European Commission releases OFE report on Standards and Open Source

04 September 2018

Author: Sivan Pätsch

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The report provides an overview of activities initiated by SDOs on open source software. The mapping shows that for SDOs the collaboration with OSS communities may have different forms and address different aspects. First, some SDOs consider their collaboration with OSS communities as simple exchanges of methodologies; they are looking at understanding the ways of working and integrating Open Source mechanisms into standardisation. Second, SDO communities look at Open Source as a mechanism to provide implementations – often referred to as reference implementations – of a specific standard or standards based architecture. Third, some argue that the collaboration should go a step further. For them, the collaboration should be in both directions, and should imply that OSS communities participate in the creation of standards that takes place in SDOs or transfer their results to SDOs for further formalisation.

Considering this, three recommendations are provided for SDOs and OSS communities in order to build bridges between standardisation and open source:

  1. SDOs and OSS communities should benefit from common actors that can establish channels of communication, joint activities and partnerships.
  2. SDOs can introduce methodological changes in order to make their development process similar or adopt additional processes which are similar to the ones used by OSS communities.
  3. OSS communities should increase their involvement is the standards setting processes.

Based on the findings of this report, a model, called the Platform Design Model, is proposed as a formalisation of the few successful examples of interaction between standard bodies, industry, and open source communities.

The information and views set out in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this study. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission’s behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.