Here's an open letter from a lot of movers and shakers in the FOSS community, who are asking those who agree with their letter to send an email to open at rosenlaw.com. The issue is OASIS and its new patent policy, found in Article 10, which becomes effective April 15, 2005. I will let the letter speak for itself.
A Call to Action in OASIS
The free and open source software community has long demanded that
industry standards be freely available to all to implement without
patent or other licensing encumbrances. Open standards are essential for
free software and open source to thrive.
Now OASIS, a major industry consortium that produces e-business and Web
services standards, has adopted a patent policy that threatens to
undermine our development and licensing model. This patent policy
(available, grouped together with other unrelated legal issues, in
standards to be based upon so-called "reasonable and non-discriminatory"
patent license terms--terms which invariably and unreasonably
discriminate against open source and free software to the point of
prohibiting them entirely. It would lead to the adoption of standards
that cannot be implemented in open source and free software, that cannot
be distributed under our licenses. While the policy includes a provision
for royalty-free standards, it is a secondary option, which will have
little effect if a few OASIS members with patents can ensure it is not
used. The OASIS patent policy will encourage large patent holders to
negotiate private arrangements among themselves, locking out all free
software and open source developers.
This is not a new issue for us. We fought hard for a royalty-free patent
policy in W3C and encouraged that standards organization to commit its
members to open standards. But some W3C member companies, steadfast
opponents of software freedom, moved their efforts to OASIS. Without
consulting the free software/open source community, they produced a
patent policy designed so that we cannot live with it.
We ask you to stand with us in opposition to the OASIS patent policy. Do
not implement OASIS standards that aren't open. Demand that OASIS revise
its policies. If you are an OASIS member, do not participate in any
working group that allows encumbered standards that cannot be
implemented in open source and free software.
Please send email to open at rosenlaw.com to
indicate your support. We will forward your comments to the proper
authorities at OASIS.
If we stand united in opposition to this unacceptable patent policy, we
can persuade OASIS to change it.
Guido van Rossum