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  3. <head>
  4. <title>FSFE - Open Standards - Definition</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body>
  7. <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>
  8. <h1>Open Standards</h1>
  9. <div id="introduction">
  10. <p>There is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes
  11. an Open Standard and no shortage of proposals. Links to some of
  12. them have been included below. </p>
  13. </div>
  14. <p>FSFE did not want to propose yet another definition. We decided
  15. to go with the definition of an Open Standard that was developed
  16. as part of the preparations
  17. for <a href="http://www.certifiedopen.com">Certified
  18. Open</a>. Work on this definition began before FSFE's involvement
  19. on the project and was initially based on the definition in
  20. the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/3473/5585.html#finalEIF">European
  21. Interoperability Framework (EIF)</a> of the European
  22. Commission.</p>
  23. <p>In a dialog involving various key players in industry, politics
  24. and community, the definition was reworked into a definition of
  25. five points that found consensus among all the involved. The
  26. definition has subsequently been adopted by
  27. the <a href="http://selfproject.eu/OSD">SELF EU Project</a>, the
  28. 2008 Geneva
  29. <a href="http://www.openforumeurope.org/library/geneva/declaration/manifesto-with-logos-final.pdf">Declaration
  30. on Standards and the Future of the Internet</a> or
  31. the <a href="http://documentfreedom.org/os.html">Document
  32. Freedom Day</a>.</p>
  33. <h2>Definition</h2>
  34. <p>An Open Standard refers to a format or protocol that is</p>
  35. <ol>
  36. <li>subject to full public assessment and use without
  37. constraints in a manner equally available to all parties;</li>
  38. <li>without any components or extensions that have dependencies
  39. on formats or protocols that do not meet the definition of an
  40. Open Standard themselves;</li>
  41. <li>free from legal or technical clauses that limit its
  42. utilisation by any party or in any business model;</li>
  43. <li>managed and further developed independently of any single
  44. vendor in a process open to the equal participation of
  45. competitors and third parties;</li>
  46. <li>available in multiple complete implementations by competing
  47. vendors, or as a complete implementation equally available to
  48. all parties.</li>
  49. </ol>
  50. <h3>Comment on Emerging Standards</h3>
  51. <p>When a new format or protocol is under development, clause 5
  52. cannot possibly be met. FSFE believes this is the correct
  53. behaviour in cases where technological maturity is required. In
  54. several scenarios, e.g. governmental deployment, the cost of
  55. failure can be very high.</p>
  56. <p>In scenarios that seek to promote the growth of Open Standards,
  57. strict application of the clause could prevent new Open
  58. Standards. From the view of the definition, such standards would
  59. compete directly against vendor-driven proprietary formats. In
  60. such cases, it can make sense to allow failure of clause 5 for
  61. "Emerging Standards."</p>
  62. <p>Which treatment such "Emerging Standards" receive is largely
  63. dependent on the situation. Where cost of failure is high, only
  64. fully Open Standards should be used. Where promotion of Open
  65. Standards is wanted, Emerging Standards should receive special promotion.</p>
  66. <p>Generally speaking: Open Standards are better than Emerging
  67. Standards and Emerging Standards are better than vendor-specific
  68. formats. The closer a format comes to meeting all points of the
  69. definition, the higher it should be ranked in scenarios where
  70. interoperability and reliable long-term data storage is
  71. essential.</p>
  72. <h3>Links to other definitions</h3>
  73. <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>
  74. <ul>
  75. <li><a href="http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/3473/5585.html#finalEIF">European Interoperability Framework</a></li>
  76. <li><a href="http://www.ft.dk/Samling/20051/beslutningsforslag/B103/index.htm">Motion B 103 of the Danish Parliament</a></li>
  77. <li><a href="http://perens.com/OpenStandards/Definition.html">Open Standards - Principles and Practice</a> by Bruce Perens</li>
  78. <li><a href="http://www.digistan.org/open-standard:definition">Open Standards Definition</a> by Digistan</li>
  79. </ul>
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