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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  2. <html newsdate="2012-06-01">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>FSFE responds to UK Open Standards Consultation</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body>
  7. <h1>FSFE responds to UK Open Standards Consultation</h1>
  8. <p newsteaser="yes" id="introduction"> FSFE has submitted its response
  9. [Update: see as <a href="http://fsfe.org/activities/os/FSFE-response.questionnaire.pdf">PDF version</a> or <a href="http://fsfe.org/activities/os/2012-06-uk-consultation-os.en.html">HTML version</a>] to a
  10. public <a href="http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/open-standards-open-opportunities-flexibility-and-efficiency-government-it">consultation</a>
  11. by the UK Government, concerning a definition of Open Standards and a
  12. policy for increasing their use in the UK's public sector. If the
  13. policy is applied boldly and proactively, the UK stands to greatly
  14. gain from increased competition in the software market, with much
  15. greater opportunities for small companies. On the other hand, even
  16. minor lapses in implementation could derail the policy entirely.
  17. </p>
  18. <p>
  19. While we take a generally positive view of the proposed policy, there
  20. are several areas of concern. First, the proposal seems to limit
  21. application of the policy to a small number of central government
  22. bodies. This would not be enough to break the widespread lock-in to
  23. proprietary formats from which the UK public sector is suffering.
  24. </p>
  25. <p>
  26. Second, the definition of what constitutes an Open Standard needs to
  27. be carefully crafted. Even small mistakes here risk rendering the
  28. policy entirely ineffective in practice.
  29. </p>
  30. <p>
  31. Third, in order for the policy to be effective, the UK government will
  32. have to help those who are supposed to implement it in
  33. practice. Procurement and IT staff will require training. Incentives
  34. should be in place for those who adhere to the policy,
  35. e.g. recognition via a system of peer evaluation. We encourage the UK
  36. government to learn from the experience of other countries in Europe
  37. and beyond.
  38. </p>
  39. <p>
  40. FSFE
  41. has <a href="http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120528-01.en.html">called
  42. upon</a> companies and individuals doing business with Free Software
  43. in the UK to answer to the consultation. We have
  44. provided <a href="http://fsfe.org/activities/os/uk-standards-consultation.en.html">supporting
  45. materials</a>,
  46. and <a href="http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120426-01.en.html">remarked
  47. upon</a> the incompatibility with Free Software of FRAND patent
  48. licensing in standards.
  49. </p>
  50. </body>
  51. <tags>
  52. <tag>front-page</tag>
  53. <tag>gb</tag>
  54. <tag>OpenStandards</tag>
  55. <tag>Policy</tag>
  56. </tags>
  57. </html>