03.11.08

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New Pressure for the EU to Adopt Royalty- and Patent-Free Standards

Posted in Europe, Google, Interoperability, OpenDocument, Standard at 12:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Further to the previous post, consider some of the more recent developments and the push for Europe not to pull another Neelie Kroes [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Europe is being criticised for its endorsement of RAND-’protected’ ‘standards’ and Digital Majority has some details about it.

An MEP has written a question on the use of patented standards within public administrations. The position of the DG Enterprise is definitely to prefer RAND patented standards, and exclude free software from public administrations.

In Open Forum Europe, a call was issued for change as well.

At a time when the EU Commission investigates the anti-competitive behaviour of a market-dominant player, the European Parliament (EP) still imposes that same specific software choice on both the European Union’s citizens and its own MEPs. OpenForum Europe, The European Software Market Association, and the Free Software Foundation Europe today launched a petition to call on the EP to use open standards so that all citizens can participate in the democratic process.

You can find out a little more about OpenForum’s role and position as well. It would be sad to see Europe leaning Microsoft’s way and abandoning the very same principles that made the World Wide Web possible.

OpenForum’s conference featured keynote speeches from Vint Cerf, who is often dubbed “the father of the internet” for his role in developing ARPAnet, and shared the common concern that…

[...]

Interestingly, many of the delegates of the “other meeting” attended the keynotes and some presentations, presumably out of a common interest in the meaning and definition of “standards”, but were the soul of discretion when it came to discussing events in the other place. The structure of the conference and the tone of its presentations was discursive, not didactic, and there was a genuine interest in finding resolutions to the issues that beset standards in the computing industry. Standards affect innovation, barriers to entry, interoperability and the neutrality of data, and are fundamental to the future of computing. Technology moves at speed and the idea that protocols, APIs and data formats are “trade secrets” can be viewed as regressive, and an impediment to the transmission of ideas.

The next post will touch on this issue yet again (and for the last time today).

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