There are various kinds of standards.

When one group have agreed on a common method of doing something, this is called a 'standard'.

There are national-level standards such as UK standard for mains plugs, the USA use their own mains plug standard.

There are international standards for all kinds of things from the size of a CD disk to the way an Ethernet network is put together.

If the standards are published by a recognised body, then this is an 'official' standard. For example ISO 8859 defines computer character sets.

If the standards are there because one company or technology happens to dominate, then it becomes a 'de facto' standard. A 'de facto' standard is not official, but everyone goes with it anyway. For example 'VHS' became a de facto standard for viewing video instead of 'Betamax'.

Companies often disagree and are constantly vying with each other to make the public accept their technology as the 'de-facto' standard, because which ever company wins will probably make a fortune by 'licensing' their technology.

Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Standards


back to glossaryback to glossary