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Principles of Open Standards

Open standards mold themselves to the evolving needs of consensus-based customers. Currently, many organizations consider the following concepts to constitute the major principles of open standards:

  • Openness. All stakeholders can participate in the standards-development process.

  • Consensus. All interests are discussed and agreement found; no interest group dominates.

  • Due process. Balloting and an appeals process can be used to find resolution.

  • Open IPR. Holders of intellectual property rights (IPR) must identify themselves during the standards-development process.

  • Open world. Same standard for the same function worldwide, used by all.

  • Open access. Anyone can access the standard and comment, criticize, or make suggestions on committee documents, drafts, and completed standards.

  • Open meetings. Anyone can participate in standards-development meetings.

  • Ongoing support. Standards are supported until user interest ceases, rather than when provider interest declines.

  • Open interfaces. Interfaces allow additional functions, whether public or proprietary.

  • Open use. IPR is necessary to implement an accredited standard.

Note the heavy emphasis on open and access in almost all of these categories.

In summary, the major benefits of open standards include the following:

  • Compatibility of software, networks, and applications among multiple vendors.

  • Affordable software for individuals, enterprise, and governments.

  • Universal access through mass software rollout without costly licensing implications.

  • Access to data without barrier of proprietary software and data formats.

  • Ability to customize software to local languages and cultures.

  • Lowered barriers to entry for software businesses.

  • Participation in global network of software development.

Open standards is an especially useful tool to allow developing countries to leapfrog into the information age. It encourages novel development models that have been demonstrated to be particularly well-suited to take advantage of the work of developers collaborating across the Internet. In general, it also has a positive impact as an enabler for the creation of new markets, business opportunities, and innovation.

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