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Internet Standards Groups Unite Behind Open Processes

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the for-some-definitions-of-open dept.

The Internet 38

alphadogg writes in with an excerpt from Network World:"Five leading Internet standards bodies have joined together to articulate a set of guidelines for the creation of open standards that they say will foster continued innovation, competition and interoperability in the Internet industry. The IEEE, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the IETF, the Internet Society and the World Wide Web Consortium hammered out the language for their five basic principles for standards development over the course of the last few months. Dubbed 'OpenStand,' these lofty principles are envisioned as a modern paradigm for global, open standards development processes. The OpenStand principles are in sharp contrast to the more formal, government-driven efforts of rival standards bodies such as the International Telecommunication Union, which is an arm of the United Nations, and the International Organization for Standardization, a group of national standards bodies." Although the principles generally seem reasonable, they made no stand against patents in standards: "Standards specifications are made accessible to all for implementation and deployment. Affirming standards organizations have defined procedures to develop specifications that can be implemented under fair terms. Given market diversity, fair terms may vary from royalty-free to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND)."

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Not that it will help (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 2 years ago | (#41168969)

But maybe some one could send a copy to ISO and let them know how it is done.

Re:Not that it will help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169269)

I agree, the only "standards body" that I think has truly worked is the IETF. The ISO and anything sanctioned by the UN is an ultimate fail. True, the ISO has come up with some great standards but again, if your claiming them to be "Open" why do you need all the bureaucracy?

Re:Not that it will help (2)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169333)

I'm pretty sure the IEEE has worked pretty well also as its their standards you are using to be able to access the internet and post your comment

Re:Not that it will help (1)

hlavac (914630) | more than 2 years ago | (#41171205)

IEEE is pretty ridiculous with their choping of the standards into multiple parts that each costs as the whole former standard!

Re:Not that it will help (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169435)

MS has exposed that ISO will accept "Cash for Standards".
This has the ISO earning the acronym: "I Sold Out".

How many OTHER ISO standards have be bought?
For all we know, the MOO standard may be only one of many.

Posturing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41175373)

As far as I can tell, the whole point of this "OpenStand" posturing is to oppose Russian and Chinese posturing that the ITU ought to handle Internet governance issues and standards (see here [] for example). So, yeah, it's not aimed at ISO specifically, but it is aimed in that sort of general direction.

Oblig. (2, Insightful)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#41168995) []

But seriously, so, now we're defining metastandards? Could somebody please explain the implications of this?

Re:Oblig. (2)

kwerle (39371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41170175) []

But seriously, so, now we're defining metastandards? Could somebody please explain the implications of this?

No problem:

open? (2)

redneckmother (1664119) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169117)

So long as there are proprietary strings attached to the implementation of a "standard", it (in my view) can in no way be described as "open".

Re:open? (1)

sa666_666 (924613) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169271)

Yep, openness and proprietary concerns are diametrically opposed. The former seeks to standardize and homogenize, while the latter seeks to differentiate (aka, lock-in).

Re:open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169287)

Reasonable license fees can be a valid way to recoup the costs associated with creating the standard. As long as everyone pays the same cost, and anybody can get the standard it still fosters innovation. Also hackers can implement it, they just can't sell it.

Re:open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41174131)

Except that it means that products which are free can't use the standard.

That's a pretty big problem IMHO as it means that products like Firefox can't actually include things like h.264 as they would ultimately have to pay for royalties on it. I know, I know, it's free, not really, it's only free for a small number of installs after which they expect to be paid for all of the copies. And there's no exemption for free products. What's more there are no promises that this will remain the case in the future if the standard really takes off even more.

Which is precisely what they should be concerned with. For years the only thing I missed on *BSD was Flash and IE for the simple reason that people were using those rather than writing and coding sites that would be usable without those products. The last thing we need is for standards to outright require the use of certain products.

Re:open? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169297)

blu ray and dvd are open standards and they have patents. along with 3g wireless and wifi

if you want your patents as part of the standard you have to agree to license them to anyone who asks at the same low rate. otherwise the standard is changed to go around your patent

Re:open? (4, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169629)

the trouble is, you can make a standard for something like gsm phones, and have to pay motorola a cent or two for each device sold, in order to recompense them for the millions of dollars they spent innovating something essential to such devices. Then someone else comes along and says "you can't have it rectangular" and you have to give them billions.

This is why the patent encumbrance is a bad thing for open standards. I would be happy to have all patents used in such devices considered under the same FRAND terms, that would be ok, so you'd pay 1c per device if you made it rectangular with rounded corners or use a swipe to unlock it etc. Or I'd like to say no patents allowed whatsoever for open standard-based devices, but I'd worry that would only make companies spend their energies making non-standard things instead.

So, yes, patents, but all on the same terms.

Re:open? (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41171085)

There's a difference in that example though. There is no standard that says "must be rectangular". The shape of the device shouldn't be specified in the standard. As a result, you can implement a gsm phone that is spherical, or cylindrical, or whatever shape may strike your fancy, as far as the standard is concerned. What happens outside of the standard is a whole different issue.

Re:open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41174145)

Technically you're correct, but who would want a square or a disk shaped phone? The reason why they're rectangular is because the distance from the ear to the mouth is best managed with a rectangle. I guess you could do an oval or an ellipse, but then you'd have an awkward shape with wasted space inside or a really tough to manufacture circuitboard inside.

So, no, it's not technically a standard, but it might as well be.

no purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169129)

this debate serves no purpose.

Re:no purpose (1)

pellik (193063) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169461)

Yes, clearly this article is... sub-standard.

Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169219)

Why is Slashdot posting so many comedy articles lately ?

bleargh (1)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169273)

Apparently nobody reads Padlipsky anymore.

I have a simpler creed (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169343)

"Don't be a douchebag."

If the internet were based on this very simple notion of resolving our differences in a civilized fashion, and having honest and intelligent debate, 98% of this kind of crap would go away. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a single mother getting uppity about her uterus rights on Facebook, and I have a three o'clock with some mormons on a website to ask how magnets work.

*puffs up chest* *whoosh* *flies away*

Re:I have a simpler creed (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169503)

"Don't be a douchebag."

If all interpersonal interactions were based on this very simple notion of resolving our differences in a civilized fashion, and having honest and intelligent debate, 98% of this kind of crap would go away.


Re:I have a simpler creed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169713)

"Don't be a douchebag."

Sorry, can't help you there []

Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169511)

Of course they made no stand against patents. That would do nothing but alienate the very companies they want adopting and helping to develop the standards. Otherwise they'll just go to ITU, ISO or roll their own which makes things even worse. These groups do not care about the GNU manifesto or furthering your war against patents.

IEEE involvement makes this a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169825)

Considering I have to pay for IEEE standards I would not consider them open and their involvement makes this group a

FRAND is a fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41170123)

(F)RAND standards cannot deliver a level playing field for participants in the software market. Most (F)RAND standards require a royalty fee to be paid for each copy of a program that is distributed. This is eminently impossible for Free Software, which anyone may copy and distribute as they choose. It also clashes with the prohibition on additional restrictions imposed by the GNU General Public License, the most widely used Free Software license. (F)RAND standards also discriminate against Free Software distributed under "permissive" licenses that allow proprietary implementations, since they often lack a central body which could successfully negotiate for a patent license. This is likely to pit small implementers against large, well-resourced patent holders, resulting anti-competitive terms.

Re:FRAND is a fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41171755)

Translation: I am opposed to paying for things, therefore anybody who expects me to pay for things is wrong and must change to suit me.

If you use some software license whose entire purpose is to destroy an industry, don't be surprised when that industry does not give a shit about you.

You need to explain why that is wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41176283)

Why, precisely, is that wrong?

And don't give me this crap about how you have to pay for food. Why is it wrong for internet standards to be REQUIRED free of all encumberance?

And, given that the internet industry is based off FOSS and patent free standards, "the industry" is telling you twats that you can't have your patents in our internet.

Best comment at TFA (1)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | more than 2 years ago | (#41170381)

One "PeteX" writes:

Looking on the bright side, though, I've patented /dev/zero. I'm going to sell your own zeroes back to you, at 1p per megabyte. I'm offering a discount if you buy a gigabyte of zeroes all at once.

That'd be a savings from ten pounds of naughts.

This is about the ITU, not about patents! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41170465)

Don't miss the forest for the trees. Yes, it would be nice if we did not have to worry about patents, but this is not the fight we are in today. The enemy is censorship and state control, and that's what countries like China and Russia are pushing through the ITU. They want the ITU to take control of the Internet, and they want to make the ITU standards mandatory. You see how this can lead to mandatory to implement surveillance functions, censorship and the like.The ITU standards are approved through a "one country one vote" process.

If you think ISO is corrupt, you have not met the ITU -- lavish offices, sinecures for bureaucrats, political intrigue, secret processes, pay-to-read standards, you name it. And they of course allow for all kinds of patent fees, as seen for example in H.264.

Let's please focus on liberty for now, not be randomized by the patent issue.

Hypocrites (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41170547)

Here is an "open" IEEE wifi standard hidden behind a paywall [] not to mention the nasty patents attached to it. If they really care about openness, licence their existing standards under CC.

Re:Hypocrites (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41170639)

oh god forbid you pay 5 dollars that goes to paying them for making it available for you.... Open doesnt mean Free. Geeks need to get that through their thick skulls that just because something is open for everyone to use DOESNT mean its going to be free.

Re:Hypocrites (1)

ShoulderOfOrion (646118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41175457)

I only wish most of the standards bodies had fair and reasonable terms like $5. Some examples: let's say you want to make a small USB peripheral device. If you want a vendor ID, expect to pay $2000 to the USB-IF. You want an OUI from IEEE so you can create your own Ethernet MAC addresses? That's $1825. How about a copy of the VESA DisplayPort 1.2 standard? They'd prefer you become a member, at $3500 a year. Forget about HDMI. That starts at $10000 a year.

If you're an electronics hobbyist, or someone into the Maker hobbies, or a small manufacturer, forget about it. The big boys don't want you playing in their sandbox. For example, when one company had the bright idea of buying a USB vendor ID (a 16 bit number) and then selling chunks of the associated product ID block (another 16 bit number) to hobbyists and small companies for a small fee, the USB-IF had a fit and shut them down by threatening to sue.

Far too often, standards bodies are more like craft guilds than impartial protectors of the common good. Invariably it is the open and accessible-to-all standards, like those from the IETF, that generate the most long-term economic activity and public good. (Like, the Internet.) But, that notion is not what most 'standards' bodies are about. A standard is not 'Open' when the cost of entry is prohibitive to all but the largest companies, and small companies and individuals need not apply. When I, an individual, can buy a copy of the DisplayPort standard for $5 so I can interface my custom Rasberry Pi device to my monitor, or when I can click on a link on the MPEG LA website and pay $5 for a 'license' to use whatever H.264 encoding software I choose, only then will your premise that I should 'pay' have any validity whatsoever.

One Standard (1)

deapbluesea (1842210) | more than 2 years ago | (#41171497)

One standard to rule them all, One index to find them,

One group to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

Re:One Standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41172255)

This is meant to be related standards, not a game of where's my finger with Google!

FRAND cannot exist. It's self-contradictory. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41176275)

Unless there is inherently a barrier to entry (there is non in developing software for the internet), FRAND is self contradictory, since if it has *any* payment or can be blocked (see WoW and Iran) or requires specific agreements (if each router has to ask the copyright owner if they can copy this packet, the internet WILL NOT WORK and the copyright owners will never get any work done for all the requests), then it WILL be unfair and discriminate against the member of the public who wishes to write their own software to interoperate.

FRAND for internet standards are self-contradictory.

lofty principles are envisioned as a modern paradi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41177041)

Anything that says "lofty principles are envisioned as a modern paradigm" has fail written all over it.

Hail: O' Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41185219)

Here is your big chance to go your own way again.

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