RE: BOCU-1 spec

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Wed Feb 21 2007 - 07:25:18 CST

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    De la part de
    >, BOCU-1 spec can itself be made the
    > subject of a GPL, this would not free IBMs patents in non BOCU-1 spec
    > cases and would make it eligable for consideration for acceptance; It
    > would then be possible to both implemnt and continue development of
    > BOCU-1 spec as required without fear. Without such a freeing up BOCU-1
    > itself would seem to be too dangerous.

    Hmmm, I doubt that ISO or Unicode would accept a GPL licence on BOCU-1,
    because this would add restrictions that do not exist in the ICU licence:
    the viral effect of the GPL would prohibit the use of BOCU-1 in software
    that are licensed with GPL-incompatible licences.

    For example, the BOCU-1 algorithm could not be licenced for use in the
    Windows implementation (unless Microsoft asks IBM for another commercial
    licence allowing distribution without the GPL constraint.

    On the opposite, Windows and Office contains lots of components that are
    licensed under non-GPL open-source licences like BSD licence, X licence...
    This is noted in the "about" box of the affected software components and in
    its copyright notices.

    But anyway, Unicode or ISO do not publish software in their standard, they
    publish documentation. But if we use a GPL-like licence for the
    documentation, the GFDL licence would be more appropriate, but it is still
    not open-enough because this documentation is exactly what completely
    describes a licensed technology, and with which implementations are then
    possible. A GFDL licence for the BOCU-1 specification would not fit for ISO
    and Unicode standards, also because of the "viral" incompatibility (there
    are lots of technologies published by ISO that are covered by patents and
    require licencing but are then incompatible with licences of the GPL family,
    unless those products are completely separated (but this makes
    implementation using those separate documentations difficult to integrate).

    If you can cite some technologies documented by ISO that uses a copyleft
    licence for their documentation and implementations, it would be interesting
    to note. From what I have seen, there may be only separate optional annexes
    containing such sources, but there are NOT required for conformance.

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