[Members] Publishing Non-Open-Standard Specifications

Travis Burtrum travis at burtrum.org
Thu Jan 16 04:34:10 UTC 2020

On 1/15/20 1:22 PM, Dave Cridland wrote:
> But in the spirit of compromise, rather than either outright refusing to
> publish such specifications, or destroying the XSF as an Open Standards
> organisation, I wonder if there's an alternative where the XSF
> [exceptionally?] publishes some specifications that are important for
> various reasons but do not conform to the definition of Open Standard.

What definition of Open Standard are you working from?  Wikipedia lists no
less than 22 [1]. A search of XEP-0001 finds "open standard" one time with
no definition at all. The IETF/IEEE/W3C agreed on the "open stand"
definition [2], which does not state anything like "without encumbrance"
(whatever that means, again no definition in XEP-0001) and instead states:

> Standards specifications are made accessible to all for implementation
> and deployment. Affirming standards organizations have defined
> procedures to develop specifications that can be implemented under fair
> terms. Given market diversity, fair terms may vary from royalty-free to
> fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND).

I would certainly say the GPL falls under this definition of FRAND.

And all that to say that "it's complicated", I know I for one elect council
members based on their technical skill, NOT their law or license
interpretation prowess, I wouldn't even know how to judge that.

This proposal, assuming there would be a way to move from $NEW_TRACK to
regular Standards track if the situation changed in the future, seems like
it would solve the problem, allowing the community and individual
implementers to decide if it's worth implementing without being blocked
by potentially wrong legal interpretations. However, we should at least
define "Open Standard" and "encumbrance" in XEP-0001 to give council
guidance on what track to put this on, we should likely define those
regardless of this decision.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_standard
[2]: https://open-stand.org/about-us/principles/

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