Vendor-neutral describes a state in which no one vendor can control the definition, revision or distribution of a specification. Vendor-neutral specifications encourage the development of competing yet compatible implementations, freeing the purchaser to choose from a multitude of vendors without suffering a loss of functionality. Vendor-neutral specifications must be comprehensive, consistent, and either publicly available or licensed at a nominal fee. Additionally, they must be defined by a multilateral association that is representative of a broad cross-section of the computer industry, open to new members, publishes the rules of membership and operates according to democratic principles. Preferably, a vendor-neutral specification is supplemented with at least one reference implementation. This reference would be available in a format that allows re-creation — that format would be source code for software implementations — and a set of conformance tests that sufficiently ensure the implementation’s integrity under all reasonable conditions of projected use.
Back to: Glossary