back to article BSA slams EC's 'narrow-minded' interoperability vision

An open standards row is brewing between the EC and a lobbying group for software multinationals over a proposed European framework on interoperability – a draft of which is due to be published on 15 July. The Interoperable Delivery of European e-government Services to Public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens (IDABC) …


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  1. Mark

    Bull Shit Artists

    [“Our concern is that they [IDABC] will still insist on standards that have no intellectual property [IP] rights and they will not revise the definition of an open standard as contained in EIF version one,” he said.]

    So I would have to pay whatever licensing fee (and obey whatever EULA restriction foisted upon me) if I wanted to interoperate with the government, if the BSA bastards get their way.

    How nice of them.

    Hey, if they're concerned that there will have no IP rights, then why not put them under an IP rights license: GPL!


    What, they don't want such a non-free license?

    OK, BSD. It's still an IP license. Many companies already USE BSD.

    Done, dusted.

    (what a bunch of self-serving fuckwits)

  2. Anthony Zacharzewski


    Don't you mean EU? Or is this something else?

  3. Caff

    something else

    EC can refer to the european community ( which wont be abosrbed fully into the eu unless the lisbon treaty is ratified ) or it could refer to the european commission

  4. analyzer
    Paris Hilton

    What a suprise!

    Someone says Open standards, none of your rubbish patants in it like, and suddenly the MS shills are running around screaming about the falling sky.

    Heavens above, they may actually have to compete properly, the cheek of these EU whippersnappers, how dare they imply that these overly rich and out of date companies should have to work for their rightful portion of the EU surfs tax money.

    Bollocks to the lot of them, EU should put it more bluntly. Open standards only or f*ck off.

    About bloody time

    Paris, she knows more about 'Open' than any of those tossers

  5. Eddie Edwards

    I'm with the BSA on this one

    Going for patent-free IP-free open standards is a dogmatic approach, not a practical one.

    For the rabid FOSSer above, I presume you never play MP3 audio or MPEG-2 movies. Those are open, IP-restricted standards, and they work just fine.

    This is something that needs looking at case-by-case. Document standards might want to be more open and less IP restricted but to say "never" to any standard that has any aspect of IP is just stupid ideological bullshit.

    (BTW, is it just me, or was that article nigh-on incomprehensible?)

  6. Les Matthew

    @Anthony Zacharzewski

    EC = European Commission

  7. g e
    Thumb Up

    No more milk?

    The Biased Self-serving Alliance are probably worried that they can see the tit they suckle from drying up somewhat if people use Open Source.

    I think I just found ANOTHER reason to use and recommend O-S stuff.. bringing about the demise of this shifty bunch is SUCH a fine-looking carrot to their shitty stick...

    I remember a place I worked at a while back getting a BSA 'letter' ... we wrote back to them saying 'Please pop round whenever you like, we weren't aware you covered Linux software applications and would greatly value your input.'

    Never heard from those arses again... I guess we didn't look like a tit to them.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Almost all standards that help interoperability"

    Almost all?? So some don't? Like the ones with gotchas, and selective licenses etc.? You mean the ones that a certain BSA member is trying to force down our throats?

    What is the point of standards? Interoperability! So it's the lack of a barrier to interoperability that is the gain?

    And where IP or contracts are agreed that restrict that interoperability that detracts from the standard right?

    And if the standard only covers v1 and prevents branching, then the terms for the license to v2 v3 etc. are unknown. So it adds an uncertainty to the standard right?

    Potentially v2 would further restrict the right to fewer companies.

    And v3 might restrict the right to only the single vendor. It can create a standard of one???

    So the potential outcome is NO interoperability because of the way the vendor structures their IP claim and EULA. The complete opposite of what you're after! So it's not unreasonable for the EC to anticipate this gotcha BEFORE the get bitten in the ass by it and fix it.

    Just because you think you spotted a loophole in the standards process, doesn't mean the EC can't close that loophole. Wishing they would go back to the definition of a standard that includes your loophole doesn't make it so.

  9. david

    Bunch of timewasters...

    ...that's all really.

  10. Mark

    Re: I'm with the BSA on this one

    WHAT pragmatic approach?

    Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD. Patent pissing match and a 8-10 year haitus before anyone knows what the fuck to buy.

    Ethernet: Beat out the competition (which WERE licensed) because all the manufacturers saved on license fees. And economies of scale meant that we got cheaper and more capable networks.

    DEMANDING that there be "IP" (which is stupid, the intellectual property IS the standard, fuckwit) is a dogmatic approach. It injects a monopoly status into a standard and a monopoly kills off a free market. Are you a communist, demanding that the government power be used to distort markets for The Chosen Few?

  11. John Latham


    Said Müller before concluding: “Some attention should be paid to open source as long as it does not lead to decreased profits for our members or any savings for government."

    Corrected for accuracy.

    I run a software business. The BSA do not speak for me. Their whining is pathetic, and unrepresentative of the IT industry as a whole.

  12. Dazed and Confused


    > "BSA’s European software policy director Benoit Müller told The Register that despite years of lobbying from the group, which represents the likes of proprietary software pushers Microsoft et al, the Commission has missed a trick with its reworking of the EIF."

    Am I the only person that read that as

    Look we've spent all this money on persuading you to do as we say and your not doing it. Look we've been spending money here. Don't you realise that the more money we spend on lobbying the more you are supposed to do as we say.

    I sense a bunch of scared lobbyists here realising that the wheels are about to fall off there gravy train.

  13. Andraž Levstik


    But we’re against preference policies,” said Müller before concluding: “Some attention should be paid to open source as long as it does not lead to discrimination.”

    So it's OK for you to discriminate but not for them... Get the hell out of the EU...

    I'm so happy that the EC has so many teeth and is NOT afraid to use them!!! GO EC!!!

    "I presume you never play MP3 audio or MPEG-2 movies."

    There are better alternatives... namely:

    Vorbis(packaged in Ogg) and Theora(packaged in Ogg) there's also FLAC so yeah...

    It is actually possible to live without those...

  14. Dave


    From UNESCO:

    "Standard 1. a set of guidelines, usually drafted by experts in a particular field of technology, that are issued for general use by national and international standards organisations."

    Note the use of the work 'general', ie everyone may make use of.

    A design that contains restrictions can never truly be called a standard.

  15. Mark

    RE: I'm with the BSA on this one

    I use OGG. However, LAME encodes MP3 and doesn't obey the patent licensing. MP3 encoding is only patented in Germany (it's a foreign company you're paying money to!) and the US.

    MPEG2: I use free software that doesn't pay a license to MPEG-LA. I use xvid when encoding my own stuff. When theora is available with hardware acceleration I'll use it.

    If I were to create an interoperable program and the patent owner were to demand a payment, how does this help interoperability? I refuse to pay and there's no interoperability.

    If I were to create a standard and it was approved but said "NO MS implementations. No use on MS Operating machines", that's no different to MS's approach to the GPL when it comes to licensing their "open protocols".

    How has that helped interoperability?

    Remember: the standard has to be good enough to pass and if it is good, why should it not pass and ignoring the effect of banning microsoft solutions? After all, you and the BSA think that a license that excludes players is fine, so excluding MS will be fine, yes?

  16. alex dekker

    If the BSA are against it... can't be all bad.

  17. yeah, right.


    The BSA and CompTIA are against this proposal? Must be a good one then, something that we really need to see adopted.

    Standards SHOULD be free of patents. Any corporation wanting their technology incorporated into an internationally approved standard should, in exchange, give up any patent claims to that technology. Otherwise, you get things like the Qualcomm bait-and-switch, or the Microsoft OOXML boondoggle.

    Real standards are meant to increase interoperability. IP claims, by design, reduce interoperability. Therefore IP claims have no room being included in anything claiming to be a real standard.

  18. Neil Paterson

    Hold on...

    Presumably the BSA think that versions that contain IP would improve metres, seconds, etc?

    Or am i missing something?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I really don't see what all the fuss is about. Nobody is saying that the commercial firms shouldn't make any money. Nothing is stopping them creating their own software suite, as long as it is capable of reading and writing in the open format.

    It's about our access to the information and not being forced to pay just to be able to communicate. They want to own an idea. Heh, yeah right.

  20. Henry Cobb
    Thumb Down

    The place for IP in gov IT

    The place for IP is in processing government data, not locking up the data in a format that is under the control of an outside entity with every incentive to make that format slowly unusable so as to force upgrades and rework.

  21. Raife Edwards

    This is truly asinine...

    The "BSA" is nothing more than a, narrow, special-interest, lobbying-group, ...created by, and for, a very specific purpose.

    It [The BSA] ONLY exists to promote a predetermined set of goals (which solely benefit its, entirely-self-interested, creators/members)... and which in no way represents any type of common-sense, fair-market ideals, or any effective market-choice, what-so-ever.

    Put bluntly... this group actually exists, solely, to serve illegal (and, even, convicted) monopolists, IP-abusers, and intentional market-manipulators.

    Frankly, this is, fundamentally, no-different from listening to the Neo-European-Nazi-Party... on issues of basic international Human-Rights assurances.

  22. Steve


    Accessibility should be key, not "open standards". As long as it's possible to interoperate with a particular protocol or "standard" then why should it matter if it's open or closed source?

    Apple, Nokia and other 3rd parties have paid MS to use their self-developed ActiveSync protocol for push-email... where's the problem in this? It's a standard, it can be used by others, just that MS wants some cash for developing it - which is fair enough.

    Unfortuatley not everyone has their day free to develop and innovate - some people do it for a living. As such they need to be paid. Why should one company do the coding only for another to use it for free? I agree that MS have been very immorale in the past and have closed out 3rd parties, but with recent regulation I think this is now being managed.

    Open standards - yet.

    Free to use / Open source - nope

    Create a body that will approve a protocol for use if it's:

    - Usable / accessible in 3rd party apps and platform agnostic

    - Cost Is not artifically inflated

    - Isn't artifically complex to prevent competition from implementing

    Christ - can you imagine the stink the FOSS followers would cause if the EU set a benchmark that was bias towards MS or Apple?

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