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FSFE: North-West UK businesses please tell Government that Open Standards matter

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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.

Tomorrow afternoon the Cabinet Office is consulting businesses in the North West of England on how the policy could affect the market, and whether it would result in a distorted playing-field for Free Software solutions.v Those in the Manchester area, please go to the meeting tomorrow afternoon in MadLab Hackerspace and tell the Government if your business uses Open Standards as part of a product or service.

Free Software could be blocked from public sector use if the new policy allows "FRAND" terms within British standards. Intensive lobbying efforts have focused on pressuring the Cabinet Office to back down on a strong definition of Open Standards over the past few months, as recently revealed by Freedom of Information requests.

Whether a national UK standard can be adopted if it blocks Free Software by requiring royalties to be paid to private third parties is not yet decided - your comments tomorrow on how Open Standards affect your business could make the difference.