[fosscomm] Blog post on Open Standards

jtd jtd at mtnl.net.in
Thu Jul 9 10:23:43 PDT 2009


On Wednesday 08 July 2009, Venkatesh Hariharan wrote:
> http://osindia.blogspot.com/2009/07/draft-on-open-source-standards-splits.h
>tml
>
> Wednesday, July 08, 2009
>
> Draft on open source standards splits IT industry: Economic Times Report
>
> Economic Times carried a news report on the Draft IT Policy. For the
> last two or more years while the policy has been in the works, not a
> peep was heard out of NASSCOM or MAIT. Last month, when the policy was
> close to finalization, they argued for including royalty-based
> standards and the use of multiple standards for the same domain.
> According to the Economic Times report:
>
>     [] NASSCOM, the apex body for software companies, is vehemently
> opposed to the idea of a single and royalty-free standard. “Ways can
> be worked out commercially to make a large e-governance project
> viable. Making everything patent-free may not be a commercial
> proposition as there might not be good standards available. On the
> other hand, adopting a single standard may constrict the country to
> adopt an old standard, if a new and better standard emerges in future.
> We support multiple standards which ensure interoperability at zero
> cost,” says Rajdeep Sehrawat, VP, Nasscom.
>
> If the Automobile Association of India took a cue from NASSCOM's stand
> on multiple standards and argued that cars sold in India should have
> right hand or left hand drives (the choice being that of the vendor,
> of course) the number of accidents would go up exponentially. Now, if
> users also demanded their, ahem, "rights," and said, "We should have a
> choice of which side of the road we should drive on," accidents will
> go up another exponential level. The point is that standards are
> collective choices that are imposed upon society for the better of
> all. I have no choice in deciding which side of the road I can drive
> on, but my life is better off for it. How many standards do you wish
> to use? Do you want two different standards for web pages and the
> corresponding mess of pages not displaying properly? There is only one
> single HTML standard because the vision of the creators of the web was
> to unify people, not divide them. The best standards, like HTML and
> Unicode are those that are universally supported.
>
> NASSCOM's Mr. Sehrawat says, "On the other hand, adopting a single
> standard may constrict the country to adopt an old standard, if a new
> and better standard emerges in future. We support multiple standards
> which ensure interoperability at zero cost.”
>
> Is India "constricted" because we have adopted "old standards" like
> HTML and Unicode? The world migrated from ASCII to Unicode and is
> migrating from HTML to XML-based web pages even as we speak. The
> "multiple standards which ensure interoperability at zero cost" is a
> nice Trojan Horse to sneak in proprietary standards.

One would have to address the issue of new standards.
New standards would  have to be 100% backward compatible , besides the other 
requirements of being unencumbered. Thus Implementation of the new standard 
would automatically be able to work with older data with at least the same 
functionality and performance. Also old application will be able to use 
without degradation of functionality and performance, a subset of new data.

> Finally, will NASSCOM's suggestions benefit India? No, because the
> vast majority of standards are controlled by entities that lie outside
> our borders. If accepted, NASSCOM (and MAIT's) suggestions will mean
> that the country will pay huge royalties to foreign outfits. Does
> anyone remember what happened to us when the British East India
> Company came to us with a similar proposal?
>
> -0-
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-- 
Rgds
JTD



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