In a recent rant, I complained about the fuzziness around the use of the word "open" in the context of standards, particularly software standards for interoperability A good, thought-provoking discussion on this is in the March edition of the ConsortiumInfo.org newsletter. Basically, most of the arguments around "open" go: we know what we really want to say, but this is common practice and we need to be pragmatic, so this is what we will settle for today. Perhaps this is reasonable and politically acceptable, but it's not exactly pushing the envelope. I think a better approach would be to define what a fully open standard would mean and then back off from there, rather than defining an open standard to be something in the middle and then muddling on from there. Of course, this might not go too well for people who previously claimed they were all about open standards, but at least it gives us a more precise definition with which to work.
For more thoughtful reading material, see European Interoperability Framework for pan-European eGovernment Services, especially page 9. I'll have more to say on this whole topic.