Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. electric power delivery infrastructure served our nation well,… This once state-of-the-art system brought a level of prosperity to the United States unmatched by any other nation in the world. But a 21st-century U.S. economy cannot be built on a 20th-century electric grid. A Vision for the Modern Grid, National Energy Technology Laboratory, for the DOE, March 2007
For decades utility companies and environmentalists alike have known that more dramatic and economical advances in energy policy could be achieved through energy conservation than by any other means. By utilizing techniques as simple as buying more efficient appliances and better insulating our homes we can lower our dependence on foreign oil, release fewer greenhouse gases, and savemoney as well, all at the same time. For almost as long, utilities have promoted the concept of “demand side management,” and sought to enlist the aid of consumers and businesses to shift electricity usage to low-demand times of the day, with the potential benefit of avoiding the need to build expensive new power plants.
I am an avid, lifelong, reader of newspapers in general, and of the New York Times in particular. And I'm a staunch believer in the essential role of an independent press in a modern democracy. I’m also the owner of a Web site that serves over a million page views a month, some of which display short extracts of news articles, with links back to the full text. On occasion those links lead back to stories appearing at the Web site of the Times.
So why am I trying to kill my beloved Times and its worthy brethren?
Before Linux.com went dark late last year, it was one of the most visited open source news aggregation and discussion sites. As you may recall, word got this March that the Linux Foundation had taken Linux.com over, and was committed to making it bigger, better and richer than before. Further to that goal, it set up "Ideaforge," to tap the developer and user communities to learn what they in an on-line resource to make the Linux ecosystem more successful and satisfying for all involved.
After months of effort behind the scenes, and some pretty impressive Web design, the Linux Foundation delivered on that promise last night. What you'll find there is something that's different from anything that's ever existed before - an interactive, growing, feature and content rich resource that can help you hone your skills, find a job, assemble a Linux-based system, and, of course, access the most up to date news, blogs and ideas about open source software in general, and Linux in particular. What it's all about can be summed up in just six words: For the community, by the community. And if you read this blog, that includes you.
It was an interesting trip, in all, providing a cascade of often starkly diverse images. How varied a range? On the natural grandeur list, I would add spectacular sunsets, wildernesses of soaring, broken redrock, and broad vistas of pristine desert.
And at the opposite end of the spectrum, I might begin with the sights that greeted me when I crossed the Colorado early in the trip, and threaded my way through the 27th Annual Laughlin River Run, a meet that draws over 40,000 leather-clad, mostly aging bikers to what Motorcycle-usa.com calls, “one of the more popular events on the West Coast rally scene, packing bikini contests, custom bike shows, demo rides, poker runs, freak shows and tattoo contests into four-days of 24/7 fun.” I can attest to the fact that it also packs in what is presumably one of the largest assemblages of multi-story, inflatable Jim Beam bottle and Budweiser can replicas to be found anywhere in one place.
The southwestern landscape hosts a variety of signature geologic forms, some of which have become iconic as the backdrops for countless western movies. If you should find yourself channel surfing late tonight, a single frame of a mesa, butte, spire or hoodoo will instantly lock you on to the genre, even before the dusty characters ride into view.
The desert rock garden is a less well known type, but it will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time knocking about the southwest, and around Arizona in particular. Unlike the angular, striated spires and hoodoos that erode out of sedimentary formations, rock gardens are more often volcanic in origin than not, usually granitic, and rounded in form, characteristically resembling enormous blowups of the sand dribbles that a child makes at the beach by allowing a slurry of water and sand to slip through her fingers.
Long-time readers will know that whenever I can, I disappear into the desert for as long as I can. Often, the opportunity arises to cadge a lift out west on the back of a business trip, and so it is that I write this in northwestern Arizona a couple days after spending a day in a conference room buried deep within the bowels of the raucus, random, blaring, unworldly nonsense that is otherwise known as the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Some of the nonsense worked to my favor, or at least amusement, as my $143.95 room was somehow traded up into a penthouse suite on the 62nd floor of the hotel – a suite that was bigger than the first floor of my admittedly small house, with 18 foot ceilings, a wall of glass behind motorized drapes, bar, living room, two bathrooms (one palatial), four flat screen TV sets (more than I have owned of any type in my entire life), and no coffee maker.
The service the lawyer renders is his professional knowledge and skill, but the commodity he sells is time — Reginald Heber Smith, inventor of the billable hour
Both reviled and ubiquitous, the billable hour is the roach of the legal world — Douglas McCollam, writing in the American Lawyer
Let's imagine that you would like to have your dilapidated, wood-sided house painted. The southern exposure is peeling, the soffits sport dark Rorschach patterns of mildew, and more than a few window sills have that uncomfortably punky feel to the touch that whispers "we're rotting — you must help us." You know that you can't put off facing the music any longer, and hope that the impact on your wallet will be no more painful than absolutely necessary.
So you do what any rational homeowner would — you get some referrals from people you trust, call the folks they recommend, and tell each of them that you'll be soliciting several bids. While you're at it, you also call the painter who, as luck would have it, had dropped a flyer in your mailbox that very afternoon.
Over the next week each housepainter stops by after work, walks around your house, scribbles a few notes, and promises to get back to you with a quote. Within a week, most of them actually do. Like any homeowner would, you select the cheapest, failing to note that it came from the painter you found through the flyer. Soon, the job is done, and he drops by to collect the agreed upon amount. Pleased, you pay him on the spot.
What a nice, logical system, especially for the buyer. You know just what you'll have to pay before you commit to pay it, and gain the benefit of competitive bidding as well. You'd be crazy to take on such a large financial commitment any other way, wouldn't you?
Any old standards hand forced to choose the single most disputed issue in standard setting over the past decade would likely respond with a deceivingly simple question: "What does it mean to be an 'open standard?'" A similar debate rages in the open source community between those that believe that some licenses (e.g., the BSD, MIT and Apache licenses) are "open enough," while others would respond with an emphatic Hell No! (or less printable words to similar effect).
That's not too surprising, because the question of what "open" means subsumes almost every other categorical question that information and communications technology (ICT) standards and open source folk are likely to disagree over, whether they be economic (should a vendor be able to be implement a standard free of charge, or in free and open source software (FOSS) licensed under a version of the General Public License (GPL)); systemic (are standards adopted by ISO/IEC JTC 1 "better" than those that are not); or procedural (must the economic and other terms upon which a necessary patent claim can be licensed be disclosed early in the development process)?
The reason why this background level of disagreement is relevant today is because the Obama Administration has pledged to use technology to bring an "unprecedented" level of transparency and interaction in governmentto the people. If that's going to happen, though, it means that the platforms that the new administration adopts to provide open government will have to be open as well. Which brings us at last to the question of just what, exactly, "open" should mean, when it comes to "open government."
It's said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I guess being the kind of organization that people love to leak news about might be the next. That seems to be the case with the Linux Foundation, which for the second time in a matter of weeks has seen an enterprising reporter scoop the opposition (and our own internal planning) by releasing a story ahead of our planned schedule. Who knew that an open source foundation could attract paparazzi?
Last time, it was Steven Vaughn-Nichols announcing our acquisition of the Linux.com site, and this time it's the New York Times (no less) announcing a day ahead of time the fact that the Linux Foundation has taken over stewardship of Intel's Linux-based Moblin mobile operating system. If you've been following the mobile space for awhile, this is news worth noting, on which more below.
It would be an understatement to observe that Microsoft's patent suit against Dutch GPS vendor company TomTom has been closely watched. Why? Because Microsoft alleges that several of the patents at issue are infringed by TomTom's implementation of the Linux kernel. In this first month of the dispute, the most urgent question has been this: will TomTom fight or fold? Now we have the answer: TomTom has decided to fight - and perhaps fight hard. Yesterday, it brought its own suit against Microsoft in a Virginia court, alleging that Microsoft is guilty of infringing several of TomTom's own patents.
The question that many Linux supporters are now asking is this: is this good news for Linux, or bad? Here are my thoughts on that important question.
Quote of the Day
“I know a smart business decision when I see one—choosing open standards is a very smart business decision indeed”
-Outgoing European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, endorsing a new campaign to ensure use of the OpenDocument format
Network Function Virtualization goes open source Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols ZDNet.com October 1, 0214 - In 2014, companies and open source programmers alike are working as hard as they can to virtualize hardware into software. The latest example of this is Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). The name of the NFV game is to take such appliances or server-based network operations as Network Address Translation (NAT), firewalls, intrusion detection, and Domain Name Service (DNS) and move them to virtual machines. Of course, there are all kinds of ways to do this on a single server, but NFV takes it far beyond that to a level where an entire carrier's network services can be deployed and managed virtually.... ...Full Story
Telcos Mobilizing to Drive NFV Adoption OpenStack Blog OpenStack.org October 1, 0214 - Today the Linux Foundation announced the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) Project, a group comprised primarily of telco operators working across open source projects and vendors to implement Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) within their organizations. This is an exciting development because the market is growing quickly, and many OpenStack community members are also participating in OPNFV, giving us an opportunity to collaborate closely with another like-minded open source Foundation. User input is critical at this stage of a technology shift as significant as NFV will be for telco and even enterprise networks, and any organization that is willing to contribute knowledge and code to those efforts is welcome in the OpenStack community.... ...Full Story
City of Turin to move to open source desktops Gijs Hillenius EU Joinup October 1, 0214 - The Italian city of Turin will switch to a complete open source desktop system, over the next 18 months. In August, the city administration decided to phase-out the current outdated proprietary system on its 8300 PCs and replace it by the Ubuntu open source alternative. Turin estimates the move will save some six million euro over the next five years....Last week, ZDNet reported a similar move to open source in another Italian city, Udine. A budget report from the IT department shows the town will train 400 civil servants to use Apache Open Office, a free software suite of office productivity tools. According to ZDNet, the city will gradually implement OpenOffice as its default office suite. The software is already installed on all of the city's 900 PCs.
Next year, the city will also being pilots with the use of complete open source desktops.... ...Full Story
Towns in Umbria region switch to LibreOffice Gijs Hillenius EU Joinup October 1, 0214 - The public administrations of the Italian cities Todi and Terni are switching to LibreOffice, announces LibreUmbria. The regional project is assisting the Umbria region's public administrations to use this free software suite of office productivity tools.
This month, the city of Todi will complete its switch to LibreOffice, and the one in Terni will start...LibreUmbria last year assisted the administration of the province of Perugia, using LibreOffice on all of its 1200 PCs and the Perugia Local Health Authority, which installed the office suite on 600 PCs....The project focusses on public administrations and schools, helping them to switch to and use LibreOffice. The centre also acts as a resource centre for SMEs and citizens....LibreUmbria is financed by the Umbria Region, supervised by the Open Source Competence Centre of the Umbria Region and the Consortium SIR Umbria- a regional government-owned ICT service centre.
LibreUmbria will now also start approaching the schools in the region, says Parisi, bolstered by a successful pilot. The organisation aims to train teachers, students and their parents, explaining them how to use LibreOffice, Ubuntu Linux and other free software solutions.... ...Full Story
Huge Channel Partnership Advances Open Source Software-Based Data Center Christopher Tozzi The Var Guy September 30, 2014 - The Linux Foundation has announced the Open Platform for NFV Project, an initiative with broad support from industry partners that will implement open source, software-defined solutions for networking, storage, cloud and other infrastructure....OPNFV complements what the Linux Foundation is already doing through the OpenDaylight project, which is building an open source software-defined networking (SDN) platform with broad support from industry partners. The NFV initiative will create solutions that virtualize other parts of network communications, making it possible to implement a network that is fully software-based and open source....OPNFV already has the backing of a remarkably long list of big names in the server, cloud computing, storage and communications world that have signed on as founding members....Readers may notice that not all of those companies traditionally have had a strong relationship with the open source community (though some certainly have). The fact that the Linux Foundation has been able to assemble such a broad and diverse base of support is a sign of how committed the channel is to transitioning from hardware- to software-based infrastructure while also keeping standards open. If there was ever a question about what open source software's role will be in the future, here's a big part of the answer. ...Full Story
Open NFV Group Uncloaks Its Platform Plan Carol Wilson Light Reading September 30, 2014 - The Linux Foundation today made its long-awaited formal announcement of the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), promising to deliver a carrier-grade, open source reference architecture as a means of speeding up NFV deployment. The group's initial focus will be on developing the NFV infrastructure and virtualized infrastructure management, two key pieces not already under development, and is promising its initial results in the first half of 2015.
OPNFV, which includes some but not all of the pioneering telecom operators behind the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) group which created NFV as a concept, was first discussed publicly last spring, but has been holding its cards close to the vest on details until today. In briefings in advance of the announcement, Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin said the new organization will build on existing open source projects, including OpenDaylight , Linux and OpenStack , but will be significantly different from those in its intent.... ...Full Story
An open source networking ecosystem shapes up Lee Doyle TechTarget September 30, 2014 - Open source networking is becoming a reality now that standards bodies, vendors and development communities are working together. Yet these players face a slew of challenges.
Open source software, increasingly influential in the IT industry, is poised to significantly impact enterprise and telecom networking. A number of open source networking groups, including the Open Networking Foundation, OpenDayLight, OpenStack, and most recently Open NFV, have the potential to accelerate innovation in the networking industry.
With open source networking, ISVs will be able to develop a wide range of new networking services and applications, and users can custom design their infrastructure based on individual need.... ...Full Story
France appoints Chief Data Officer Gijs Hillenius EU Joinup September 30, 2014 - France is the first country to appoint a Chief Data Officer (Administrateur Général des Données, AGD), to ensure open data reaches its full potential in improving government services. On 17 September, France appointed Henri Verdier, director of Etalab, which runs the Inter-ministerial open portal, data.gouv.fr. Verdier is to coordinate government actions aimed at inventorying, governing, producing, circulating and using government data. With the CDO, France aims to enhance evaluation of government policies, increase government openness and boost research and innovation.
"The use of data is at the heart of the digital revolution", Etalab writes in its announcement. "The wealth of data generated by the state needs data science to allow informed public policies." The team behind the data.gouv.fr portal expects the new position to create new opportunities for open data initiatives.... ...Full Story
Open document formats campaign backed by Europe's digital commissioner Loek Essers PC World September 29, 2014 - European government agencies should adopt open document formats in their dealings with citizens, outgoing European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has urged.
“I know a smart business decision when I see one—choosing open standards is a very smart business decision indeed,” Kroes said in a statement on the website of the FixMyDocuments campaign, of which she was among the first backers earlier this week.
“When open alternatives are available, no citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to use a particular company’s technology to access government information. No citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to choose a closed technology over an open one, through a government having made that choice first,” she wrote. ...Full Story
IEEE standards group wants to bring order to Internet of Things Stephen Lawson ComputerWorld September 29, 2014 - The IEEE is embarking on an ambitious effort to build a overarching architecture for the Internet of Things, spanning a multitude of industries and technologies. IEEE P2413, which the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers officially started work on in July, would form a framework for interoperability among connected devices and related applications in home automation, industrial systems, telematics and all other sectors that are expected to use IoT in the coming years....IDC analyst Michael Palma, who also spoke at the workshop, counted seven industry groups plus the IEEE that are working in this area....the P2413 Working Group...doesn't want to replace existing IoT groups. Rather it aims to create a standard architecture so IoT systems for all industries can work together.... ...Full Story