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Thursday, December 19 2013 @ 07:58 PM CST
Friday, January 04 2008 @ 06:24 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the fifth chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained in late November. Constructive comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. All product names used below are registered trademarks of their vendors.
Chapter 5: Open Standards
One of the two articles of faith that Eric Kriss and Peter Quinn embraced in drafting their evolving Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM) was this: products built to "open standards" are more desirable than those that aren't. Superficially, the concept made perfect sense – only buy products that you can mix and match. That way, you can take advantage of both price competition as well as a wide selection of alternative products from multiple vendors, each with its own value-adding features. And if things don't work out, well, you're not locked in, and can swap out the loser and shop for a winner.
But did that make as much sense with routers and software as it did with light bulbs and lamps? And in any event, if this was such a great idea, why hadn't their predecessors been demanding open standards-based products for years? Finally, what exactly was that word "open" supposed to mean?
To answer these questions properly requires a brief hop, skip and jump through the history of standards, from their origins up to the present. And that's what this chapter is about.
Friday, December 28 2007 @ 12:07 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the fourth chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained in late November. Constructive comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. All Microsoft product names used below are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
Chapter 4 – Eric Kriss, Peter Quinn and the ETRM
By the end of December 2005, I had been blogging on ODF developments in Massachusetts for about four months, providing interviews, legal analysis and news as it happened. In those early days, not many bloggers were covering the ODF story, and email began to come my way from people that I had never met before, from as far away as Australia, and as near as the State House in Boston. Some began with, "This seems really important – what can I do to help?" Others contained important information that someone wanted to share, and that I was happy to receive.
One such email arrived just before Christmas in 2005. In its entirety, it read:
Enjoy reading your consortiuminfo blog ... keep it up.
Happy New Year,
This was a pleasant and welcome surprise. Until the end of September, Eric Kriss had been the Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance, and therefore Peter Quinn's boss. Together, they had conceived, architected and launched the ambitious IT upgrade roadmap that in due course incorporated ODF into the state's procurement guidelines.
Monday, December 10 2007 @ 07:05 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the third chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained in late November. Constructive comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. All Microsoft product names used below are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
This chapter was revised at 8:30 AM on 12/11/07, most significantly by adding the "Lessons applied" section.
Chapter 3: What a Difference a Decade Can Make
In 1980, Microsoft was a small software vendor that had built its business primarily on downsizing mainframe programming languages to a point where they could be used to program the desktop computers that were then coming to market. The five year old company had total revenues of $7,520,720, and BASIC, its first product, was still its most successful. By comparison, Apple Computer had already reached sales of $100 million, and the same year launched the largest public offering since the Ford Motor Company had itself gone public some twenty-four years before. Microsoft was therefore far smaller than the company that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had formed a year after Bill Gates and Paul Allen sold their first product.
Moreover, in the years to come, PC-based word processing products like WordStar, and then WordPerfect, would become far more popular than Microsoft's own first word processing (originally called Multitool Word), providing low-cost alternatives to the proprietary minicomputer based software offerings of vendors like Wang Laboratories. IBM, too, provided a word processing program for the PC called DisplayWriter. That software was based on a similar program that IBM had developed for its mainframe systems customers. More importantly, another program was launched at just the right time to dramatically accelerate the sale of IBM PCs and their clones. That product was the legendary "killer app" of the IBM PC clone market: Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet software upon which Mitch Kapor built the fortunes of his Lotus Development Corporation.
Sunday, December 02 2007 @ 02:07 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
This is the second chapter in a real-time eBook writing project I launched and explained last week. The following is one of a number of stage-setting chapters to follow. Comments, corrections and suggestions gratefully accepted. All Microsoft product names used below are registered trademarks of Microsoft.
Chapter 2 – Products, Innovation and Market Share
Microsoft is the envy of many vendors for the hugely dominant position it enjoys in two key product areas: PC desktop operating systems – the software that enables and controls the core functions of personal computers - and "office productivity software" – the software applications most often utilized by PC users, whether at work or at home, to create documents, slides and spreadsheets and meet other common needs. Microsoft's 90% plus market share in such fundamental products is almost unprecedented in the technical marketplace, and this monopoly position enables it to charge top dollar for such software. It also makes it easy for Microsoft to sell other products and services to the same customers.
Microsoft acquired this enviable position in each case through a combination of luck, single-minded determination, obsessive attention to detail, and a willingness to play the game fast and hard – sometimes hard enough to attract the attention of both Federal and state antitrust regulators. Early on, Bill Gates and his team acquired a reputation for bare-knuckle tactics that they sometimes seemed to wear with brash pride. Eventually, these tactics (as well as tales of Gate's internal management style) progressed from industry rumors to the stuff of best sellers, like Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire.
With the emergence of the Web, of course, the opportunity for widely sharing stories, both real (of which there were many) and apocryphal, exploded. Soon Web sites such as Say No to Monopolies: Boycott Microsoft enthusiastically collected and posted tales of alleged technological terror and dirty deeds. More staid collections were posted at sites such as the Wikipedia. The increasing tide of litigation involving Microsoft, launched not only by state and federal regulators but by private parties as well, generated embarrassing documents. Such original sources were not only difficult to deny, but almost impossible to repress in the age of the Web - and of peer to peer file sharing as well.
Moreover, while Bill Gates and his co-founders rarely displayed the creative and innovative flair of contemporaries like Apple's Steve Jobs, neither were they troubled by the type of "not invented here" bias that sometimes led other vendors to pursue unique roads that sometimes led to dead ends.
Sunday, November 25 2007 @ 02:51 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
For some time I've been considering writing a book about what has become a standards war of truly epic proportions. I refer, of course, to the ongoing, ever expanding, still escalating conflict between ODF and OOXML, a battle that is playing out across five continents and in both the halls of government and the marketplace alike. And, needless to say, at countless blogs and news sites all the Web over as well.
Arrayed on one side or the other, either in the forefront of battle or behind the scenes, are most of the major IT vendors of our time. And at the center of the conflict is Microsoft, the most successful software vendor of all time, faced with the first significant challenge ever to ione of its core businesses and profit centers – its flagship Office productivity suite.
Quote of the Day
“Should the provision of a hyperlink leading to a work or other subject matter protected under copyright?
-Question posed by the European Commission See all Quotes
Latest NewsNIST Special Publication Expands Government Authentication OptionsNISTNIST Techbeat
December 19, 2013 - A newly revised publication from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) expands the options for government agencies that need to verify the identity of users of their Web-based services. Electronic Authentication Guideline (NIST Special Publication 800-63-1) is an extensive revision and update of the original document, released in 2006, and it recognizes that times, and technologies, have changed.
“Changes made to the document reflect changes in the state of the art,” explains NIST computer security expert Tim Polk, Cryptographic Technology Group manager at NIST. “There are new techniques and tools available to government agencies, and this provides them more flexibility in choosing the best authentication methods for their individual needs, without sacrificing security.”... ...Full Story
Government expands private sector cyber security partnerships in NCSS drive
ComputerWeekly.com December 19, 2013 - The UK government plans to concentrate on expanding partnerships around cyber security with the private sector in 2014 as part of the National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS).
This includes introducing a cyber security kitemark for firms that do business with the government, to help boost UK cyber exports and a cyber security baseline standard....
The NCSS is supported by £860m funding from the National Cyber Security Programme for delivering projects as part of the government’s response to growing threats in cyberspace.... ...Full Story
Standardization Priorities for Smart and Sustainable Cities Discussed at ANSI Workshop
ANSI Weekly December 19, 2013 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) convened a workshop on November 21, 2013, in Washington, DC, to examine the role of standardization in achieving the promise of smart and sustainable cities. The full workshop report is available online.
The inspiration for both the workshop and the larger smart cities movement is the ongoing growth of urban communities, particularly in developing countries, along with the proliferation of information and communications technologies (ICTs), such as sensors, smart phones, intelligent transport systems, building energy management systems, etc., that can assist cities in making their operations more efficient, more sustainable, and more resilient. Countries in Europe and Asia, with support from their national governments, have undertaken strategic initiatives to explore this area. Likewise, a number of new standardization roadmapping activities have emerged at the national, regional, and international levels to assess what standards and conformance programs already exist and what additional activity may be needed....
The workshop identified a number of priority areas where standardization can contribute to smart and sustainable cities. These included:
- a standardized set of definitions/lexicon for smart cities applicable across sectors
- interoperability for systems of systems, including common data formats and communication protocols to enable sharing of data between systems
- key performance indicators so that measurements are consistent and comparable
- a baseline guidance document which can be adapted to address the specific needs of sectors
- resiliency for disaster preparedness and recovery
As a result of the workshop, ANSI will develop a proposal for a collaborative to further define standardization needs, particularly through outreach and engagement of public-sector stakeholders.... ...Full Story
EU challenges US hegemony in global internet governance
EurActiv December 18, 2013 - French lawmakers, supported by the EU's Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, are pressing the European Union to stand up more firmly against American domination in cyberspace....“The European Union is not present enough in the different international fora on Internet governance although the future of the Internet is a significant challenge,” said Catherine Morin-Desailly, vice-president of the EU Affairs Committee in the French Senate....
“Only the EU has the necessary power to influence this new cyberspace where the USA dominates,” she added.
The MPs’ concerns stem largely from the massive and illegal wiretapping done by the Americans which were revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
... ...Full Story
One European copyright law-to-rule-them-all? EU launches review
The Register December 18, 2013 - The European Commission is seeking industry views on whether to completely harmonise copyright laws across the EU....Respondents are being asked for views on matters ranging from the accessibility of digital content across the trading bloc, limitations and exceptions to copyright protection and remuneration for rights holders.
However, it is also consulting on whether to set copyright rules that apply consistently across the whole of the EU...."Some see this as the only manner in which a truly Single Market for content protected by copyright can be ensured,"...The Commission has also asked whether the act of linking to copyrighted material should require the permission of rights-holders.... ...Full Story
Switch to open source successfully completed, city of Munich says
PCWorld December 17, 2013 - Munich’s switch to open-source software has been successfully completed, with the vast majority of the public administration’s users now running its own version of Linux, city officials said Thursday.
In one of the premier open-source software deployments in Europe, the city migrated from Windows NT to LiMux, its own Linux distribution. LiMux incorporates a fully open-source desktop infrastructure. The city also decided to use the Open Document Format (ODF) as a standard, instead of proprietary options....As of November last year, the city saved more than €11.7 million (US$16.1 million) because of the switch. More recent figures were not immediately available, but cost savings were not the only goal of the operation. It was also done to be less dependent on manufacturers, product cycles and proprietary OSes, the council said Thursday.... ...Full Story
Christmas comes early for the Open Document Faithful (ODF)
Public Sector IT December 16, 2013 - The UK government has spruced its open document policy up for Christmas.
The Cabinet Office began a public consultation on open document formats this week, three and a half years after it came to power promising they would be one of the first things it delivered....The Cabinet Office Open Standards Board issued a "challenge" for public comment on a proposal this week that government documents be published in a format that anyone can read....[Meanwhile,]
The European Commission is meanwhile coming to the latest break point in contracts that have made Microsoft the sole supplier of desktop office and operating software for more than 20 years. The Commission had been aspiring to find an open format alternative to Microsoft standards even when it signed the first contract to buy Microsoft Office in 1992.... ...Full Story
Consortium Advances Spatial Computing Standard
HPCWire December 13, 2013 - A new programming standard, called the Open Spatial Programming Language (or OpenSPL), debuted today “to enable the next generation of high performance parallel spatial computers.”
The open standard was developed by the Open Spatial Programming Language (OpenSPL) consortium, which formed to promote the use of spatial computing among a wide set of users and to standardize the OpenSPL language. The overarching goal of the consortium is for spatial computing to become the industry standard for mission critical computations.... ...Full Story
XML Everywhere Perhaps the most versatile and underappreciated standard in the world is XML, the all purpose foundation for describing just about anything, from human resources data to advertising copy treatment to the presentation of chemical formulae to you name it - hundreds of domain specific schema in all. Here's another.
Etihad Cargo implements XML standard
Trade Arabia December 13, 2013 - Etihad Cargo, a part of UAE's flag carrier Etihad Airways, has implemented Cargo-XML, the International Air Transport Association’s (Iata) new technology standard for air cargo communications.
Developed collaboratively with industry stakeholders, Cargo-XML removes the requirement for cargo paper documentation, otherwise known as an Air Waybill, said Iata in a statement.
The technology is now used by a growing number of airlines and other air cargo supply chain stakeholders, including shippers, freight forwarders, ground-handling agents, regulators as well as customs and security agencies, it stated.... ...Full Story
Where Did ODF Disappear to? (And How to Fix it)
ComputerWorld.uk December 12, 2013 - Readers with good memories may remember various key fights over the years that were largely about ODF and OOXML. The first round culminated in the extraordinarily shoddy fast-tracking of OOXML through the ISO standards process. Then we had a big battle over open standards in general, which also involved ODF and OOXML, where the UK government performed a dizzying series of U-turns.
That was over two years ago, and it struck me that after years of sound and fury, and all the work the open source community put into supporting ODF and open standards, we have recently heard nothing about the use of ODF by the UK government. That is, OOXML seems to have won be default....But now, it seems, we are to have another chance to persuade the UK government to provide a level playing field for open standards, open source and ODF:... ...Full Story