Open AXIS Group and Google push open source but waitNewsBy Dennis Schaal | March 25, 2011Share This article was originally published on Does an open source standard or software become proprietary if developers have to wait to download them while they are available to others much earlier?This is a question that Open AXIS Group, the airline-run XML standards body, Google and developers are taking up.It turns out that Open AXIS published -- and made available for download -- its updated XML schema on March 9, and plans to create version 2.0 in June and 2.5 in November.However, executive director Jim Young says only members will have the updated schema through March 2012, when the group will make available its annual update, which anyone can download."I feel this still meets the spirit and intent of what an open standard is," Young says.Young acknowledges that the tactic is designed to encourage membership.Some 400 people have downloaded the schema and around 90% are nonmembers, Young says.Over at the other leading travel industry standards body, OpenTravel, executive director Valyn Perini says OpenTravel immediately makes standards' updates available to the entire industry."We consider immediately available to the entire industry to be a cornerstone of 'openness,'" Perini says.Perini says several years ago OpenTravel considered the publication model that Open AXIS is utilizing."But, the feedback we got from the industry is that very few companies immediately implement new versions," Perini says. "There are a lot of moving parts in updating electronic messaging with trading partners, synchronizing resources and calendars, and we find that most companies don't implement our newest versions for several months.""So, there really wasn't much of an actual benefit," Perini adds.The Open Source Initiative outlines its definition of an open standard, but the requirement as outlined doesn't appear to address the timing issue.Jim Davidson, the CEO of Farelogix, which licensed its XML schema to Open AXIS and is an allied member, says he initially had reservations about the Open AXIS timetable for publishing standards updates."Then I heard how many folks were actually taking advantage of the AXIS schema and I realized that only a few are actually funding all the work," Davidson says. "And then I quickly became OK with it. This stuff is moving so fast it does seem reasonable that those who are willing to put in some dollars and work, should gain some advantage.""Bottom-line, I am now OK with it as long as eventually everyone can get access," Davidson says. "Also, the cost of entry is quite reasonable especially for Allied members."Meanwhile, Google is providing open source code with a hitch.Google revealed it will delay the publication of its Honeycomb Android source code for tablets.This could make for an image problem for Google, which is known to boast that Android is open source while rivals Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion make their code proprietary.Google's reasons for delaying public release of its source code are much different than Open AXIS's concerns.Google is concerned Honeycomb isn't ready for prime time in terms of the quality issues that might ensue if developers alter it and use it for disparate devices, including smartphones.-----Disclosure: Tnooz and the OpenTravel Alliance are partnering to produce a THack at the OpenTravel's 2011 North America Advisory Forum April 25-27 in Las Vegas.