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The European commission in one of its reports
(European Inter Operability Framework for Pan-European e-Government Services)
has recommended open standards to attain interoperability in the context of pan-European services.
What is an open standard?
The European Commission (EC) has defined the term “open standards” as part of the
final version 1.0 of the European Interoperability Framework.
- 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
- There are no constraints on the re-use of the standard.
Examples of open standards
- (i) System:
- GSM (a mobile communications system specified by 3GPP)
- (ii) Hardware:
- ISA (a specification by IBM for plug-in boards to IBM-architecture PCs,
later standardized by the IEEE);
- PCI (a specification by Intel Corporation for plug-in boards to IBM-architecture PCs);
- AGP (a specification by Intel Corporation for plug-in boards to IBM-architecture PCs).
- (iii) Software:
- HTML/XHTML (specifications of the W3C for structured hyperlinked document formatting);
- SQL (a specification approved by ANSI and ISO, with multiple generations of design and additional less official variants);
- IP (a specification of the IETF for transmitting packets of data on a network - specifically, IETF RFC 791);
- TCP (a specification of the IETF for implementing streams of data on top of IP - specifically, IETF RFC 793);
- PDF/X (a specification by Adobe Systems Incorporated for formatted documents, later approved by ISO as ISO 15930-1:2001);
- OpenDocument (a specification by OASIS for office documents, approved by ISO as ISO/IEC 26300).