Microsoft has opened up 5 of their Web Specifications as part of the Open Web Foundation's new legal framework agreement

The Open Web Foundation

It's been awhile since we've heard much about the Open Web Foundation, but they've been working hard. The Open Web Foundation was created in July of 2008 to support the development and protection of non-proprietary specifications for Web technologies.

This month, they have announced a new legal framework agreement that enables communities of developers to collaboratively develop new technical specifications. Called the Open Web Foundation Agreement (OWFa), it was developed with support from companies like Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook, Google and others.

The agreement is intended to replace the sometimes costly and time consuming licensing agreement negotiations by offering copyright and patents for a specification.

Creating it gives the community the ability to implement and reuse the specification without having to request additional permission.

    • Copyright - a free license to use the copyrights in your contributions.

    • Patent - free rights to use your necessary patent claims to implement the specification.


To get more detail on the new OWFa:

Microsoft's Contribution to OWFa

Since Microsoft is a member of the OWF and participated in creating the agreement, it makes sense they would offer five of their own specifications under OWFa:

  1. OAuth WRAP 0.9 (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!)
  2. Simple Web Tokens (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!)
  3. OpenService Format Specification
  4. WebSlice Format Specification
  5. XML Search Specification

The last three specs in that list above are also available under the Open Specification Promise (OSP) and Creative Common licenses.

Microsoft Senior Attorney David Rudin, a member of the Open Web board, helped develop the agreement. He said "I’m excited that we’ve helped establish a legally sound basis for broad participation and adoption of community specifications, which can then transition to formal standardization, if desired."

In addition to Microsoft, Yahoo and Google have both offered specs under the agreement including:

More Work to Come

With the OWFa in place, the Foundation is moving on to other work. They will be developing reusable Contributor License Agreements and putting forward Best Practices guidelines for open development processes.