Webinos at the Digital Agenda – Interoperability and standardization workshop
Nick Allott and I were at the first Digital Agenda assembly in Brussels this week and it was indeed an interesting experience.
Firstly, The European Commission and Neelie Kroes should be commended for the Digital Agenda program and hopefully this program will become a channel for long term discussion on policy issues
The interoperability and Standardization workshop had the agenda:
This session will discuss two different subjects related to standards and interoperability.
Firstly, how can public authorities ensure that best use is made of existing standards in public procurement in order to avoid lock-in into proprietary technology and enhance interoperability (Digital Agenda action 23)?
Secondly, how to boost interoperability (and innovation) in the absence of formal standards, e.g. through the licensing of interoperability information (Digital Agenda action 25)?
Making use of standards in ICT systems will enhance interoperability and therefore stimulate innovation and lead to more choice and better products for IT consumers.
My initial comments were:
a) The definition and agenda for the workshop defined the discussion – ie the emphasis on public procurement and lockin are important but are still only a subset of the overall Open standards discussion. While this is a limitation of the format and the time, the agenda sets the stage and the output as well
b) The experiences of the Swedish, Italian and Dutch governments were interesting because they were based on real experiences
Most importantly, most of the discussion centered on last decade’s battles. The next decades will be determined by a completely different paradigm for example: considering Webinos – Why don’t we use Open source as a collaboration mechanism instead of Open standards? Ie standards are slow. If you wanted to get collaboration, you could share a common code base and depending on the OS license, you could still maintain proprietary extensions
In other words, I would have liked to see the issue of standards linked to collaboration and also innovation