Glyn Moody writes "There has been a big battle in the UK over whether open standards should be Restriction/Royalty-Free (RF) or Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND). That matters, because open source can't in general implement FRAND standards (there are legal hacks that can be applied in a few special circumstances.) First it seemed that RF had the upper hand [.pdf], but later comments from officials cast doubt on that. Now we have the definitive answer from the UK Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude: 'The Government require that their ICT should be built on open standards, wherever possible, to improve competition and avoid lock-in to a particular technology or supplier. Fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) specifications may present some difficulties for the open source software development model in terms of patents and royalties. To deliver a level playing field for both open source and proprietary software, open standards are needed.' Will UK government use of open source finally take off, or is this a hollow victory?"
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