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

Nico Rikken nico.rikken at
Sat May 30 08:40:15 UTC 2015

Dear Tom,

This has crossed my mind as well. Although I wasn't aware about
standardization organizations offering these standards free of cost. In
the Netherlands one related aspect has been taken to court, namely that
some of the laws refer to standards which aren't available freely or
free of cost. It was ruled that this was not particular issue, as the
cost was justifiable for setting and maintaining the standards, and the
standard was available in a non-discriminatory fashion (if I remember

The collection of standardization bodies are quite complex, with
national organizations, industry-specific organizations, and
international organizations (ISO, EN, IEC), often approving each other's
standards. Coming from a power systems background, standards defining
electromechanical systems like fuses, power cables and circuit breakers
is very industry-specific and is mainly of interest to manufacturers and
system engineers, which then again are mostly larger organizations.
Somewhat remarkable my university has stopped adopting standards because
the little use in academics didn't justify the cost of the license.

The main difference with software standards, and web-standards in
particular seems to be that even individuals have the ability to create
a working product, as no industrial manufacturing process is required.
Adhering to closed, costly standards would be much more significant,
unless maybe a reference implementation (library) would be available for
use, removing the need for the actual standard to be read. So the cost
of common software standards is therefore required to be approaching

Scott's writing on standard adoption explain the way in which project
can adopt standards and the many issues related to bringing about open

I was reluctant to read an article by Gijs Hillenius in the Dutch Linux
Magazine regarding the updated Open Source strategy of the European
Commission, in which he pointed out that the EC was explicitly
considering open standards in favor of other established standards. I
consider this to be the confirmation that not-open standards are non
preferable in relation to free software.

As society seems to become more decentralized and dynamic, the
conventional standardization model will be under ever more pressure to
lower the barriers of access, regarding cost, license of use, and
transparency of process.

Thanks for bringing up this interesting topic. I'm very interested to
hear the viewpoints and findings of others on this as well.

Kind regards,
Nico Rikken
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