From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (19 Sep 2003) [foldoc]:
<standard> Standards are necessary for interworking,
portability, and reusability. They may be de facto
standards for various communities, or officially recognised
national or international standards.
Andrew Tanenbaum, in his Computer Networks book, once said,
"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of
them to choose from", a reference to the fact that competing
standards become a source of confusion, division,
obsolescence, and duplication of effort instead of an
enhancement to the usefulness of products.
Some bodies concerned in one way or another with computing
standards are IAB (RFC and STD), ISO, ANSI, DoD,
ECMA, IEEE, IETF, OSF, W3C.