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Mandatory Use of Open Standards In Hungary 163

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 ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:39PM (#30494902)

    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.

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

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:39PM (#30494906) Journal

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

    Easy. Github []


  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:45PM (#30494940) Homepage

    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*

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:54PM (#30495010)

    Maybe it would be nicer to you if you made it a sandwich and brought it a cold beer once in a while.

    When it's evolved to the point where it can make its own sandwich and drink its own beer, I might consider it. Also, he's dull, short, and stinks. No wonder he can't get a date.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:10PM (#30495130)

    I think you are confusing two different issues - standard vs. non-standard and open vs. closed. Choosing open over closed definitely does solve something.

  • by lordtoran ( 1063300 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:23PM (#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.

  • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <{digitalunity} {at} {}> on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:24PM (#30495236) Homepage

    This is something MS pulled off with the office format. Sure, the XML schema might be open but the binary blob data representing some of the elements is still closed.

    Open standards need be truly open, meaning easily accessible, free of cost, readable by anyone and patent unencumbered.

    As to the submitters question, the way to help is to be open and honest about the existing softwares capabilities and when the opponents speak about software inadequacy, keep your mind open and listen. There are ways in which some closed source programs are better than their OSS equivalents. For example - there is no ProE or Solidworks competition that is OSS. Not even close when you take into account the CAM, interference checking, flow analysis, strain modeling modules. If people want governments to take OSS software and standards seriously, they themselves have to be serious about making their software and their standards encompass the functionality of the status quo.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:27PM (#30495250)

    It's talking about companies, not standards. Standards can't have monopolies. Learn to reading comprehension.

  • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <{digitalunity} {at} {}> on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:32PM (#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 greenguy ( 162630 ) <estebandido AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:49PM (#30495382) Homepage Journal

    Who modded this insightful? Parent has no idea what they're talking about.

    A monopoly is a unfair advantage in the marketplace. A standard is an agreed-upon way to do a given thing. If all the players agree on how things will be done -- assuming they can act on those standards -- that *reduces* the likelihood of monopolies occurring, because the playing field is leveled.

    That said, I'm opposed to mandatory standards. I want people to be able to choose whatever way they want to do things they might like, and I want to be there, eating popcorn, as they spiral down in flames with their proprietary formats and measurements.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:59PM (#30495428) Journal

    I don't think anybody is saying "Everyone must use this standard." But to move to truly open standards (and not just fake ones like OOXML, no matter how Microsoft managed to scam its way through), has obvious advantages for large entities like governments and corporations. That's the beauty of something like 7bit ASCII. I can open up a file created in 1970, and every text editor, and pretty much every word processor, developed in the last four decades can read the file.

    But we don't use ASCII very damn much any more, so now we're stuck with proprietary formats like the Office formats, which even in their latest incarnation, have binary blobs and insanely complex documentation. On the other hand, we do have the ODF format, which while not perfect, is relatively easy to crack open and grab the data out of (I've written a PHP script to split out spreadsheet data, so it can't be that hard). The notion is that forty years down the road, data will be as portable to applications then as ASCII is to applications now. I think for governments, in particular, this isn't just a good idea, it should be a mandatory goal.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lordtoran ( 1063300 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:02PM (#30495456) Homepage

    I really cry for these oppressed US Americans, Liberians and Burmese who are oppressed by our standards tyranny yet still bravely resist and stick to intuitive units like 5/12 of an eighth of an adult foot's approximate length.

  • by Phantom of the Opera ( 1867 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:25PM (#30495580) Homepage
    <lit><token><llama xmlns:xdc=""
            xmlns:h="" >
      <freown>No its <![CDATA[<]]> really <![CDATA[>]]> not
           <reason>Poor Compression<![CDATA[>>]]> other languages <examples><example>JSON</example><example>YAML</example><example>CSV</example>
         <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[-]]

    This gets worse when you have thousands of lines of the crap to deal wtih.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:54PM (#30495762)
    This is BS. Most proper standards define a way to extend the standard with "proprietary" extensions in a way that they are put forth by a company, added to a register and implemented to that "proprietary standard". For example OpenGL has a lot of these and it's an excellent breading ground for the "glacially slow" standard standards.

    HTML is a biased example because of it's history. The process has been subverted and it's broken, thanks to the early "web", large part in Microsoft and Netscape.

    Most innovations happen on a way higher level than document format standards, but if the need arises proprietary extensions can be defined for a document format, then that can slowly be worked into a new version of the main standard. I see absolutely no issues here with requiring openness. It doesn't stifle innovation one bit.
  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @12:04AM (#30496402) Homepage

    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 suffers.

    It is wildly inappropriate for one company to define and change at will the document standards for a whole country, at this stage of computer industry development it has been corruption that has allowed this craziness to last as long as it has.

  • by eddy_crim ( 216272 ) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @02:02PM (#30499656) Homepage

    Yeah your right we should just give up trying to demand open standards. Lets all throw our hands up in the air and burn our computers .... or we could take this as a positive move in what will be a very slow and torturous process

  • by uassholes ( 1179143 ) on Sunday December 20, 2009 @02:49PM (#30505566)
    Oh, please. How difficult is it to understand that if a protocol is standardized, you allow multiple parties to interoperate. If you want to add new "features" submit them to the standards body.
    Is that you Bill Gates?

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun