Re: [unrev-II] Re: Intel's new XML network devices

From: Lee Iverson (
Date: Wed May 10 2000 - 10:50:12 PDT

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    In message <>, Eric Armstrong writes:
    >Meanwhile, no one wants to give anything away, because their
    >only hope for having the freedom to pursue the paths that
    >need pursuing is to garner revenue for the purpose. (Even
    >when we *do* share, it's harder than hell to reach agreement
    >on anything.)
    >Doug is adamant that open source is the only way to go. He's
    >right, but where does that leave us? At SRI they are talking
    >about setting up an open source base technology, and building
    >revenue-producing IP on top of that. I was one of the first to
    >say, hey, if someone is going to start generating revenue,
    >where is mine going to come from? As much as I freely
    >contribute design ideas at this stage, as soon as we started
    >talking about a tangible product, I felt myself shifting gears,
    >looking for my advantage. But do we have time for that?

    I feel I have to respond to this clearly and unambiguously, since it
    was one of my comments in last weeks meeting which seems to have
    thrown Eric into this blue funk.

    SRI (not(!) Stanford btw) *is* a business (not for profit) and higher
    management is desperately interested in promoting this understanding
    given the evolving nature of the funding base that we've always relied
    on. They have tried and largely succeeded in causing a sea-change in
    the relationship between researchers and the commercial exploitation
    of intellectual property (IP). Projects within SRI are being
    evaluated on the basis of potential return on investment and creation
    or exploitation of IP.

    That said, my comment was basically that, especially license-wise, I
    felt that we wouldn't have any problem with SRI embarking on an
    open-source strategy for the development of the OHS infrastructure as
    long as there was an opportunity to build IP-oriented revenue streams
    on top of it. This was not meant to suggest that I believe that we
    restrict our design or interest to only those parts of the project
    which don't have IP implications, or even that I believe that the
    whole project shouldn't be open source. Simply put, I believe that
    selling this inside SRI at this point in time depends on making sure
    that SRI will not be prevented from exploiting *other IP* that might
    benefit from being integrated with the OHS.

    It is my firm belief that some of these concerns are exactly relevant
    to the discussion of the open standards part of the system design
    herein. I reiterate my belief that the path to revolution exemplified
    by the Internet and the Web involves:

       1) Simplicity
       2) Open Source
       3) Open Standards

    The lack of any of these three will doom its acceptance by a larger
    community no matter what benefits it brings. And license-wise the
    open source either has to be business-friendly or the standards need
    to be so simple that commercial reimplementation is relatively cheap
    and painless. The business-friendly open source license path is still
    the best path though, and my original point was simply that this was
    going to be relevant in selling the project within SRI.

    Species survival?

    Lee Iverson SRI International 333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park CA 94025 (650) 859-3307

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