Is standardization deemed to be against FS and how can it be tackled?

Nico Rikken nico.rikken at
Mon Jun 15 21:27:10 UTC 2015

Dear Tom,

Thanks for the detailed response, I'll add to that.

On ma, 2015-06-15 at 21:37 +0200, Tom Blecher wrote:
> Hi Nico, 
> nice to read from you. 
> 13.06.2015, 11:12, "Nico Rikken" <nico.rikken at>:
> > Dear Tom,
> >
> > That was quite an elaborate statement, thanks. I don't share your view
> > on hostility. 
> I am strongly holding it.

Considering your further remarks in your response, I guess I'll have to
share some of your experiences to be able to share your view.

> >Copyright, patents and standardization practices have been
> > around longer than actual software.
> > As such the bodies cover more fields
> > than just those related to software. As the matter of fact, my knowledge
> > about standards mainly originates from non-software standards. 
> First I doubt if there are these days left areas of work, targeted by national standardization, that are not related to software, in broader sense. 

Although generally a standard has a limited scope, so the software-part
can be a different standard.

> Secondly we observe that all fields covered by this "old" standardization bodies are free from free software. Would you doubt them engineers do not use software for their needs all day long? They do and and it is not free.

I consider the software being non-free a status quo. People seem
ignorant or spoiled. I've heard many people argue that software being
free is not of primary importance, the quality and features are. The
fact that freedom can contribute to quality and features, and brings
many strategic advantages seems overlooked. A long-term view is a scarce

> So that is: these traditional, national, state bodies follow a politics that is labor status protecting, hierarchy-minded, anti-liberal, against individual freedom and therefore consequently against liberating effects of free software. 
> Where these "bodies" and their interested circles had no control, cause these fields of technology where too new, too international, too rapidly arising such as internet software, computer software, word processing software, there free software could grew.
> In the field under such traditional control, however, not less, but rather: nothing. FS-Desert as I say.

Ultimately persons generally aren't really interested in bringing down
the hierarchy from which they gain their power. Free Software levels
that playing field and allows interdependent rather than dependent
relationships. At the very least this requires a different type of

> Just for comparison:
> One could think of strong arguments against us: they may say: "Hey, who is fair these days? When free software comes in all these businesses which is calling your chief guru Mr. Stallman: Swindle, will disappear, which would be a good thing, but by now - hm we need the money. Are you kidding?"
> How, however, ran it with the women entering the labor market 100 years ago (formally equal)? Are they from another skin color? Are they from another nation? Are not they from their very same bully of their bully? Yes and still they are paid lower, at least in this country. The point here is: how sustainable is such status protection and how unbeatable strong their propaganda.
> Hostility? 
> Even if it is not, it would be well invented. - But ok I reach some point against my former speech. (:
> At least the underlying structural interest conflict is seemingly that strong, that it resulted insulting for the opponent not to envisage "hostility". (;

I consider it the effect of the way the system was rigged. Changing that
rigging takes time and effort and is threatening to existing practices.
So indeed systems are at conflict, but I wouldn't call it hostile, but
rather part of the overall transition-process.

> >In the
> > software-related fields however the issue of free software should be
> > known and addressed by now, I certainly agree with you on that.
> ok.
> I notice, that you speak of something new, too.
> >
> > Regarding your point on testing, as far as I know, testing
> > specifications are defined, and testing organizations often request fees
> > regarding the tests, but anyone can start testing according to the
> > specifications. Or is this also regulated?
> Depends on danger degree, probably. Experiences Scott pointed out, seemed seemingly to mine, too.
> Else: Who knows in the end of the day,it depends on judge's decision in many cases and then you know it afterwards, I deem.
> >
> > More generic I've seen the standardization process at work from afar and
> > to me the process seems to be quite transparant. In the Netherlands the
> > standardization body NEN is in charge of developing standards. The
> > described approach [1] covers the forming of a committee which will
> > develop a new standard, which will be up for public review, followed by
> > publication and implementation. If the standard becomes outdated or
> > needs other adjustments, 
> such as committing "hostile" acts against some competitors, of which free software projects could_ be one.
> (Are not they all corrupt down to the bones? It is not at all insulting to state that.)

The formal answer is that if you want to defend your interest, you'd
have to join the standardization process. What that comes down to in
practice, I don't know.

> > the process will start over (this generally
> > seems to happen every few years). 
> >I haven't yet gathered knowledge on
> > how other bodies handle reaching consensus, so I can't really compare.
> > [1]
> >
> > In the meantime I've contacted a few people involved in NEN and I've
> > managed to get some information, but I still have some detailed
> > questions in queue. I was told patents can't block implementation, and
> > related patents should be known at the moment of standardization.
> Ask the university professors authors mentioned in each of them docs, especially after one or another have been kicked out. 
> They tell you any gossip you could be after, says I. (;
> > However: what happens when patents are filed after the standard is
> > drafted? and is a non-discriminatory low-cost license fee for each
> > implementation acceptable?
> " low-cost license fee for each implementation"
> Says the fsf in there faq, it were "ufo".

I haven't been able to get formal clarification on this point, so yes a
low-cost license fee might be the case. Although of course I'm hoping it
to be a free-of-cost license if any. Especially I'm interested to known
what happens when related patents are issues after a standard has been
set (as I've observed covering certain implementation details). Than
from that moment on all implementing parties might have to cope with
additional license fees.

>  To me these seem to be the more fundamental
> > questions for which I still lack an answer. This especially interesting
> > in that I know of a GPLv3 client-side implementation of a standard. If
> > this standard is indeed subject to license fees, there seems to be a
> > legal conflict.
> "license fee" in your case stems from a specs copyright? or a possible per implementation fee of an underlying patent?
> Hey, _I am new to it and interested in some case training..._.
>  Where do you see exactly the problem (point in license text of gpl_v3) ? Distributing copies? 
> For any "stand-alone and system-library" issues there is still lpgl available, is not it?
> If an in-code actual patent is effective then free license seems to be broken during that time, cause one is gets new duties for distributing copies.

GPLv3 implies that related patent licenses are propagated with the
software, for patents owned by the software contributor. In addition the
contributor is to take steps to avoid patent restrictions from known
patents. Please read it for yourself in section 11 of the GPLv3. [1] I'm
no expert either, but to me it seems the conflict is that there exist
patents related to a GPv3 libary which don't seem properly addressed. In
a way as a user of the software I would be able to sue the developer for
not taking the proper considerations. If I'm wrong, please let me know.


> > Regarding your point on strategy, I guess practical advise would be
> > helpful to ease implementation and avoid conflicts. At least I assume
> > you're referring to the interest of programmers. I guess such a strategy
> > would have to cover:
> > 0) how to stand against any discrimination, in order to prevent the
> > upcoming points.
> > 1) how to legally retrieve free-of-cost and free-for-use information on
> > a standard (including reverse-engineering).
> > 2) how to discover, handle or circumvent patent and copyright issues.
> > 3) how to guarantee the freedoms with redistribution.
> > 4) how to monitor external developments to prevent getting into new
> > conflicts.
> Yes, 0-3 agreement. 4: do not understand

E.g. if new patents arise on certain implementation details this should
be noticed ans warned for. Also consider the Open Innovation Network,
building a patent portfolio as well as creating defensive publications
to prevent new patents.

> --->One has to note that 1a) "free-of-cost information", would require letting fall the open standard definition hold by now by the fsfe and switch to new one.
> This facts had been found out in this thread. 

I wasn't conscious of that point coming up, so thanks for mentioning
explicitly. Apart from the FSFE-definition, acquiring the information is
free-of-cost can be said to be desirable. And bringing tips wouldn't

> Honestly I consider the concern that grave that it required a whole internal communication labor. Effectively we found ourselves blowing against the winds of mentioned propaganda, says I. Hopefully it longs not a hundred years, too. Some carefully designed campaign is needed... <---

True, I like to think this thread has helped clarify the issue for some
of us. Even if we are left with some disagreements, a lot of common
ground is available.

> > I'm missing the expertise to fill de details, and furthermore it can be
> > specific to local legislation, so that would be a 
> task for experts to
> > describe.
> I have given up believing in the experts religions.
> Some groups of local (because the enemy standardization bodies/circles and their reach are national) persons, who are interested by some reason or another, could be supported by an NGO fsfe or fsf. Who comes first chicken or egg?

I guess that's why this discussion is so interesting, to discuss down to
the details and to become better educated in the process. And of course
there are plenty of experts around to contact for the little details.

> > In a way your last paragraph describes both the issue and a possible
> > solution to the issue: standards have become essential to our society
> > and are even included in legislation. As such enabling the forming of
> > standards seems to be a 
> >"governmental act".
> ok. I find this important.
> > Not so much the content
> > itself, but rather about the process and the eventual standard. At the
> > very least 
> freedom in achieving and implementing the standards should be
> > guaranteed_, to avoid any discrimination.
> I agree, this should be a claim to the national politics.

Like I addressed in my email earlier today, the resource-load of
drafting standards can be skewed towards supporting organizations or
contributors as well.

> > I'm curious to hear your upcoming post. I have come to find this topic
> > rather interesting.
> Want to put "it" all together soon as an "end status".

I guess you can write an extensive overview about now. And maybe it is
best to consider it a starting point rather than a final destination.

> Nice talk. 
> Hey, and if I may express that: I am glad to acknowledge that is somebody who mainly supports/shares my point.
> Regards.

So am I, that's why I'm glad by brought it up.

> > Kind regards,
> > Nico Rikken
> _______________________________________________
> Discussion mailing list
> Discussion at

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