[fosscomm] Multiple standards [was DEADLINE [...]]

jtd jtd at mtnl.net.in
Sun Jul 12 06:41:08 PDT 2009

On Sunday 12 July 2009, Nagarjuna G. wrote:
> Multiple OPEN standards will not create social problems, but may pose
> technical problems, as exemplified in another domain by JTD in one
> mail.  I doubt if it causes any operational problems either.

A hall mark of Open standards is the ease with which one can transit from one 
to another. The lesser functionality is always preserved.

Secondly the existence of multiple standards should be viewed as a thorough 
failure of the standardisation process, rather than be touted as a reason for 
their existence and this is indeed the case with every multiple standard that 
i know of. 

Thirdly in case of government data whose lifespans exceed the lives of entire 
industrial segments never mind companies and technologies, whatever newer 
standard may evolve, they must be 100% backward compatabile. There can be no 
exception to the rule, simply because conversion of data would be impossible, 
given the extremely wide distribution of processes for generation, 
processing, storage, distribution and updation. 
signing keys issued by several government authorities on USB. Will these keys 
be readable nevermind useable 20 years from now? what happens to data 
encrypted and stored by me with these keys.

Watermarked videos used in courts as evidence and "exhumed" 15 years later.

> In such cases, multiple OPEN standards, we need not be too strict.
> Once, the litmus test of being an open standard is passed, I am OK
> with variety.  In such cases, technical and implementation decisions
> will effect their preference, and natural selection will determine
> their dominance.

However the backward compatibility clause will be mandatory.

> Since royaltee free character is one of the criteria of an open
> standrad, our second issue for representation is not actually a
> second
> issue. It however is an issue due to the suggested modification by
> At the end I think our message should be: strict open standards
> policy, multiple open standards may exist now and then due to
> historical and technical reasons, and will not cause greater harm,
> they may be expensive to maintain, but that is not 'criminal'.

Subject to being easily interoperable. Even incase of Open multiple standards 
if there is an interoperability issue then the legacy format would be the 


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