Regular readers of Standards Today will be aware that hundreds of organizations that develop and promote standards have been formed using a legal and governance model that leads them to be referred to as "consortia." But think for a moment and tell me if you know what kind of model would be wise to use to set up an organization to support any other type of largely virtual activity?
That's interesting, isn't it? Silence would have answered the same question in the standards development community thirty years ago, too. But then a few pioneer consortia were formed, and the word spread. As it did, the structures used to form and govern consortia became more refined, and best practices evolved and became better known by word of mouth. The same phenomenon is happening today in the world of open source development.
By now you've probably read endless takes on the news that Elliott Associates, one of the oldest hedge funds, with over US $16 billion under management, has made an unsolicited offer for Novell. Almost all of these articles have focused on whether Elliott means business, what they'll do to Novell if they are successful, and whether another (and perhaps ultimately successful) bidder will enter the scene.
I haven't seen any article yet, though, that describes in detail how the high stakes game of tender offers is played, and how the usual process maps (and doesn't) to a high tech company like Novell. So I thought I'd provide an overview for those that haven't had occasion to follow a tender offer in the past, and also my thoughts on what may happen over the next several months in this particular game of cat and mouse.
A long running case of great significance to the legal underpinnings of free and open source/open source software (F/OSS) has just settled on terms favorable to the F/OSS developer. The settlement follows a recent ruling by a U.S. Federal District Court judge that affirmed several key rights of F/OSS developers under existing law.
That case is Jacobsen v. Katzer, and the settlement documents were filed in court just after 9:00 AM this morning. Links to each of them can be found later in this blog entry. The brief background of the case, the legal issues at stake, and the settlement details are as follows.
I don't usually post twice a day, but today was opening day in Barcelona of the Mobile World Congress, the biggest mobile show of the year, and the announcements were popping thick and fast. One of those announcements unveiled a new mobile platform called MeeGo - a new open source contender in the race to power the broad array of devices that are rapidly proliferating in the mobile marketplace. And, I'm happy to say, MeeGo will be hosted by The Linux Foundation.
We've been working for some time on this, and we're very pleased that the project has now gone public. The LF press release can be found here, and the Intel version of the joint Intel-Nokia release is here. As usual, both are also pasted in below for archival purposes. I think you'd also find LF Executive Director Jim Zemlin's blog entry worth a read, and I'll quote from it below.
As you may recall, the Linux Foundation last year ran a video contest that drew a lot of entries, many of which were not only entertaining, but had surprisingly high production values as well. Last year's invitation was to use the popular "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ad series as an inspiration, and you can see the winning videos here (all of last year's entries can be found here).
Well, it's that time again, and LF has just annnounced this year's contest theme, rules and deadline. The announcement is here, and also pasted in at the end of this blog entry. This year, the invitation is to submit what a Super Bowl ad for Linux might be like, if there was ever to be such a thing.
As you may recall, the CodePlex Foundation indicated in January that it expected to name a permanent Executive Director within a few weeks' time. That has now happened, and in the "small world" department, the new ED happens to be Paula Hunter - someone I've known for years, and worked with several times in the past. The full press release is below. Paula is someone I like and respect a lot, and a great choice for CodePlex.
As you'll see from the announcement, one of Paula's prior jobs was as the Executive Director of UnitedLinux. UL was a client of mine, and that's where I first met Paula. And if you've never heard the saga of UL, it's a rather fascinating story.
The last issue of Standards Today focused on XML - the underpinning of ODF and hundreds of other standards - and one of the most important standards ever developed. Here is the editorial from that issue.
One of the many intriguing concepts mooted by Pierre Tielhard de Chardin, a French philosopher and Jesuit priest with polymathic insights (his academic explorations range from paleontology to the meaning of the Cosmos) is the "noosphere." In de Chardin's vision, the reality of the world encompassed not just the geosphere (inanimate matter) and biosphere (all forms of life), but an ever expanding nimbus of knowledge representing the fusion of the minds and knowledge of all humans.
Those that know me know that I firmly believe that there is a Monty Python vignette, or at least a catchphrase, for every occasion. On this occasion, that catchphrase is, “And now for something completely different!”
How completely different, might you ask, as if on cue? Glad you asked. Quitecompletely different. More specifically, what you will find here is a cybersecurity mystery novel called The Alexandria Project, originally shared here in serial form, in the grand tradition of yesteryear, when authors like Charles Dickens presented their latest works in weekly or monthly (often cliff hanging) chapters.
Think of the words "standards war," and unless you're a standards wonk like m...oh, never mind...you're likely to think of the battle between the Betamax and VHS video tape formats. That's because videos are consumer products that just about everyone uses, and therefore the bloodshed in that standards war was not only shed in public view, but the some of the blood that was shed was shed by the public (i.e., those that bought video players supporting Betamax, the losing, but arguably superior, format). Fast forward (pun intended) to the present, and the trademarks "HD DVD and "Blu-ray" may ring a bell - and that's no coincidence.
Why? Because different industries have different business models and strategies that involve standards, and these often perpetuate over time - decades, in this case. In the case of the consumer electronics sector, that culture has too often been one of a patent-based, winner take all effort to cash in big time while your competitors take it on the chin. And it's not just media formats, either. As I noted in a blog entry a few weeks ago, we're seeing the same type of behavior in eBook readers. Since there's only one market, and the market demands one format to win in the end, that means that the camp that owns the bundle of patents underlying the winning format standard wins a bonanza.
Why? because the losers must pay through the nose for the license rights to build the players that implement the format standard that wins. The winners, on the other time win twice: once, by receiving the royalties, and again, because their own players have a lower cost to produce, because they don't have to pay royalties to themselves.
So guess what? Here we go again, but with a bit of a twist this time.
Earlier this week, I noted the fact that the 100 day mark for the CodePlex Foundation had passed (on December 19) without any comment from the Foundation on how they had fared against their aggressive goals for that time period, including the replacement of the founding, interim Board of Directors, with a permanent board.
That blog entry sparked a call from the Foundation's PR firm, and an opportunity for me to spend an hour on the phone with Sam Ramji, the interim President of the Foundation, and Foundation Deputy Director Mark Stone during which we covered a lot of ground, including what's been accomplished so far, what the Foundation has learned so far, how that has affected its planning, and what we can expect to be announced in the short term and long term future. They also informed me that a press release covering some of the same topics would be issued today. That announcement was posted to the Foundation Web site at Noon, and you can find it here (as usual, it's also pasted in at the end of this blog entry).
With that as prelude, here's what we talked about, and here's what I learned.
Quote of the Day
“We could see the technology arrive in many form factors, like arm chairs”
-WPC Air Charge Chair Ryan Sanderson, commenting on Ikea's implementation of the Qi wireless charging standard in its furniture
The Audio Engineering Society Publishes Groundbreaking New Standard for 3D Audio Press Release AES.org March 27, 2015 - The Audio Engineering Society is pleased to announce the recent publication of the AES69-2015 standard, which provides an important framework for the growing binaural and 3D personal audio industries. The standard, which describes the format and exchange of spatial acoustics files, is the product of the AES Standards Committee,...
The AES69-2015 standard is seen as a boon to the evolving 3D audio field. Binaural listening is growing due to increased usage of smartphones, tablets and other individual entertainment systems that primarily present audio using headphones. An understanding of the way that the listener experiences binaural sound, expressed as head-related transfer functions (HRTF), opens the way to 3D personal audio. The lack of a standard for the exchange of HRTF data makes it difficult for developers to exchange binaural capture and rendering algorithms effectively. While 3D audio continues to gain popularity among end users, binaural listening could be the very first 3D audio vector with sufficient fidelity of HRTF.
The new AES69-2015 standard defines a file format to exchange space-related acoustic data in various forms. These include HRTF, as well as directional room impulse responses (DRIR). The format is designed to be scalable to match the available rendering process and is designed to be sufficiently flexible to include source materials from different databases.... ...Full Story
ANSI Releases Schedule of Events for World Standards Week 2015 ANSI.org March 26, 2015 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has announced the full schedule of events for World Standards Week (WSW) 2015, which will be held September 28–October 2 in Washington, DC. WSW is an annual event where members of the standards and conformity assessment community come together in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration.... ...Full Story
ITU and ETSI agree method to assess energy efficiency of mobile networks Press Release ITU/ETSI March 26, 2015 - ITU and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) have agreed a new standard to measure the energy efficiency of mobile radio access networks (RANs), the wireless networks that connect end-user equipment to the core network.
The standard is the first to define energy-efficiency metrics and measurement methods for live RANs, providing a common reference to evaluate their performance. Its application will build uniformity in the methodologies employed by such evaluations, in parallel establishing a common basis for the interpretation of the results.... ...Full Story
Open networks will be the key to meeting future requirements. Mike Marshall Lightwave March 25, 2015 - The fundamental nature of data-center computing is rapidly changing. Conventional data centers built to support traditional client-server applications are giving way to virtual IT environments that enable dynamic workloads, mobile applications, and on-demand services. Enterprises are leveraging server virtualization and cloud provider services to boost IT agility; support Big Data, high performance computing, and analytics; and improve data-center economics....
With game-changing applications that include cloud computing, mobility, video, and Big Data requiring support of non-stop - and costly - bandwidth demands, cloud and service providers are driving toward a new business model. They seek to reduce skyrocketing operational costs and become more efficient, while continuing to ensure real time response and customer loyalty. To accomplish this new model, cloud providers are migrating to open networks, inside and outside the data center.
Open networks sharply contrast with "vendor lock-in" or proprietary approaches. Predictable, flexible, high performance cloud connectivity is critical to delivering a superior user experience and maintaining a competitive advantage. Open networks enable providers to leverage new open-source technologies and innovations as well as drive new initiatives such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to add programmability, automation, and service agility with new levels of control and orchestration.
Yet defining an open network isn't easy; it can take many forms.... ...Full Story
OpenSSL to undergo massive security audit Latest News Rob Marvin SD times March 25, 2015 - Now that its codebase is finally viewed as stable, OpenSSL is getting a good top-to-bottom once-over in the form of a sweeping audit.
It’s been close to a year since the Heartbleed bug sent the Internet into a frenzy over security. It spurred the software industry to rally behind OpenSSL—sending in more developers, revamping the security protocol, and laying out a revised road map for the ailing encryption protocol underlying much of the Web.
As part of the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), the foundation and the Open Crypto Audit Project (OCAP) are sponsoring and organizing what may arguably be the highest-profile audit of a piece of open-source software in history. The audit itself will be conducted by the information assurance organization NCC Group, and its security research arm, Cryptography Services, will carry out the code review.... ...Full Story
Z-Wave Alliance Launches IoT Competition to Reward Start-Ups for Their Innovation in the Smart Home Press Release Z-Wave Alliance March 24, 2015 - The Z-Wave Alliance, an open consortium of leading global companies deploying Z-Wave, the world's largest ecosystem of wireless control products and services, is announcing a brand new competition to support and incentivize innovation on the Z-Wave platform. The yearlong Z-Wave Labs Program will accept applications from start-up companies and entrepreneurs looking to bring Z-Wave products to market.
In order to accelerate innovation on the Z-Wave platform and lower the barrier of entry for new companies to develop IoT products, the program will reward one selected individual/company each month starting in May 2015 with a 12-month membership to the Z-Wave Alliance as well as one of the newly available IoT-ready 500 Series Z-Wave Developer Kits from Sigma Designs.... ...Full Story
Dell Targets Network Bottleneck with Switch Interface George Leopold Enterprise Tech March 24, 2015 - In an attempt to move software-defined networking off the drawing board and into the datacenter, Dell’s networking unit is rolling out a switch interface as a standard API that attempts to abstract software between various network operating systems and silicon residing on a physical switch.
Dell Networking’s Switch Abstraction Interface was submitted on Tuesday (March 10) to the Open Compute Project (OCP) for review. Dell said it expects early adoption of the open switch interface by the industry group, which was formed to develop new server, storage, networking and other hyper-scale datacenter components.... ...Full Story
GTSO Opens Talks to Set New Standards for Cannabis Edibles Industry Press Release GTSO March 20, 2015 - Alongside its joint venture partner, Elevated Industries, Green Technology Solutions, Inc. is now engaged in talks to form a new industry association to provide certification, regulation and overall credibility to the rapidly rising cannabis edibles industry in North America.
Elevated Industries is a Canada-based company that owns unique formulations for frozen confections infused with cannabis extracts. GTSO formed a joint venture with Elevated Industries late last year to market and develop innovative new edibles products for the booming medical and adult-use cannabis markets sprouting up across the continent.... ...Full Story
Shake Up of Centuries Old System of Credit in Scholarly Communication: Project CRediT Laura Wheeler Digital Science March 19, 2015 - We are pleased to announce some news that plans to shake up the old system of credit in scholarly communication!
Today, The Wellcome Trust and Digital Science introduce a new Contributor Role Taxonomy to provide a high-level classification of the diverse roles performed by individuals in the work leading to published academic research. The purpose of the CRediT Taxonomy is to provide transparency in contributions to scholarly published work. Attribution and credit will be able to be assigned to researchers undertaking a wide range of roles such as data curation, visualization and software programming.
Furthermore, the taxonomy will be published to the Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information (CASRAI) Data Dictionary and will lay the foundation for appropriate credit where it is due, fewer author disputes, and fewer disincentives to collaboration and the sharing of data and code....Digital Science and the Wellcome Trust partnered with two information industry standards organizations, CASRAI and the US-based National Information Standards Organization (NISO), to achieve broad community consultation in drafting the taxonomy and testing its fit with a range of scientific fields.... ...Full Story
ANSI Announces Accreditations under Pilot Programs for Eco-Labeling, Environmental Declarations ANSI Weekly News March 18, 2015 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), coordinator of the U.S. voluntary standardization system, is pleased to announce the first six accreditations under two pilot programs that ANSI launched in 2014 to address eco-labeling and environmental declarations.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed standards that define different types of environmental labels: Type I, Type II, and Type III. One ANSI pilot program has focused on Type I environmental labeling scheme owners and the competence of eco-labeling certification bodies. The other ANSI pilot program has focused on program operators for Type III environmental labels and declarations, and the competence of certification bodies that verify/validate Environmental Product Declarations (EPD).... ...Full Story