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Open Internet Standards 29 August 2014

Keeping the Internet Open: Happy Anniversary, OpenStand

Olaf Kolkman
By Olaf KolkmanPrincipal - Internet Technology, Policy, and Advocacy

Today, 29 August 2014, marks the two-year anniversary of signing the OpenStand principles. To refresh your memory, OpenStand is “a jointly developed set of principles establishing a modern paradigm for global, open Internet standards, including:

  • Cooperation among standards organizations;
  • Adherence to due process, broad consensus, transparency, balance and openness in standards development;
  • Commitment to technical merit, interoperability, competition, innovation and benefit to humanity;
  • Availability of standards to all, and
  • Voluntary adoption”

These are not new principles – rather, they are the reflection of decades of working practices that have been instrumental to the history of Internet standards creation. These principles embody a spirit of industry cooperation and collaboration that is driven by respect, clarity, fairness, and inclusiveness.

To mark this anniversary, the OpenStand website has introduced two new infographics on “The Five Core Principles of OpenStand” and “10 Benefits of Open Standards.”

Looking at the Benefits infographic I observe that some, or even most, benefits are generic and apply to the other standards development paradigms as well. But the OpenStand paradigm results in a unique combination of benefits. OpenStand makes explicit what most of us know: The success of the Internet is dependent upon the way it has been developed. In the Internet Society’s “Internet Invariants” paper, this is explained as: “The Internet requires some basic agreements and social behaviour – between technologies and between humans,” after which the paper enumerates “interoperability and mutual agreement,” “collaboration,” and “reusable [technology] building blocks.” All these resonate with the OpenStand principles. The final invariant, “There are no permanent favorites,” is embedded in the voluntary OpenStand principle.

Allowing the community of Internet technology developers and users to experiment, create technologies of their own design, and feed their real-world experience back into the standards process supports the uniquely innovative character that has been the hallmark of the Internet.

Your organization can also publicly support the OpenStand principles by signing up here.

Happy anniversary, OpenStand!

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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