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Dear open standards lobby: SHOUT LOUDER!!

Computer Weekly - There is a hugely important debate taking place in the UK IT community at the moment, one that will have equally huge significance for almost everyone who buys IT in this country.

It's about open standards - and in particular, what definition the UK government will use for the open standards policy that will determine much of the future of public sector IT procurement. But this isn't just an issue for IT chiefs in government - the longer term implications will affect every IT leader in every sector. With government being such a major influence on IT suppliers, the policy it adopts will have a big input into the product development of any vendor that wants to sell to the public sector, and hence to the products they sell to the private sector too.

It's a complex and often emotional debate.

For the layman, when software types start talking about patents and intellectual property and throwing around jargon and acronyms such as RF (royalty free) and FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory), there's a natural tendency to switch off.

Don't worry - I'm not going to get into that sort of detail here, although if you read on I will point you to other articles on Computer Weekly and elsewhere that will help to explain some of those finer points.

Instead, I want to point a finger at the supporters of open standards and open source - simply because they need to make their opinions heard more widely and loudly in this critical debate.

Let me explain.