Running Code as Part of an Open Standards Policy

11 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2009 Last revised: 23 Feb 2011

Jay P. Kesan

University of Illinois College of Law

Rajiv C. Shah

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Communication; Illinois State University

Date Written: June 1, 2009

Abstract

Governments around the world are considering implementing or even mandating open standards policies. They believe these policies will generate economic, socio-political, and technical benefits. In this article, we analyze the failure of Massachusetts’s open standards policy as applied to document formats. We argue that it failed due to the lack of “running code.” Running code refers to multiple, independent, interoperable implementations of an open standard. With running code, users have a choice in their adoption of a software product, and consequently, gain from the economic and technological benefits that accrue and which were, at the outset, the objectives behind the creation of the open standard. Hence, we urge governments to incorporate a “running code” requirement when adopting an open standards policy.

Suggested Citation

Kesan, Jay P. and Shah, Rajiv C., Running Code as Part of an Open Standards Policy (June 1, 2009). First Monday, Vol. 14, No. 6, June 1, 2009; Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 08-38; U Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE09-019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1416115

Jay P. Kesan (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-7887 (Phone)
217-244-1478 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jaykesan.com

Rajiv Shah

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Communication ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.rajivshah.com

Illinois State University ( email )

Normal, IL 61790
United States

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