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Friday, May 29 2015 @ 09:20 PM CDT

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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.

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Let's All Get Together

Open Source/Open Standards

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

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.

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Elliott Associates and Novell: All About a Game of Cat and Mouse

General News

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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.

So here goes.

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A Big Victory for F/OSS: Jacobsen v. Katzer is Settled

Intellectual property Rights

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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.

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Please Welcome MeeGo

Wireless

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

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.

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Let your inner Video Director loose: "We're Linux" Video Contest 2010

General News

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.

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CodePlex Foundation Picks Paula Hunter as Executive Director

Open Source/Open Standards

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

UnitedLinux logoAs 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.

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Tagging the Noosphere

Standards and Society

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.

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Introducing The Alexandria Project

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

Read Chapter One of The Alexandria Project here  

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.  Quite completely 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.   

Except in this case, there were a few twists.