Home > Standards Blog

Advanced Search 

Welcome to ConsortiumInfo.org
Tuesday, September 23 2014 @ 09:46 PM CDT

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Celebrating 30 Years of the X Windows System

Open Source/Open Standards

Where were you when you first learned about open source software? If you’re under, say, the age of 40, your answer will probably be, “Come again? I’ve always known about it!” But if you’re older, you may recall the first time you ever heard the phrase. Maybe it was when Netscape announced it was going to “open source” its Navigator Browser, or perhaps when you heard the name Richard Stallman for the first time. It may also be the case that it was some time before you really got your arms around what open software (or Stallman’s Free and Open Software) really meant in all of its various connotations – license-wise, commercial and community.

Or maybe you got involved before the phrase “open source software” had even been coined (in 1998, by Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond) to describe what it was they were doing.

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

A Formula for Launching the RedHats of the Future

Open Source/Open Standards

Last week Peter Levine, former XenXource CEO and current Andreesen Horowitz partner, wrote an article for TechCrunch titled Why There Will Never be Another RedHat: The Economics of Open Source.  In that article he makes a reasonable case for opining that the likelihood of another company achieving RedHat-scale success based on wrapping services around an open source offering is very low. Instead, he proposes that the model that can lead to significant success is to include open source components in a service that includes additional (presumably proprietary) functionality and/or services.

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

The Age of “Commonalities” has Arrived

Open Source/Open Standards

Courtesy of Ross Tierney/WikiMedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.Ten years ago this month I wrote an issue of Standards Today in which I predicted that the traditional practice of developing standards would no longer be sufficient to provide solutions to information and communications technology (ICT) challenges. The reason I gave was that many problems demanding resolution would be too complex, too cross-sectoral, and too urgent for the old way of doing things to suffice.

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

The Launch of AllSeen Alliance (and the Next Generation of Open Collaboration)

Open Source/Open Standards

If you read the technology press today, odds are you already know about the launching of the AllSeen Alliance (a Google News search I just did produced 412 results in a wide range of languages). That’s not a surprise, because this is an important and ambitious project. But there’s a story behind the story that likely won’t get the attention that it deserves, and that’s what this blog post is about. (Disclosure: the AllSeen Alliance is a Linux Collaboration Project – the 11th so far – and I assisted in its structuring and launch.)

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

What Does 'Open' Mean?

Open Source/Open Standards

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Daniel in the Lion's Den; Rubens; c. 1615, courtesy of Krscal and the Wkimedia CommonsIf you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably have an interest in 'openness' of some kind: open standards and open source software most likely, but you may also feel strongly about openness in other technology-enabled areas, like open data or open government - or openness as a guiding principle, no matter what the digital terrain. And if your interest has taken you into the debates that surround any of these types of openness, you're probably also aware that openness is a term that not everyone defines the same way, or across all situations.

The debate over what 'openness' should mean in the standards arena has been around for a long time - perhaps as long as a hundred years. But in order to understand the current debate, it's important to realize that we are in phase two of that dialogue. 

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Checking Back in on OpenStand

Open Source/Open Standards

 

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

In case you haven’t thought about it lately, it’s a fair bet that everything in your life today depends to some greater or lesser extent (usually the former) on the Internet and the Web.  And in case you’ve never thought about it at all, what makes those vital services possible has less to do with servers and fiber optics than it does with protocols and other standards.  Take that reality a step further, and it becomes obvious that that the processes by which these essential enablers of our interconnected world are created is pretty important.

Further to that thought, a few weeks ago I was intrigued to read that five of the standard setting organizations (SSO) most responsible for the Internet and the Web had united to launch a new initiative called OpenStand. Intrigued, because while the press release answered the “who, what, when and where” aspects of the story, the “why” was a bit less fully fleshed out. I did some investigating on that front, and wrote about what I learned here.  

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Standards and the Status Quo

Open Source/Open Standards

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

In an otherwise useful essay on the convergence of open standards and open source software development efforts, Adobe's Dave McAllister makes a statement that's worth challenging, since it reiterates a common misconception. In the opening of his essay, Dave states:

Standards are designed to stabilize a technology or interface, package or connection. Open source is driven by continual development. Standards tend to update and publish on a schedule measured in years, while open source updates and publishes in sometimes days. Standards drive the status quo. Open source  (often) drives innovation.

The first part of that statement is crucially accurate: the value of a standard derives entirely from the industry agreeing to freeze some element of technology or interface.  But the later statement that "Standards drive the status quo" at the expense of innovation is misleading at best.

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Openness is Alive and Well (and Living in Europe)

Open Source/Open Standards

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project? 

Last week I took something of a trip back through time. The transition began somewhere over the dark Atlantic, on my way to Brussels via Heathrow, when the person sitting next to me struck up a conversation. Improbably, I found myself discussing ODF – the OpenDocument Format – with a former Sun engineer who had followed the ODF–OOXML contest with great interest back in 2005 - 2007. I was sorry to tell him, and he was sorry to hear, that things had not gone so well in the years that followed, and that many of the bright hopes of those that had supported ODF remained to be realized.
 
The conversation set me thinking about how much of the energy that had surrounded open standards back then has faded from view in the U.S.  
 
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Interoperability, Standards and Market Power

Open Source/Open Standards

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

 
Flag of Europe, Courtesy WikipediaYesterday the European Commission issued a brief press release (reproduced below) announcing that it has opened a formal investigation:
 
...to assess whether The MathWorks Inc., a U.S.-based software company, has distorted competition in the market for the design of commercial control systems by preventing competitors from achieving interoperability with its products.
 
The press release states that the investigation was triggered by a complaint, but does not disclose which company alleged that it had been denied a license for reverse-engineering purposes.
 
This latest investigation arises in the context of a broad array of litigation, investigations and policy announcements in the EU focusing on the importance of standards in achieving interoperability, principally involving mobile device manufacturers and technology owners, such as Motorola Mobility and Samsung. It also highlights the different strategies that dominant companies may adopt in relation to market demands for interoperability, and also the divergent positions that U.S. and EU regulators sometimes take in response.
 

 

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About FRAND (But didn’t know who to ask)

Open Source/Open Standards

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

 

The acronym “FRAND” is very much in the news today, and with good reason. The battle to control, or at least share in the bounty, of the mobile marketplace has motivated technology leviathans like Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Apple to bring every tool and weapon to the fore in order to avoid being left in the dust. So intense is the competition that not only standards, but the finer details relating to the pledging of patents to facilitate the implementation of standards, have become the subject of headlines in the technology press.
 
The purpose of this blog post is not to report on the skirmishing that is still ongoing, but to peel off and explain the multiple layers of nuance and tactical opportunity that underlie the seemingly simple concept of “FRAND.” How many layers? Let’s just say that you may lose count before we cover everything you need to know to make sense out of what is really going on behind the scenes.