Beyond 'open standard'

Alex Hudson home at
Wed Jul 19 08:40:32 UTC 2006

On Wed, 2006-07-19 at 10:02 +0200, Stefano Maffulli wrote:
> 1) does it make sense to introduce in the Free Software community a new
> term that is non-controversial and more precise than the generic 'open
> standard'?

There is an ongoing debate over what constitutes an "open standard", see
for example the definitions that ETSI have proposed to Global Standards
Collaboration (GSC):
        "An open standard is developed, approved, and maintained, by a
        collaborative, transparent and consensus-based process, open to
        all materially affected and interested parties. 
        "The standard is subject to FRAND Intellectual Property Right
        (IPR) policies which do not mandate, but may permit, at the
        option of the IPR holder, licensing essential intellectual
        property without compensation. 
        "The standard is published and made available to the general
        public under reasonable terms (including for reasonable fee or
        for free)."

This matches closely the definition of "open standard" used in
telecommunications and electronics. It doesn't particularly match what
you're talking about. It seems to make sense to me, then, that "open
standard" is not a sufficient term.

> 2) if yes, what would that term be?

Probably "royalty free standard". While it doesn't encapsulate all the
problems in a single name, it's already a known phrase, and there will
always be new problems in the future. If you can use the standard
without having to pay a fee, it seems to me that it would be difficult
to make the standard incompatible with free software.



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