hroughout most of the Twentieth Century, the world worked to create a rational, centralized, democratic system of standard setting. Then, a significant portion of one industry opted out when the demands on that system changed. Now, the system is once again under stress. What will happen this time?
China’s long march to accession to the WTO resulted in the loss of its ability to impose protectionist tariffs, and limited its ability to set domestic standards. In response, it has developed one of the most formidable standard setting infrastructures in the world, and is testing its new constraints under the WTO.
Is “openness” (as in open standards) in the eye of the beholder, or are there fundamental and unalterable principles upon which all should agree? The answer to this question is crucial — and is somewhere in between.
The creation and use of “commonalities” (of which standards are but a recent example) has been part of human history for thousands of years. What we can learn from this phenomenon merits closer and more serious study.
Traditionally, the United States government has paid scant attention to voluntary consensus standards. But in 1980, that began to change. In this article, we review the laws that require the Federal agencies to use and support standards, and how they go about fulfilling that obligation.
Some stories from last year continued to be active, while others sank from sight. And, of course, many new ones emerged on a daily basis. Here is the standards news of 2004 that we think was most important, and why.
Most people who create a standard setting organization have never done so before, and may not even have participated in one. Here’s how to set up the technical process, from soup to nuts.
The United Nations has a multi-billion dollar budget and too often fails to create consensus around the most vital issues of the day, while the global standard setting infrastructure operates on a shoe string, and maintains hundreds of thousands of widely adopted standards. Perhaps there’s something that the diplomats can learn from the engineers.
The IT economy enables a new form of non-market, non-corporate activity to exist: “networked peer production”, of which Open Source software is but one example. Networked peer production makes possible the realization of an alternative, post-capitalist economic vision based on value, not profit, working alongside traditional markets and businesses.
More and more end users are becoming interested in open source products, but some have doubts about the security, support, risk of infringement and completeness of open source software. What are the stumbling blocks between here and broad adoption, and how can they be cleared away? Three industry experts give their views.