Open Standards

This definition is supported by these organisations:

Open Standards

Version 1.1 - 2004-05-04


The purpose of open standards is to ensure "interoperability" (that systems can interact without problems) between independent products. This ensures free competition in a free market, and, at the same time, makes it considerably easier for consumers to use the products in new areas and in new ways for the benefit of society, which thus puts the current technology to full use.

It is therefore necessary to reach agreement on a common definition of Open Standards that can be applied by everybody.


An open standard meets the following requirements:

  1. It is well documented with the complete specification publically available.
  2. It can be freely implemented without economical, political or legal limitations on implementation and use.
  3. It is standardized and maintained in an open forum (also called "standards organization") via an open process.

Elaboration of the definition on open standards

Re 1. Well documented

A product, which claims to be based on open standards must be able for all interfaces which are necessary for interoperability and to integrate with its surroundings to refer to the complete technical documentation necessary to create interoperable products.

In order to ensure interoperability and to lessen the possibilities of technical problems in the interaction between different products, it is necessary that the exact name or denomination of the standard and complete and detailed technical documentation is easily available. The documentation must be published in an ordinary way.

The requirement ensures that it is technically possible to implement the standard with the highest degree of interoperability, and that anyone wanting to implement the standard can obtain the documentation.

Re 2. Freely implementable

There must be no restrictions on usage and implementation of the standard. There must for example be no fees required to use the standard or distribute a product which implements it. There must be no political limitations such as discrimination against nationality, sex, race or religion on the usage or implementation. The user of the standard must not be required to meet requirements of specific legal contracts to be able to use or implement the standard.

The requirement ensures that nobody are excluded from the infrastructure of the society due to for example economical, cultural or political reasons, and that no manufacturer is excluded from making products which can be used in the infrastructure.

Re 3. Maintained in an open forum via an open process.

An open process requires the existence of clear, transparent rules for the procedures of standardization.

It is important for an open standard that it is independent of individual interests and that everybody has the possibility to contribute to the maintenance of the standard. The ensures the integrity of the standard, its usability and its international recognition.

The requirement ensures that anyone can influence the standard. It is important that the technical content of the standard is so that all users' needs will be catered for. For instance, it is essential for Danish users that the POSIX standard has support for internationalization and thereby makes it possible to support Danish (locales), that there is an exchange format for email which are 8-bit (ESMTP), that there is a locale standard where, amongst other things, you may define that the week starts on a Monday (as it does in Denmark), and where week 1 of a year is situated (ISO TR 14652), and that there are character set conversion standards (as RFC 1345). It is important that the process is truly open, so even small participants can have influence. None of the mentioned facilities would likely have been standardized, if small Danish contributors had not had real votes in the relevant standard organization. It is difficult to know if these facilities would have been standardized at all, but it's safe to say that they would not have been nearly as widely available.

This definition is maintained by DKUUGs standardization body <>, which is an open body under DKUUG.

Related pages

The following organisations/companies support and recommend the definition of an open standard described above.

DKUUG DKUUG (Danish Unix User Group) er en dansk IT-forening, stiftet den 18 november 1983. Foreningens formål er at udveksle information og erfaringer omkring åbne systemer og generelt den nyeste viden indenfor operativsystemer, Internet, kommunikation samt udviklingsteknologier og -sprog.
Kontaktperson: Sidsel Jensen <> - Chair of DKUUG.
SSLUG SSLUG Skåne Sjælland Linux User Group - Gruppe af Linuxbrugere med base i Øresundsregionen.
Kontaktperson: Gitte Wange <> - Chair of SSLUG.
PROSA PROSA er et partipolitisk uafhængigt fagforbund udelukkende for it-professionelle.
Kontaktperson: Peter Ussing - Formand. Ahlefeldtsgade 16,1, 1359 København K.
IT-Pol IT-Politisk Forening er et forum skabt med henblik på at skabe debat og opmærksomhed omkring samfundsmæssige, IT-relaterede spørgsmål.
Kontaktperson: Jørgen Elgaard Larsen, <>,
Foreningen for Open Source Leverandører i Danmark Foreningen for Open Source Leverandører i Danmark ønsker et reelt markedsbaseret valg mellem forskellige typer af softwareudvikling og -licenser, således at valget af open source software sker på grundlag af kvalitet, pris, anvendelighed og hensigtsmæssighed.
Kontaktperson: Morten Kjærsgaard <>, Formand for Foreningen for Open Source Leverandører i Danmark (OSL).
Internet Society (DK) Internet Society (DK) er en ikke-kommerciel organisation, der opererer uafhængigt af nationale særinteresser. Formålet med ISOC er, at skabe et forum, hvor professionelle internetbrugere kan diskutere Internetrelaterede emner, såsom standarder, uddannelse og politiske spørgsmål om Internettets udbredelse.
Kontaktperson: Martin von Haller Grønbæk <>, Formand for ISOC.DK.
BSD-DK BSD-DK er den danske *BSD brugergruppe. Med *BSD menes alle de operativsystemer, som fx. FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD samt MAC OS X, der er baseret på Berkeley Software Distribution grenen af Unix.
Kontaktperson: Anders Søndergaard Jensen <>, Vice chair of BSD-DK.
KLID KLID - Kommercielle Linux-interessenter i Danmark
Kontaktperson: Keld Simonsen <>, Næstformand for KLID.
AaUUG AaUUG - Aarhus Unix User Group - er en århusiansk Unix-brugergruppe. Med Unix menes der alt fra de kommercielle Unix-varianter til de frie operativsystemer som BSD og Linux.
Contact address: The board <>, The board of AaUUG.
NJLUG NJLUG - Nordjyllands Linux User Group - er en nordjysk Linux-brugergruppe, der arbejder for udbredelse og kendskab til GNU/Linux og frit software. Kontaktadresse: Georg Sluyterman <>, Dato: 2007-04-21.

Other organisations or companies, who also would like to support the definition given above are welcome to participate. Please send the following information to <> : Logo or URL to logo, URL to your homepage, contact person incl. contact information, as well as a short description of the organisation/company that is represented.

Copyright © 2004 DKUUG