James Love on Wed, 10 Mar 1999 19:38:38 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Richard Stallman's Interoperability remedies for Microsoft

     [orig to: RANDOM-BITS <random-bits@essential.org>]

The following are some of Richard Stallman's suggested remedies 
for Microsoft.  Richard is the inventor of the copyleft
license and the founder of the free software movement.  His
suggestions largely address interoperability issues.   Jamie

Subject: Re: Which Remedies? Appraising Microsoft II -- on April 30,
   Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 00:13:34 -0700 (MST)
   From:  Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>
       To: love@cptech.org
 References: 1 , 2 , 3


But here are some proposed remedies.
Here is a draft of a list of proposed remedies.  Any comments
or suggestions?

* Require Microsoft to publish complete documentation of all
interfaces between software components, all communications protocols,
and all file formats.

To make this really stick, Microsoft should not be allowed to use an
NDA with some other organization to excuse implementing a secret
interface.  The rule must be: if they cannot publish the interface,
they cannot release an implementation of it!

There could be an exception permitting Microsoft to begin
implementation of an interface before the publication of the interface
specs, provided that they do not release the implementation until the
specs are published.

* Require Microsoft to use all its patents for defense only, in the
field of software.  (If they happen to own patents that apply to other
fields, perhaps those other fields would be exempt from the
requirement.)  They could have the option of either using self-defense
or mutual defense.

Self defense: cross-license all patents at no charge with anyone
who asks.

Mutual defense: license all patents to a pool which anyone
can join--even people who have no patents of their own.
The pool licenses all members' patents to all members.

* Require Microsoft not to certify any hardware as working with
Microsoft software, unless the hardware's complete specifications have
been published, so that any programmer can implement software to
support the same hardware.

James Love, Director, Consumer Project on Technology
P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036
http://www.cptech.org    love@cptech.org
Voice 202.387.8030, Fax 202.234.5176
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