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It is:

- You need to purchase multiple standards (at least 4).

- In theory, you need to purchase a multi-user license if more than one person should be allowed to read the pdf in your company (hint: nobody purchases the multi-user license).

- Every few years, new versions of the standards are released which you have to purchase.

- Sometimes, you just purchase standards to realise that they're not applicable to your company.

- The industry is riddled with shadiness: A German standards web shop offers a "standards flatrate" for a "great price" of e.g. 750 EUR for 10 standards. [1]

- Getting off-topic, but more related shadiness: Your purchased PDFs are watermarked with your company name and full name of purchaser (!) in the footer of each page to prevent sharing.

[1] https://www.beuth.de/de/regelwerke/normen-flatrates-im-ueber...

Even with all of these, the cost of implementing the standard (time for engineering, design, etc.) will likely very quickly dwarf what you are paying for the standard itself. I agree that open would be better, but the fees themselves really do feel nominal compared to overall implementation cost.

The point is that it kills everything that isn't an engineering project with some funding secured. It kills exploratory work by individuals or small companies. It kills education. It kills popularization of standards.

And in case of standards in computing, like ISO 8601 - a lot of them are of interest to open source developers. If they could access them for free, they could make their code compliant. Software companies use a lot of open source, and often whether or not a product follows some standard somewhere is entirely dependent on whether the OSS component it uses follows the standard.

> - In theory, you need to purchase a multi-user license if more than one person should be allowed to read the pdf in your company (hint: nobody purchases the multi-user license).

How does the law treat this differently from a book? You can buy a book and then give or sell it to whomever you wish without any restrictions... how is this different?

When you try to compare digital downloads to physical media that isn't easy to copy, like books, most of the logic falls apart just like that.

Then there's also another side to digital distribution, especially in entertainment — if you bought a (heavily DRM'ed) video game, or a movie, or a book, or something else, online, it's tied to your account. You can't lend whatever it is you bought to a friend like you absolutely could the same exact thing on a physical medium. You can't resell it either. You also rely on the mercy of the seller to not pull your access to the thing. Yet, even though it lacks this basic trait of a physical medium, sellers treat digital and physical as mostly the same thing.

To clarify, I was comparing physical media against physical media. The standards are sold as physical copies. e.g., https://www.iso.org/standard/65464.html

Oh shoot, sorry, I just realized I got confused. I misinterpreted the original comment (about the PDF) to mean that you're supposed to buy multiple physical copies too, and that nobody does that either. If that's not the case then that would explain it. Though then the question would be—is it not worth just buying the physical copy and passing it around?

Buy a physical copy, scan it, and give the resulting PDF to everyone who needs it, lol

While A few thousand euros definitely inhibits an amateur from becoming an expert, which is a terrible thing that greatly reduces the labor pool and possibly even some startup ideas, but I'm not sure it would stop many startups.

And if it did those startups never stood a chance in the first place

Not every startup has big investors from day one

Of course this is adjacent to the point of the entire thread, but how many medical companies/ideas have emerged from the mythical garage?

<Completely ignores linux> Sometimes people just want to make the world better, why stand in their way?

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