Standards make open source political

Those who favor open standards and, just as important, royalty-free open standards, which are at the heart of the Internet, have to be in the political game, or we're guaranteed to lose.

A National Open Centre think tank launched this week in England, at the Houses of Parliament.

This news got me wound up for a rant condeming how politics shouldn't determine standards, but the market. Then I ran into this, a Microsoft complaint against IBM for pushing Open XML.

And I realized something important.

Technology decisions have to become political when standards are at stake. Billions of dollars, and corporate survival, can be on the line when groups like the ISO make decisions like this.

As Alcatel proved last week, a standards decision which goes your way can bring a giant windfall, perhaps many years later.

Those who favor open standards and, just as important, royalty-free open standards, which are at the heart of the Internet, have to be in the political game, or we're guaranteed to lose.

It's just a shame it has to be this way.

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