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Mandatory Use of Open Standards In Hungary

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the you'll-be-open-and-like-it dept.

Government 163

qpeter writes "Hungarian Parliament has made the use of open standards mandatory by law in the intercommunication between public administration offices, public utility companies, citizens and voluntarily joining private companies, conducted via the central governmental system. The Open Standards Alliance initiating the amendment aims to promote the spread of monopoly-free markets that foster the development of interchangeable and interoperable products generated by open standards, and, consequently, broad competition markets, regardless of whether the IT systems of interconnecting organizations and individuals use open or closed source software. In the near future, in spite of EU tendencies the Alliance seeks to make its approach – interoperability based on publicly defined open standards – the EU norm under the Hungarian presidency of the European Union in 2011. To that end, it will promote public collaboration – possibly between every interested party, civil and political organization in the European Union. What do you think: what would be the best way to cooperate?"

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Open Source? (3, Funny)

gardel999 (1691708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494790)

It's about time they opened up their goulash recipes.

Re:Open Source? (1, Funny)

Zarf (5735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495274)

I think they're Hungry for freedom.

Re:Open Source? (1, Funny)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495316)

I, for one, are hungary for goulash soup now.

like that solves anything (-1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494822)

in the intercommunication between public administration offices, public utility companies, citizens and voluntarily joining private companies, conducted via the central governmental system.

That's the trouble with standards: There's so many to choose from! Government of any kind has always faced the same problem -- how to efficiently communication amongst its many branches and divisions. And I, for one, am quite thankful that the problem won't be solved anytime soon. Nobody truly wants all the government they pay for.

WTF are you doing? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30494844)

Wimmins don't belong on teh intranetz. Get back in the kitchen where you belong and let the men handle this.

Re:WTF are you doing? (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494926)

Wimmins don't belong on teh intranetz. Get back in the kitchen where you belong and let the men handle this.

Says the thing living under the fridge...

Re:WTF are you doing? (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494966)

Maybe it would be nicer to you if you made it a sandwich and brought it a cold beer once in a while.

Re:WTF are you doing? (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495010)

Maybe it would be nicer to you if you made it a sandwich and brought it a cold beer once in a while.

When it's evolved to the point where it can make its own sandwich and drink its own beer, I might consider it. Also, he's dull, short, and stinks. No wonder he can't get a date.

Re:WTF are you doing? (1, Offtopic)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495078)

There's something about when a girl sasses back thats oddly attractive.

Re:WTF are you doing? (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495146)

Agreed, women would be much more interesting if they had her scathing wit.

O girlintraining, if you are actually a female, will you marry me? I have 22 college credits, my own pickup truck, and a studio apartment for nest-building.

Back off, chumps. She's mine.

Re:WTF are you doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495214)

I think you've got that backwards ..... it definately sounds like you're offering to be hers.

  girlintraining take pity upon the poor Ethanol-fueled fool and at least let him know if he amuses you in some small way..... causes there's nothing better than an offtopic attempt at romance for a Friday night slashdot post.

Re:WTF are you doing? (-1, Offtopic)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495362)

girlintraining take pity upon the poor Ethanol-fueled fool and at least let him know if he amuses you in some small way..... causes there's nothing better than an offtopic attempt at romance for a Friday night slashdot post.

Look at my profile ye mighty, and despair. :}

Re:WTF are you doing? Damm Girl! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495520)

oO Nice response Oo

My wife laughed when she read the thread .... and got to your latest response

Re:WTF are you doing? Damm Girl! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495842)

Her profile only tells half the story.
She's a dyke AND a transsexual.
And, while I personally don't have a problem with the mahu persuasion as long as she can pass with flying colors, so to speak, a lot of guys might.
And its not like I'm outing her, she's wearing it proudly as her username...

Re:WTF are you doing? Damm Girl! (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496056)

She's a dyke AND a transsexual[...]And its not like I'm outing her, she's wearing it proudly as her username...

My dick is a foot long and sitting in the bedroom closet next to the leather harness. Imagine that next time you sit in your mother's basement with the lights off and masturbate -- it is the stuff of hetrosexual male nightmares.

Re:WTF are you doing? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495184)

sudo makeityourself?

Re:WTF are you doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30494970)

Pwned

Nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495926)

Successful troll is successful.

Re:like that solves anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30494858)

But open standards means that we all know what the rules are and have to abide by them. So yes it is a better system than the current mess.

Re:like that solves anything (4, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494948)

Yes, but open standards mean that just about any open program can read them. For example, it doesn't matter if I choose to use the open WAV, FLAC or OGG Vorbis file format, the default media player in Ubuntu can play it. The more closed the file is, the fewer programs will open it.

Re:like that solves anything (2, Informative)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494992)

Of course, the major players just redefine their file formats to be "open standards". And then make those "standards" insanely complex to make sure only their products can render documents using that format, while competitors need to spend man-years implementing them, just in time for the "standard" to be improved for the next release by MS/Adobe.

Re:like that solves anything (4, Informative)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495042)

Don't forget the typos and "unintentional" omissions in the proprietary standards and of course the "reasonable fees" to purchase the standards documentation.

Re:like that solves anything (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495110)

Well more to the point. You release a file format and say this is the format used by our tool. But because your tool is closed sourced nobody actually knows if you are telling the truth. Another way is to release a container format within which you encode your propitiatory format.

Re:like that solves anything (4, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495236)

This is something MS pulled off with the office format. Sure, the XML schema might be open but the binary blob data representing some of the elements is still closed.

Open standards need be truly open, meaning easily accessible, free of cost, readable by anyone and patent unencumbered.

As to the submitters question, the way to help is to be open and honest about the existing softwares capabilities and when the opponents speak about software inadequacy, keep your mind open and listen. There are ways in which some closed source programs are better than their OSS equivalents. For example - there is no ProE or Solidworks competition that is OSS. Not even close when you take into account the CAM, interference checking, flow analysis, strain modeling modules. If people want governments to take OSS software and standards seriously, they themselves have to be serious about making their software and their standards encompass the functionality of the status quo.

Re:like that solves anything (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496136)

That's funny, patent encumberment is exactly what MS complained about upon being invited to join the WHATWG (the people responsible for HTML5 (W3C moved on to XHTML (apparently there's such a thing as XHTML5. WTF? (nested parenthesis (w00t!))))).

Re:like that solves anything (4, Informative)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496616)

Of course, the major players just redefine their file formats to be "open standards".

In Hungary, we have a standards body that decides which formats are actually "open". Oh, and it's made up of engineers, not politicians.

Re:like that solves anything (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495528)

Uh, no. Open standards means that the format is open as to it's syntax and that it's not a for-pay (as in royalties).

Re:like that solves anything (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495130)

I think you are confusing two different issues - standard vs. non-standard and open vs. closed. Choosing open over closed definitely does solve something.

Isn't it obvious? (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494838)

XML for the win

  (and for programmers for the next 50 generations)

Re:Isn't it obvious? (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494902)

Yes, because in this "Web 2.0+ Age", plain ASCII just isn't bloated enough.

Don't get me wrong, ASCII was plenty bloated when the web was young.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495040)

Don't get me wrong, ASCII was plenty bloated when the web was young.

127 characters is enough for anyone!

Re:Isn't it obvious? (4, Insightful)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495226)

XML is abused way too often in places where it doesn't belong. Also it is not easy to read or edit with the ultimate tool - the good old text editor.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495290)

<reply>
<recipient>lordtoran</recipient>
<body>No it isn't</body>
</reply>

Re:Isn't it obvious? (5, Insightful)

Phantom of the Opera (1867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495580)

<lit><token><llama xmlns:xdc="http://www.xmlsucks.com/rocks"
        xmlns:h="http://www.w3.org/HTML/1998/html4" >
  <freown>No its <![CDATA[<]]> really <![CDATA[>]]> not
     <reasons>
       <reason>Poor Compression<![CDATA[>>]]> other languages <examples><example>JSON</example><example>YAML</example><example>CSV</example>
<examples><reason>
     <reason>Goofy namespace</reason>
   <reason>Bad For Lists</reason>
  <reason>Packs too much in a node<examples><example>Its a scalar</example><example>its a list</example><example>has namespaces</example><example>Is a hash</example><example> and parsing is h
orrid when a value <interruption>Interrupt</interruption> can be interspersed <kitten meow="woof"/> with sub<![CDATA[-]]
nodes
</reasons></freown></llama></token>

This gets worse when you have thousands of lines of the crap to deal wtih.
</lit>

Re:Isn't it obvious? (5, Funny)

Velex (120469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495594)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="US-ASCII"?>
<reply-container guid="b8373d86-7ec8-47df-9978-38f6c52cd6a9" transfer-encoding="US-ASCII">
  <reply guid="f350c906-2a54-4597-bad8-30da6a68f827">
    <recipient-list guid="605ccf1a-4a4b-4f17-a9f4-a6dde6ffb7d6">
       <recipient-descriptor guid="714a4edb-902a-4337-9aa6-933b45712ab0">
         <name encoding="US-ASCII" guid="a81da860-9a46-4417-a6f2-028d05b95108">
           sakdoctor
         </name encoding="US-ASCII">
         <uid guid="adb1ed5f-ef51-4fc3-9a72-76bd69fe480a">
           1087155
         </uid>
       </recipient-descriptor>
     </recipient-list>
     <reply-content guid="0f71eeb7-2d20-4b71-891d-bff87f35a99f">
       <body guid="8ee53a3b-b705-4117-a000-64f20674d9af">
         <body-text encoding="US-ASCII" guid="3e48f58f-207b-49a9-b227-f4b390a9b247">
           You call that XML&quot;
         </body-text>
       <body>
     </reply-content>
  </reply>
</reply-container>

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495280)

XML stands for Xtremely Massively L-awesome!

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495408)

No, XML stands for "Brainnnnssss. Must eat brainnnnns...."

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495424)

No, XML stands for "Brainnnnssss. Must eat brainnnnns...."

You sound like our lead "Architect" ... except he says: "SOA! SOA! Brrawk! SOA!" then starts asking for crackers.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496688)

XML? More like EPIC FAIL.

I prefer the following combination:
Simplified EBML-like “binary XML”
+ a binary tag to XML tag mapper.

That way I have nice efficient, completely flexible, binary data, that with the use of a ridiculously simple mapper, can be transformed back and forth between XML and itself, or upon opening and saving by a text editor.

You know, just like the ASCII or Unicode mapping. But for structural information instead of for text content.
It can even hold binary data as content, without any escaping. Just attach a mime type info to it.

Thanks to the mapping, it can still use e.g. XPath.

If you add the mapping data as a header to the file... or a URL to the (locally cacheable) mapping file... you got pretty close to the perfect file format.

If you want, you can also add RelaxNG information to it (C syntax of course), to make it validatable.

Following up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30494892)

How about some following up articles on what has happened before with these incidences or disasters to be more real.

Better translation or summary? (1)

mikep554 (787194) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494894)

Can anyone find an actual translation of the amendment or a better summary? TFA sounds like it was written in a combination of management-ese and marketing-speak.

Re:Better translation or summary? (2, Informative)

qpeter (1298469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495164)

Not yet. The original is here [nyissz.hu] , we will publish if translated.

Re:Better translation or summary? (1)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496182)

I've tried to take a look at it, but my ability to read Hungarian, particular legal documents, is limited.

What isn't clear to me is would this rule out MS-Word documents for government communication? What about PDFs?

docx from the comments (3, Informative)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496220)

I'm unable to understand the main post [nyissz.hu] (too much legal and technical jargon for my largely forgotten Hungarian knowledge), but I can read many of the comments.

Someone specifically asked about docx and a comment reply said that docx would be allowed because of the ISO decision (in which Hungary supported making docx an ISO standard). Both the query and response were from ACs, but the response certainly seems plausible to me.

The story of Hungary's ultimate support for Microsoft in the ISO is a long and twisted tale which I was only able to partially follow.

What do -I- Think? (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494906)

What do you think: what would be the best way to cooperate?"

Easy. Github [github.com]

NEXT

Re:What do -I- Think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495380)

I think you mean Gitorious [gitorious.org] . They're going for openness, they said.

Re:What do -I- Think? (1)

qpeter (1298469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495436)

Thanks for the idea. Seems to be interesting. Anybody using it?

Re:What do -I- Think? (1)

qpeter (1298469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495464)

You mean we should invent/choose open standards for interfaces and if finished (beta) we should make it mandatory for all EU-countries?

The normal way? (4, Funny)

mustafap (452510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494936)

>What do you think: what would be the best way to cooperate?"

Invade?

Re:The normal way? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496704)

American, and proud, I take it? ^^

(Or an old German. Or a very old British.)

Open is fundamentally more productive than closed (5, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 4 years ago | (#30494940)

There are plenty of "open standards", and plenty of "closed standards" as well. If you were starting your own country and had to implement government data practices, which would you choose to implement, given:

1) Open standards can be understood and used by anyone/any program that implements them, and
2) Closed standards are locked down and hidden by the vendor that created them, forcing you to use their software?

*Jeopardy music*

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495118)

www.salvatoreannunziata.weebly.com

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495124)

1) Open standards can be understood and used by anyone/any program that chooses to implement them

There, FTFY. Not to be an ass, but your point 1 was true of both open and closed standard. The real point is that anyone who chooses to implement open standards can. You can choose to implement a closed standard, but may either not succeed or get sued. Anyway, you get the point.

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495200)

Depends on how much M$ will pay me, the decision maker. Can I build a house from it?
Who cares if four years later it will cost my country a lot more. It won't be my party that's ruling then. And my new house will be built by then.

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (1)

cntThnkofAname (1572875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495210)

I'm am all for open source anything, but I wouldn't think the government really cares how easy a standard is to understand or implement. It's all about money. If closed standards were some how cheaper or even profitable then I would bet Hungary would be using closed standards. Before you ask how could closed standards be profitable I'll try my best to not look stupid explaining my idea: Say you have a huge monopoly organization that creates and implements closed standards (say in the Redmond area), this organization employs thousands (tens of thousands) of people. So if a country or even major organizations that are based in that country implement the closed standards they may have to pay for something that should be free, but the organization that has to be payed also has to pay it's employees and therefore the money goes back into the economy. I'm going to assume that Hungary doesn't have one of these major monopoly organizations to self-profit on, they are just trying to save some money. That being said, I wouldn't bet on any country that has a major monopoly organization that supports closed standards to be switching solely to open standards anytime soon.

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (1)

qpeter (1298469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495396)

We are abound in this kind of monopolies here in Hungary, both global and local:( Still succeeded to push through the amendment:))

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (1)

cntThnkofAname (1572875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495530)

I applaud you for this. I was trying to point out the majority of monopolies that create closed standards are not from Hungary. I realize that Hungary must be exposed to these monopolies, but in general paying for closed standards has no benefit to Hungary. Which is not nessarly true of other countries like the US because they have such things as Cisco, MS, and other closed source standards giants.

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (1)

qpeter (1298469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495740)

Your argument is that a hq of a major global monopoly organization in your country is a handicap. I say we have our own local monopolies proportionally not less harmful and rooted than yours. E.g. our government, which is collecting cca 40% of our gdp.

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (2, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496402)

Now would that be a country with 50 states and, for 49 of them closed standards are nothing more than an expensive overhead. Which in turns means that the federal government of that country in continuing to maintain closed standards means they are creating a bias in the system by penalising 49 states to fund 1 state. The reality is as standards open up so does employment and business opportunities. Closed standards just result in monopolies and bloated profits for a handful whilst the rest of the economy suffers.

It is wildly inappropriate for one company to define and change at will the document standards for a whole country, at this stage of computer industry development it has been corruption that has allowed this craziness to last as long as it has.

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495240)

Sadly, most governments choose option 2 by default.

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495466)

Closed, duh. Most "open" things suck donkey cock.

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495498)

1) Open standards can be understood and used by anyone/any program that implements them, and

2) Closed standards are locked down and hidden by the vendor that created them, forcing you to use their software?

Technically Closed standards can be understood and used by anyone/any program that implements them too.
There are plenty of libraries out that that can read and write locked down file formats, such as the Biff-8 fileformat that used to be used by Excel.

Moot question (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495560)

If I am starting a country, I'd ignore the question entirely. My secret police, however, would insure that any companies that used closed source standards would be compliant to my needs on demand.

I jokingly mention this, because this is a good example where you can watch some multinationals butt heads with a state. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (1)

hackus (159037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495720)

Well, if I wanted to start a new "country" I would:

1) Keep the standards closed and proprietary. However, at the same time, I would promote the idea of open standards and indicate that the reason why we cannot publish the standards that run the countries government is because they are currently a work in progress, and doesn't exist.

But, we have everyones best interests in mind because we hold open conferences that discuss open standards. (Just not government ones that run the country.)

2) We would invite the world to review our new standards. However, the proprietary panel would be only space we would actually book. The "others" could just go home or stand around in the cold and discuss whatever.

3) Finally, we would publish that the "others" cannot agree on a standard and we where working around the clock to come up with one. Internally however, the proprietary bookings we made would just go ahead an inact a standard, definately not open are you kidding me?

-Hack

Re:Open is fundamentally more productive than clos (1)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496156)

Is this a trick question? Whoever offered the best kick-backs of course.

Ballmer's plane is already on the tarmac (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30494994)

Takeoff in 3...2...sir, please put the chair down until we've landed...1...

Re:Ballmer's plane is already on the tarmac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495504)

It's nice to see that fucktards who make these jokes don't the difference between open source and open standards. So much for the revolution they keep shitting on about.

This is anticompetitive (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495050)

Mandating the use of open standards is anti-competitive and is harmful to taxpayers. Such a regulation prevents software publishers such as Microsoft from competing for government contracts because their standards are not open. Restrictions such as this never enhance competition but instead eliminate it by artificially reducing the number of bidders for any contract. While I understand the desire to embrace open standards, and why it would be a consideration for any government agency seeking bids for a project, it should not in itself disqualify bidders.

Re:This is anticompetitive (2, Funny)

VirginMary (123020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495152)

You are wrong, Microsoft is a just as free and able to implement open standards as anyone else, in fact, given their resources, it should be easier for them to do it that just about anyone else!

Re:This is anticompetitive (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495234)


>>----(JOKE)----->

                O
/+\

                |

              / \

            (YOU)

Re:This is anticompetitive (2, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495264)

ASCII Artist Level
....
....
....
You
;)

Re:This is anticompetitive (4, Informative)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495256)

Well, then those software publishers finally have to compete on quality, not lock-in, and write software that is good at impementing the standard to win the bid.

Re:This is anticompetitive (4, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495282)

You're wrong sir. With open standards, any company can bid on projects. If their goal though is to secure future business by locking down their customer to only use their software, that's where I have a problem.

Microsoft is perfectly free to write native import/export functionality into MS Office to enable ODF file support. If they did that though, their customers would find a seamless migration from MS Office products to competitors like Lotus Symphony, OpenOffice, etc.

Microsoft and other vendors can cry all they like. They don't want to compete on fairness. They want their customers locked down so they don't have a choice.

Re:This is anticompetitive (-1, Troll)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495472)

You're wrong sir. With open standards, any company can bid on projects. If their goal though is to secure future business by locking down their customer to only use their software, that's where I have a problem.

I hear this party line all the time, but it ignores one simple fact. By mandating a single standard, it means word processors are effectively a dead end. no company can come up with a new feature that requires storage in the document format. This means that, for all intents and purposes, word processor development will come to a stand still.

Sure, you can extend the format, but then you're no longer conforming to the open standard, and you are now disqualified from bidding.

Re:This is anticompetitive, IDIOT or SHILL (1)

omb (759389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495614)

Absolute nonsense, all sorts of things HAVE to comply with Open Standards and continue to be developed, it is only in IT that people are so stupid/corrupt that this is disputed. Examples in the IT fields are C++ and JavaScript. You can extend the standard in an Open and RAND way, likewise you can buy parts for your car from a variety of vendors.

Or you can behave like Micro$oft, corrupt institutions, pack delegations and corruptly buy market share while deliberately mis-implementing Open Standards eg ODF Excel.

It is well past time this was firmly stopped, preferably by the DOJ in the US, but Europe is moving quickly moving to more open procurements particularly in Spain, France and Germany.

Re:This is anticompetitive - Oh God please be no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495468)

Mr Ballmer,

You've got to stop commenting on Slashdot when you're drunk.

Sincerely,

Your Attorney

A monopoly is a monopoly (-1, Troll)

SiteAdmin (1073816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495212)

Closed source, open source, who cares? If everyone has to use the same standard, it's still a monopoly.

Re:A monopoly is a monopoly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495250)

It's talking about companies, not standards. Standards can't have monopolies. Learn to reading comprehension.

Re:A monopoly is a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495542)

It's talking about companies, not standards. Standards can't have monopolies. Learn to reading comprehension.

If everyone has to use the same standard, it's still a monopoly.

Ahem.

A single standard, even if open, forces everyone into a single box. And unfortunately, for a standard to be agreed upon by everyone concerned, also means it has to include the lowest common denominator.

Speaking as someone who had to deal with budding open standards back in the 90s that had to include the limitations of COBOL - everything had to be "dumbed" down in order for COBOL to use it.

So, standard or open does not necessarily mean better.

Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495306)

Closed source, open source, who cares? If everyone has to use the same standard, it's still a monopoly.

You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

What? (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495336)

Yes, everyone knows of the tyranny of the metric system! It's lead to nothing but problems for the oppressed masses, unable to squirm out of it's iron maw...

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495456)

I really cry for these oppressed US Americans, Liberians and Burmese who are oppressed by our standards tyranny yet still bravely resist and stick to intuitive units like 5/12 of an eighth of an adult foot's approximate length.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30495708)

The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it.

Re:A monopoly is a monopoly (3, Insightful)

greenguy (162630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495382)

Who modded this insightful? Parent has no idea what they're talking about.

A monopoly is a unfair advantage in the marketplace. A standard is an agreed-upon way to do a given thing. If all the players agree on how things will be done -- assuming they can act on those standards -- that *reduces* the likelihood of monopolies occurring, because the playing field is leveled.

That said, I'm opposed to mandatory standards. I want people to be able to choose whatever way they want to do things they might like, and I want to be there, eating popcorn, as they spiral down in flames with their proprietary formats and measurements.

Re:A monopoly is a monopoly (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495428)

I don't think anybody is saying "Everyone must use this standard." But to move to truly open standards (and not just fake ones like OOXML, no matter how Microsoft managed to scam its way through), has obvious advantages for large entities like governments and corporations. That's the beauty of something like 7bit ASCII. I can open up a file created in 1970, and every text editor, and pretty much every word processor, developed in the last four decades can read the file.

But we don't use ASCII very damn much any more, so now we're stuck with proprietary formats like the Office formats, which even in their latest incarnation, have binary blobs and insanely complex documentation. On the other hand, we do have the ODF format, which while not perfect, is relatively easy to crack open and grab the data out of (I've written a PHP script to split out spreadsheet data, so it can't be that hard). The notion is that forty years down the road, data will be as portable to applications then as ASCII is to applications now. I think for governments, in particular, this isn't just a good idea, it should be a mandatory goal.

Re:A monopoly is a monopoly (1, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495518)

Standards are good for low level protocols, like TCP/IP. But they're less good when it comes to higher level protocols (including data formats, because it prevents vendors from creating new things, lest they "extend" the standard and no longer be in the running for those juicy conctracts.

HTML is a great example... Sure, you can tack on new ways of viewing the code, or add-in mechanisms, or just making the browser work better, but at some point you hit a wall, and you really need to extend the format to do new cool things, and the HTML standards committee's are glacially slow.. We wouldn't have Canvas, for instance, if Apple had waited for a standards body to create it.

Office suites are a million functions that work on data in a common way... What if office documents had been "standardized" at Wordperfect and 123 1.0... I suppose some would argue that would have been a good thing, but most would find that incredibly constraining.

I think it's a better approach to mandate that if a vendor wants to compete for a government contract, they are required to completely document whichever document format is their standard one.

Re:A monopoly is a monopoly (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495762)

This is BS. Most proper standards define a way to extend the standard with "proprietary" extensions in a way that they are put forth by a company, added to a register and implemented to that "proprietary standard". For example OpenGL has a lot of these and it's an excellent breading ground for the "glacially slow" standard standards.

HTML is a biased example because of it's history. The process has been subverted and it's broken, thanks to the early "web", large part in Microsoft and Netscape.

Most innovations happen on a way higher level than document format standards, but if the need arises proprietary extensions can be defined for a document format, then that can slowly be worked into a new version of the main standard. I see absolutely no issues here with requiring openness. It doesn't stifle innovation one bit.

Re:A monopoly is a monopoly (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496530)

Exactly. I want my tax dollars paying for something that will survive the vendor. Documented vendor extensions of a file format are great as long as they become an open, unencumbered standard available for the government to use to solicit new contracts.

This will still allow vendors freedom to make their own private standards for private use. But as soon as they get into government contracts, out comes the documentation.

Re:A monopoly is a monopoly (1)

qpeter (1298469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495556)

A monopoly is a unfair advantage in the marketplace. A standard is an agreed-upon way to do a given thing. If all the players agree on how things will be done -- assuming they can act on those standards -- that *reduces* the likelihood of monopolies occurring, because the playing field is leveled.

Our problem is that all we had was a set of mandatory standards set by exclusively the government (not by a public process), and later we succeeded guarantee by law that these standards will and remain to be open: you can use them free from any restrictions and royalty. "our organisation managed to put through an ammendment to the electronic public services law. The strategy was to avoid obvious confrontation, instead of open standards the phrase "public benefit" was used. unfortunately some important aspects (like democratic creation and maintainance) were lost in translation. Anyhow this is a win, that all electronic interfaces to the public utilities will be freely and gratis accessible even by libre 3rd party tools. huzzah! ;)" It is still a managed by the government but not closed. I don't know what kind of animal is it: what do you think?

There's open standard encryption methods (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495374)

Just like zero is a percent.

Microsoft is THE open standarad! (1, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495572)

They are the platform that anyone can compete on openly. Their platform is well documented and their formats are widely used. Many vendors compete head to head running from the same operating platform creating an open market that anyone can compete in.

Does it matter that Microsoft owns that market and the apps that access the data? Does it matter that the formats of the data are not open?

Control the apps and the format and you control the data. If that data is public/government data, does that disturb your sleep at all?

Re:Microsoft is THE open standarad! (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495958)

They are the platform that anyone can compete on openly. Their platform is well documented and their formats are widely used. Many vendors compete head to head running from the same operating platform creating an open market that anyone can compete in.
Does it matter that Microsoft owns that market and the apps that access the data? Does it matter that the formats of the data are not open?
Control the apps and the format and you control the data. If that data is public/government data, does that disturb your sleep at all?

Did you forget to click 'Post Anonymously', or are you expecting mod points of the 'Funny' type? - whoosh -

Does it matter that the formats of the data are not open?

Yes, that actually would matter. If only to historians. Because data that I (or my government) produce, are mine (theirs/ours), and I (they/we) am entitled to retrieve them. As of today we have the problem that data produced in proprietary formats one generation ago cannot be retrieved any longer, because subsequent versions of the product have seen other methods of storage (so-called format); and don't open those earlier files any longer.

They are the platform that anyone can compete on openly.

That's simply wrong, because exactly that platform is not fully documented, and requires the competitors to pay for some of that information, respectively enter a contract. One might call that capitalism, never mind, 'openly' this is not.

... creating an open market that anyone can compete in.

[Someone seems to be taken in by the word 'open'.] How can I compete in the market of word processors, if the format of the files are closed? How would that constitute an 'open market'?

Yes, a cauchemar is a disturbance of my sleep.

Re:Microsoft is THE open standarad! (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496582)

or are you expecting mod points of the 'Funny' type?

Which this comment did get, and another similar comment too. But seriously, the issue of open standards and vendor lock-in is NOT funny.

..the language (0, Offtopic)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495736)

So, let me get this straight - sure their standards may be open but so's the language:

(From Wikipedia) Hungarian is a Uralic language (more specifically a Ugric language) unrelated to most other languages in Europe. It is mainly spoken in Hungary and by the Hungarian minorities in the seven neighbouring countries. The Hungarian name for the language is magyar (Hungarian pronunciation: [mr]), which is also occasionally used as an English noun, such as Mighty Magyars.

In short, if you confuse us all enough but let us think the standards are 'open' will we buy the concept? Maybe the Hungarians might decide on Cobol as the country's default programming language and try to ram it down the EU's throat!! I think it's all a secret ploy to make Hungarian the default world language and this is their one shot at it (while being in 'charge' of the EU). This whole open standards thing is a front.

Re:..the language (1)

qpeter (1298469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495906)

yesss, and I am determined to prove a villain:)) But you have the point: if standards are set exclusively by the government that is dangerous: if Hungary (or the EU) can decide on mandatory Cobol, it will:((

Re:..the language (2, Funny)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496236)

I think it's all a secret ploy to make Hungarian the default world language

Meg is van.

Re:..the language (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496872)

Mi van?

I'm sure other countries will compete (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495754)

With Mandatory Closed Standards policy.

That is: ban on the use of open standards (due to their lack of obscurity / good security protected by the secrecy of the standard)

Does this allow for TIFF? GIF? (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496538)

Though I like the idea - after all why do I need to buy/download a crap product like MS Word to read a document - there are many "standards" which aren't open. Word .doc format is one. So is .xls and even the commonly used TIFF G-IV (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagged_Image_File_Format) commonly used by document scanning applications and GIF - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_Interchange_Format - used by photographic apps.

There's also DWF format for CAD files and MP3 for lossy sound compression. IIRC, those are not open either, but pretty much universal.

If using open source, supporting open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30496720)

I wonder how many engineers or how much money the Hungarian government will give towards open source projects... semms like mandating use of open source software would lead to a mandate to fund or support those projects with funds and personnel. JF

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