November 2, 2009, 2:11 pm
The European Union is drafting a set of guidelines that encourage government agencies to improve technical interoperability. These guidelines are being documented in the European Interoperability Framework for European Public Services (EIF) which is currently in the draft stage. A recent version of the draft reveals that changes to the text have weakened the document's emphasis on open standards.
The EIF's original definition of an open standard stipulated that the standard must be authored through an inclusive process and maintained by a nonprofit organization and that patents covering the standard must be made available under royalty-free terms. A standard had to meet that set of criteria in order to be considered "open" in the context of EU guidance on standards adoption. The original version of the EIF also explicitly acknowledged the interoperability benefits of open source software.