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  3. <head>
  4. <title>FSFE - Open Standards - Definition</title>
  5. <meta content="Definition of Open Standards, with comment on emerging standards and links to other definitions." name="description" />
  6. <meta content="Open standards certified open European interoperability framework SELF EU Project Geneva Declaration on Standards Future of the Internet Document Freedom Day Definition Emerging Standards FSFE pdf" name="keywords" />
  7. </head>
  8. <body>
  9. <p id="category"><a href="/work.html">Our Work</a> / <a href="/activities/os/os.html">Overview of Open Standards</a></p>
  10. <h1>Open Standards</h1>
  11. <div id="introduction">
  12. <p>Open Standards allow people to share all kinds of data freely
  13. and with perfect fidelity. They prevent lock-in and other
  14. artificial barriers to interoperability, and promote choice
  15. between vendors and technology solutions. FSFE pushes for the
  16. adoption of Open Standards to promote free competition in the IT
  17. market, as they ensure that people find it easy to migrate to Free
  18. Software or between Free Software solutions.</p>
  19. </div>
  20. <p>Starting from the definition contained in the original version
  21. of the European Commission's <a
  22. href="http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/3473/5585.html#finalEIF">European
  23. Interoperability Framework (EIF)</a>, we engaged in a dialogue
  24. with various key players in industry, politics and community. In
  25. this process, the definition was reworked into a set of five
  26. points that found consensus among all the involved. The definition
  27. has subsequently been adopted by the <a
  28. href="http://selfproject.eu/OSD">SELF EU Project</a>, the 2008
  29. Geneva <a
  30. href="http://www.openforumeurope.org/library/geneva/declaration/manifesto-with-logos-final.pdf">Declaration
  31. on Standards and the Future of the Internet</a> or the <a
  32. href="http://documentfreedom.org/openstandards.en.html">Document
  33. Freedom Day</a>. A very similar set of <a
  34. href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/open-standards-principles/open-standards-principles">"Open
  35. Standards Principles"</a> was adopted by the UK Government in July
  36. 2014.</p>
  37. <h2>Definition</h2>
  38. <p>An Open Standard refers to a format or protocol that is</p>
  39. <ol>
  40. <li>subject to full public assessment and use without
  41. constraints in a manner equally available to all parties;</li>
  42. <li>without any components or extensions that have dependencies
  43. on formats or protocols that do not meet the definition of an
  44. Open Standard themselves;</li>
  45. <li>free from legal or technical clauses that limit its
  46. utilisation by any party or in any business model;</li>
  47. <li>managed and further developed independently of any single
  48. vendor in a process open to the equal participation of
  49. competitors and third parties;</li>
  50. <li>available in multiple complete implementations by competing
  51. vendors, or as a complete implementation equally available to
  52. all parties.</li>
  53. </ol>
  54. <h3>Comment on Emerging Standards</h3>
  55. <p>When a new format or protocol is under development, clause 5
  56. cannot possibly be met. FSFE believes this is the correct
  57. behaviour in cases where technological maturity is required. In
  58. several scenarios, e.g. governmental deployment, the cost of
  59. failure can be very high.</p>
  60. <p>In scenarios that seek to promote the growth of Open Standards,
  61. strict application of the clause could prevent new Open
  62. Standards. From the view of the definition, such standards would
  63. compete directly against vendor-driven proprietary formats. In
  64. such cases, it can make sense to allow failure of clause 5 for
  65. "Emerging Standards."</p>
  66. <p>Which treatment such "Emerging Standards" receive is largely
  67. dependent on the situation. Where cost of failure is high, only
  68. fully Open Standards should be used. Where promotion of Open
  69. Standards is wanted, Emerging Standards should receive special promotion.</p>
  70. <p>Generally speaking: Open Standards are better than Emerging
  71. Standards and Emerging Standards are better than vendor-specific
  72. formats. The closer a format comes to meeting all points of the
  73. definition, the higher it should be ranked in scenarios where
  74. interoperability and reliable long-term data storage is
  75. essential.</p>
  76. <h3>Links to other definitions</h3>
  77. <p>Wikipedia has an overview of the term <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_standard">Open Standard</a> and various definitions. The following is a sample of some definitions:</p>
  78. <ul>
  79. <li><a href="http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/3473/5585.html#finalEIF">European Interoperability Framework</a></li>
  80. <li><a href="http://www.ft.dk/Samling/20051/beslutningsforslag/B103/index.htm">Motion B 103 of the Danish Parliament</a></li>
  81. <li><a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20081218213743/http://perens.com/OpenStandards/Definition.html">Open Standards - Principles and Practice</a> by Bruce Perens</li>
  82. <li><a href="http://www.digistan.org/open-standard:definition">Open Standards Definition</a> by Digistan</li>
  83. </ul>
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