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<head>
<title>FSFE responds to UK Open Standards Consultation</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>FSFE responds to UK Open Standards Consultation</h1>
<p> FSFE has submitted its <a href="/freesoftware/standards/FSFE-response.questionnaire.pdf">response</a>
[pdf] to a
public <a href="http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/open-standards-open-opportunities-flexibility-and-efficiency-government-it">consultation</a>
by the UK Government, concerning a definition of Open Standards and a
policy for increasing their use in the UK's public sector. If the
policy is applied boldly and proactively, the UK stands to greatly
gain from increased competition in the software market, with much
greater opportunities for small companies. On the other hand, even
minor lapses in implementation could derail the policy entirely.
</p>
<p>
While we take a generally positive view of the proposed policy, there
are several areas of concern. First, the proposal seems to limit
application of the policy to a small number of central government
bodies. This would not be enough to break the widespread lock-in to
proprietary formats from which the UK public sector is suffering.
</p>
<p>
Second, the definition of what constitutes an Open Standard needs to
be carefully crafted. Even small mistakes here risk rendering the
policy entirely ineffective in practice.
</p>
<p>
Third, in order for the policy to be effective, the UK government will
have to help those who are supposed to implement it in
practice. Procurement and IT staff will require training. Incentives
should be in place for those who adhere to the policy,
e.g. recognition via a system of peer evaluation. We encourage the UK
government to learn from the experience of other countries in Europe
and beyond.
</p>
<p>
FSFE
has <a href="/news/2012/news-20120528-01.html">called
upon</a> companies and individuals doing business with Free Software
in the UK to answer to the consultation. We have
provided <a href="/freesoftware/standards/uk-standards-consultation.html">supporting
materials</a>,
and <a href="/news/2012/news-20120426-01.html">remarked
upon</a> the incompatibility with Free Software of FRAND patent
licensing in standards.
</p>
</body>
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