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Friday, March 27 2015 @ 05:16 AM CDT

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The Launch of the Document Foundation and the Oxymoron of Corporate Controlled "Community" Projects

Open Source/Open Standards

 

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?
 
Say bye-bye?This morning brought the significant -  and decade overdue – announcement of the launch of an independent foundation to host development of the open source, ODF-compliant OpenOffice productivity suite.  The good news of that lost decade is that under Sun’s ownership and control, the OpenOffice suite became the most successful and widely implemented alternative to Microsoft’s Office, providing at least some degree of competition in a product niche where it had been missing for far too long.

The bad news is that in the same time period the OpenOffice suite could have become so much more.  As with other single-company controlled efforts in the past (e.g., the Eclipse Foundation, before IBM spun it out into an independent organization), other companies that could have, and would have, made significant contributions of personnel, funding and promotion stood aside.  

 

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Google's Ironic Ad Campaign and the Future of Traditional Media

On the Media

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Page through a major newspaper (remember newspapers?) today like the New York Times, and you’re likely to run into two enormous ads, one by Google (almost two full pages) and one by AOL (a full two pages). Leaving aside the irony of Google advertising in a form of media that it has almost competed out of existence, there’s something potentially transformative going on here that’s worth exploring.
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It’s Time to Get Behind the Semantic Web

Semantic & NextGen Web

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?


Courtesy Erik Wilde, CC Attribution 3.0 Unported License, at http://dret.net/lectures/web-fall09/trendsFive years ago I dedicated an issue of Standards Today (then called the Consortium Standards Bulletin) to the future of the Semantic Web. The centerpiece was a very detailed interview (over 5,700 words) with the inventor of both the Web and the Semantic Web, Tim Berners-Lee.
 
That issue had two foci: the importance of Berners-Lee’s vision of the Semantic Web becoming a reality, and the very substantial impediments to that happening. In my interview, I returned again and again to the latter issue. 
 
What were those impediments? Back in June of 2005, simply understanding what the Semantic Web was all about was a real problem; proponents found it hard to articulate its operations and uses in a way that people could get their minds around.  More seriously, though, was the amount of effort that implementing the W3C’s core Semantic Web standards would take, conjoined with the absence of clear examples of what kind of rewards would follow for those that took up this burden. In effect, there was not only a chicken and egg issue, but an absence of people interested in buying either the bird or the egg. 
 
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In Celebration of the Life of John H. Updegrove, M.D.

Monday Witness

Father’s realize certain things as they get older: unless you are a fireman or a high school teacher, your grandparents may never really understand what you do for a living. Few children ever appreciate the degree of skill you bring to your trade or profession, and needless to say, your average spouse is likely to wonder whether anyone that speaks kindly of her husband is really talking about the same person that sometimes forgets to take out the garbage. 

That was never a problem in my family, or at least perhaps less so than is often the case. One of my earliest memories is being asked one question over and over again: “whether I was going to be a doctor, just like my father and grandfather.” If the person asking the question was old enough, they might add, “and your great-grandfather, too.  He delivered me, you know.”
 
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Oracle Sues Google Over Android: What's Up with That?

Intellectual property Rights

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project? 

As most of the technology world knows by now, Oracle has brought a suit for patent infringement against Google, asserting that the Java elements incorporated into Google’s Android operating system infringe patents that Oracle acquired when it took over Sun Microsystems. The basic facts are here, and the complaint can be found here. What no one yet knows for sure yet is why?

My crystal ball isn’t any clearer than the next guy’s but here are a few thoughts to consider.
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Open Source for America Celebrates its First Anniversary with Awards

Open Source/Open Standards

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Last summer, a new organization was announced with the goal of promoting the uptake of open source software by the U.S. federal government.  It's mission was described as follows:

The mission of OSA is to educate decision makers in the U.S. Federal government about the advantages of using free and open source software; to encourage the Federal agencies to give equal priority to procuring free and open source software in all of their procurement decisions; and generally provide an effective voice to the U.S. Federal government on behalf of the open source software community, private industry, academia, and other non-profits.

Now that organization has completed its first quite successful year of operations, and it's decided to celebrate that event by announcing an awards program to recognize those that have been most influential in advancing its goals.

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Please Welcome Open AXIS Group

General News

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project? 

At any given time I'm helping to set up two or three new consortia and open source foundations, and it's always a pleasure to see one of announce their public launch.  Yesterday it was the turn of Open AXIS Group, the latest in a seemingly endless string of initiatives formed to recruit the versatile magic of XML to address a global need.

In this case, that need is dealing intelligently and efficiently with the growing number of services that an airline can sell or assist with (e.g., exit row or aisle seating, extra bags, and so on) in addition to booking the seat that you rent for a few hours.  That will all work more smoothly if not only every airline, but also every travel agent, travel site, and others all input information in the same, interoperable way. 

That goal can, of course, best be accomplished through XML, and in this case, by using an already developed XML schema that will serve as the starting point for Open AXIS Group's ongoing development and promotional work.

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Looking Back at SCO (What did it all Mean?)

Intellectual property Rights

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“ORDERED that SCO's Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or, in the Alternative, for a New Trial is DENIED.” So ends the ruling of District Judge Ted Stewart. And so also, perhaps, ends the seemingly endless quest of SCO to tax or kill Linux.
 
Given SCO’s well-demonstrated tenacity and unwillingness to face reality, it may seem unwise to assume we have indeed seen the end of the road. But, as with the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, once someone who has lost touch with reality loses their last limb, it’s easy to just walk away and leave them alone with their delusions. Presumably, that’s what SCO’s trustee in bankruptcy will now do, forbidding any funds to be spent pursuing SCO’s suit against IBM, or anyone else.
 
Assuming that’s the case, this isn’t a bad time to ask the question, “What did it all mean?” 
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Oracle's ODF Plug-in Pricing: What's up with That?

OpenDocument and OOXML

 

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?
 
When news of Oracle's intended acquisition of Sun Microsystems broke long ago, many people wondered what that would mean for OpenOffice, the most widely adopted full desktop implementation of ODF. But Oracle immediately imposed a company-wide "no comment" policy on that topic, so everyone has been wondering what the answer might be ever since.
 
So like many others, I expect, I’m trying to get my brain around Oracle’s reasoning in deciding to charge $90 for a formerly free ODF conversion plug-in developed by Sun Microsystems.  That downloadable plug-in was intended for Microsoft Office users who wanted to import ODF-compliant documents created, most obviously, by users of the free, open source OpenOffice.org (OOo) version, or of Sun’s StarOffice, the for-sale, supported productivity suite based on the free OOo code. 
 
Moreover, it’s not just $90 you’ll need to fork over – the plug-in is only available in packages of 100.

 

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Alex Brown: "Without action, the entire OOXML project is now surely heading for failure"

OpenDocument and OOXML

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

In reviewing my RSS feed this morning, I found this interesting blog entry by Alex Brown, titled Microsoft Fails the Standards Test.  In it, Alex makes a number of statements, and reaches a number of conclusions, that are likely to startle those that followed the ODF-OOXML saga. The bottom line? Alex thinks that Microsoft has failed to fulfill crucial promises upon which the approval of OOXML was based. He concludes that unless Microsoft reverses course promptly, “the entire OOXML project is now surely heading for failure.”
 

Wow.