[Fsf-friends] DCOS Agreement on Procurement in Support of Interoperability and Open Standards emerges at 3rd IGF, Hyderabad

Anivar Aravind anivar.aravind at gmail.com
Sun Dec 7 10:56:41 IST 2008

6 December 2008

At the close of the final day of the 3rd Internet Governance Forum in
Hyderabad, India, the Dynamic Coalition on Open Standards (DCOS)
released an agreement entitled the "Dynamic Coalition on Open
Standards (DCOS) Agreement on Procurement in Support of
Interoperability and Open Standards."

Under the procurement agreement, governments, publicly funded and
non-profit institutions agree to promote interoperability and
accessibility through the use of open standards.

Dynamic Coalition on Open Standards (DCOS) Agreement on Procurement in
Support of Interoperability and Open Standards

3rd Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
Hyderabad, India
6 December 2008

The Contracting Parties,

*Recalling* the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
Declaration of Principles which states that "[i]nternational standards
aim to create an environment where consumers can access services
worldwide regardless of underlying technology,"

*Recognizing* that standards are increasingly global concerns,
involving goods and services that move in international trade across borders,

*Aware* that current competition and legal remedies may not be enough
to solve the inherent tensions that routinely arise in the realm of
patents and standards,

*Desirous* of encouraging procurement policies that require evaluation
of multiple, competing products based on open ICT standards in order
to ensure a level playing field for vendors, governments and

*Cognizant* of the need for procurement policies for software programs
that are predicated upon an open standard,

Open Standards

Given the multiplicity of interpretations of the term open standards,
for the purpose of this document we endorse as an acceptable
definition the position contained in the European Union's draft
European Interoperability Framework:

1) The open standard is adopted and will be maintained by a
not-for-profit organisation, and its ongoing development occurs on the
basis of an open decision-making procedure available to all interested
parties (consensus or majority decision etc.).
2) The open standard has been published and the standard specification
document is available either freely or at a nominal charge. It must be
permissible to all to copy, distribute and use it for no fee or at a
nominal fee.
3) The intellectual property - i.e. patents possibly present - of
(parts of) the open standard is made irrevocably available on a
royalty free basis.
4) There are no constraints on the re-use of the standard.

(IDABC EIF v2 draft (http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/7728))

As noted in the European Interoperability Framework cited above, open
standards or technical specifications must allow all interested
parties to implement the standards and to compete on quality and
price. The goal is to have a competitive and innovative industry, not
to protect market shares by raising obstacles to newcomers. Thus, open
standards or technical specifications must be possible to implement in
software distributed under the most commonly used open source
licences, with no limitations arising from patents associated with the
standard in question.

In addition to the above requirements, it is recommended that there
should be multiple independent implementations of the standard.

*Governments, publicly funded and non-profit institutions* agree to
implement the following policies.

Governments, publicly funded and non-profit institutions Hereby agree
to the following measures in order to promote interoperability and
accessibility through the use of open standards.

1. To create a policy statement on interoperability and open
standards, to be available to employees and the public.

2. By 2010, procurement of all software should be vendor neutral and
implement open standards

3. By 2010, tender specifications for hardware (including peripherals
and mobile devices) should require that manufacturers provide the
driver and interface information necessary to work with a reasonable
range of proprietary and free operating system platforms.

4. By 2010, all public facing web pages should conform to W3C
standards for structure, presentation and accessibility.

5. By 2010, tenders for the supply of web based services (for example,
online reservations) must specify the requirements of point 4.

6. By 2010, agencies should implement policies regarding the storage
and archiving of government data and records to ensure that data is
stored in open data and document formats.

Signed by the following parties:

Aslam Raffee, Government IT Officers' Council, OSS Working
Group,Republic of South Africa

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

Bob Jolliffe, Freedom To Innovate, South Africa

Centre for Internet and Society, India

Eddan Katz, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Hamid Rabiee, Sharif University of Technology, Iran

Knowledge Ecology International

Moving Republic, India

Shuttleworth Foundation, South Africa

Swathanthra Malayalam Computing, India

Endorsed by the following parties:
Bangladesh Friendship Education Society, Bangladesh

Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), India

Foundation for Media Alternatives, Philippines

OpenForum Europe

Anivar Aravind
7/1, 1st Floor, 1st Cross , Ankappa block
J.C Nagar, Bangalore -560006
Ph +91 9449009908 / +91 80 23435606

Any responsible politician should be encouraging a home grown Free
Software industry because it creates the basis for future jobs.
Learning Windows is like learning to eat every meal at McDonalds.

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