Beyond 'open standard'

Ben Finney ben at
Wed Jul 19 08:55:05 UTC 2006

On 19-Jul-2006, Stefano Maffulli wrote:
> Now, since I am summarizing in this paper what defines a standard
> that is implementable in Free Software, it would be nice to propose
> also a term that is non controversial like 'open standard'.  

First advice: don't have "non-controversial" as a goal, or you will
fail. The very idea of freedom in software is controversial, so you
must enter any effort acknowledging this.

As for a suggested term: I find it descriptive to discuss "open,
freely-implementable standard". That at least is more precise, and
leaves the option open to talk about free software implementations of
the standard.

> Free standard is not good: I don't think it's savvy to replicate the
> fight between 'open' and 'free'.

That fight exists only to the extent that the *concept* of freedom in
software has been corrupted by other forces. You can't avoid that
conflict by choosing some other term, except by avoiding the concept
of freedom altogether. You can prepare your responses in advance,
though, which helps.

> 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'?

Precision is good. Low ambiguoty is good. Non-controversial is only
possible to the extent that the discussion of freedom in software is

 \          "I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate |
  `\          those who do. And for the people who like country music, |
_o__)                     denigrate means 'put down'."  -- Bob Newhart |
Ben Finney <ben at>
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