Subject: Software Technology Transfer Using a Patent-Based Open Source Model
From: Rob Cameron <robc@international-characters.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 07:08:00 -0700

Thanks everyone for providing feedback on the draft International
Characters covenant not to assert and our patent-based open-source
business model.    I thought you may want to hear a bit from me on
the overall philosophy of our approach, the specific technology
involved and my view on issues.

A.  Philosophy

Our goal is to reconcile the original purpose of the patent system to
"promote the progress of science and the useful arts" with two systems
that do promote such progress, free and open software and academic
research and teaching.   You may find the following short documents 
at my SFU website useful.

Software Technology Transfer Using a Patent-Based Open Source Model
http://www.cs.sfu.ca/~cameron/tech-transfer.html

Model Patent Policy for Technology Transfer Company ("Company")
http://www.cs.sfu.ca/~cameron/model-policy.html

B.  Technology

Our technology involves a novel way of applying SIMD capabilities
to speed up character/Unicode/XML processing.   On the Power PC
platform, for example, our measured performance of u8u16, our
UTF-8 to UTF-16 transcoder, is between 7 and 45 times faster than
comparable byte-at-a-time C code (iconv implementations).  

C.  Private Modification Issue

A key issue with our draft covenant and the free software definition
concerns private modifications of free and open source software.   Our 
draft allows experimental private modification, but requires that commercial
deployments either publish the modified versions or take a license.

I think there is a useful potential reconciliation, however.   It is to focus
on the freedom of the programmer making private modifications at
work.   If the programmer has the freedom to distribute the modifications,
then this can fall under a broad interpretation of the experimental exemption.
To use modified free and open source software involving our patents,
multinationals and other large corporations would either have to 
support programmer freedom (let programmers distribute if they wish),
grow the software base (distribute the modified versions) or take a license.
Obviously sole proprietorships would qualify for the broadened experimental
exemption as would most small FSBs, I would imagine.