IBM and BEA take royalty-free stance on Web service business process language

An IBM official has pledged that the vendor will not seek royalties for its contributions to the BPEL4WS (Business Process...

An IBM official has pledged that the vendor will not seek royalties for its contributions to the BPEL4WS (Business Process Execution Language for Web Services) proposal. BEA Systems, a co-author of BPEL4WS, released a statement with a similar pledge shortly afterwards.

Microsoft, also a BPEL4WS co-author, has so far stayed silent reagrding its stance on royalties related to the proposal. IBM director of Web services strategy Bob Sutor said he could not speak for the positions of the two co-authors of BPEL4WS pertaining to royalties.

"As far as IBM is concerned, we will license BPEL4WS on a royalty-free basis," Sutor said.

BEA released a statement that it would submit its technologies for BPEL4WS without royalties if the other two vendors do the same.

"BEA has been on record for a long time now advocating that all standards be royalty-free and have committed that any standard we have control over will be offered royalty-free," BEA said

"However, BPEL4WS is a standard backed by three companies, so all three have to agree on the royalty-free position. BEA has long pushed for it to be royalty-free - so if IBM and Microsoft also come on board agreeing with that position, then we will, of course, continue to advocate it be submitted as a royalty-free standard."

Sutor cautioned that observers should not become simplistic in regards to royalty-free proposals in general. IBM, for example, could have conditions such as requiring that other vendors provide their technology royalty-free if IBM does.

Web services choreography standardisation pertains to defining industry-wide mechanisms and formats for interaction among Web services. An example where this would come into play would be an e-business transaction that required multiple Web services to interact on matters such as filling orders, checking inventory, and performing credit checks, said Sutor.

Choreography is considered a major factor in furthering use of Web services, and it is the subject of both BPEL4WS, which has yet to be submitted to an industry standards organisation, and Web Services Choreography Interface, a Sun Microsystems-led proposal already under consideration by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Although the BPEL4WS authors plan to submit the plan to a standards organisation, no decision has yet been made on which one, and that is not expected for a month or two, Sutor said.

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