Re: BOCU-1 spec

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Mon Feb 19 2007 - 20:23:48 CST

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    John Knightley <vunzndi at vfemail dot net> wrote:

    > since the license for BOCU-1 is not so "clear" or more precisely
    > deliberately conditional, the most effective solution would seem to be
    > (1) drop the BOCU-1 project
    > (2) use the ICU project
    > (3) avoid confussion with BOCU-1 spec, which means at a minimum
    > dropping the name BOCU-1 spec, and use the ICU project as the starting
    > point. he resulting spec would not be BOCU-1, either in name or
    > content.

    You'd probably want to check to make sure that the resulting spec didn't
    infringe on the individual claims made in the BOCU patent.

    > Speaking from experience some sort of "GPL" is one criteria I often
    > use to decide whether or not to be involved in certain projects,
    > because the license means that even if the other parties drop out, or
    > change their mind, ones work is not locked away to rot somewhere. At
    > the same time I know of some "wonderful" projects that I dare not
    > touch because of the restrictions placed on them.

    Another criterion is whether the protected technology is valuable enough
    to be worth licensing. Most of the major vendors of graphics software
    had little choice but to license LZW from (or get sued by) Unisys, since
    GIF was so overwhelmingly popular and there were few practical

    BOCU-1 is different; its performance is usually slightly worse than
    SCSU, its lack of ASCII transparency could be a hindrance, and the
    market for Unicode compression formats is small anyway (and most people
    tend to look down on them). BOCU-1 is certainly easier to encode and
    even decode than SCSU, but it doesn't seem "better enough" to justify
    the process of applying for a license, which apparently requires
    demonstrating to IBM that one's implementation is "conformant," and in
    the process exposing one's code to a potential competitor.

    Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14

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