Past and minor Involvements

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What makes a truly Open Standard?

As far as I am concerned, for a standard to be truly open it should have the following going for it in order of priority.
  1. A liberally licensed specification - Not all standards are free and some require royalties to obtain. Licenses should be aligned to the Free and Open Source principles.
  2. An Open Community Process - Not all standards are defined and refined in an open community process. Some require expensive exclusive memberships before you can participate, which limits the participation by organizations / individuals in poorer developing nations.
  3. An Open Source implementation - This is not a must, but it certainly helps assure that the standard has been implemented transparently. It also help propagate the standard as any one can adopt these libraries into their products. TCP/IP, is a good example of the success of a standard through this model.
However we need to work with the reality of the proprietary nature of most standards and give priority to the ones that have greater adoption or we would not be serving the critical need for having a standard in the first place.