Last week, March 9, I had the privilege of representing Adobe at the Open Futures reception and meet up at SXSW, hosted by IEEE, W3C, Cisco and Adobe. The event was fun, full of excitement and indicative of the importance standards play in our ever-changing interconnected world. The event was in support of OpenStand, a movement dedicated to promoting a set of principles that enable standards to keep pace with technology and provide access to all.
The OpenStand principles are five in number. They reflect common sense dedicated to the advancement of technology based on merit. In short, the principles are:
- Cooperation among standards organizations
- Adherence to due process, broad consensus, transparency, balance and openness in development
- Commitment to technical merit, interoperability, competition, innovation and benefit to humanity
- Availability of standards to all
- Voluntary adoption
These principles, the Modern Paradigm for Standards have empowered the rapid development of the Internet and the World Wide Web.
In 1993, when Adobe released the Portable Document Format, the decision was made that the specification would be free for all to use. In 2008, Adobe worked to ensure that the newly published ISO 32000-1 standard for PDF would remain free for all to use.
The principles of OpenStand are embedded into Adobe culture and into the mindset of our decisions concerning standards and specifications. Adobe has and will continue to contribute to the creation of innovative activities and standards, as evidenced in this blog from the Corporate Standards group.
So how does this apply to open source? Obviously open source software both exists and innovates on standards. Many standards, as they innovate, use open source implementations to power the definition of the emerging specification. Witness such work as WebKit, OSGi and work within CSS. Emerging efforts tying open source to standards development are showing up in an ever increasing number of standards development organizations such as ECMA. Particularly but not limited to web standards, Adobe is actively involved in innovation to standards as well as open source projects in support of emerging technology
It is in the best interest of open source developers, be they individuals or corporations, that the principles of OpenStand be accepted and promoted. Open source developers lose when access to standards is limited and/or costly. Open source implementations win when access to the specification is freely and readily available, to allow creation of the best possible implementation to adhere to standards adopted worldwide. Open source implementations in turn drive innovation and create new markets, emerging technologies, on a worldwide level.
Not only open source developers but also foundations based on open source should recognize and support these principles. It is important that Linux distributions be able to offer compliant communications standards. It is important that browsers such as WebKit, Chrome or Opera support the appropriate standards. It is in the best interest of foundations such as Apache Software Foundation, Linux Foundation and Eclipse Foundation support the transparency, voluntary adoption and availability of standards to all.
Likewise, it is in your best interest to go look over the Modern Paradigm for Standards and decide if you can support these five principles promoting market driven standards that are global and open, to drive innovation for the benefit of all.