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Friday, January 20 2017 @ 10:16 AM CST
Sunday, March 09 2008 @ 05:45 AM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
On February 29, about an hour after the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting closed, I posted this blog entry, based on information available at the time. Corrections were made over the next two days to take further information into account as it became available; those corrections are duly noted in the text. Due to the extent and energy of the debate that has erupted around the BRM, I turned that blog entry into an ongoing resource page, adding first-hand accounts of many delegates to the BRM, the views of selected non-attendees, the text of public statements and press releases by ISO/IEC JTC1, Ecma, various National Bodies and other interested parties, and more.
In order to make that material easier to use, I've now moved that material to this new entry, reorganized it, and added the Table of Contents immediately below (the original blog entry, as corrected, now stands alone at the original date of posting, with a forward link to this resource page). You can also view the many press articles that continue to be written as I add them to the News Picks column to the right, as well as hundreds of additional articles from the past several years about ODF and OOXML, by bookmarking . You can therefore stay current on further developments and statements relating to the BRM by bookmarking this blog entry.
My thanks to all of you that have pointed me to much of the data that appears below. Please continue to send me links to information as you find it or provide it, and I'll add it below. NOTE: you must click through to the full text of this entry for some of the Table of Contents links to work
Table of Contents
I. Updated Blog Entry - As posted on February 29
II. Comments to Blog Entry - Includes an extensive exchange with BRM Convenor Alex Brown
III. Daily Updates - Supplemental notes on the materials as added
IV. BRM Accounts by Delegates (interested and neutral) - Blog postings and interviews of delegates with their details and perspectives
V. BRM Commentary by Others - Both interested and neutral; for press accounts, see the ODF/OOXML News folder
VI. Public Statements and Press Releases - ISO/IEC JTC1, Ecma, National Bodies, and more
Friday, February 29 2008 @ 05:53 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
I have now created a very extensive, indexed BRM Resource Page to hold the many links, press releases, delegate statements and other material that were originally found here. You can find that extra materials here.
A rather incredible week in Geneva has just ended, bringing to a close the Herculean task assumed by the over 100 delegates from 32 countries that attended the BRM. That challenge, of course, was how to productively resolve the more than 1,100 comments (after elimination of duplicates) registered by the 87 National Bodies that voted last summer with respect to a specification that itself exceeded 6,000 pages.
I have spent the week in Geneva, and have spoken with many delegates from many delegations on a daily basis. Each believed that a body that purports to issue "global open standards" should not impose an obligation of secrecy on how the standards that people must live with are approved on their behalf. It would be fair to say that, notwithstanding all of the charges and counter charges that have been made leading up to the BRM regarding how National Body votes were taken last summer, how delegations have been selected, and how they have been instructed to act and vote at the BRM, there has been a good faith effort by all to try to achieve a successful result. The same appears to have held true within delegations, even those that contained representatives of the most opposed parties.
There are two ways in which you may hear the results of the BRM summarized by those that issue statements and press releases in the days to come. Perhaps inevitably, they are diametrically opposed, as has so often happened in the ODF - OOXML saga to date. Those results are as follows:
98.4% of the OOXML Proposed Dispositions were approved by a three to two majority at the BRM, validating OOXML
The OOXML Proposed Dispositions were overwhelmingly rejected by the delegations in attendance at the BRM, indicating the inability of OOXML to be adequately addressed within the "Fast Track" process
[Paragraph updated] In this blog entry, I will explain why the following is the best characterization, and help you read the various press releases and statements that may be made with the benefit of the appropriate context:
Only a very small percentage of the proposed dispositions were discussed in detail, amended and approved by the delegations in attendance at the BRM, indicating the inability of OOXML to be adequately addressed within the "Fast Track" process
Sunday, February 24 2008 @ 02:34 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This rather long essay is in one sense a reply to the open letter recently released by Patrick Durusau, in which he suggested that it was time to acknowledge progress made and adopt OOXML. But it is also an explanation of why I have for the first time in my career become personally involved in supporting a standard. The reason is that I believe that we are at a watershed in public standards policy, and that there is much more at stake than ODF and OOXML. In this essay, I explain why I think we need to recognize the existence and vital importance of what I call “Civil ICT Standards,” and why more than simple technical compromises are needed to create them in order to protect our “Civil ICT Rights.”
As I write this entry, hundreds of people from around the world are converging on Geneva, Switzerland. 120 will meet behind closed doors to hold the final collaborative discussions that will determine whether OOXML will become an ISO/IEC standard. When their work is complete, not everyone will be pleased with the changes agreed upon, but all will acknowledge that the specification that eventually emerges will be much improved from the version that was originally submitted to Ecma two years ago.
Most will also agree that Microsoft’s customers and independent software vendors (ISVs) will be far better off with OOXML publicly available than they would if Microsoft had not offered the specification up at all.
To reach this final draft, hundreds of standards professionals in many nations have spent a great deal of time and effort, including many at Microsoft. And while Microsoft, working with Ecma, has not agreed to all of the changes that have been requested, my impression is that it has agreed to many that will, if implemented by Microsoft, require a substantial amount of work and technical compromise on its part.
Thursday, February 21 2008 @ 09:28 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Microsoft has just made a major announcement relating to its core products and involving the degree and manner in which it will make the details of those products available to developers. The importance of the announcement was underlined by those that were brought together for the press event at which the decisions were announced: chief executive Steve Ballmer, chief software architect Ray Ozzie, senior vice president of the server and tools business Bob Muglia, and Brad Smith, the senior vice president and general counsel for legal and corporate affairs.
At first glance, this appears to be an important decision by Microsoft indicating a greater willingness to be both open and cooperative. There are a number of promises in the announcement that I like, including the commitment to publish a great deal of material on the Web, as well as the freedom that will be offered to developers to take certain actions without the necessity of first obtaining a license. However, I have not had the opportunity to read any of the supporting details, and those details will be extremely significant, especially as regards the open source community, where subtle differences in legal terms can permit use under some open source licenses, but not others.
Similarly, with respect to ODF, it will be important to see what kind of plug ins are made available, how they may be deployed, and also how effective (or ineffective) those translators may be. If they are not easy for individual Office users to install, or if their results are less than satisfactory, then this promise will sound hopeful but deliver little. I am disappointed that the press release does not, as I read it, indicate that Microsoft will ship Office with a "save to" ODF option already installed. This means that ODF will continue to be virtually the only important document format that Office will not support "out of the box."
Friday, February 08 2008 @ 08:25 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that EU regulators have announced a third investigation into Microsoft's conduct on the desktop. This latest action demonstrates that while the EU has settled the case against Microsoft that ran for almost a decade, it remains as suspicious as ever regarding the software vendor's conduct, notwithstanding Microsoft's less combative stance in recent years. The news can be found in a story reported by Charles Forelle bylined in Brussells this morning.
According to the Journal, the investigation will focus on whether Microsoft "violated antitrust laws during a struggle last year to ratify its Office software file format as an international standard." The article also says that the regulators are "stepping up scrutiny of the issue." The Journal cites the following as the type of activity it will look into:
In the months and weeks leading up to [last summer's vote on OOXML], Microsoft resellers and other allies joined standards bodies en masse -- helping swell the Italian group, for instance, from a half-dozen members to 85. Opponents said Microsoft stacked committees. People familiar with the matter say EU regulators are now questioning whether Microsoft's actions were illegal. Microsoft said at the time that any committee expansion had the effect of making more voices heard; it also said rival International Business Machines Corp. mobilized on the other side of the vote.
A Microsoft spokesman referred to a statement issued last month, in which the company said it would "cooperate fully" with the EU regulator and was "committed to ensuring" the company is in compliance with EU law.
Wednesday, January 30 2008 @ 06:21 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
As many of you are aware, Alex Brown will be the "Convenor" of the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) that will run from February 25 through 29 in Geneva, Switzerland. Alex has a variety of unenviable tasks, including:
Trying to interpret various standing Directives and other ISO/IEC JTC1 rules and practices that were created for what might be described as kinder, gentler times (not to mention for shorter specifications).
Figuring out how to process c. 1,000 comments (after elimination of duplicates) during a 35 hour meeting week, without the currently contemplated possibility of an extension.
Herding 120 cats, some of which will have strong opinions on individual points, others of which will have alternating suggestions on how to resolve a given point, and many of whom may be just plain bewildered, due to the lack of time to be fully prepared.
For better or worse, the rules that Alex will be interpreting and applying are not as comprehensive, and certainly not as detailed, as the situation might demand to put everyone on exactly the same page regarding what should (or at least could) be done at many points in time. As a result, knowing how Alex's thoughts are shaping up is both interesting and important. To his credit, he has been generous about sharing those thoughts, and often how he arrived at them, at his blog, which can be found here.
While I've often linked to Alex's blog and have had a permanent link in the "Blogs I Read" category for some time, I'd like to point to Alex's latest entry, which covers several important points that others have recently blogged on. In many cases, Alex comes out differently than some others that have stated firm opinions, and since Alex has the gavel, his opinion will be the one that counts.
Thursday, January 17 2008 @ 01:03 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
If you're reading this blog entry, you've probably been following the battle between ODF and OOXML. If so, you may be thinking of that conflict as a classic standards war, but in fact, it goes much deeper than that label would suggest. What is happening between the proponents of ODF and OOXML is only a skirmish in a bigger battle that involves a fundamental reordering of forces, ideologies, stakeholders, and economics at the interface of society and information technology.
Today, open source software is challenging proprietary models, hundreds of millions of people in emerging societies are choosing their first computer platforms from a range of alternatives, major vendors are converting from product to service strategies, and software as a service is finally coming into its own - to mention only a few of the many forces that are transforming the realities that ruled the IT marketplace for decades. When the dust settles, the alignments and identities of the Great Powers of the IT world will be as different as were the Great Powers of the world at the end of the First World War.
It is in this light that the ODF vs. OOXML struggle should really be seen, and for this reason I've dedicated the latest issue of Standards Today to exploring these added dimensions on the eve of the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting that will begin on February 25 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Monday, January 14 2008 @ 10:50 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Regulators in the EU today announced that they are opening two new investigations against Microsoft, this time focusing not on peripheral functionalities like media players, but on the core of Microsoft's business: its operating and office suite software. The investigations are in response to a recent complaint filed by Norway browser developer Opera Software ASA and a 2006 complaint brought by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), which includes Microsoft rivals IBM, Nokia, Sun, RealNetworks and Oracle among its members.
Both investigations focus on the benefits that Microsoft gains by combining features, such as search and Windows Live, into its operating system. But the investigation sparked by the Opera complaint also includes some novel and interesting features, based upon Opera's contention that Microsoft's failure to conform Internet Explorer to prevailing open standards puts its competitors at a disadvantage (Opera also asks that either IE not be bundled with Windows, or that other browsers, including its own, should be included as well, with no browser being preset as a default).
The investigations will also look into whether Microsoft has failed to adequately open OOXML, or to take adequate measures to ensure that Office is "sufficiently interoperable" with competing products. This would seem to indicate that Microsoft's strategy of offering OOXML to Ecma, and then ISO/IEC JTC1, may fail to achieve its objective, whether or not OOXML is finally approved as a global standard.
Thursday, January 03 2008 @ 01:43 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
It's not often I find myself at a loss for words when I read something, but this is one of those times.
Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it isn't really necessary for me to add any words to the following news, other than to characterize them with a Latin phrase lawyers use: Res ipse loquitor, which translates as "the thing speaks for itself." I'll give one clue, though: I've added this blog post to the "ODF and OOXML" folder. That's "OOXML" as in "the world must have this standard so that our customers can open the billions of documents that have already been created in older versions of" a certain office productivity suite.
So without further ado, here's the news, along with what a few other people have had to say about it [Update: see also the comments that readers have added below interpreting the original Microsoft information]:
Thursday, December 13 2007 @ 04:55 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
As the date for the February BRM (Ballot Resolution Meeting) on ISO/IEC JTC1 DIS 29500 (a/k/a Ecma 376, a/k/a Microsoft OOXML) approaches, more and more attention is being paid to how Ecma will propose the disposition of the comments submitted during the general voting period. This level of heightened interest is legitimately urgent, due to both the great number of the comments that need to be resolved, even after elimination of duplicates, as well because of the late date upon which the proposed resolutions will be made public (the deadline, if memory serves, is January 19, while the BRM will commence its deliberations on February 25 of next year).
The words are therefore flying fast and furious at the many blogs covering this question, and tempers are rising in the comments appended to those of bloggers that have a direct interest in the outcome. A particularly contentious issue has been whether Ecma is trying to make it as easy as possible, or is trying to make it as difficult as possible while still scoring PR points, for interested parties to view proposed dispositions of comments, and whether it does, or does not, have the latitude under ISO rules to be more transparent. The fairly opaque, and sometimes contradictory nature of those rules, has not made the debate any easier, and gives rise to the possibility of confusion, at best, and serious mistakes, at worst, as Pamela Jones pointed out at Groklaw this morning.
The result is that there will be very little real data available to the general public until Ecma opens the curtains on January 19. And the import of what little data does become available is usually the subject of instant disagreement.
With that as prelude, I've pasted in the text of a press release at the end of this blog entry that Ecma issued yesterday. The release gives only a peek at some of the issues addressed in the new dispositions, giving varying degrees of detail on each area highlighted - but that's more than we've had to go on so far. Here is my summary of the press release and its significance, when viewed in the context of other reliable, available information:
Quote of the Day
“US Dept of Commerce green paper reveals that, er, it's a bit of a mess
-The Register, commenting on a new US DoC Green Paper on the IoT See all Quotes
Latest NewsWebmention is a W3C RecommendationW3C.org
January 20, 2017 - The Social Web Working Group has published a W3C Recommendation of "Webmention." A Webmention is a notification that one URL links to another and is a simple way to notify any URL when you mention it on your site. From the receiver’s perspective, it’s a way to request notifications when other sites mention it.... ...Full Story
FSFE: H2020 funded software should be free
EU Joinup January 20, 2017 - Software that is developed in research projects funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme should be published under a free software licence, says the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). The advocacy group wants to know how much of the H2020 budget is spent on paying for proprietary software licences.
On 9 January, the FSFE filed a Freedom of Information request, asking how many of the research projects funded by Horizon 2020 deliver software solutions that are publicly available, and how much ends up as proprietary.
A reply by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research & Innovation is due by the end of the month.
The Horizon 2020 is Europe’s largest research funding programme. Between 2014 and 2020 it will fund EUR 80 billion in research and innovation projects.... ...Full Story
Five Star Review - I had a blast reading this
Amazon Reader Reviews January 19, 2017 - Had a blast reading this. The plot was complex and well executed and the characters completely developed.Also enjoyed finding snarky references in some of the names of people, places, and things. A touch of humor never hurt anyone. This book was as good as any Dan Brown I've ever read. ...Full Story
Everything wrong with IoT (and how to fix it) – according to Uncle Sam
The Register January 19, 2017 - The US Department of Commerce has published a green paper [PDF] on the Internet of Things, the first step in a process to develop formal governmental policies on the technology.
Following a public request for comments back in April, the green paper attempts to summarize what a large number of companies, advocacy groups and interested individuals said with respect to what the key issues surrounding IoT were, what the benefits and challenges were, and what role the federal government should adopt.
The end result is a typically vague but well-meaning combination of "doing verbs," complete with lengthy resource references....here are the official "doing verbs" that outline the official "areas of engagement":
- Enabling Infrastructure Availability and Access: Fostering the physical and spectrum-related assets needed to support IoT growth and advancement.
- Crafting Balanced Policy and Building Coalitions: Removing barriers and encouraging coordination and collaboration; influencing, analyzing, devising, and promoting norms and practices that will protect IoT users while encouraging growth, advancement, and applicability of IoT technologies.
- Promoting Standards and Technology Advancement: Ensuring necessary technical standards are developed and in place to support global IoT interoperability and that the technical applications and devices to support IoT continue to advance.
- Encouraging Markets: Promoting the advancement of IoT through Department usage, application, and novel usage of the technologies; and translating the economic benefits and opportunities of IoT to foreign partners.
You've got until the beginning of April to send your views to Uncle Sam. ...Full Story
NIST Issues Draft Update to Cybersecurity Framework, ANSI Encourages Stakeholders to Comment Input Due by April 10, 2017
ANSI.org January 18, 2017 - The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a draft update to the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity—also known as the Cybersecurity Framework. The update provides new details on managing cyber supply chain risks, clarifying key terms, and introducing measurement methods for cybersecurity, and aims to further develop NIST’s voluntary guidance to organizations on reducing cybersecurity risks. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages all relevant stakeholders to submit draft comments to NIST by April 10, 2017.
Created through collaboration between industry and government, the framework was released in 2014 as a result of President Obama’s Executive Order “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.” It consists of standards, guidelines, and practices to promote the protection of critical infrastructure, and uses a common language to address and manage cybersecurity risk in a cost-effective way based on business needs without placing additional regulatory requirements on business.
NIST requests that comments on the Draft Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Version 1.1 be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.... ...Full Story
New Wi-Fi Standard Syncs Home Devices In Real Time
IoTDaily January 17, 2017 - Wireless connections within the Internet of Things may soon rival the capabilities of wired systems, based on new standards being released by Wi-Fi Alliance.
The new standard, called TimeSync, is a Wi-Fi feature that brings precise timing and synchronized operation to wireless devices by aligning them to the same internal clock....
This type of synchronization would enable properly synced audio and video playback wirelessly across a full surround-sound system,...
Bringing a cross-brand standard to wireless devices is the goal and Wi-Fi Alliance plans to launch a certification program for device manufacturers to integrate the TimeSync capability into their products later this year.... ...Full Story
Connected cars should be subject to third-party cybersecurity evaluations says EU agency
Out-Law.com January 17, 2017 - The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) said an "independent evaluation scheme" would help ensure technology developed for new 'connected cars', such as telematics, connected infotainment or intra-vehicular communication systems, is not vulnerable to hackers.
Existing car safety standards only "marginally address security", and "do not protect against attacks", ENISA said.... ...Full Story
Implementing Medical Device Cybersecurity: A Two-Stage Process
Med Device Online January 14, 2017 - ...In what many experts believe was a world first, manufacturer Johnson & Johnson recently issued a warning to patients on a cyber-vulnerability in one of its medical devices. The company announced that an insulin pump it supplies had a potential connectivity vulnerability. The wireless communication link the device used contained a potential exploit that could have been used by an unauthorised third party to alter the insulin dosage delivered to the patient....
Connected device cybersecurity is best approached in two stages:
- First, security is considered and specified in a top-down process, steering system architecture design at a fundamental level, and devolving down through the development process into testable units.
- Second, the design implementation is tested and verified against the specification requirements. To further prove system integrity, penetration testing can be used, conducted by testers separate from the original developer.... ...Full Story
Top Trends to Watch in 2017
Infosecurity Magazine January 13, 2017 - As we enter 2017, this will be the year in which the potential cracks in the pillars of the knowledge economy start to show....Until now, there has been very little talk of APIs in the context of cybersecurity. However, this will start to change as they become the ‘joins’ of the connected economy; enabling software and systems to interact as never before, uniting millions of businesses, products and services as they all drink together in the pool of ‘open data.’ Transport for London’s open API already powers over 500 new travel apps, while the Amazon Echo’s API could allow you to connect everything from your kettle to your car.
Yet by enabling different software to become fully interoperable, APIs will increasingly provide a potential pathway for cyber-attackers to hopscotch across every sector of the economy. Crucially, one of the potential consequences of APIs resides in the fact that all businesses, software and systems are only as secure as the weakest link in the API chain.
For example, one vulnerable API in an App Store can allow hackers to take over millions of smartphones. This means that software design and information security will increasingly come together, as business begins to realize that there must be a common standard of cybersecurity enshrined at the heart of the design process across the entire conjoined software ecosystem.... ...Full Story
W3C and OGC put more Spatial (and space-born) Data on the Web
W3C.org January 12, 2017 - The Spatial Data on the Web Working Group, a collaboration between W3C and the Open Geospatial Consortium, has published 4 documents today. "QB4ST" adds extensions to the "RDF Data Cube" for spatio-temporal components. These are designed to make it easier to share and manipulate data such as Earth Observations with linkable slices through time and space. The QB4ST extensions are used in another of today’s publications, "Publishing and Using Earth Observation Data with the RDF Data Cube and the Discrete Global Grid System," which shows how SPARQL queries can be served through OGC’s developing Discrete Global Grid System for observations, coupled with a triple store for observational metadata. The approach makes use of the power of Linked Data on the Web without requiring all data points to be encoded as RDF triples....The latest Working Draft of the "Semantic Sensor Network Ontology" sets out a modular approach that allows alignment with related vocabularies. The modular architecture supports the judicious use of “just enough” semantics for diverse applications, including satellite imagery, large scale scientific monitoring, industrial and household infrastructure, citizen observers, and the Web of Things. Finally, the Working Group is pleased to publish an update to its "Spatial Data on the Web Best Practices" document that advises on best practices related to the publication and usage of spatial data on the Web; the use of Web technologies as they may be applied to location. ...Full Story