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18 November 2009, 09:51

Open Web Foundation releases open specification agreement

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The Open Web Foundation (OWF), launched in July 2008 at OSCON, has announced that it has released its Open Web Foundation Agreement (OWFa) and the first ten specifications that are under this new agreement. The OWFa is akin to a open source licence for specifications, allowing companies to place specifications under a common recognised license. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and SafeMashUps are the first organisations to make use of the agreement.

The idea behind the OWF is to streamline the process of developing standards on the Web; traditionally, a specification would be presented to a standards body and go through a standardisation process, including draft versions and feedback, eventually appearing as a final standard, but this process takes time. With the OWF Agreement, anyone can take a snapshot or specific version of a specification and release it, allowing other companies to implement it without fear of copyright or patent repercussions. The process does not stop the standardisation process; for example SafeMashups are also incubating their MashSSL specification with the W3C while releasing the current version under the OWFa.

The ten specifications now under an OWF Agreement are OAuth Core 1.0, OAuth WRAP 0.9PDF, Google's PubSubHubbub and Salmon Protocol, Simple Web Tokens 0.9PDF, MashSSL 1.2.0, Yahoo's Media RSS 1.5.0 and Microsoft's Web Slice Format 0.9, XML Search Suggestions Format and OpenService Format Specification 0.8.

The OWF have also published a simple "Deed" which explains what is given (a free license and patent rights), what is allowed (to share, revise and implement the specifications), attribution requirements and how the agreement works in patent disputes. A full copy of the agreement is also available.


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