[iai-discuss] Re: recent NHS-Microsoft contract

Graham Seaman graham at theseamans.net
Fri Nov 19 12:14:47 PST 2004

Hi Rufus

Rufus Pollock wrote:

> This seems to be a very interesting discussion. One thing I might 
> suggest is moving it to a mailing list. Currently I am working on 
> Information Accessibility Initiative that addresses itself to these 
> precise issues (and in particular concrete action on open standards). 
> There is newly created public mailing list (iai-discuss) available at:
>     http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/iai-discuss

Am cc-ing this mail to that list
I knew nothing at all about open standards till yesterday, so if anyone 
in this group does maybe they could explain more. All I've seen is that 
the definition of open standards is a major battlefield between IBM, 
MS,  the EU, and presumably also Sun (see below)

1. The newly-launched EU definition of Open Standards is embedded on 
page 8 of the document
As I understand it this is currently IDAs official position, but they 
accept that it is likely to change next year following further 
negotiations. Some people on both sides of the argument are definitely 
unhappy with it.
2.  Compare and contrast with the Open Standards Alliance, especially re 
sublicensing :
Sun appear to be heavily behind this. Could that be because this 
approach would undermine IBM?

(by the way, do you know who this is?  http://www.openstandards.net/
For an openstandards organisation it seems rather unopen about its 


> Perhaps we could move it there?
> Regards,
> Rufus
> Graham Seaman wrote:
>> Lee Momtahan wrote:
>>> I'm not sure such an open letter will have much effect now. (Sorry)
>>> Perhaps something can be salvaged by campaigning for open standards.
>> I seriously doubt this. I just came back from the conference 'Open 
>> standards and libre software in government'. The one thing everyone - 
>> governments, EU, IBM, Novell, MS, independent developers -   agreed  
>> on without question was support for open standards. But when it came 
>> to concrete issues - in particular a new attempt by IDA 
>> (http://europa.eu.int/ida , though I can't currently find the 
>> definition itself) to define open standards all hell broke loose. 
>> Someone from (I think) CompTIA accusing the EU of creating a 
>> definition which 'legalised theft of intellectual property'. The MS 
>> guy threw a hissy fit at the IBM guy over IBM's alternate definition. 
>> The IBM guy said the nasty bits were only there because MS had 
>> insisted on them in negotiation.  John Terpstra  (Open Standards 
>> Alliance) accused the eu of not allowing for sublicensing. etc. in 
>> the IDA definition. In other words asking for 'open standards' is 
>> pushing at an open door, but has no concrete meaning right now. If 
>> you want to campaign, it needs to be for a particular interpretation 
>> or definition of open standards to be accepted.
>> I also think the horse has bolted over the NHS contract. Better to be 
>> working on the next fight than the last one. Sorry.
>> Cheers
>> Graham
>>> Lee.
>>> On Thu, 2004-11-18 at 22:02, John Bywater wrote:
>>>> Hello,
>>>> Would you like to help me draft [1] an open letter protesting [2] 
>>>> the recent 500M quid NHS Microsoft contract (a la [3] MISTICA's 
>>>> UNESCO Microsoft letter)?
>>>> Perhaps the form of the MISTICA letter could be followed, but UK 
>>>> utterances (e.g. OGC policy, guidance, and case report) and 
>>>> objectives (e.g. Home Office's Change Up programme) cited instead?
>>>> Any comments? (Has somebody done this by now? Did the NHS make a 
>>>> good move?)
>>>> John.
>>>> [1] http://appropriatesoftware.net/cgi-bin/wiki.cgi?OpenLetterToNHS
>>>> [2] http://news.zdnet.co.uk/0,39020330,39172449,00.htm
>>>> [3] http://www.funredes.org/mistica/carta_unesco.htm?lan=en

More information about the iai-discuss mailing list