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Sun to Plug OpenDocument to Global Summit

At the Internet Governance Forum summit this week in Athens, Greece, Sun Microsystems Inc, along with supporters including IP Justice and the Consumer Project on Technology, will urge governments to adopt procurement practices that recognize open technology standards as important, and forbid buying only proprietary technology. The inaugural IGF meeting, which kicked off yesterday, is being attended by about 1,500 members of international governments, civil society organizations, private companies, academics and media. The forum was created by the UN-backed World Summit on the Information Society a year ago. Today, Sun and others are expected to announce the formation of the "IGF Dynamic Coalition on Open Standards", an apparently ad hoc coalition of organizations that support open standards. This DCOS, which is not believed to yet have any kind of formal IGF or intergovernmental endorsement, will present two papers for discussion at a workshop in Athens on Thursday. The papers, available for viewing now at, argue that adopting open standards is useful to spur adoption of the internet in developing countries, and that open standards are currently "in jeopardy" due to vendors plugging proprietary interfaces. "The social value of interfaces has increased; so has their business value," the paper says. Software patents and proprietary APIs "are now being used to manipulate the direction of the network effect and to thwart widespread interoperability of computer programs" and this, the paper says, "will be particularly harmful to developing countries." Another paper to be discussed deals specifically with government procurement practices. It addresses government as tech buyer, tech policymaker and tech producer, and in each context urges governments to support open standards.

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Kevin Murphy in Computer Business Review Online. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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