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Open Standards: Principles and Practice

Hi Debian Developers,

For more than a year, I've been representing SPI, and thus you, to
standards organizations like W3C, and I've also recently been lobbying
on your behalf at the EC Parliament and other governmental organizations.
HP has paid for all of this without attempting to influence what I say.

One of the problems I'm facing is that there are a lot of standards
organizations, and every one of them has a different definition of an
Open Standard. Almost all standards organizations allow the incorporation
of software patents, discriminatory licensing, or other features that
seriously damage the "open-ness" of the standard.

With the Debian Free Software Guidelines, later known as the Open Source
Definition, we were successful in defining the terms of discourse for
an entire industry. We're at that sort of cusp once more, but this time
concerning Open Standards rather than Open Source. Of late, we have
evidence of a number of companies attempting to use patents coupled with
standards to erect "toll booths on the Internet" in a way that would,
intentionally or coincidentally, exclude Free Software. As with the DFSG,
it's time to draw a line in the stand and defend it. Thus, I am presenting
to you the first draft of "Open Standards: Principles and Practice".

My intent is to refine this draft with community input, much as we refined
the DFSG as Debian policy in a month-long discussion on Debian's private
developer list. I made some mistakes with the DFSG text and the Open
Source organization that I don't want to repeat - I'll be watching out
for them, you do too.

I will make a more broad public invitation, but I've decided to start out
with the Debian developers, because you folks were _excellent_ with the DFSG.

Please go to http://perens.com/OpenStandards/ . There is a link for the
current draft, and a link for the disucssion list.


	Bruce Perens

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