Our Work

Open Standards

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's work on Open Standards has the goal of making sure that people find it easy to migrate to Free Software or between Free Software solutions.

Introduction

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

Publications at the IGF

Publications on MS-OOXML

Filing taxes without non-free software: Slovak company appeals fines

11 June 2013:

In a case of a Slovak company protesting against being forced to use non-free software to file taxes, a court has failed to rule on the substance of the case.

FSFE responds to UK Open Standards Consultation

01 June 2012:

FSFE has submitted its response [Update: see as PDF version or HTML version] to a public consultation by the UK Government, concerning a definition of Open Standards and a policy for increasing their use in the UK's public sector. If the policy is applied boldly and proactively, the UK stands to greatly gain from increased competition in the software market, with much greater opportunities for small companies. On the other hand, even minor lapses in implementation could derail the policy entirely.

FSFE responds to UK Open Standards Consultation

01 June 2012:

FSFE has submitted its response [pdf] to a public consultation by the UK Government, concerning a definition of Open Standards and a policy for increasing their use in the UK's public sector. If the policy is applied boldly and proactively, the UK stands to greatly gain from increased competition in the software market, with much greater opportunities for small companies. On the other hand, even minor lapses in implementation could derail the policy entirely.

FSFE: NW UK businesses please tell Government that Open Standards matter

28 May 2012:

Is the Government one of your potential customers? Free Software may shortly be locked out of opportunities in the public sector if proposed Open Standards policy is adopted.

Zhrnutie prípadu EURA

09 May 2012:

Slovenský importér textilu EURA Slovakia, s.r.o. čelí pokutám vo výške viac ako 5600 EUR pretože si nezaobstaral, a pri podávaní elektronických daňových výkazov nepoužíval, operačný systém Windows. Slovenská daňová správa dala EURA iba dve možnosti: alebo si kúpi a bude používať Microsoft Windows alebo bude čeliť pokutám. Aj takto by sa dalo zhrnúť rozhodnutie slovenskej daňovej správy z pred pár týždňov. Daňová správa uložila spoločnosti EURA Slovakia niekoľko pokút za to, že nepodávala ďanové výkazy elektronickou formou, ale papierovou. Použitie elektronickej formy jej totiž znemožnila webová aplikácia, ktorá funguje len na operačnom systéme Windows. Firma sa však teraz chystá obrátiť na súd a žiadať od štátu, aby nenútil podnikateľov k používaniu konkrétneho produktu, ale aby verejná správa používala multiplatformové technické riešenia založené na otvorených štandardoch, ktoré sú dostupné pre všetkých.