Open standard

From Academic Kids

Open standards are publicly available specifications for achieving a specific task. By allowing anyone to use the standard, they increase compatibility between various hardware and software components since anyone with the technical know-how and the necessary equipment to implement solutions can build something that works together with those of other vendors.

Many standards are proprietary rather than being open, and must be licensed from the organization that owns the copyright for the standard before obtaining a copy. Being an open standard also does not necessarily imply that no licenses to patent rights are needed to use the standard or that such licenses are available for free. For example, the standards published by the major internationally-recognized standards bodies such as the ITU, ISO, and IEC are ordinarily considered open, but may require patent licensing fees for implementation.


Examples of open standards


  • ISA (a specification by IBM, later standardized by the IEEE)
  • PCI (a specification by Intel Corporation)
  • AGP (a specification by Intel Corporation)


  • HTML/XHTML (specifications of the W3C)
  • SQL (a specification approved by ANSI and the ISO, with multiple generations of design and additional less official variants)
  • IP (a specification of the IETF - specifically, IETF RFC 791)
  • TCP (a specification of the IETF - specifically, IETF RFC 793)
  • PDF (a specification by Adobe Systems Incorporated)


In 2002 and 2003 there was some controversy about using Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory (RAND) licensing for the use of patented technology in web standards. Bruce Perens and others have argued that the use of patents restricts who can implement a standard to those able or willing to pay for the use of the patented technology. The requirement to pay some small amount per user, is often an insurmountable problem for free software or open source implementations which can be redistributed by anyone. Royalty free (RF) licensing is preferred by Open Source adepts. The GNU GPL license includes a section that enjoins anyone who distributes a program released under the GPL from enforcing patents on subsequent users of the software or derivative works.


  • EU Commissioner Erkki Liikanen: "Open standards are important to help create interoperable and affordable solutions for everybody. They also promote competition by setting up a technical playing field that is level to all market players. This means lower costs for enterprises and, ultimately, the consumer." (World Standards Day, 14 October, 2003) [1] (

See also

External links

da:Åben standard de:offener Standard pl:Otwarte standardy


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