OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help

egov-ms message

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]

Subject: Re: [egov-ms] Groups - OPEN STANDARDS

Dear John,
> Sure in an ideal world all standards would be available free of charge and without any royalty charges etc.  But IMO that is never likely to happen, and in my experience, after nearly 40 years in UK Government, Governments will not hold out for that.  In fact governments do enlist SSOs to create standards for them knowing that there will be a charge for them. That of course makes life difficult for vendors, particularly SMEs, who have to buy and implement these standards to comply with government procurement requests.

As you indicated, this is a very important issue - arguably the most
important issue in the debate on open standards; as in many ways,
standards are themselves software   This is even more the case when
xml schemas or ASN.1 modules and the associated extensible registries
and allocated identifiers are included.

It's not quite accurate to say this "is never likely to happen."

Beginning in the late 1980's, standards communities realized that for
network related standards, open public availability was essential to
success.  A publishing revenue model orientation was simply not
compatible with open standards; and the intellectual property
actually held by most standards bodies is dubious anyway.

The IETF was an initial major example; and one which effectively
"killed" the enormous investments made in most of the OSI internet
standards.  ETSI in the mid-90s got the message and made its
standards publicly available complete with a great versioning capability
and module/schema tested, "click and download" implementations.
The shift significantly helped ensure the success of GSM standards
and many others developed by ETSI from that point onwards.

Other bodies "got the message," and began doing the same.  The
ITU-T two years ago in a rather celebrated policy shift, made its
extensive standards publicly available in multiple languages and
has extensive statistics demonstrating several orders of magnitude
greater dissemination than had existed.  Indeed, it revolutionized
the ITU-T's activity; and its standards secretariat is now leading
the world in making registered "names and numbers" usable and
accessible via machine-to-machine protocols.

Equally significantly, national juridical decisions as "national policy"
have had a profound impact.  Perhaps the most significant is the
"Veeck Decision" in the U.S. judicial system where the appellate
courts held that if a government agency requires compliance with
a cited standard, that standard gets placed in the public domain and
copyright protection is effectively lost.  This is part of a long-standing
requirement in law (certainly U.S. law) that a party must be able
to be aware of requirements imposed on them.  In addition, the
concept of Open Government also imposes obligations even during
policy/rule making phases for parties to be able to see what is being
proposed for implementation.

I remember some years ago when I was a senior official at the
ITU, going across the street to WIPO headquarters and researching
this issue.  It turns out that many countries have a similar requirement
of "availability."

Last but not least, OASIS' practice of open availability is a stellar
example of what should be done; so this venue is a good one for
advocacy.  The few remaining troglodyte standards bodies who do
not make their standards publicly available need to be nudged along
as slow learners.


[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]