Open Standards allow people to
share all kinds of data freely and with perfect fidelity. They
prevent lock-in and other artificial barriers to interoperability,
and promote choice between vendors and technology solutions. FSFE
pushes for the adoption of Open
Standards to promote free competition in the IT market, as they
ensure that people find it easy to migrate to Free Software or
between Free Software solutions.
The relevance of Open Standards is closely linked to networking
effects, and has consequently been rising dramatically. The reward
for gaming the system for proprietary vendors is increasing, so is
the cost for users of software.
Governments, public interest NGOs, including groups that are
concerned about freedom of competition or consumer rights are
generally strong proponents of Open Standards. Typical critics are
the proprietary software vendors and those that represent their
interests. One of the items that critics seek to highlight is the
inherent conflict between innovation and standardisation.
Standardisation deliberately limits changes to a technological
basis, including innovation. These limits are introduced in order
to allow subsequent innovation by everyone that has access to the
standard and not just the party that controls the technological
basis. So standards limit the ability to innovate by a single
party in order to allow innovation on the basis of that standard
by multiple parties.
Open Standards allow such innovation by all
parties with no leverage for the initial developer of the platform
to limit such innovation or the competition it represents.
FSFE's goals include freedoms from lock-in, of innovation and
competition for everyone. That is why FSFE is a strong supporter
of Open Standards.
Publications at the IGF
Publications on MS-OOXML
24 June 2016:
The European Commission is
for public input with regard to its plans to renew the European
Interoperability Framework (EIF). The EIF aims to promote enhanced
interoperability in the EU public sector. The document, originally intended
as a set of non-binding guidelines for the EU public administration, is
going through its third revision since its initial adoption in 2004. The
FSFE has prepared its comments
for the draft of the revised guidelines.
28 April 2016:
On 19 April, the European Commission published a communication on "ICT
Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market" (hereinafter 'the
Communication'). The Digital
Single Market (DSM) strategy intends to digitise industries with several
legislative and political initiatives, and the Communication is a part of it
covering standardisation. In general, the Free Software Foundation Europe
(FSFE) welcomes the Communication's plausible approach for integrating Free
Software and Open Standards into standardisation
but expresses its concerns about the lack of understanding of necessary
prerequisites to pursue that direction.
25 March 2015:
Today is Document Freedom Day, the international
day to celebrate and raise awareness of Open Standards. On this
occasion, we would like to reflect on the importance for public
institutions in general, and for the European Commission in
particular, considering its leadership role, of using Open Standards
in all their digital communication and services.
18 February 2015:
In order to push for a more enlightened policy
approach to managing innovation and knowledge, FSFE has submitted a
response [pdf] to an EU consultation on patents and standards. This is
the latest action in FSFE's ongoing work in promoting Open Standards.
19 December 2014:
The European Parliament has approved funding for several projects related to Free Software and privacy. In the EU budget for 2015, which the European Parliament adopted on December 17, the Parliamentarians have allocated up to one million Euro for a project to audit Free Software programs in use at the Commission and the Parliament in order to identify and fix security vulnerabilities.
External links of interest