A group of 13 nations, organized by the Berkman Center for Law and Internet at Harvard, filed a report with the World Bank today, advocating greater use of open standards in government. According to a New York Times article, the "Roadmap for Open ICT Systems," argues that open systems are "a vital step to accelerate economic growth, efficiency and innovation."
The group defines an open standard as technology that is not owned by a single company and is openly published. Still, there is a huge debate in industry and among policy makers about how far openness should go.
The report makes clear that government policy should "mandate technology choice, not software development models."
It also points out that open technology standards - the digital equivalent of a common gauge for railroad tracks - are not the same thing as open-source software. Open source is a development model for software in which code is freely shared and improved by a cooperative network of programmers.