China is the most populous nation in the world, and the fastest growing economy on the globe. It also has vivid memories of historical oppression by foreign powers that are triggered when foreign patents are included in global standards. It’s in everyone’s best interests to welcome China into global standard setting circles, rather than encourage it to adopt protectionist standards of its own.
What is the correct response when the open source community calls for a boycott of an open standards consortium?
The advent of the Internet and the Web has unleashed a “Big Bang” of information that continues to expand exponentially. More than better search engines will be needed to reap its harvest, and the solution may lie in the tools of the past.
Consortia and accredited Standards Development Organizations sometimes seem like two neighbors that nod to each other, but rarely speak. It has never made much sense, and it makes less sense now than ever.
Standards are about more than dry technical specifications. They can be the tools employed to conduct international relations and to wage great commercial battles. They can also tell us something about our own ability to agree, and perhaps point the way to a better tomorrow.
The technical and the business press are full of news about standards-enabled products, but almost nobody writes about the nuts and bolts of actually creating them. But without a good process, you won’t get a good standard.
As Americans rush towards a closely contested election, its worth asking why a voluntary consensus process with no enforcement power is so successful at reconciling opposing interests, and gaining global support for its output.
Not only Open Source projects, but all manner of non-profit collaborative projects are springing up across the Web, bringing kindred spirits together to create valuable tools for the networked world. The unique attributes of the Internet and the Web are at the heart of a revolution in cooperative creativity and value creation.
Open source is at a crossroads: nurtured on the Internet by engineers, its now ready for primetime. But is the process that has brought us this far ready to meet the demands of commercial customers?
Technical standards have historically been the province of commercial interests. What response is appropriate when society demands a seat at the standard setting table?