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Mandatory Use of Open Standards In Hungary 163

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the you'll-be-open-and-like-it dept.
qpeter writes "Hungarian Parliament has made the use of open standards mandatory by law in the intercommunication between public administration offices, public utility companies, citizens and voluntarily joining private companies, conducted via the central governmental system. The Open Standards Alliance initiating the amendment aims to promote the spread of monopoly-free markets that foster the development of interchangeable and interoperable products generated by open standards, and, consequently, broad competition markets, regardless of whether the IT systems of interconnecting organizations and individuals use open or closed source software. In the near future, in spite of EU tendencies the Alliance seeks to make its approach – interoperability based on publicly defined open standards – the EU norm under the Hungarian presidency of the European Union in 2011. To that end, it will promote public collaboration – possibly between every interested party, civil and political organization in the European Union. What do you think: what would be the best way to cooperate?"
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Mandatory Use of Open Standards In Hungary

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  • by gardel999 (1691708)
    It's about time they opened up their goulash recipes.
  • XML for the win

      (and for programmers for the next 50 generations)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ClosedSource (238333)

      Yes, because in this "Web 2.0+ Age", plain ASCII just isn't bloated enough.

      Don't get me wrong, ASCII was plenty bloated when the web was young.

    • by lordtoran (1063300) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:23PM (#30495226) Homepage

      XML is abused way too often in places where it doesn't belong. Also it is not easy to read or edit with the ultimate tool - the good old text editor.

      • <reply>
        <recipient>lordtoran</recipient>
        <body>No it isn't</body>
        </reply>

        • by Phantom of the Opera (1867) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:25PM (#30495580) Homepage
          <lit><token><llama xmlns:xdc="http://www.xmlsucks.com/rocks"
                  xmlns:h="http://www.w3.org/HTML/1998/html4" >
            <freown>No its <![CDATA[<]]> really <![CDATA[>]]> not
               <reasons>
                 <reason>Poor Compression<![CDATA[>>]]> other languages <examples><example>JSON</example><example>YAML</example><example>CSV</example>
          <examples><reason>
               <reason>Goofy namespace</reason>
             <reason>Bad For Lists</reason>
            <reason>Packs too much in a node<examples><example>Its a scalar</example><example>its a list</example><example>has namespaces</example><example>Is a hash</example><example> and parsing is h
          orrid when a value <interruption>Interrupt</interruption> can be interspersed <kitten meow="woof"/> with sub<![CDATA[-]]
          nodes
          </reasons></freown></llama></token>

          This gets worse when you have thousands of lines of the crap to deal wtih.
          </lit>
          • by kdemetter (965669)

            I'm sorry , i couldn't parse your text :

            Error : A CDATA section was not closed.

        • by Velex (120469) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:28PM (#30495594) Journal
          <?xml version="1.0" encoding="US-ASCII"?>
          <reply-container guid="b8373d86-7ec8-47df-9978-38f6c52cd6a9" transfer-encoding="US-ASCII">
            <reply guid="f350c906-2a54-4597-bad8-30da6a68f827">
              <recipient-list guid="605ccf1a-4a4b-4f17-a9f4-a6dde6ffb7d6">
                 <recipient-descriptor guid="714a4edb-902a-4337-9aa6-933b45712ab0">
                   <name encoding="US-ASCII" guid="a81da860-9a46-4417-a6f2-028d05b95108">
                     sakdoctor
                   </name encoding="US-ASCII">
                   <uid guid="adb1ed5f-ef51-4fc3-9a72-76bd69fe480a">
                     1087155
                   </uid>
                 </recipient-descriptor>
               </recipient-list>
               <reply-content guid="0f71eeb7-2d20-4b71-891d-bff87f35a99f">
                 <body guid="8ee53a3b-b705-4117-a000-64f20674d9af">
                   <body-text encoding="US-ASCII" guid="3e48f58f-207b-49a9-b227-f4b390a9b247">
                     You call that XML&quot;
                   </body-text>
                 <body>
               </reply-content>
            </reply>
          </reply-container>
    • XML? More like EPIC FAIL.

      I prefer the following combination:
      Simplified EBML-like “binary XML”
      + a binary tag to XML tag mapper.

      That way I have nice efficient, completely flexible, binary data, that with the use of a ridiculously simple mapper, can be transformed back and forth between XML and itself, or upon opening and saving by a text editor.

      You know, just like the ASCII or Unicode mapping. But for structural information instead of for text content.
      It can even hold binary data as content, witho

  • Can anyone find an actual translation of the amendment or a better summary? TFA sounds like it was written in a combination of management-ese and marketing-speak.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by qpeter (1298469)
      Not yet. The original is here [nyissz.hu], we will publish if translated.
      • I've tried to take a look at it, but my ability to read Hungarian, particular legal documents, is limited.

        What isn't clear to me is would this rule out MS-Word documents for government communication? What about PDFs?

        • by Charles Dodgeson (248492) <jeffrey@goldmark.org> on Friday December 18, 2009 @10:17PM (#30496220) Homepage Journal

          I'm unable to understand the main post [nyissz.hu] (too much legal and technical jargon for my largely forgotten Hungarian knowledge), but I can read many of the comments.

          Someone specifically asked about docx and a comment reply said that docx would be allowed because of the ISO decision (in which Hungary supported making docx an ISO standard). Both the query and response were from ACs, but the response certainly seems plausible to me.

          The story of Hungary's ultimate support for Microsoft in the ISO is a long and twisted tale which I was only able to partially follow.

  • What do -I- Think? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:39PM (#30494906) Journal

    What do you think: what would be the best way to cooperate?"

    Easy. Github [github.com]

    NEXT

  • by mustafap (452510) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:43PM (#30494936) Homepage

    >What do you think: what would be the best way to cooperate?"

    Invade?

  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:45PM (#30494940)

    There are plenty of "open standards", and plenty of "closed standards" as well. If you were starting your own country and had to implement government data practices, which would you choose to implement, given:

    1) Open standards can be understood and used by anyone/any program that implements them, and
    2) Closed standards are locked down and hidden by the vendor that created them, forcing you to use their software?

    *Jeopardy music*

    • I'm am all for open source anything, but I wouldn't think the government really cares how easy a standard is to understand or implement. It's all about money. If closed standards were some how cheaper or even profitable then I would bet Hungary would be using closed standards. Before you ask how could closed standards be profitable I'll try my best to not look stupid explaining my idea: Say you have a huge monopoly organization that creates and implements closed standards (say in the Redmond area), this org
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572)

        Now would that be a country with 50 states and, for 49 of them closed standards are nothing more than an expensive overhead. Which in turns means that the federal government of that country in continuing to maintain closed standards means they are creating a bias in the system by penalising 49 states to fund 1 state. The reality is as standards open up so does employment and business opportunities. Closed standards just result in monopolies and bloated profits for a handful whilst the rest of the economy s

    • Sadly, most governments choose option 2 by default.

    • 1) Open standards can be understood and used by anyone/any program that implements them, and

      2) Closed standards are locked down and hidden by the vendor that created them, forcing you to use their software?

      Technically Closed standards can be understood and used by anyone/any program that implements them too.
      There are plenty of libraries out that that can read and write locked down file formats, such as the Biff-8 fileformat that used to be used by Excel.

      • Technically Closed standards can be understood and used by anyone/any program that implements them too. There are plenty of libraries out that that can read and write locked down file formats, such as the Biff-8 fileformat that used to be used by Excel.

        But are you differentiating between a file format and a standard, or just using the two terms interchangeably?

        • In the context of the orriginal post I don't see the difference.

          If a person understands and is capable of implementing something, of course it can be used in a program, regardless of the open of closed nature of the standard. If it's closed it may be harder to gain that understanding, but once the understanding is gained it can be used.

    • If I am starting a country, I'd ignore the question entirely. My secret police, however, would insure that any companies that used closed source standards would be compliant to my needs on demand.

      I jokingly mention this, because this is a good example where you can watch some multinationals butt heads with a state. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
    • by hackus (159037)

      Well, if I wanted to start a new "country" I would:

      1) Keep the standards closed and proprietary. However, at the same time, I would promote the idea of open standards and indicate that the reason why we cannot publish the standards that run the countries government is because they are currently a work in progress, and doesn't exist.

      But, we have everyones best interests in mind because we hold open conferences that discuss open standards. (Just not government ones that run the country.)

      2) We would invite t

    • by sleeper0 (319432)
      Is this a trick question? Whoever offered the best kick-backs of course.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Takeoff in 3...2...sir, please put the chair down until we've landed...1...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:00PM (#30495050)

    Mandating the use of open standards is anti-competitive and is harmful to taxpayers. Such a regulation prevents software publishers such as Microsoft from competing for government contracts because their standards are not open. Restrictions such as this never enhance competition but instead eliminate it by artificially reducing the number of bidders for any contract. While I understand the desire to embrace open standards, and why it would be a consideration for any government agency seeking bids for a project, it should not in itself disqualify bidders.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by VirginMary (123020)

      You are wrong, Microsoft is a just as free and able to implement open standards as anyone else, in fact, given their resources, it should be easier for them to do it that just about anyone else!

    • by lordtoran (1063300) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:29PM (#30495256) Homepage

      Well, then those software publishers finally have to compete on quality, not lock-in, and write software that is good at impementing the standard to win the bid.

      • There is a cost to implementing a particular open file format. You either have to store your internal data structures to match the open format, thereby making it possibly more expensive for you to do those features that are not easily done in other format. Or, you have to build a transformative layer to go to the external open format, causing you to spend money such that you have to drop a feature.

        So... the consumer does pay for open formats, and that is why closed formats won out initially. It's just now

    • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunityNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:32PM (#30495282) Homepage

      You're wrong sir. With open standards, any company can bid on projects. If their goal though is to secure future business by locking down their customer to only use their software, that's where I have a problem.

      Microsoft is perfectly free to write native import/export functionality into MS Office to enable ODF file support. If they did that though, their customers would find a seamless migration from MS Office products to competitors like Lotus Symphony, OpenOffice, etc.

      Microsoft and other vendors can cry all they like. They don't want to compete on fairness. They want their customers locked down so they don't have a choice.

      • by tjstork (137384)

        Microsoft and other vendors can cry all they like. They don't want to compete on fairness. They want their customers locked down so they don't have a choice.,

        No, the issue is that the open format causes you to spend money that could otherwise be made on adding new features. Compatibility with a standard is expensive and isn't as easy to sell as a new option of twisty text or new way of formatting a paragraph. Essentially open standards are an imposed stagnation on document creation tools, would be the arg

  • They are the platform that anyone can compete on openly. Their platform is well documented and their formats are widely used. Many vendors compete head to head running from the same operating platform creating an open market that anyone can compete in.

    Does it matter that Microsoft owns that market and the apps that access the data? Does it matter that the formats of the data are not open?

    Control the apps and the format and you control the data. If that data is public/government data, does that disturb y

    • by udippel (562132)

      They are the platform that anyone can compete on openly. Their platform is well documented and their formats are widely used. Many vendors compete head to head running from the same operating platform creating an open market that anyone can compete in.
      Does it matter that Microsoft owns that market and the apps that access the data? Does it matter that the formats of the data are not open?
      Control the apps and the format and you control the data. If that data is public/government data, does that disturb your

  • Though I like the idea - after all why do I need to buy/download a crap product like MS Word to read a document - there are many "standards" which aren't open. Word .doc format is one. So is .xls and even the commonly used TIFF G-IV (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagged_Image_File_Format) commonly used by document scanning applications and GIF - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_Interchange_Format - used by photographic apps.

    There's also DWF format for CAD files and MP3 for lossy sound compression. IIR
    • by g4b (956118)
      I used GIF in my photographic apps to store all my pictures, and now this damn closed format censored my colors!
  • MS makes lots of open standards software remmeber?
  • Remember, for schools? Thought I read that it has been ignored.

    Basically, we can predict this will be an "interesting" year for Microsoft Eastern European Sales. Hungary will get a good deal on next year's contract.

  • An "open standard" is publicly available and either 1) royalty-free or 2) licensed in a "reasonable and non-discriminatory" way (RAND).

    If you go royalty-free, that rules out H.264 and HE-AAC in the DVB-T digital television standard. Somehow I don't see that happening in Hungary.

    In truth, almost all telecommunication standards are royalty-free or RAND licensed. All ITU standards must be.

  • Which is It? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @12:13PM (#30499288) Homepage

    The article uses two phrase "open standards" and "publically-defined open standards" as though they are interchangable, even though there is a significant difference between the two. While making interfaces for IT publically available is a good thing, limiting everyone to a set of government defined standards is really a step backwards as it makes it impossible to innovate new interfaces.

  • We lead by following standards - Sape Mullender

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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