Opinion: It should be standard to require standards

By Chris Puttick
02 Apr 2012 View Comments
Chris Puttick

It is widely accepted that standards are a pretty good thing. Where, or rather when, would we be without the Gregorian calendar, for example.

Unfortunately some software vendors do not appreciate this and carry on ignoring open standards for their own benefit. But while this kind of vendor resistance to standards is certainly a major irritant, there are areas where adoption is the issue, rather than the lack of a standard to adopt.
In other words, it’s up to you as the users to sort it out.

Further reading

Do you only buy servers with Ethernet connectivity? Of course. Do you expect projectors to have VGA connections? Absolutely. Can your company car run on fuel from any brand of service station? I should hope so.

Recently chip giant Intel joined The Document Foundation, producers of LibreOffice, and made LibreOffice available through its AppUp Store. The Document Foundation is one of a growing number of organisations who believe documents should be stored in standards-compliant formats, allowing the documents produced to be collaborated on across different applications on different platforms. They, like Intel, promote the use of the OASIS Open Document Format for this purpose.
Can your documents be edited in any word processor?

Good question, isn’t it?

Can the software you use produce documents that can be collaborated on, regardless of the platform or application in use? Why not? Why should the files we produce and the software we deploy not be seamlessly interoperable? It only takes support of the available standard.

Why would you use a product that doesn’t comply, whose creators aren’t committed to improving interoperability? Seriously: what’s the benefit to you and/or your organisation? Not just tomorrow or next week, I mean next year and next decade.

Unless your business is funded by your using non-interoperable software, the benefit is zero. In fact rather than any benefit it is bringing costs, unnecessary costs, costs that are adding to your bottom line without justification.

Lack of interoperability is limiting choice and making the introduction of new technologies more difficult. In short, it’s making you uncompetitive.
It should be standard to require standards.

Chris Puttick, co-founder, TwoTen

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