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24 April 2012, 17:18

UK Government Open Standards Consultation closes soon

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HM Government The UK Government's Open Standards Consultation period will come to an end soon and open standards advocates are calling on interested parties to submit their comments as soon as possible. The debate has predominantly centred around the question of FRAND (Free Reasonable And Non Discriminatory) and RF (Royalty Free) patent licences, with proprietary software companies reported to be lobbying for the former. Open standards advocates are calling for an RF patent policy as this allows open source developers to implement the standards without having to pay for patent licences.

The Open Rights Group (ORG), the UK non-profit digital rights group, is among those calling on people to respond to the consultation before it closes on 1 May. According to ORG Campaigner Peter Bradwell, the new consultation process, which began as the result of the UK Government withdrawing its previous recommendations, has already come under "intense lobbying" since it started in early February.

The consultation itself is organised into three chapters: criteria for open standards, open standards mandation and international alignment. The first section covers a proposed specification policy which describes, among other things, how patents should interact with open standards. The second section discusses how the government should mandate open standards within the public sector. The final section asks questions about how the policy will align with international standards bodies and other organisations outside the UK.

Respondents can offer answers to the consultation by posting responses and comments directly on the Cabinet Office's Open Standards Consultation web site. For any section, the site allows users to enter their name and email address and answer whichever questions they wish, as well as view other responses to the questions.

More traditional respondents can answer the queries by email or post, but should note with postal submissions that the consultation closes on 1 May. The consultation document is available to download as a PDF entitled "Open Standards: Open Opportunities - Flexibility and efficiency in government ITPDF".

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