Third-parties are confirming that Dassault Systeme's "open" 3DXML format is in fact not so open.
I have learned from a company (specialized in writing translation software) that 3DXML contains "two binary formats that are not open at all." This is strange, given that XML is supposed to be self-documenting and in ASCII so that both humans and computers can read it easily.
Another source examined Dassault's license agreement for using 3DXML, and found it to be quite restrictive. (Why does an "open" format even need a license?) It may be worrying for potential partners that 3DXML:
- contains trade secrets.
- cannot be reverse engineered, etc.
- cannot be used for derivative works.
- cannot be used for commerical products.
- cannot have its protective security system disabled (what????)
- is limited to one-year use, and then must be destroyed (are you sweating yet?)
- and has not been fully documented by Dassault.
Perhaps the strangest sentence is: "You may not display, reproduce, publicize [a word or two is missing here] except for your own internal use, expressly excluding any commercial purpose." So, you can't even talk about 3DXML. (Reminds me of the judge's order here in Canada preventing people, who legally purchased the new Harry Potter book early, from even reading the book.) Reading the license, I get the feeling that DS's legal team slapped on standard license terms, and doesn't really understand that "open" requires different treatment -- such as: come one, come all.
Could the "open" 3DXML be hobbled by the closed XVL? It's helpful to know that the "open" 3DXML is based on the proprietary XVL from Lattice, and so it could be that many of the prohibitions relate to the XVL portion. Ironically, Lattice told me they had to wait for Dassault to explain 3DXML to Lattice.
Who is to blame for this mess? If nothing else, it gives a nod to other 3D formats that are less restrictive.