public usability, sometime around when either Windows Vista or Office "12" ship. This blog and that of individual team members tend to focus on XPS. There is a nice compilation of resources by team member Feng Yuan.
- A3.8 XML Paper Specification (XPS) Developer Forum. This MSDN Forum is part of the on-line discussions of Windows Vista Development. Here there are specific discussions about features of XPS and, presumably, OPC although most of the attention is on the impact of XPS on digital-document flows and interchange considerations. It appears that XPS is tied to the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) which is provisionally usable as part of WinFX (in pre-beta Community Technology Preview -- CTP -- release) for Windows XP SP2 and onward at this point. Microsoft Passport is required for participation on these forums.
- Bradner, Scott O. (1996).
- The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3. IETF Best Current Practice 9, RFC 2026, Network Working Group, Internet Engineering Task Force. October. Available at <http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2026.txt>
- Clark, James., Murata, Makato, eds. (2001a)
- RELAX NG Specification. Committee Specification, 2001 December 3, RELAX NG TC, Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Available at <http://oasis-open.org/committees/relax-ng/spec-20011203.html> (accessed 2005-10-10).
There is a tutorial that is very useful in understanding RELAX NG schemas (Clark & Murata 2001b). Although OASIS committees site this on-line version of the specification, the ISO standard is freely available (ISO/IEC 2003).
- Clark, James., Murata Makato, eds. (2001b)
- RELAX NG Tutorial. Committee Specification, 2001 December 3, RELAX NG TC, Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Available at <http://oasis-open.org/committees/relax-ng/tutorial-20011203.html> (accessed 2005-11-23).
- ISO/IEC (2003).
- Information Technology — Document Schema Definition Language (DSDL) — Part 2: Regular-grammar-based validation - RELAX NG, First edition 2003-12-01, International Standard ISO/IEC 19757-2:2003(E). Freely available as Zipped Adobe PDF file at <http://standards.iso.org/ittf/PubliclyAvailableStandards/c037605_ISO_IEC_19757-2_2003(E).zip> (accessed 2005-11-22).
- Microsoft (2003a).
- Legal Notice: Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. MSDN On-Line, Microsoft Software Developer Network, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA (undated). Available at <http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/odcXMLRef/html/odcXMLRefLegalNotice.asp?frame=true>.
- Microsoft (2003b).
- Office 2003 XML Reference Schema Patent License. File Formats and Schema Licensing, Intellectual Property, About Microsoft, Microsoft.com, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond WA (2003-12-03; updated 2005-01-27). Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/format/xmlpatentlicense.asp>.
- Microsoft (2003c).
- Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. 5.56 MB Microsoft Installer file xsdref.msi, Microsoft Download Center, Microsoft.com, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond WA (version 4, 2005-01-14). Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=fe118952-3547-420a-a412-00a2662442d9&displaylang=en>.
- Microsoft (2005a).
- Microsoft Office Open XML Format Architecture Guide. Preview for Developers, White Paper, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA. 249kb Microsft Word 97-2003 Document, 2005-06-03. Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/developers/devpaper.mspx> (accessed 2005-10-08).
- Microsoft (2005b).
- Microsoft Office Open XML Formats Guide. New File Formats for "Office 12," White Paper, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond WA. 114kb Microsoft Word 97-2003 Document, 2005-05-31. Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/developers/fileguide.mspx> (accessed 2005-10-08)
- Microsoft (2005c).
- Office "12" XML Schema Reference - PDC 2005 Preview, version 092205, Download Details, Microsoft Download Center, Web Page, Microsoft, Redmond, WA: 2005-09-22. Available at <http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=15805380-F2C0-4B80-9AD1-2CB0C300AEF9&displaylang=en> (accessed 2005-10-08).
There is a 1252 kB Zip File as well as links to other resources on Office XML. There is also a self-installing version. The HTML documentation in the Zip file requires that the contents be unpacked into a file-system directory for access and viewing. The current licensing approach is covered.
- Microsoft (2005d).
- Open Packaging Conventions Licensing Overview. Working Document, Specifications and License Downloads, XML Paper Specification (XPS), WHDC, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA. Web page, available at <http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/pkglicense.mspx> (accessed 2005-10-08).
The Office XML Reference Schema license is being used as the basis for other licensings. This page provides a convenient description for the form being considered for the important new packaging technique that is used for the OX formats in Office "12" and for the Microsoft XML Paper Specification (XPS), first known as "Metro." -- dh:2005-10-09
The "covenant not to sue" in this proposal is not the one that has been introduced for the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. -- dh:2005-11-22
- Microsoft (2005e).
- Open Packaging Conventions: Specification and Reference Guide, version 0.75 pre-release draft. Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA, 2005-09-13. Available for download in a Microsoft-signed self-extracting Zip file under cover of a Technical Document Agreement at <http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/xpspkg.mspx>. Also see XPS 0.75 (Microsoft 2005i).
- Microsoft (2005f).
- Microsoft Covenant Regarding Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. Office XML Reference Schemas Licensing, Microsoft Office System Product Information, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA (undated). Web page, available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/covenant.mspx> (accessed 2005-11-22). Referenced in the open letter from Steve Sinofsky, this covenant is in effect as part of Office 2003 XML Reference Schema licensing.
- Microsoft (2005g).
- Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas License Overview. Office XML Reference Schemas Licensing, Microsoft Office System Product Information, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA (undated). Web page, available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/licenseoverview.mspx> (accessed 2005-11-22).
The November 2005 additional covenant and an explanation of how it applies to the previous licensing is included, along with links to elements of the previous licensing requirements. The licenses remain in effect and usable. Briefly, the covenant is not a license but a commitment on the part of Microsoft not to assert any claims against implementations of the formats except for an user of the formats that asserts their own patent claims against implementation of the formats and sues Microsoft or one of its affiliates. The previous license terms remain available and exercisable by implementers.
- These licenses are concrete in that they apply to existing, specific licensed works. In addition, these license are proposed as the models for future licenses of the Office "12" Open XML Schemas and related initiatives, such as the Open Packaging Conventions that are used as part of the Office "12" Open XML formats.
- Microsoft (2005h).
- New Covenant vs. Old License for Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. Office XML Reference Schemas Licensing, Microsoft Office System Product Information, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA (undated). Web page, available at <http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/newvsold.mspx> (accessed 2005-11-22).
This page under the License Overview describes what the covenant provides. The covenant can be relied upon immediately in applications of the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. The royalty-free license arrangement continues to be usable and available for those who prefer it. The covenant applies whether or not the royalty-free license is employed.
- Microsoft (2005i).
- XML Paper Specification, version 0.75 pre-release draft. 2005 September 13 update, 2.25MB Zip self-extracting file, Available for download under read-review-feedback Technical Document Agreement at <http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/xpsspec.mspx> (accessed 2005-09-24).
This application of the Open Packaging Conventions is important as an illustrative use of OPC and for its relationship to Office "12" and other technologies being developed along the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) parade to Windows Vista. In document-management, record-management and document-processing regimes, OPC is important, as are both XPS and the OOX formats.
- Milton, Vicki (2005).
- Re: Public Level of the XPS and OPC Specifications. Fifth Post on the thread, "I hope this format starts to leak before the next OS," XML Paper Specification (XPS) discussion forum, Windows Vista Development Forum Group, MSDN Communities on-line forums, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA: 2005-11-29T01:44. Available at <http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=149951&SiteID=1>.
Vicki Milton of the Microsoft development team clarifies that the Technical Document Agreements (TDAs) are not non-disclosure agreements and public discussion is not prohibited. I re-examined the OPC specification and I still find the legal notice inside the document frightening enough to dissuade me from much public discussion until a new edition of those specifications is issued with friendlier TDAs.
- OASIS (2005a).
- OASIS Open Document Format for Office Documents (OpenDocument) TC. Technical Committee web page. Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Available at <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=office> (accessed 2005-10-09).
- OASIS (2005b).
- OASIS Open Document TC IPR Policy Statement. Technical Committee IPR Web Page. Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Available at <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/office/ipr.php> (accessed 2005-10-09). The IPR statements are provided in reverse-chronological sequence.
- OASIS (2005c)
- Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0: OASIS Standard 1 May 2005. Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Billerica, MA. Adobe PDF file, 706pp. Available at <http://docs.oasis-open.org/office/v1.0/OpenDocument-v1.0-os.pdf> (accessed 2005-10-09).
- Rosen, Lawrence (2005).
- Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law. Prentice-Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River, NJ. ISBN 0-13-148787-6 pbk.
- Stutz, David., Neward, Ted., Shilling, Geoff (2003).
- Shared Source CLI Essentials: Exploring Microsoft's Rotor & the ECMA CLI. O'Reilly, Sebastopol, CA. ISBN 0-596-00351-X pbk+CD-ROM.
I regret ever examining the CD-ROM, because I don't want to be tainted by the Shared Source license and its limitations. I thought I had destroyed it when I realized what the temptation was, but I recently found it on a shelf while looking for something else. I have managed to find it again and seal it back into the book pocket where I won't displace it once more. But I don't want to ever inspect it again. The only code I want to see of the CLI is that which is provided with Mono, the open-source implementation. I will gladly use the book as a guide to standard characteristics of the CLI and things that are worth knowing about it (not the PAL and the Rotor implementation). The title of the book should have been a tip-off, but I had to be curious. Fortunately, I didn't learn anything that's not in the text of the book. -- dh:2005-10-09.
- W3C (2004a).
- XML Schema Part 1: Structures, Second edition, W3C Recommendation 28 October 2004. World Wide Web Consortium. Available at <http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-xmlschema-1-20041028/>.
- W3C (2004b).
- XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes, Second edition, W3C Recommendation 28 October 2004. World Wide Web Consortium. Available at <http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-xmlschema-2-20041028/>.
The use of recognized standards organizations for establishing formal document-format specifications of formats is a prominent concern. The following organizations are mentioned in this regard. Each organization has a site where you can find out more about their operation, how specifications are developed, who is allowed to vote on the approval of charters and specifications, and who is allowed to participate in various other ways.
- A5.1 IETF: The Internet Engineering Task Force. <http://www.ietf.org>
The IETF is an activity of the Internet Society (ISOC). The IETF fosters standards related to the protocols, procedures, and conventions that are used on the Internet. The process for developing standards is community-based and must undergo progressive maturation through defined stages (Bradner 1996). All standards-track progression is dependent on the existence of implementations and demonstrated interoperability.
Working groups conduct operations on e-mail distribution lists, are generally open, and all communications and documents related to the development of IETF specifications are publicly archived. Membership in working groups is by voluntarily-participating individuals who are willing to contribute under the IETF's intellectual-property conditions.
IETF Specifications (known as Requests for Comment, RFCs), are copyright by the Internet Society. All rights are reserved and there are restrictions under which derivative works are permitted. The IETF requires that patents having essential claims be available under fully-disclosed Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (RAND) license terms.
Because of the community participation, open conduct, and progressive maturation of implementation-confirmed specifications, the IETF process is respected and considered quite successful. All RFCs are available on-line and the official version of a standards-track RFC is always in an ASCII text-file format. Document formats are not the normal purview of the IETF, although the IETF processes are an useful benchmark for "open standards." The IETF process defines "open standards" of others to include ones by international standards bodies (e.g., ANSI and ISO) and various national and international groups (e.g., W3C, OASIS, and ECMA).
- A5.2 ISO: The International Organization for Standardization. <http://www.iso.org>
ISO is, speaking informally, a federating organization that provides development and ratification of standards proposed by recognized national standardization authorities (ANSI in the USA, SCC in Canada, BSI in the United Kingdom, etc.). OASIS and ECMA International are international organizations that have liaison status with ISO. Document-format standards are most likely produced in ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1). The likely subcommittee is ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 for Document Description and Processing Languages, where 46 standards are supported, starting with ISO 8879:1986 for SGML. It is conceivable that specific formats will be assigned to other subcommittees. There are substantial liaison activities among ISO Technical Committees and external organizations as well.
There are no individual memberships in ISO, and participation in technical work is via representatives of participating standards and liaison organizations. In many cases, proposals and completed work are brought to ISO after development in another organization (including OASIS and ECMA). There are minutes and other records of process but for the most part the technical discussions are not public and there is no direct public comment provision in the usual sense (since ratification is by member bodies, not individuals).
Although ISO standards exist for well-known elements of information technology (C++, SQL, MPEG, RELAX NG, C# and the CLI, etc.), most of the standards are relatively inaccessible and expensive, especially for individuals. All specifications of ISO Standards carry an ISO copyright with all rights reserved. ISO/IEC requires worldwide reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) licensing availability for any patented technology that is essential in the implementation of an ISO/IEC standard.
Recently, a body of ISO/IEC JTC1 standards have been made freely available for anyone to download in electronic form, and some of these will be of interest to software developers: <http://isotc.iso.org/livelink/livelink/fetch/2000/2489/Ittf_Home/PubliclyAvailableStandards.htm>.
- A5.3 ECMA International. <http://www.ecma-international.org/>
The members of ECMA International are companies and organizations (including non-profits such as the U.S. NIST, OMG, Mozilla, and Monash University),. ECMA is not a trade association in the usual sense (in contrast with AIIM International, for example). The primary purpose of ECMA is the development and publication of standards and technical reports in the fields of information technology, communication technology, and consumer electronics. Annual membership for the smallest for-profit business category is almost $3,000 US and permits participation on a single technical committee, with voting rights at that technical committee. There is no fee for non-profit organizations.
One appeal of ECMA is its success in creating fast-track processes that culminate in rapid adoption at the ISO level. Over 80% of the 250 fast-tracked ISO/IEC standards were proposed by ECMA, and 2/3 of the 450 specifications developed by ECMA since 1961 have been promulgated as ISO specifications (standards and technical reports). ECMA promotes the fact that its process minimizes the risk of changes to a submitted specification and that it tolerates Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (RAND) availability of patented technology (although any contributor could make royalty-free provisions and other reassuring covenants, as Microsoft proposes to do).
The working processes of ECMA technical committees are not public. Completed standards and technical reports are public and freely available as on-line electronic documents. Downloaded ECMA specifications (in Adobe PDF format) do not appear to carry any intellectual-property notices which, by international rules, means that they are copyrighted and no rights are transferred.
My only direct experience with ECMA was on a January 1969 visit to an ECMA meeting in Amsterdam where I represented the ANSI X3.4.3 (then X3J3 and now INCITS J3) Fortran committee. We discussed the direction being taken as part of clarifying the 1966 ANSI Fortran specifications and possible alignment with with European versions such as the French AFNOR intermediate level between the Fortran-66 Basic standard that was rarely used and the Fortran-66 Full standard. I overheard other participants running down the Italian attendee for not being fluent in other European languages. Right then I chose Italian as the next European language that I might ever learn. Thirty years later, I was fulfilling that promise.
Speaking of Fortran and ANSI specifications, we did not make our working documents and discussions public, although there were minutes and a record of documents maintained by CBEMA, the supporting organization for ANSI specifications in Information Technology. When opening up the records was discussed, the greatest concern expressed by the members was worry that this would provoke second-guessing and dispute based on working discussions and this should be avoided. I recall that government representatives were particularly sensitive on this matter.
- A5.4 OASIS: Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. <http://www.oasis-open.org>
The members of OASIS are companies and organizations (including individuals and non-profits such as the Arizona Supreme Court, OMG, Bruce Garner, and MIT),. The primary purpose of OASIS is development and adoption of e-business standards. There is a substantial and diverse membership. Annual membership for the smallest for-profit business category is almost $3,000 US. Non-profit organizations are charged a $1,000 membership fee. There are also reduced fees of $250 US for certain unaffiliated individuals and also for small businesses that qualify at a special associate level.
OASIS is known for its work in SGML and in XML, including OpenDocument and other document-centric specifications.
The working processes of OASIS technical committees (TCs) are public. All committee e-mail archives, minutes, and other materials are stored on OASIS-approved web sites and are available to the public. There are provisions for E-mail submission of public comments on approved materials and materials under public review. Technical committees may also provide public-discussion forums at earlier stages of standard development. There are attendance/participation requirements for voting membership at the technical committee level, and individual members of OASIS are eligible to participate as technical-committee voting members along with employer-approved participants from OASIS member organizations.
OASIS Specifications are copyright OASIS Open with all rights reserved and with possible notices of other copyright holders (the case for the OASIS OpenDocument Standard). Participants and contributors make non-exclusive, perpetual transfers to OASIS. Newly chartered OASIS Technical Committees may elect to operate under RAND patent licensing requirements or requirements for royalty-free (RF) licensing with or without additional RAND conditions applicable. Current TCs must transition to one of those forms, and Technical Committees currently operating under royalty-free (RF) requirements, such as the OpenDocument TC, must transition to one of the new RF forms by 2007-04-15.
- A5.5 W3C: The Worldwide Web Consortium. <http://www.w3.org>
The W3C is a consortium with full-time staff and offices around the world. W3C is administered by MIT, ERCIM, and Keio University. Members, staff, and the public collaborate to provide standards for the web. There are over 400 member organizations. The lowest annual membership is currently over $6,000 per year. There are conditions under which unaffiliated individuals and academics may participate as invited experts.
W3C is known for its work in Web technologies, including HTML, XML, and a portfolio of specifications designed to lead to the Semantic Web.
The working processes of W3C technical committees (TCs) involves operation under a public charter. Communications within the group may be restricted to members-only (depending on the charter) although public forms of key materials are provided at some point.
W3C Specifications are copyright by W3C with all rights reserved. There are specific disclaimers and a license statement. Derivative works of specifications are generally not allowed without prior written permission of W3C. The W3C requires that patents having essential claims applicable to a W3C specification be available on a royalty-free (RF) basis. Software components and utilities provided by W3C are free and, when open-source, released under GPL-compatible licenses.
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