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Saturday, January 31 2015 @ 10:10 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
“Sometimes upholding constitutional ideas just isn't enough; sometimes you have to uphold the actual Constitution
-Excerpt from the dedication of a new "dark email" protocol to the NSA by PGP developer Ladar Levison See all Quotes
Latest NewsF.C.C. Sharply Expands Definition of BroadbandSteve LohrNYTimes BitBlog
January 30, 2015 - The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday sharply increased its benchmark definition of broadband Internet service. The new definition increases download speeds to more than six times faster than the previous standard, set more than four years ago....The impact of the new definition is uncertain, but the standard does guide policy on matters like the national deployment of broadband service, particularly in rural areas.
The new benchmark standard on speed could also spill over into the current weighing of new rules intended to maintain an open Internet, or net neutrality — the concept that Internet traffic should be open and treated equally. How access speeds can be managed and priced by the major Internet service providers — cable television and telecommunications companies — is the central issue in the open Internet policy debate. The commission is scheduled to vote on open Internet regulations on Feb. 26....
The new broadband benchmark sets downloads at a speed of 25 megabits a second and uploads of 3 megabits a second. The previous standard was a download speed of 4 megabits a second and an upload speed of 1 megabit a second. ...Full Story
Intel to Announce a New Stylus Alliance & Standards in February
PatentlyApple January 30, 2015 - Last year Apple filed for ten smart pen related patents and earlier this month a rumor surfaced from a prominent analyst claiming that Apple was aiming to introduce a smart pen accessory for Apple's 12" + iPad Pro later this year. On Wednesday Microsoft introduced a new digital whiteboard display system for the enterprise called the Surface Hub that accepts input with a Surface pen working in sync with their OneNote software. Their digital pen was emphasized in their Surface Hub patent that we reported on yesterday. Today there's news that Intel is forming a new Stylus alliance that will be formally announced in February. The first standards-compliant stylus is set to roll out in Q3. It's sure beginning to look as if 2015 will be the year that the stylus of old undergoes its biggest overhaul to date.... ...Full Story
Wi-SUN(TM) Alliance Releases Technical Profile Specification for IEEE 802.15.4g Standard-Based Field Area Networks
WI-SUN Alliance January 30, 2015 - The Wi-SUN Alliance today announced the release of a feature complete version of its technical profile specification for field area network communications. The specification brings Smart Utility Networks to enterprises, service providers and municipalities by enabling interoperable, multi-service and secure IPv6 communications over an IEEE 802.15.4gTM-based wireless mesh network. Mesh-enabled field area networks provide resilient, secure and cost effective connectivity with extremely good coverage in a range of topographical environments, from dense urban neighborhoods to rural areas, with minimal additional infrastructure.... ...Full Story
As simple As That
AllSeen Alliance January 29, 2015 - ...I would like to update everyone on an exciting change to the IP Policy at the Alliance that is designed to scale to the next billion devices.
The challenge of the Internet of Everything is that it needs to be just that - an Internet of everything, a global ecosystem of billions of interoperable products, applications and services all speaking the same language, all working together regardless of manufacturer, industry or platform. AllJoyn is the open source software project built by the AllSeen Alliance’s thriving technical community of over 110 companies that is delivering on this challenge, creating simple and open technology that connects everything and enables the Internet of Everything.
Device manufacturer and application developers are...want the enabling power of AllJoyn but they need it delivered within an Intellectual Property (IP) framework that is clear, concise and aligned with the realities of global business. The challenge to delivering this is that the software that results from the AllJoyn project is the work of many contributors, each participating in a different context, under different constraints, for companies with different corporate goals.
Today we are pleased to announce a revised IP policy that strikes a careful balance, aligning the interests of all of the Alliance stakeholders....the contributors who have and will contribute code to the project are giving you an open source copyright license to the AllJoyn code and a pledge not to assert the patents they own that are required to implement their contribution in a certified AllJoyn implementation.... ...Full Story
W3C Launches Web of Things initiative
W3C.org January 29, 2015 - W3C announced today a new Web of Things initiative to develop
Web standards for enabling open markets of applications and
services based upon connected sensors and actuators (the
Internet of Things) and the Web of data. Open standards will be
essential to realising the huge potential. We invite you to
join the new Web of Things Interest Group and drive work on use
cases, requirements, and best practices. The aim is to build a
shared vision and identify specific opportunities for
So far work on the Internet of Things has focused on the
sensors and actuators and the associated communication
technologies. Comparatively little attention has been given to
what is needed for services to break free of today’s product
silos. Web technologies are considered to be very promising,
defining services. However, there is considerable work left to
do to support discovery and interoperation of services, along
with attention to security, privacy, accessibility and
resilience in the face of faults and attacks.... ...Full Story
How to transfer ODT files with Google Docs and Microsoft Word Online
TechRepublic January 28, 2015 - Open your favorite writing app -- say, Google Docs -- to create a new file. The powerful collaborative editing features work only inside a Google Doc. Want to work with the file elsewhere? You'll either need to export the file or access the document with programming (i.e., the Google Drive API)....Control of a format or distribution channel can make it harder to use a competitive solution.
That's one problem of proprietary formats: a switch costs you time and/or money....Open formats or distribution channels make it easier for people to choose a different solution.
That's one promise of the open formats: your content exists independently of the software used to create the file. You're free to take your content and edit it with another app....Fortunately, Google re-enabled support for ODF in December 2014. That means you can leverage the collaborative capabilities of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, then export your completed work to a file in an open, non-proprietary format.... ...Full Story
Gaming Standards Association (GSA) Brings Suite of Next Generation of Standards to ICE Totally
Gaming Standards Association January 27, 2015 - GSA President Peter DeRaedt announced Gaming Standards Association (GSA) executives and engineers will be available on its stand in London during the 2015 ICE Totally Gaming expo and conference in London, February 3-5, to answer questions about GSA's new generation of standards and protocols that will be released over the next six months.... ...Full Story
LibreOffice Viewer beta hits Google Play ready to take on Microsoft Office Mobile
AndroidPit January 27, 2015 - Our phones and tablets have become much more than many people ever could have imagined, and they're now used for work as well as play. While larger-screened tablets such as the Nexus 9 are ideally suited for lengthier sessions of typing, phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5 are still used for viewing files. While Microsoft Office may be the industry standard office suite, there's plenty of competition, particularly from the free alternative LibreOffice. Today a beta version of LibreOffice Viewer has been released that allows mobile users to view Open Document Format (ODF) files on their Android devices.
libreofficeviewer Need to open office files on your Android? LibreOffice Viewer beta can help.... ...Full Story
NIST Requests Round Two Comments on its Cryptographic Standards Process
NISO.org January 26, 2015 - The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking comments on a revised draft document that details the principles and processes it will follow to develop its cryptographic standards and guidelines. Comments will be collected through March 27, 2015.
This second draft of NIST IR7977: NIST Cryptographic Standards and Guidelines provides more detail and identifies new policies and procedures that were not in the draft released for a two-month comment period in February 2014. The updates reflect feedback received in the public comments and a July 2014 report by an independent review committee....
The revisions to the first draft include new principles to ensure the usability of standards and guidelines and to encourage innovation while protecting intellectual property. The second draft also details how NIST will ensure balance, transparency, openness and integrity in its development of cryptographic standards and guidelines, and poses several questions to reviewers.... ...Full Story
New Linux Foundation's guide to the open-source cloud
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
ZDNet.com January 26, 2015 - I make my living from riding technology's bleeding edge. In particular I keep an eye on what's what with Linux and open-source software, but even I have trouble keeping track of what's going on with the open-source cloud technologies. Which is why I'm happy to welcome The Linux Foundation's 2015 report: Guide to the Open Cloud: Open Cloud Projects Profiled, which will be released on January 20th.... ...Full Story