Stealing free - from open standards
A strong lobbying group is trying to redefine open standards. Open standards is known as the winning concept behind the Internet. But Microsoft and others want to change open standards into their needs, into something you will have to pay to use in the new European Interoperability Framework.
You can read about the proposed changes here in EIF2 on the EU-commission website. The current clear version is described here, its quite simply Royalty Free use.
This week has been busy for me, three seminars on open standards and open innovation, the last with the author of the much cited book called "open innovation" by Henry Chesbrough. He spoke of how Royalty Free meant that companies like IBM could sell more hardware and services on the marked by letting development free around the eclipse project and several other softwares and standards.
From all discussions held this week, its clear that the EU is being pushed away from a winning concept of open standards. Charging for open standards would change the innovative landscape on the Internet fundamentally. We know from the economy price winner Eric S Meskin at researchoninnovation.org that software patents are hurting and stifling innovation on the software side of the Internet.
Rescue plan for open standards!
Either EU remains committed to open standards or the term "open standards" need to be removed from the new interoperability framework decision. Perhaps using just standards as in formal standards from ISO would be more adequate? Open standards should not be stolen from the winning innovative Internet realm just because the greed of those that prefer royalty based industry standards along those lines.
Rescue plan for European Interoperability Framework
Does EU want to keep open standards as a requirement for e-government interoperability? I think it does, but fooling decision makers by trolling the meaning of the term does not help us here. It would not help the market to buy or invest in open standards either. eGovernment waters could become blurred and murky. It also puts those that aid in development under payment requirements and forces most to use large vendor solutions instead of community improvements. Will that help public e-services and e-governments in Europe?
Talk to responsible governments.
There will be votes about this soon in the EU-council, now the continuation of the project is under decision. Get things right - save all open innovation from these tricksters!
Wikipedia has a good article on open standards:
" The term "open" is usually restricted to royalty-free technologies while the term "standard" is sometimes restricted to technologies approved by formalized committees that are open to participation by all interested parties and operate on a consensus basis." (at least still)