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Re: [school-discuss] SIF - A second glance

Justin Zeigler wrote:
> I went digging through the sifinfo.org web-site(1) and found out
> some very alarming info. First off SIF is a sub-group of SIIA(2).
> SIIA is a Trade Association with 1200+ members with a focus of
> "expanding market opportunities and forging the way toward a
> stronger industry". On top of this their Mission Statement(3)
> states the following: "we protect the intellectual property of
> members, and advocate a legal and regulatory environment that
> benefits the entire industry".  From my point of view this is
> diametrically opposed to the goals of Open Source, if anything,
> Open Source is about removing legal and regulatory environments.

I beg to differ, open source is still copyrighted or copylefted
and the GPL is a legal and regulatory environement, it just 
protects a different philosophy. SchoolForge has the same focus.
Are we not here to "expand market opportunites for OSS and "forge"
the  way to stronger education". Don't we want to protect the
intellectual property of the OSS community? Can't OSS be part of
the "entire" industry? 

> Looking through the member list(4) of SIF, I noticed that there
> is a disconcerting amount of members who have gone to extreme
> ends to protect "intellectual property" (i.e; McGraw-Hill(5)).
> This concerns me because it is not uncommon for a Standard to
> be hi-jacked by covert patents and copyrights (i.e; MPEG layer
> 3 audio and Fraunhofer/Thompson).

Wouldn't it be nice to have an OSS presenence on this list? I think
we should be willing to go to extreme ends to promote OSS or it
will never be taken seriously.

> I would suggest a very serious discussion as to whether or not
> SIF is a Project/Standard/Group with which  Schoolforge should
> encourage participation.  There are some serious holes in the
> recommendations(session handling), that may be fatal in the
> Open Source community's ability to inter-operate with other,
> proprietary, SIF products.  I put forward the idea that this
> list and its members consider creating a true standard for
> schools to use for inter-system communication/coordination.

I agree, we do need to discuss this, here, on the list. Should we
not address those holes and work to get SIF to address them also?
We canmot continue operating in a vaccuum, as if everyone who 
wants to adopt OSS has to throw out everything else.


Michael Williams                   Instructional Technology
Haywood County Schools          216 Charles St. Clyde, NC 28721
http://www.k12linux.org                 (828) 627-8314