A workshop held by a Group of Swedish Academics in the city of Skövde on Tuesday 14 June 2012 marked the beginning of a three-year research project to build a reference model for open standards and open source, aiming to improve understanding of open standards and their implementations in open source.
The research project, entitled Open source software Reference Implementations for Open Standards (Orios), will be carried out by the University of Skövde and three IT companies specialising on open source. The project is financially supported by the Knowledge Foundation, a Swedish research funding organisation.
"Orios will allow stakeholders to communicate unambiguously about the costs, benefits and effects of open standards and open source", predicts Professor Björn Lundell of the University of Skövde, one of the project's researchers. "It will provide concrete examples that help organisations benefit from reference implementations", he says.
Lundell adds that many companies and many organisations in the public sector provide electronic services that depend on open standards, the core of these being the Internet and its World Wide Web. "Many organisations, especially small companies, would simply not have existed without infrastructure and systems based on open standards."
He warns that politicians and software vendors are confused about the meaning and impact of openness in standards. "This muddles the debate on legislation and confuses potential customers. Uninformed decisions risk reducing competition on the hugely important global market in ICT."