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Tuesday, March 31 2015 @ 03:23 AM CDT

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Library of Congress “Opens Up” with (wait for it…) OOXML

OpenDocument and OOXML

Last week, the Library of Congress announced that it will “open up with OOXML.” Nine new OOXML format descriptions will be added to the LoC Format Sustainability Website.

Last July, the U.K. Cabinet Office formally adopted ODF, the OpenDocument Format developed by OASIS and adopted by ISO/IEC, as an approved open format for editable public documents. It did not give the same approval to OOXML, another XML-based document format that was based on a contribution from Microsoft to ECMA, another standards organization. OOXML was also in due course adopted by ISO/IEC. The Cabinet Office decision came ten years after the largest standards war of the decade was launched by a similar, but later reversed, decision by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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Dept. of Justice Blesses IEEE Rules on Injunctions and Reasonability

Intellectual property Rights

Following almost two years of debate, public posting of five drafts, and consideration of 680 comments, IEEE-SA preliminarily approved amendments to its Patent Policy to address these and other questions. IEEE-SA is the developer of the Wi-Fi standards (and thousands of other specifications). It is one of the major standards development venues in the information and communications technology industry, and thus a venue within which the question bears great weight. However, final approval of the amendments was made contingent upon receiving a favorable “Business Review” letter from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In a business review letter, the regulator responds to a detailed explanation and rationale for a proposed action, and indicates whether it would, or would not, be likely to challenge that action if implemented. In this case the DoJ expressed its belief that the proposed actions would be procompetitive rather than restricting competition, and that it would therefore not be inclined to challenge the final approval and implementation of the policy changes. That approval will occur later this month when the proposed policy updates are approved by the IEEE-SA Board of Directors.

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In Praise of Curation

Adventures in Self-Publishing

It's become fashionable for content producers to rail against the concept of “curation” in the Age of the Internet. Why? Because the guidelines of those  terrible people, the “traditional publishers,” are supposedly keeping authors from the global audience that certainly must be their birthright. True, the balance can (and in the recent past certainly has) swung too far in the direction of permitting far too few good books to gain access to traditional distribution channels.

But it’s worth remembering that the situation can look very different to a content consumer than it does to a content producer.

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Newsflash: Amazon Acts like For-Profit Company!

Adventures in Self-Publishing

One of the most incredible phenomena I’ve witnessed since I’ve become interested in self-publishing has been the propensity for many authors to lionize Amazon as if Jeff Bezos’s sole purpose in life was to help avenge the author class against the evil patriarchs of traditional publishing. Well, guess what? The realization has finally begun to dawn that facilitating self-publishing has been a means to an end for Amazon, and not the end itself.

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VC Madness Redux: Stop them Before they Kill the Economy Again

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

Courtesy of Spechtarts via Wikimedia Commons,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Austria license. Heaven help us all, they’re doing it again. The “who” are the venture capitalists, and the “what” is super-inflating another start-up company bubble. Consider the following valuations, as summarized by Steven Davidoff-Solomon in this morning’s New York Times: Instacart, a same-day grocery delivery service (remember WebVan?) wants to raise $100 million at a $2 billion valuation. Too modest? How about WeWork Companies (why not share your office space the way Uber shares cars?), which closed on $355 million at a $5 billion valuation. And then, of course, there’s Uber, with a $41 billion valuation, but only a modest share of the $7 billion a year people spend on cabs.

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A Writer’s Perception of Reality

Not Here but There: A Wilderness Journal

Scientists and philosophers have struggled for years to define our relation to reality, or even to decide what “reality” might be. The rest of us mostly muddle through the daily experience of our existence.  For a writer, perceptions of reality are also important, as it’s easier to write about what we have perceived than what we have persuaded ourselves to imagine.

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An Open Source Project for Drones (now how cool is that?)

Open Source/Open Standards

It was only two weeks ago that I wrote here about the launch of a new Linux Foundation consortium, called the Open Platform for NFV Project. That's an extremely important development on the telecommunications front, with a mission "to develop and maintain a carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform for the telecom industry." But if you're not of the technical persuasion, where does that rate on the register of cool? Well, maybe not so high.

Today's announcement, on the other hand, should be enough to catch the eye of anyone. This time, the effort being launched is called the Dronecode Project, and the code it supports controls a much hotter platfrom than a telecom backbone: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more popularly known simply as "drones." So just how cool is that?  (Disclosure: my firm and I represent the Linux Foundation and the Drone Project).

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Now Available as a Free Download: Research on Open Innovation

Open Source/Open Standards

It would be easy, and even no surprise, to spend a year in Washington, D.C. and never hear the word "open" used during a high level policy discussion. That wasn't as true at the beginning of the first term of President Obama, when open source software and open data were mentioned frequently on the White House web site, at least. But that was then, and this is now.

It's quite the opposite in Europe, where all things open (standards, source code, data and research) have been the subject of lively discussion and incorporation into core policy goals and directives. Nor has that happened by coincidence.

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Linux Foundation Announces Major Network Functions Virtualization Project

Open Source/Open Standards

The Linux Foundation this morning announced the latest addition to a rapidly expanding list of ambitious open source initiatives that are seeking to transform the way the world does business. The newest project on the block is called the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), and its mission is to develop and maintain a carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform for the telecom industry.

The project is launching with thirty-eight founding companies, including many of the largest IT companies in the world. Importantly, they include not only cloud and service infrastructure vendors, but telecom service providers, developers and end users as well. (Disclosure: my firm and I represent the Linux Foundation and OPNFV).

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Revisiting DRM: What about Books?

Intellectual property Rights

Capt. Henry Morgan, courtesy of the Wikimedia CommonsMention the letters "DRM" and you're likely to immediately evoke two opposing and emotional reactions. The battle lines have become so fixed, in fact that you almost don't hear those letters debated at all any more. That's also because the war has already been fought, and largely lost, when it comes to music.

But what about books, now that they've become digitized? Should the arguments, the answers, and the result (entrenched, opposing camps) be the same?