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Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 @ 04:28 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 560

NIST replica of the Kilogram, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/public domainOnce upon a time we lived in a society that was not only completely analog but infinitely simpler. A time when it seemed the physical world could be understood and described, perhaps even tamed, purely through the application of rational thought. Contemporaries dubbed that era the Age of Enlightenment and looked forward to the wonders that this brave new world would bring. This week, one of the last icons of that heady time was dethroned and retired to a museum in Paris.

I am speaking, of course, about the kilogram, the last of the seven International System of Units measures to be represented by a physical object rather than an “invariant constant of nature.” But where did it come from? And why, after two hundred twenty years, has it been replaced?

Thursday, February 7th, 2019 @ 06:25 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 317

Illustration of the Cnut and the Waves episode by Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville, courtesy of the Wikimedia CommonsEverything changes over time, from the constitutions of nations to political theories. Should the Open Source Software Definition be any different?

Earlier this week the Board of Directors of the Open Source Initiative issued an Affirmation of the Open Source Definition, inviting others to endorse the same position. The stated purpose of the release was to underline the importance of maintaining the open source software (OSS) definition in response to what the directors see as efforts to “undermine the integrity of open source.” Certainly, that definition has stood the test of time, and OSI has ably served as the faithful custodian of the definition of what can and cannot be referred to as OSS.

That said, while well-intentioned, the statement goes too far. It also suggests that the directors would do well to reflect on what their true role as custodians of the OSS definition should be.

Thursday, October 11th, 2018 @ 08:41 AM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 678

OIN%20-%20MS%20140.jpgYesterday, Microsoft announced it was pledging 60,000 patents under the Open Invention Network (OIN) license. While the move was historic, it was not surprising. Instead, it marks a logical culmination of a path the software giant tentatively embarked on as much as a decade ago. That evolution gained significant momentum accelerated with the departure of Steve Ballmer, and accelerated yet again as the success of the Linux distributed development model was replicated across more on more projects, covering technologies as varied as cloud computing, virtualization, and blockchains. 

On the surface, the significance of Microsoft's joining OIN lies with its agreeing to the terms of the OIN license. But in joining OIN, Microsoft may in fact be acknowledging the power of a far older social force: the community taboo.

Monday, September 24th, 2018 @ 01:12 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 97

By Ashley Lipman

Kubernetes%20130.pngMany people have heard of Kubernetes, but don’t know when or where to use it or even what it’s functionality is. Docker users may be more familiar with the program, but still unsure how to make that transition into using Kubernetes.

In this article, we’ll take a beginner’s approach to what Kubernetes is and how to start using it. This information will give you a high-level overview of the program and highlight some key considerations.

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 @ 05:50 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 1,182

Courtesy Allan MacKinnon/Wikimedia Commons - Public DomainAlmost nothing inspires a spirited discussion among the open source faithful as much as introducing a new open source license, or a major change in an existing license’s terms. In the case of version 3 of the GPL, the update process took years and involved dozens of lawyers in addition to community members. So, it’s no surprise that the pot is already boiling over something called the “Commons Clause.” How energetically? Well, one blog entry posted yesterday was titled The Commons Clause Will Destroy Open Source. The spark that turned up the heat was the announcement the same day by RedisLabs that it was adopting the license language.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 @ 12:06 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 105

Courtesy Allan MacKinnon/Wikimedia Commons - Public DomainThe wire services lit up yesterday with news that six of the largest tech companies in the world had issued a statement in support of interoperability in healthcare at a developer conference. It’s a righteous goal, to be sure. In an interoperable healthcare world, anyone’s entire, life-long health record could be accessed anywhere, anytime, by anyone who was giving you care, from your primary physician to an emergency responder. Such a virtuous goal, in fact, that everyone, including the US government, has been trying to achieve it – without success – for over a decade. Will yesterday’s news bring us any closer to that goal?

Friday, July 27th, 2018 @ 04:41 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 582

Hammer%20and%20Nail%20128.pngFirst, the good news: last week, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook announced the Data Transfer Project, inviting other data custodians to join as well. DTP is an initiative that will create the open source software necessary to allow your personal information, pictures, email, etc. to be transferred directly from one vendor’s platform to another, and in encrypted form at that. This would be a dramatic improvement from the current situation where, at best, a user can download data from one platform and then try and figure out how to upload it to another, assuming that’s possible at all.

 

So what’s the bad news, and what does a hammer have to do with it?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 @ 04:45 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 63

TAP%20Cover%20140.jpgAs old readers will know and new ones can tell from the left column, one of the things I do besides lawyering is writing satirical, political cybersecurity thrillers - four to date, with a fifth out within a couple of months. Recently, Tantor Media offered me a contract to bring out the first three titles in audio. Tantor is an imprint of the largest publisher of audiobooks in the world, and I was delighted to say yes. Now the first title, The Alexandria Project, a Tale of Treachery and Technology, is available at Audible, Amazon, and everywhere else audiobooks are sold.

Monday, June 4th, 2018 @ 01:42 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 543

GitHub-Mark-120px-plus.pngMy, my, what a difference a decade makes. Or for some, maybe not.

Ten years ago, Microsoft was led by Steve Ballmer, who very much viewed open source as the barbarian at the software giant’s gates. The feeling was emphatically reciprocated by most in the free and open source (FOSS) community, which viewed Microsoft as a threat to the very existence of FOSS. And if Ballmer had been able to have his way back then, they would probably have been right.

Friday, May 11th, 2018 @ 08:22 AM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 460

512px-FSB_Flag_0.pngAsk any journalist to pick an adjective to use in connection with standards development and the answer will invariably be "boring." But according to a recent New York Times article (yes, it also used that word - as well as "wonky"), the process of creating standards just became a whole lot more interesting - at least when it comes to the blockchain. The reason? A standards working group may have been infiltrated by state actors bent on embedding security flaws into the very standards being created for the purpose of preventing attacks.