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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
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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="http://www.fsfe.org/projects/work.html">Our Work</a> / <a href="/projects/os/os.html">Overview of Open Standards</a></p>
  10. <h1>Open Standards</h1>
  11. <div id="introduction">
  12. <p>There is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes
  13. an Open Standard and no shortage of proposals. Links to some of
  14. them have been included below. </p>
  15. </div>
  16. <p>FSFE did not want to propose yet another definition. We decided
  17. to go with the definition of an Open Standard that was developed
  18. as part of the preparations
  19. for <a href="http://www.certifiedopen.com">Certified
  20. Open</a>. Work on this definition began before FSFE's involvement
  21. on the project and was initially based on the definition in
  22. the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/3473/5585.html#finalEIF">European
  23. Interoperability Framework (EIF)</a> of the European
  24. Commission.</p>
  25. <p>In a dialog involving various key players in industry, politics
  26. and community, the definition was reworked into a definition of
  27. five points that found consensus among all the involved. The
  28. definition has subsequently been adopted by
  29. the <a href="http://selfproject.eu/OSD">SELF EU Project</a>, the
  30. 2008 Geneva
  31. <a href="http://www.openforumeurope.org/library/geneva/declaration/manifesto-with-logos-final.pdf">Declaration
  32. on Standards and the Future of the Internet</a> or
  33. the <a href="http://documentfreedom.org/openstandards.en.html">Document
  34. Freedom Day</a>.</p>
  35. <h2>Definition</h2>
  36. <p>An Open Standard refers to a format or protocol that is</p>
  37. <ol>
  38. <li>subject to full public assessment and use without
  39. constraints in a manner equally available to all parties;</li>
  40. <li>without any components or extensions that have dependencies
  41. on formats or protocols that do not meet the definition of an
  42. Open Standard themselves;</li>
  43. <li>free from legal or technical clauses that limit its
  44. utilisation by any party or in any business model;</li>
  45. <li>managed and further developed independently of any single
  46. vendor in a process open to the equal participation of
  47. competitors and third parties;</li>
  48. <li>available in multiple complete implementations by competing
  49. vendors, or as a complete implementation equally available to
  50. all parties.</li>
  51. </ol>
  52. <h3>Comment on Emerging Standards</h3>
  53. <p>When a new format or protocol is under development, clause 5
  54. cannot possibly be met. FSFE believes this is the correct
  55. behaviour in cases where technological maturity is required. In
  56. several scenarios, e.g. governmental deployment, the cost of
  57. failure can be very high.</p>
  58. <p>In scenarios that seek to promote the growth of Open Standards,
  59. strict application of the clause could prevent new Open
  60. Standards. From the view of the definition, such standards would
  61. compete directly against vendor-driven proprietary formats. In
  62. such cases, it can make sense to allow failure of clause 5 for
  63. "Emerging Standards."</p>
  64. <p>Which treatment such "Emerging Standards" receive is largely
  65. dependent on the situation. Where cost of failure is high, only
  66. fully Open Standards should be used. Where promotion of Open
  67. Standards is wanted, Emerging Standards should receive special promotion.</p>
  68. <p>Generally speaking: Open Standards are better than Emerging
  69. Standards and Emerging Standards are better than vendor-specific
  70. formats. The closer a format comes to meeting all points of the
  71. definition, the higher it should be ranked in scenarios where
  72. interoperability and reliable long-term data storage is
  73. essential.</p>
  74. <h3>Links to other definitions</h3>
  75. <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>
  76. <ul>
  77. <li><a href="http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/3473/5585.html#finalEIF">European Interoperability Framework</a></li>
  78. <li><a href="http://www.ft.dk/Samling/20051/beslutningsforslag/B103/index.htm">Motion B 103 of the Danish Parliament</a></li>
  79. <li><a href="http://perens.com/OpenStandards/Definition.html">Open Standards - Principles and Practice</a> by Bruce Perens</li>
  80. <li><a href="http://www.digistan.org/open-standard:definition">Open Standards Definition</a> by Digistan</li>
  81. </ul>
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