Open Standards

Europe’s Valoris report defines an open standard this way: "The minimum requirements for an open standard are that the document format is completely described in publicly accessible documents, that this description may be distributed freely and that the document format may be implemented in programs without restrictions, royalty-free, and with no legal bindings."

When you think ‘open’, think ‘open competition’ or ‘open market.’ An open standard should allow competition based on merit, instead of limiting customers’ suppliers to one particular supplier or a subset of suppliers based on their business model, development model, licensing model, and so on. You should be able to replace one product that does the same function for another, as long as they meet the same open standard, and achieve at least the same basic function provided by the standard (though some may perform better or have additional features -- think of plug-replaceable components).

In the European Union there are EU-wide recommendations for Open Standards.

joys of interoperability, allowing programs from different vendors, running on different computers to work together

governments, businesses and consumers can win from Open Standards; it's all about control: controlling your documents and controlling the destiny of your organization or yourself. "A connected world needs Open Standards for efficient work."



The e-GIF defines the technical policies and specifications governing information flows across government and the public sector. They cover interconnectivity, data integration, e-services access and content management.

A set of policies and standards to enable information to flow seamlessly across the public sector and provide citizens and businesses with better access to public services.

European Interoperability Framework

European Interoperability Framework for pan-European eGovernment services

Support the delivery of pan-European eGovernment services to citizens and enterprises. The Action Plan also stipulated that the Framework would "be based on open standards and encourage the use of open source software"

  • The standard is adopted and will be maintained by a not-for-profit organisation, and its ongoing development occurs on the basis of an open decision-making procedure available to all interested parties (consensus or majority decision etc.).
  • The standard has been published and the standard specification document is available either freely or at a nominal charge. It must be permissible to all to copy, distribute and use it for no fee or at a nominal fee.
  • The intellectual property - i.e. patents possibly present - of (parts of) the standard is made irrevocably available on a royalty free basis.
  • There are no constraints on the re-use of the standard.


In 2005, the U.S. Library of Congress said that all documents should be saved in an open format.


  • OpenDocument
  • egif A set of government approved policies and standards to enable information to flow seamlessly across the public sector and provide citizens and businesses with better access to public services.

Groklaw covering open standards


2007-01-24 - ars technichnia - European consumer groups demand iTunes changes, interoperability
Author: Nate Anderson
Summary: Earlier this week, several European consumer advocates joined forces against iTunes in an attempt to take a bite out of Apple's music policies. But what exactly do they want, and when do they want it? Ars technichnia takes a closer look.
2007-01-24 - OUT-LAW.COM - France and Germany join Nordic campaign to unlock iTunes
Summary: Apple faces renewed calls to allow third parties access to its closed iTunes and iPod system as France and Germany join anti-Apple action begun by Nordic consumer groups.