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Community Specification

What is the Community Specification For?

The Community Specification process is a repository-based approach for creating standards and specifications in version control systems, such as Git.

What is the benefit?

The Community Specification allows you to start a specification development effort as easily as an open source project. The Community Specification incorporates the terms and processes required for standards and specification development, including legal terms, intellectual property issues, due process, and governance. It also provides the mechanisms to allow your project to grow and scale. For example, the Community Specification provides the basis to take your specification to other standards bodies, including international standards bodies, for formal standardization if your community desires to pursue those options.

How to get started?

Instructions for using the Community Specification are included in the Getting Started.md file.

Could I just use an open source license for my specifications? Why should I use a specification license?

Open source is collaboration around a specific codebase, while specifications provide a blueprint developers implement in different ways in many different codebases. Accordingly, open source licenses provide terms to use and modify a particular codebase and specification licenses are designed to provide terms for separate independent implementations of the specification. Because of this, if you use an open source license for specifications, people implementing those specifications may be doing so without the meaningful copyright or patent grants that you expect.

A second difference is that common open source software and specification licenses tend to have different coverage scopes for intellectual property terms. Open source licenses generally grant terms scoped only to a contributor's contributions. Specification licenses, however, generally cover implementations of the entire specification, regardless of who made the actual contribution. Because the specification will often be developed with contributions from multiple organizations, the various contributing organizations will often want to review and approve the full specification before extending patent commitments to the final, combined result.

Who developed the Community Specification

The Community Specification has been developed via the Joint Development Foundation, with inspiration from the Open Web Foundation agreements and the Alliance for Open Media Patent License 1.0.

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