Open Standards; a definition
Ranjan Nishantha - 2009
Practicing with e-Sri Lanka
Open Standards are complete and available for all to read and implement. Thus:
A product, which claims to be based on open standard, must be able for all interfaces which are necessary for interoperability and to integrate with its surroundings to refer to the complete technical documentation necessary to create interoperable products.
In order to ensure interoperability and to lessen the possibilities of technical problems in the interaction between different products, it is necessary that the exact name or denomination of the standard and complete and detailed technical documentation is easily available.
The documentation must be published in an ordinary way. They should be available for free download via the Internet. So that it can be obtained easily for every project.
If it is unable to obtained easily, then there might be instances where there are several standards are used for e-Sri Lanka projects. For example, while ICTA funded projects use the open standards GoSL funded projects may use other proprietary standards. So that interoperability between those organizations might be lost.
It can be freely implemented without economical, political or legal limitations on implementation and use;
There must be no restrictions on usage and implementation of the standard. There must for example be no fees required to use the standard or distribute a product which implements it. There must be no political limitations such as discrimination against nationality, sex, race or religion on the usage or implementation. The user of the standard must not be required to meet requirements of specific legal contracts to be able to use or implement the standard.
Any e-Sri Lanka project should be able to afford a copy without undue hardship.
Licenses attached to the standards documentation must not restrict any party from implementing the standard using any form of license.
They must allow a wide range of implementations, by businesses, academic institutes, and e-government projects.
Open Standards are free for all to implement, with no royalty or fee. Certification of compliance by the standards organization may have a fee. Patents embedded in standards must be licensed royalty-free, with non-discriminatory terms. Certification programs should include a low or zero cost self-certification, but may include higher-cost programs with enhanced branding. So it makes sure the affordability of standards for e-Sri Lanka projects and the sustainability of them.
There should not be Discrimination; Open Standards and the organizations that administer them do not favor one implementer over another for any reason other than the technical standards compliance of a vendor's implementation. So it makes sure that every e-Sri Lanka project can afford for the standards.
All patents essential to implementation of the standard; must be licensed under royalty-free terms for unrestricted use, or must be covered by a promise of non-assertion when practiced by open source software.
There must not be any requirement for execution of a license agreement, NDA, grant, click-through, or any other form of paperwork to deploy conforming implementations of the standard.
It is maintained in an open forum via an open process.
Implementations of Open Standards may be extended, or offered in subset form. However, certification organizations may decline to certify subset implementations, and may place requirements upon extensions.
It may not prohibit the implementation of extensions.
No Intentional Secrets; The standard must not withhold any detail necessary for interoperable implementation. As flaws are inevitable, the standard must define a process for fixing flaws identified during implementation and interoperability testing and to incorporate said changes into a revised version or superseding version of the standard to be released under terms that do not violate the open standard requirements.
It is important for an open standard that it is independent of individual interests and that everybody has the possibility to contribute to the maintenance of the standard. They ensure the integrity of the standard, its usability and its international recognition.