Yesterday I rattled on about change processes for open standards; or at least, tried to suggest I'd done some thinking on the topic. This post is a little more "meta" because I'm going to point to some articles describing how the standards up to which standards are held, change -- in non-open ways.

First off, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has a definition of Open Standard. Like I said, it's one of many; it is based on the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) definition, strengthened a little for Free Software. The Dutch government agency for software, NOiV has a Dutch definition, again directly derived from the EIF one.

There is an update coming to the EIF, described in (among others) ArsTechnica's "EU waffles" article. The update is still in draft form; the draft was leaked to Brenno de Winter. Since the update was supposed to have been published by now, the fact it's still in draft suggests that the (non-open) process for updating it is not going too well. Ryan Paul picks out many of the key problems with the new (draft) definition, in particular changing the language from fairly clear, fairly forward thinking, to one that is muddled and unclear. Replacing clarity with confusion does not, to me, constitute a valuable change in a standard (a meta-standard, describing how other standards should work: in other words, muzziness here is damaging across a far wider scope than just one badly-written standard elsewhere).

In a sense, you could say "closed is the new open." Or maybe "closed is just a kind of open, at the 0.0 mark on the sliding scale of openness." Yes, and slavery is just 0.0 freedom, and broken is just 0.0 functioning. Indeed, on scales like that, you can make almost anything mean anything at all (lemons just taste 0.0 sweet).

Karsten Gerloff has the FSFE's response, and points to an article by Glyn Moody (where I see Keith Jones has added a comment that pre-dates this entry, with the same gist -- I think he misses the point where the new EIF says "for interoperability, we need open standards, and open standards are .."; relatively good comments thread there, anyway.)