Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise

Via John Palfrey:

Microsoft has just unveiled a new commitment not to assert certain rights against people who develop code based on specifications that Microsoft has developed. It’s called the Open Specification Promise.

Interesting to observe that Microsoft did not include their RSS extensions (called SSE) in this list of specifications covered by their promise, a problem that I highlighted almost a year ago.

There is a difference between (a) putting a certain type of liberal copyright on a specification of a protocol or file format and (b) allowing unencumbered implementations of such specification. Microsoft has acknowledged as much with their new Open Specification Promise.

An analogy might be if I publish a recipe for baking a cake under a Creative Commons license, you might still not be able to actually bake the cake because I have some kind of an patent, pending or otherwise, on implementations of the cake.