"Last Thursday the European Commission took a major step forward
on the "openness" scale. The occasion was the release of a new
version of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) which
definitively endorsed the use of open source friendly standards
when providing "public services" within the EU. This result was
rightly hailed by open source advocates like Open Forum Europe.
"But the EC took two steps backward in every other way as it
revised its definition of "open standards," presumably reflecting
IT industry efforts to preserve the value of software patents.
"In this blog entry, I'll review the seven-year long process
under which the "European Interoperability Framework" (EIF) first
set a global high water mark for liberalizing the definition of
open standards, and then retreated from that position.
"If one were to choose the single most disputed question in
standard setting over the past decade, it would have to be the
deceivingly simple question, "What does it mean to be an 'open
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