Many governments and organisations are moving towards open standards and frameworks. To assist users in understanding open standards the International Open Source Network (IOSN) has released FOSS: Open Standards, the latest in its series of "e-Primer" books.

The free book, with a foreword by Peter J. Quinn, the former CIO of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, introduces readers to what open standards are and why they are important. It explains the standard- setting processes and provides examples of open standards policies, initiatives and formats. It also addresses the challenges faced in implementing open standards.

Open standards ensure that products and services can inter-operate and work together, even though they may be from different parties or entities. Open standards ensure that the next purchase is not dictated by the last purchase, thus, increasing users' choices, access to products, information and services, and opportunities for sharing and collaboration.

In addition to the advantage of increased competition for acquisition and the ongoing operational expense, governments, businesses and other entities can benefit from each others' efforts and share applications that each have built.

The free publication is part of the International Open Source Network's Free/Open Source Software e-Primer Series. The FOSS e- Primer series is produced by the International Open Source Network www.iosn.net, an initiative of UNDP's Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme www.apdip.net and supported by the International Development Research Center www.idrc.org, Canada.