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Wednesday, December 17 2014 @ 05:10 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
“The least the EC could do, is to put its policy into practice
-Director of European Policy at OpenForum Europe Mael Brunet on the failure of the EC to make public documents available in open formats See all Quotes
Latest NewsGoogle Promises Better Compatibility with Open Source DocumentsChristopher TozziVAR Guy
December 17, 2014 - Google (GOOG) may soon be taking open OpenDocumentFormat (ODF), the native file format in virtually all modern open source word processors, like LibreOffice and OpenOffice, more seriously. That's according to a statement from Google's open source chief speaking about the future of the company's cloud-based app suite.
Google already supports ODF to a certain, meager extent....Many governments are now requiring ODF as a way to avoid vendor lock-in and other concerns associated with Office Open XML, the file format created by Microsoft (MSFT) for use in current versions of Office and other applications.... ...Full Story
Cloud Foundry Foundation Launch Pushes PaaS Forward
CIO Today December 15, 2014 - It’s official. The Cloud Foundry Foundation has launched as an independent, nonprofit foundation to manage the global open standards for platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technology. The foundation will be managed as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project and will be governed by a team of open source experts from founding Platinum Members EMC, HP, IBM, Intel Relevant Products/Services, Pivotal, SAP, and VMware Relevant Products/Services.
Cloud Foundry is currently the leading PaaS platform and has seen a 36 percent increase in community contributions over the past year, with more than 1,700 "pull requests" for contributions to the open development project. The Pivotal Cloud Foundry, IBM Bluemix, HP Helion, and Canopy Cloud Fabric are among the most notable deployments, thus far.... ...Full Story
A Ton of Tech Companies Just Came Out Against Net Neutrality
Gizmodo December 15, 2014 - More than 60 huge tech companies including Intel, Qualcomm, Cisco, and IBM have written a letter to leaders in Congress and the FCC opposing net neutrality. The free and open internet isn't going to happen without a fight.
In an effort to implement net neutrality regulations that would stand up to legal scrutiny, President Obama has proposed that broadband internet be classified as a utility under Title II of the telecommunications act. It's a smart proposal that ultimately favors consumers, and it's supported by slews of companies like Google and Facebook. Obviously, the companies that own the infrastructure—Comcast, AT&T, et al—oppose the idea because they want to be able to charge money for internet fast lanes. These companies also wield a lot of influence.... ...Full Story
Target ruling raises stakes for cybersecurity vigilance
Christian Science Monitor December 12, 2014 - A Minnesota court may set a chilling new precedent for retailers with its ruling that Target could be sued for failing to adequately defend against last year's massive data breach.
By rejecting Target's motion last week to dismiss the lawsuit brought by several banks, and allowing the case to proceed, the court held that the retailer’s failure to heed warnings from a security alerting system, and its disabling of certain security features, could be viewed as negligent actions.
Consumers and banks have routinely brought negligence claims against businesses such as Target that have suffered a data breach. However, this is the first time in a data breach case of this magnitude that a court has said a company can be sued for failing to respond to warnings from security software. That decision could set in motion new legal standards for bringing negligence claims against organizations that suffer data breaches.... ...Full Story
ITU approves G.fast DSL high-speed broadband standard
ZDNet December 12, 2014 - Members of the United Nations' International Telecommunications Union (ITU) have reached a final approval of G.fast, the broadband standard that is designed to deliver access speeds of up to 1Gbps over existing copper telephone wires.
G.fast is a digital subscriber line (DSL) standard that is designed to allow speeds of between 150Mbps and 1Gbps -- depending on loop length -- for standard local subscriber lines shorter than 250 metres.
The ITU, which allocates radio spectrum and develops technical standards, said that the standard meets service providers' need for a complement to fibre-to-the-home (FttH) technologies in scenarios where G.fast proves the more cost-effective strategy.... ...Full Story
Is Google coming back to the open community on document formats?
ComputerWorldUK December 12, 2014 - At the ODF Plugfest in London, Google’s head of open source told the audience that work once once again in progress extending OpenDocument support in Google’s products.
At the opening of the event, Magnus Falk, deputy CTO for HM Government, told the audience that the decision to adopt ODF (alongside HTML and PDF) as the government’s required document format is now well in hand....As a result, Google faces significant pressure securing government business in the UK – including in the health and education sectors – now that ODF is a requirement.... ...Full Story
Cabinet Office Plugfest builds momentum for ODF
OpenForum Europe/COIS December 11, 2014 - On Monday and Tuesday, 8th-9th December, a group of technologists, SMEs, corporations, individuals, and representatives of Governments gathered in Bloomsbury, London over two days to collectively improve the implementation of Open Document Format (ODF)....The Government's policy mandating ODF for editing and sharing documents, announced in July by the Minister, commits all departments to adopting the format to boost the strength and diversity of apps which read and write ODF documents. The Cabinet Office partnered with the OpenDoc Society to host this week's event. Magnus Falk voiced Government priorities when his speech on Monday demanded "serious choice" for Government IT buyers, and a level playing field for suppliers based on the use of Open Standards and ODF.... ...Full Story
Separating The Opportunities From The Obstacles In Open-Source Networking
TechCrunch December 11, 2014 - Open standards have driven the networking market since the earliest days of the Internet. While the use of open source for networking is a more recent phenomenon, it is no less important. A major industry transition to open source for software-defined networking (SDN) is under way, and users and vendors stand to benefit. Some expectations, however, may need to change....However, the consensus-driven process behind open-source projects moves much faster than that of traditional standards bodies like the IETF. The mantra that “working code wins” can help open-source communities agree on de facto standards and start using them well before they become officially sanctioned. OpenStack’s community, for example, aims for a new release every six months.... ...Full Story
ANSI Electric Vehicles Standards Panel Issues Progress Report
ANSI Weekly Newsletter December 11, 2014 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP) announced today the publication of a Progress Report on activity within the standardization community to address the gaps and recommendations described in the ANSI EVSP’s Standardization Roadmap for Electric Vehicles – Version 2.0 (May 2013). Available as a free download, the report outlines significant developments including new areas where there is a perceived need for additional standardization work to facilitate the safe, mass deployment of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and charging infrastructure in the United States.... ...Full Story
How Should Standard-Essential Patents Be Licensed?
TechDirt December 10, 2014 - Patents are intellectual monopolies, designed to give the patent-holder control over an invention by excluding others from using it without permission. That's a problem when standards include patented elements. Anyone who wants to implement that standard must use the invention, which gives the patent-holder the ability, in theory, to demand and obtain any licensing deal it might propose. To limit that power, holders of these standard-essential patents are often required to agree to offer licensing terms on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
Of course, that leaves open the rather important question of what exactly FRAND means in practice, and an interesting case before the Court of Justice of the European Union aims to obtain some guidance on this issue. The court itself has not yet handed down its judgment, but as usual, an Advocate General has offered his own thoughts as preliminary guidance (pdf). Here's the background to the case:... ...Full Story