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Open Standards Consultation Nearing Close

ComputerWorldUK - Simon Phipps - The final round-table for the government's Open Standards Consultation is now open for booking - consider attending as much is at stake for UK ICT procurement.

As part of its ongoing consultation on the role of open standards in software procurement, The government has announced the date for the re-run of the first open standards round-table as Thursday May 31st. Anyone with an interest is invited to attend, either in person or (for the first time in this consultation) by phone. Places once again need to be booked in advance.

The first attempt at holding this meeting resulted in an unusually positive view on on the acceptability of standards that can only be implemented after gaining permission from patent holders, under so-called "FRAND" terms. Given one of the primary goals of the consultation is to make it easier for government entities to procure open source software, the widely-recognised incompatibility between FRAND terms and open source made this view surprising and anomalous.

The meeting was later voided by the Cabinet Office after the discovery of an undisclosed conflict of interest for the meeting moderator, who failed to advise them of a commercial relationship with Microsoft. It may be that the anomalous outcome was the result of domination of the meeting by opinions derived from the telecoms industry rather than the computer software industry.

This final round-table meeting will cover the aspects of the consultation regarding Competition and European Interaction. The Cabinet Office is seeking answers to these questions: