Open Standards, Open Source and Open Innovation Harnessing the by osx12863


the Benefits
of Openness


APRIL 2006
Open Standards, Open Source, and Open Innovation: Harnessing the Benefits of Openness

Includes bibliographic references
ISBN: 0-87186-182-8

First printing in bound-book form: 2006
Printed in the United States of America

2000 L Street, N.W., Suite 700, Washington, D.C., 20036




EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                              1

INTRODUCTION                                                   6

I.    THE MEANING OF OPENNESS                                  8

II.   OPEN STANDARDS                                          10


      (OR THE MARCH OF THE PENGUIN)                           18


      OPEN-SOURCE SOFTWARE                                    32

VII. OPEN INNOVATION                                          33


      OPEN INNOVATION                                         43

X.    CONCLUSION                                              44

ENDNOTES                                                      45

    The Committee for Economic                  ing specific legislative proposals; its purpose
Development is an independent research          is to urge careful consideration of the objec-
and policy organization of over 200 business    tives set forth in this statement and of the
leaders and educators. CED is non-profit,       best means of accomplishing those objectives.
non-partisan, and non-political. Its purpose        Each statement is preceded by extensive
is to propose policies that bring about         discussions, meetings, and exchange of
steady economic growth at high employ-          memoranda. The research is undertaken by
ment and reasonably stable prices, increased    a subcommittee, assisted by advisors chosen
productivity and living standards, greater      for their competence in the field under
and more equal opportunity for every citi-      study.
zen, and an improved quality of life for all.       The full Research and Policy Committee
    All CED policy recommendations must         participates in the drafting of recommenda-
have the approval of trustees on the            tions. Likewise, the trustees on the drafting
Research and Policy Committee. This com-        subcommittee vote to approve or disapprove
mittee is directed under the bylaws, which      a policy statement, and they share with the
emphasize that “all research is to be thor-     Research and Policy Committee the privi-
oughly objective in character, and the          lege of submitting individual comments for
approach in each instance is to be from the     publication.
standpoint of the general welfare and not           The recommendations presented herein
from that of any special political or econom-   are those of the trustee members of the
ic group.” The committee is aided by a          Research and Policy Committee and the
Research Advisory Board of leading social       responsible subcommittee. They are not
scientists and by a small permanent profes-     necessarily endorsed by other trustees or by
sional staff.                                   non-trustee subcommittee members, advi-
    The Research and Policy Committee does      sors, contributors, staff members, or others
not attempt to pass judgment on any pend-       associated with CED.

Co-Chairmen                          RICHARD H. DAVIS                    LENNY MENDONCA
                                     Partner                             Chairman, McKinsey Global
PATRICK W. GROSS                     Davis Manafort, Inc.                  Institute
Chairman, The Lovell Group                                               McKinsey & Company, Inc.
Founder, AMS                         RICHARD J. DAVIS
                                     Senior Partner                      NICHOLAS G. MOORE
WILLIAM W. LEWIS                     Weil, Gotschal & Manges LLP         Director
Director Emeritus, McKinsey Global                                       Bechtel Group, Inc.
   Institute                         FRANK P. DOYLE
McKinsey & Company, Inc.             Retired Executive Vice President    DONNA MOREA
                                     General Electric                    President
                                                                         CGI-AMS, Inc.
Vice Chairman                        W. D. EBERLE
IAN ARNOF                            Chairman                            STEFFEN E. PALKO
Chairman                             Manchester Associates, Ltd.         Retired Vice Chairman and
Arnof Family Foundation                                                     President
                                     MATTHEW FINK                        XTO Energy Inc.
REX D. ADAMS                         President (Retired)
Professor of Business                Investment Company Institute        CAROL J. PARRY
   Administration                                                        President
The Fuqua School of Business         EDMUND B. FITZGERALD                Corporate Social Responsibility
Duke University                      Managing Director                      Associates
                                     Woodmont Associates
ALAN BELZER                                                              PETER G. PETERSON
Retired President and                HARRY L. FREEMAN                    Senior Chairman
    Chief Operating Officer          Chair                               The Blackstone Group
Allied-Signal Inc.                   The Mark Twain Institute
                                                                         HUGH B. PRICE
LEE C. BOLLINGER                     CONO R. FUSCO                       Former President and Chief
President                            Managing Partner-Strategic             Executive Officer
Columbia University                     Relationships                    National Urban League
                                     Grant Thornton
ROY J. BOSTOCK                                                           NED REGAN
Chairman                             GERALD GREENWALD                    University Professor
Sealedge Investments                 Chairman                            The City University of New York
                                     Greenbriar Equity Group
JOHN BRADEMAS                                                            JAMES Q. RIORDAN
President Emeritus                   BARBARA B. GROGAN                   Chairman
New York University                  President                           Quentin Partners Co.
                                     Western Industrial Contractors
DONALD R. CALDWELL                                                       LANDON H. ROWLAND
Chairman and Chief                   RICHARD W. HANSELMAN                Chairman
   Executive Officer                 Former Chairman                     Everglades Financial
Cross Atlantic Capital Partners      Health Net Inc.
                                                                         GEORGE RUPP
DAVID A. CAPUTO                      RODERICK M. HILLS                   President
President                            Partner, Hills Stern & Morley LLP   International Rescue Committee
Pace University
                                     EDWARD A. KANGAS                    ROCCO C. SICILIANO
MICHAEL CHESSER                      Chairman and Chief Executive        Beverly Hills, California
Chairman, President and Chief           Officer, Retired
   Executive Officer                 Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu            SARAH G. SMITH
Great Plains Energy Services                                             Chief Accounting Officer
                                     CHARLES E.M. KOLB                   Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
CAROLYN CHIN                         President
Chairman and Chief                   Committee for Economic              MATTHEW J. STOVER
   Executive Officer                    Development                      Chairman
Cebiz                                                                    LKM Ventures
                                     BRUCE K. MACLAURY
RONALD R. DAVENPORT                  President Emeritus                  JOSH S. WESTON
Chairman of the Board                The Brookings Institution           Honorary Chairman
Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation                                        Automatic Data Processing, Inc.

Council Chair                     MR. CHARLES E.M. KOLB                 MS. DEBORAH TRASKELL
                                  President                             Vice President - Enterprise
MR. PAUL M. HORN                  Committee for Economic                    Technology Office
Senior Vice President, Research      Development                        State Farm Insurance Companies
IBM Corporation
                                  MR. JOHN KOLB                         MR. COLIN WATSON
                                  Chief Information Officer             Senior Vice President, e-business
Council Members                   Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute      KeySpan Energy
Chairman & CEO                    MR. CAMPBELL LANGDON                  MR. ALAN YOUNG
Cebiz                             Corporate VP, Strategic               Corporate Technology Officer
                                     Development                        Citigroup Inc.
MR. IRWIN DORROS                  Automatic Data Processing, Inc.
Dorros Associates                 MR. JOHN LEE                          Project Director
                                  Director of IT
                                  Nektar Therapeutics                   MR. ELLIOT MAXWELL
MR. WILLIAM EBERLE                                                      Chief Strategist
Chairman                                                                eMaxwell and Associates
Manchester Associates             MR. TARIQ K. MUHAMMAD
                                  Interactive Media Director
MR. ANDY ELLIS                    Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
                                                                        CED Project Managers
Chief Security Officer
Akamai                            MR. ROBERT W. OBEE                    DR. JOSEPH J. MINARIK
                                  Vice President and CIO                Senior V.P. & Director of Research
MR. REGINALD C. FOSTER            Roadway Corporation                   Committee for Economic
Chairman                                                                   Development
PC Harvest LLP                    MR. WILLIAM B. PLUMMER
                                  Vice President, Strategic &           MR. ELLIOT SCHWARTZ
MR. JOSEPH GANTZ                     External Affairs                   Vice President & Director,
Partner                           Nokia                                    Economic Studies
GG Capital, LLC                                                         Committee for Economic
                                  MR. LARS RABBE                           Development
MR. PATRICK W. GROSS              Chief Information Officer
Chairman, The Lovell Group        Yahoo!
Founder, AMS                                                            Project Associate
                                  MR. LOUIS L. RANA
MR. EDWARD HOROWITZ               Vice President                        CAROLYN CADEI
Chairman                          Consolidated Edison Co. of NY, Inc.   Research Associate
EdsLink LLC                                                             Committee for Economic
                                  MR. MATTHEW J. STOVER                    Development
MR. RICHARD HOWARD                Chairman
Program Manager (Retired)         LKM Ventures, LLC
Lucent Technologies Inc.
                                  MR. ANDREW STRICKER
MR. LARRY JACKEL                  Associate Provost - Innovation
Progam Manager, DAPRA                through Technology
Research Manager, Retired         Vanderbilt University
   AT&T Labs

   CED’s Digital Connections Council               This report is the work of the DCC and is
(DCC), a group of information technology        endorsed by CED’s Research and Policy
experts from CED trustee-affiliated compa-      Committee. We welcome this report and rec-
nies, was established to advise CED on the      ommend it to readers as an excellent analysis
policy issues associated with cutting-edge      of how the U.S. economy can benefit from
technologies. This report, concerning “open-    greater openness in technological standards,
ness” in the digital economy, is the second     software development, and innovation.
of its products. CED appreciates greatly the
efforts of the members of the Council, and      Patrick W. Gross, Co-Chair
in particular, the work of Paul Horn, Senior    Research and Policy Committee
Vice President for Research of IBM              Chairman, The Lovell Group
Corporation and Chair of the DCC, for his       Founder, AMS, Inc.
leadership in bringing this report to comple-
tion. Special thanks are also due to Elliot     William W. Lewis, Co-Chair
Maxwell, CED’s project director and consult-    Research and Policy Committee
ant, and to Carolyn Cadei for assistance with   Director Emeritus, McKinsey
research, editing, and publication.             Global Institute
                                                McKinsey and Company, Inc.


   In its most recent report, the Digital          copy, distribute, or modify it. This right to
Connections Council examined the digital           “exclude” fit neatly into an economic frame-
economy and the special case of digital intel-     work where it was difficult and costly to cre-
lectual property. That report highlighted the      ate and distribute a physical good, such as a
benefits of making information widely avail-       book or a recording on a physical medium,
able through the Internet for the encourage-       such as vinyl, tape, or compact disc, and
ment of innovation and the stimulation of          where allowing one person to have access
economic growth. The Council recognized            and control of that good precluded others
the importance of protecting the interests         from having the same rights at the same
of initial creators—authors, songwriters,          time. Just as with a physical space, only one
inventors—but also saw a critical role in the      person could use it at any given point in
historically balanced intellectual property        time. The legal regime was also consistent
scheme for the vast number of potential “fol-      with the centralized economic processes that
low-on innovators,” who build upon earlier         had emerged from the Industrial Revolution.
innovation by standing on the “shoulders              But this model is under considerable pres-
of giants.”                                        sure. Digital works require no less creativity
   In this report, the Council further             than non-digital works but are dramatically
explores this theme by examining the               easier to copy, modify, and distribute. At the
phenomenon of “openness,” which the                same time, these works can be shared by mil-
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and         lions of users without any other potential
Development (OECD) calls “an underlying            user being prevented access; they are, as
technical and philosophical tenet of the           economists say, non-rivalrous. These charac-
expansion of electronic commerce” that             teristics are creating opportunities for differ-
will “cause transformations, for better (e.g.      ent models of production and distribution
increased transparency, competition) or            that are decentralized, collaborative, and
worse (e.g. potential invasion of privacy),        global. Digitization of information and the
in the economy and society.”                       Internet have profoundly expanded the
   But what is “openness” in the context of        capacity for openness, and the Council
today’s digital economy? There are many            sought to understand the consequences of
potential definitions. Works and processes         these changes.
are usually neither open nor closed but               The Council examined three areas—open
somewhere on a spectrum between the two.           standards, open-source software, and open
One key attribute of openness is accessibility.    innovation—to study the impact of openness
The more accessible a work is to anyone, the       in specific circumstances, to gauge its impor-
more open it is. Another attribute of open-        tance, and to determine whether public policy
ness involves responsiveness—as the degree         should encourage it, restrict it, or be neutral.
to which a work can be modified by anyone
increases, so too does the work’s level of         OPEN STANDARDS
                                                       The very best example of open standards
   Intellectual property law in the United
                                                   is the Internet itself. Built on a set of stan-
States has provided a means by which the
                                                   dards available to anyone, that were created
holder of intellectual property rights may
                                                   in a process that allowed participation by any-
“close” off an information product, control-
                                                   one, the Internet’s open standards enable
ling access to it and charging for the rights to
                                                   any network to interconnect and any applica-

tion to be made available to everyone. At the        (W3C), inhibit the process of developing
same time, the very connectivity that the            standards.
Internet provides has become the vehicle for             Providing technology essential for the
the expansion of “open innovation”—the               implementation of a standard under a royal-
collaboration of parties separated in time           ty-free (RF) license may prevent a company
and distance but united through their contri-        from maximizing its royalty revenues, but it
butions to projects as diverse as mapping the        does not eliminate the benefits the company
human genome and building new on-line                may obtain. The more the standard draws on
encyclopedias.                                       a company’s technology, the more likely it is
    Proprietary standards—those controlled           the standard will validate the technology,
by a particular party—can provide substantial        expand the market for it, and provide advan-
benefits, as anyone knows who has ever been          tages to the firm that created the technology
prevented from sharing an electronic docu-           and, thus, knows it best.
ment with an individual using different soft-            However, RF licensing by firms involved in
ware. Moreover, such standards have the              the development of an open standard does
advantage of being validated by the market-          not preclude a firm that has not participated
place. But open standards prevent a single,          in the process from asserting an intellectual
self-interested party from controlling a stan-       property claim after the standard has been
dard, facilitate competition by lowering the         adopted and implemented. Perversely, there
cost of entry, and stimulate innovation              is even an incentive for such a firm to wait
beyond the standard by companies that seek           until the standard is widely utilized before
to differentiate themselves. Customers value         challenging it, so as to maximize revenues
the interoperability that open standards pro-        from licensing or from damages. The Council,
vide and generally benefit from not being            therefore, recommends that incentives be created
locked into a particular supplier. Because of the    to induce the early disclosure of intellectual prop-
advantages of open standards, the Council recom-     erty claims and that consideration be given to
mends that governments encourage the develop-        progressively limiting recovery by a firm asserting
ment and use of open standards through processes     infringement, as time elapses from the adoption
as open to participation and contribution as pos-    of a standard.
sible. The Council believes that the participation
of civil society would be beneficial in the forma-   OPEN-SOURCE SOFTWARE
tion of standards with important social conse-
                                                        The second form of openness examined
quences. The Council also recommends that the
                                                     was open-source software. In proprietary soft-
results of government-supported research be readi-
                                                     ware, the “source code” comprehensible by a
ly available for inclusion in open standards, as
                                                     programmer is not “open” and available for
they have been in areas such as grid computing.
                                                     study, modification, and redistribution; the
    Support for open standards has grown
                                                     software is licensed for use under conditions
dramatically in recent years. But as the
                                                     set by the rights holder. In contrast, open-
National Innovation Initiative has pointed
                                                     source software is governed by a license
out, issues surrounding intellectual property
                                                     under which anyone can access, modify, and
claims threaten the development of open
                                                     further distribute the source code. It is the
standards. Companies involved in standards
                                                     mirror image of the manner in which intel-
development that believe their technology to
                                                     lectual property law has operated in the phys-
be essential for the implementation of an
                                                     ical world; rather than excluding others and
open standard may insist on licensing terms
                                                     seeking compensation for creative activity
that inhibit broad adoption. Even providing
                                                     through licensing access, open source uses
for “reasonable and non-discriminatory
                                                     intellectual property law to guarantee the
licensing” (RAND) may, according to groups
                                                     widest possible distribution of the source
such as the World Wide Web Consortium

                                                  OPEN STANDARDS, OPEN SOURCE, AND OPEN INNOVATION:
                                                               HARNESSING THE BENEFITS OF OPENNESS

code in order to stimulate its improvement          does not provide the economic incentives
and to add value.                                   necessary for someone to choose to devote
    As Steven Weber points out in The Success       his or her time and effort to solving a particu-
of Open Source, unrestricted distribution and       lar problem. But there are many reasons why
modification are central to the open-source         programmers contribute to open-source
software system, as development requires a          efforts—the culture of sharing, the desire to
programming task be separated into small            contribute to a communal effort, the sheer
modules. These modules encourage contri-            joy of creation, the feeling of accomplish-
butions by interested parties but, at the same      ment for solving a difficult problem, the rep-
time, do not overwhelm the individual partic-       utational gains from a highly regarded piece
ipants with the enormity of the entire proj-        of work, and the expectation of reciprocity
ect. Among the many who can access the              from helping those who might later help you.
code because of the broad distribution, there       Complementing these incentives, major
is a smaller group who self-select to take part     players in the information technology indus-
in any given open-source project; within this       try are paying for software development that
group, there is likely to be at least one indi-     is, at least in part, contributed to the open-
vidual with the skill, experience, insight, and     software “commons.”
interest to improve the software.                       There have been initiatives in a number
    This model of sharing is not new. It is key     of countries, particularly in the developing
to the practice of science and is rooted in the     world, to mandate that governments purchase
academic system of creating and sharing.            only open-source software. Proponents of
    Although the open software model is vast-       such a requirement argue that it would save
ly different from the dominant model of pro-        much-needed governmental funds, encour-
prietary software based on controlling access,      age the development of local programming
it is becoming increasingly important in            resources, and reduce dependence on
today’s environment. The Internet itself            foreign software firms.
runs on open-source software, and a growing             The Council believes that, rather than replac-
number of large commercial firms are sup-           ing one another, proprietary software and open-
porting open-source software as part of their       source software will co-exist, with each playing an
commercial strategies. Just as the Internet         appropriate role in the information and commu-
has facilitated the development of global           nication technologies (ICT) environment. The
open standards, it has also made global col-        Council opposes any requirement forcing govern-
laboration on open software development             ments to make purchasing decisions based on the
possible.                                           licensing system used. It recommends that the U.S.
    Some proprietary software firms have criti-     government not advocate purchases based on any
cized open-source software by suggesting that       particular licensing scheme—proprietary or open.
it undercuts, or even destroys, the economic            But the debate over such mandates has
incentives necessary for the software industry      highlighted the importance of interoperabili-
to continue to create quality products by           ty and the negative impacts that result when
making them compete with “free” software.           it is not achieved. In a striking example, sur-
Supporters of open software point to its role       vivors of Hurricane Katrina could only apply
in competitive markets such as Web-server           to the Federal Emergency Management
technology (Apache) or database systems             Agency (FEMA) using a particular vendor’s
(MySQL), and its growing strength in mar-           proprietary browser—another burden on
kets with dominant players such as Web              those already battered by the storm. In its
browsers (Mozilla’s Firefox) and operating          2004 report calling for an interoperable sys-
systems (Linux).                                    tem of health care records, the Bush
    Critics of open software also argue that        Administration recognized the power of
the open-source model is unsustainable, as it       interoperability and made it a centerpiece of

the Administration’s efforts to reduce the              and subject to successive modification, but it
cost and improve the provision of medical               is not completely open, as there are evalua-
care in the United States. The Council believes         tive mechanisms in place to ensure the stabil-
there are certain critical functions of government      ity and quality of the product (mechanisms
that should be conducted solely with interoperable      that have also been adopted in many other
technology; in these critical areas, no citizen         forms of open innovation).
should be required to use the hardware or soft-             It is relatively easy to see how software
ware of any particular vendor. This does not            could be developed collaboratively, and why
mean that only open-source software would               more and more producers of physical goods
be available. Proprietary software vendors              are seeking improvements through collabora-
choosing to sell in these markets, however,             tive efforts. Open innovation can be seen in
would be required to provide sufficiently               the growing use of digital software tools tied
open interfaces, so as to allow others to inter-        to computer-controlled fabrication devices
operate with their product. The use of open             that allow users to design an object and then
standards and royalty-free licensing are par-           produce it physically. As the costs of these
ticularly important in these areas. The Council         digital design tools decrease, users are able
recommends that the United States support such          to innovate, breaking the model of manufac-
interoperability requirements in international          turers being the source of innovation and
procurement as well. The Council also recom-            customers simply consuming them. The
mends that international agreements entered into        openness model, the antithesis of a “not
by the United States regarding intellectual proper-     invented here” attitude, encompasses not
ty should reflect the nation’s historically balanced    only manufacturers and users, but suppliers
intellectual property regime reflecting the interests   whose innovations should be welcomed by
of both first and follow on innovators.                 the companies they supply.
                                                            Perhaps most striking is the extraordinary
OPEN INNOVATION                                         increase in “peer production” of digital infor-
                                                        mation products. Many, if not most, of the
   The combination of the Internet and the
                                                        pages accessible on the World Wide Web are
growing importance of digital information
                                                        posted by individuals with no expectation of
products is changing even the organization
                                                        monetary gain. Similarly, the on-line encyclo-
of creative enterprises and enabling new
                                                        pedia Wikipedia is the result of contributions
processes of innovation. The firm, as an eco-
                                                        from thousands of individuals, as are the
nomic unit, was, in part, a response to the
                                                        buyer’s recommendations on,
problems of organizing work by dispersed
                                                        and the buyer and seller reviews on eBay.
parties. Information was difficult and expen-
                                                            Just as major information technology (IT)
sive to gather and share, and coordination of
                                                        companies see benefits in seeding the open-
diverse efforts was hard to achieve. But the
                                                        source commons, sophisticated commercial
Internet is changing these conditions, as it
                                                        firms are harvesting the benefits of openness.
has changed so many other areas.
                                                        The podcasting capability of Apple’s iPod was
Communication is cheaper, and coordination
                                                        developed by users, who function as an exter-
far easier than in the past. Rather than seeing
                                                        nal research and development unit; Eli Lilly’s
the firm as the only model for organizing
                                                        e-research subsidiary turns to a network of
innovation and production, we are seeing
                                                        thousands of independent researchers for
new collaborative models of open innovation.
                                                        assistance in solving pharmaceutical problems.
The emerging result is what Tim O’Reilly has
                                                            “Open science” is making scientific infor-
called an “architecture of participation.”
                                                        mation available well beyond the subscribers
   Open-source software is only one example
                                                        of traditional scientific journals. The
of the open innovation model. It is open
                                                        National Institutes of Health (NIH) are
because the source code is broadly available
                                                        encouraging widespread publication within

                                                       OPEN STANDARDS, OPEN SOURCE, AND OPEN INNOVATION:
                                                                    HARNESSING THE BENEFITS OF OPENNESS

12 months of the results of the research that            funded, unclassified research should be made
they fund. Open courseware is providing                  broadly available. Consistent with the position
self-directed students around the world with             it has taken in its earlier reports, the Council
the syllabi and course readings of great uni-            recommends that any legislation or regulation
versity teachers. All of these efforts rest on           regarding intellectual property rights be weighed
the assumption that society benefits by                  with a presumption against the granting of new
increasing access to information and allowing            rights. The burden of proof should be on propo-
more people to contribute their special skills           nents of new rights to demonstrate with rigorous
and experiences. Advocates for more open-                analysis the necessity of such an extension,
ness contend that openness will result in                because of the benefits to society of further innova-
greater innovation than would be achieved                tion through greater access to technology. Finally,
by restricting access to information or allow-           the Council suggests that the National Science
ing first creators to exert greater control over         Foundation (NSF) fund research into alternative
it. Such a belief in the value of tapping the            compensation methods, similar to those created to
collective wisdom is profoundly democratic.              facilitate the growth of radio, to reward creators
    In order to foster open innovation, the Council      of digital information products and accommodate
recommends not only that the NIH should contin-          the changes brought about by the digitization and
ue their efforts to expand the dissemination of the      growth of the Internet.
research they support, but also that other federally


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