Welcome!

Linux Authors: Victoria Livschitz, Nikita Ivanov, Pat Romanski, Adrian Bridgwater, Amy Lindberg

Related Topics: Linux

Linux: Article

Open Standards vs Open Source

Open Standards vs Open Source

The benefits and market opportunities provided by open standards far outweigh those derived from open source. While the software development market has certainly benefited remarkably from open source, open standards and protocols such as TCP, HTTP, and XML have made it possible for developers and software vendors to participate in the most rapid technological progression of humanity in the history of the world.

Without question open source has been a boon to software developers. While you may not find many lines of Linux code in the proprietary applications software sold for systems running Linux and other operating systems, you will undoubtedly find developers and software products that have benefited either directly or indirectly from the buoyant properties of the open source community and its shared intellectual library of solutions to common software development challenges.

An understanding of the underpinnings of the operating system and its source code levels the playing field for the applications market. This may even lead vendors of proprietary operating systems, who also compete in the applications market, to think twice before taking unfair advantage of insider knowledge.

Despite the sizable contribution of open source to the world of technology, the assumption that open source and Linux are responsible for an economic bonanza for those companies that have embraced them is questionable. One must ponder the possibility that HP would have sold $2.5 billion in hardware, proprietary software, and services referred to as "Linux-based" with an alternative operating system if Linux and the open source concept did not exist because HP's customers would have required those goods and services regardless of the existence of open source and Linux.

Would IBM give up its quest to dominate the hardware and services market if open source and Linux had never come along? Would Oracle throw in the towel and stop selling its database for proprietary operating systems? Would Amazon.com close its virtual doors? Would governments cease critical services if they could not install an operating system without paying a license fee for it?

The real question is where would we be without open standards? Without HTTP there would be no Amazon.com. Without TCP/IP there would be no Internet. Without SMTP there would be no spam. Well, okay, maybe that would not be such a bad thing. Without Ethernet there would be no LAN for 20 bucks a node. Without XML there would be no easy way for disparate systems to work together. Without SOAP there would be no Web services. Without SSL there would be no e-commerce. Without development language standards such as ANSI, C++, and SQL 93, people like me would be lost in a sea of proprietary languages and unique development tools. Indeed, without all of these open standards and more, open source would be without purpose or direction, without a skeleton on which to build the muscle and sinew that brings technology to life.

Standards bodies such as ANSI, ISO, ECMA, W3C, and IEEE are the guardians and keepers of the technological compacts that have made it possible for us to leap from the punch cards of 40 years ago to where we are today. Let us salute them and their many members who work tirelessly to the benefit of us all. Because of their work, I can plug my computer into an Ethernet jack anywhere in the world and be on the network. I can buy books from Amazon. com securely with the browser software of my choice. And I can jump on the Internet with a wireless card in any one of thousands of locations across the globe to check my e-mail, chat with friends, post a letter to the editor, or just catch up on the news in my small rural hometown.

More Stories By Tyler Jensen

Engrossed in enterprise application architecture and development for over ten years, Tyler Jensen is a senior technical consultant in a large health intelligence company, designing and developing claims processing and analysis software. In his spare time he does a little writing and outside consulting.

Comments (4) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Ritchie 05/07/04 01:24:43 PM EDT

We need both open standards and open source that support the standards. This is not an either/or situation and discussions that say one is more important than the other are silly, IMHO. Standards drive interoperability, open source drives ubiquity and lowers the threshold for those who want to get in the game. Therefore if standards are good and useful (and not all of them are), open source can help ensure that there will be widely available, good quality implementations. Adoption of the standards will then take place faster.

Paulo 04/21/04 12:09:17 PM EDT

We cannot forget why SOAP/CORBA didn't have a great spread the first time it appeared, some coMpanie$ have made a broad campaign on unbelieving about such technologies. In a while they were fully used by free sw developers.

And what about the proprietary software hidden interfaces? Yeah, they keep secrets for they own. Look at the .net specification (which as published, is supposed to be public, so that anyone could port to other environments, etc), the try implementation "Mono" is still skidding because of lack of information, they cannot implement what is not said to be implemented.

So that's right that Open Standards help a lot (if really open), but Open Source may increase much more the progress of technology, since there are intellectual capital being carried with it, which may be rose by a community and companies interested on it.

And what about

Scott McNeil 04/21/04 11:10:50 AM EDT

The Linux Standards Base, or LSB, combines Open Source and Open Standards. In so doing the LSB has succeeded to:

1. Make application developer's lives easier
Application developers can spend more time building enhancements rather than verifying that their code works not only on the many Linux distributions but the different versions of a single distribution (i.e. Red Hat 7.3 vs. 8.0, etc.)

2. Make operating system vendors lives easier
By adhering to the standard, operating system vendors can reach a wider market, assuring that portability of applications is not an issue with their products.

3. Make end users lives easier
Customers are starting to demand LSB Certified solutions due to their promise of easier system administration, applications that run "out of the box" and lack of vendor lock-in.

4. Grow the Linux market
The LSB is setting the stage for the next wave of Linux market growth: commercial applications.

As of 2003 every major Linux distribution vendor in the world has voluntarily applied for and achieved LSB Certification. Additionally, the Free Standards Group, the organization responsible for the LSB, has been recognized by ISO and will be submitting the LSB for ISO transposition later this year.

The LSB is but one more example that the powerful combination of Open Source and Open Standards helps everyone.

David 04/20/04 08:09:20 PM EDT

All true, but OSS is one of the top implementors of open standards. Heck, Jakarta is the reference implementation for the Java servlet/JSP standards.

May standards were also created by these committees that haven't gone anywhere. PKI has myriad standards that are so complex and have interoperability issues that it's laughable.

Sure, HTML is great, but the OSI create SGML before it, and that failed big time because it was too complex.

TCP/IP is great, but the OSI came out with their own 7 layer communications stack and it never did take off. TCP/IP wasn't just a standard, but it was written into Unix and the code for it was publicly available.

LDAP has worked pretty well, though it's not truly the same as the proprietary vendors implementations, such as Microsoft's Active Directory. And again, the OSI created X.500 for this, and it went nowhere fast.

The XML standards are suffering and benefiting in a similar way. XML itself is quite easy and clean and is being used a lot. But the many other standards that surround it haven't been adopted anywhere near as quickly, and SOAP needs to be renamed because it's far from SIMPLE anymore.

And we don't need to mention that the standards bodies came out with ASN.1 for encoding and CORBA for interoperable object messaging, yet it was the early SOAP over XML, loosely based on the far simpler and more elegant XML RPC base.

OSS is great because it implements these standards in a way that people can actually check and verify. Most proprietary implementations of "open standards" often fail because they just can't help themselves making their products "better" than the standards by filling in the "missing pieces." What a joke.

Anyway, they play best together. What we're suffering with now is standards being created before they are developed and proven by working systems, and that's why many new XML standards getting more complex and less adoptable.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.