Monday, January 09, 2006

Resignation from Kowari due to Northrop Grumman Letter

It is with sincere regret that I resigned as an administrator and developer of the Kowari Metastore.

This action follows receipt of a letter from Northrop Grumman advising me that any attempt to release Kowari version 1.1 could cause "irreparable harm" to their company. I received the letter on Friday, 6 January 2006 and took no action on the project after that time.

Northrop Grumman's position seems to be that they "purchased all rights associated with the Kowari software", a position not reconcilable with their continued release of the software under the Mozilla Public License, version 1.1.

I was not able to fulfill my responsibilities as a Kowari administrator following receipt of the letter, and so I resigned. I was concerned that I would be in the middle if I retained admin privileges and another admin either (a) executed the release, (b) took administrative action Northrop didn't like or (c) inserted code that Northrop was unhappy with. In the end, it was (b) that happened and I was glad this morning not to be in the middle.

I plan to continue my contributions to the Semantic Web and Open Source communities. More news shortly.

Bijan Parsia (Whoops! That should have been Kendall Clark - ed.) had an interesting post entitled Is Northrup Grumman Smushing Kowari?. He has is pretty close to right, especially his final comments: "Relying on Kowari is now not prudent, given our obligation to do our best for our clients; but it’s also bad for Semantic Web uptake in the US federal government, and that’s something Northrup Grumman should think very carefully about." What a shame.

Still, it ain't over 'till its over and it's never over. There are still ways to move forward with Kowari or other SemWeb stores and I intend to explore those options.

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