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Thursday, July 24 2014 @ 03:09 PM CDT
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
“For the first time ever there is a default open format for Government documents
-OpenForum Europe U.K. chapter celebrating the annointment of ODF by the U.K. Cabinet Office
“The document format world has just been turned upside down
-Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols, writing at ZDNet.com See all Quotes
Latest NewsEU tenders for Open Data platform WrittenIan MurphyBusiness Cloud.com
July 24, 0214 - The European Commission has launched a formal tender for SMART 2014/1072 - Deployment of an EU Open Data core platform: implementation of the pan-European Open Data Portal and related services. This promises to be the worlds biggest open data project to data, eclipsing the UK Data.Gov.UK and the US Data.Gov which currently deliver approximately 15,000 and 111,000 data sets respectively.
This is not just about making data available for third party developers and those with the knowledge and skills to extract, sort, curate and import data into their own systems. The EU wants visualisation tools delivered as part of the project. This will make it possible for users of the European Open Data Portal to do their own analytics and create visualisations of the data on the platform itself.... ...Full Story
Microsoft attacks UK government decision to adopt ODF for document formats
ComputerWeekly.com July 24, 0214 - Microsoft has attacked the UK government’s decision to adopt ODF as its standard document format, saying it is “unclear” how UK citizens will benefit....Microsoft has heavily lobbied the government throughout the three-year process that led to its decision to adopt ODF. The company has never suggested OOXML should be the only standard, but has recommended that government adopt both ODF and OOXML.
Minutes of meetings of the Technical Standards Panel that advised the Cabinet Office were also published yesterday, showing that OOXML was discussed as a possible standard, but was rejected because ODF better met the criteria for open standards as defined by the UK government....
“The chair asked LH [Linda Humphries, open standards lead at the Government Digital Service] to explain why ODF was chosen rather than another format such as Office Open XML, also known as OOXML,” said the minutes.
“LH explained that the decision was based on the Open Standards Principles and the UK government definition of an open standard. Both ODF and OOXML, were considered but ODF better met the criteria.
“For OOXML, there were concerns relating to the vendor independence and market support criteria - particularly with differences between transitional OOXML and strict OOXML conformity".....
The panel also discussed whether it would be feasible to choose two standards for sharing documents, as it has done with viewing documents, but this was also rejected because of the difficulties ensuring interoperability.
“The chair asked the Panel to consider whether multiple standards would be appropriate for document formats. Following discussion, the panel reached consensus that one standard is important to ensure interoperability and to allow users to collaborate effectively on the same document,” said the minutes.... ...Full Story
Huge Win for ODF in UK: Let's Not Mess it up
ComputerWorld.uk July 23, 0214 - Back in January, I alerted people to a hugely-significant consultation being run by the Cabinet Office on the subject of document standards. This was so critical, that I banged on about several times more, urging readers to submit their comments. I must confess that I was not optimistic: we have been through this exercise so many times, and been so close to obtaining support for open formats, only to be thwarted by machinations, that I assumed the same would happen here....Yesterday's news is truly a unique opportunity to show the power of open standards, to promote the benefits of open source, and to bring about its wider dissemination both in government, and among home users. The price of failure here would be extremely high: yet more years in the wilderness, as happened after the Massachusetts ODF fiasco a decade ago. So let's not mess it up. ...Full Story
Microsoft questions UK Government's ODF adoption pledge News
IT Pro July 23, 0214 - Francis Maude has confirmed government departments will adopt ODF, but Microsoft claims the benefits to UK citizens are "unclear"....In a statement to IT Pro, a Microsoft spokesperson played down the significance of the ruling by pointing out that both its business productivity offerings - Office 2013 and Office 365 - already support ODF.
“Microsoft believes it is unproven and unclear how UK citizens will benefit from the government’s decision,” the spokesperson said.
“We actively support a broad range of open standards, which is why (like Adobe has with the PDF file format) we now collaborate with many contributors to maintain the Open XML file format through independent and international standards bodies....The government’s stated and laudable strategy to be cloud-first in the provision of its services to citizens depends on nurturing, not constraining such innovation,” the spokesperson added. ...Full Story
UK makes ODF its official documents format standard
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
ZDNet.com July 23, 0214 - In 2006 and 2007, there was an enormous documents standards war between Microsoft, with its OpenXML documents format, and the open-source community with its Open Document Format (ODF).
In the end, Microsoft, while eventually supporting ODF, won. ODF, while still supported by such popular open-source office suites as LibreOffice and OpenOffice, became something of an after-thought. Until, the UK government announced on Tuesday, that it will now require all official office suites to support ODF.
The document format world has just been turned upside down....One thing is clear from this decision. All office-suite programs, which do not support ODF, such as Google Docs, must add support for the standard. Without it, they will find themselves unable to compete for UK government business now. And, in the future, they may find themselves unable to compete for other office contracts that will require ODF. ...Full Story
uk government announcement - open document formats selected to meet user needs
OpenForum Europe July 22, 0214 - For the first time ever there is a default open format for Government documents.
The implications of a successful implementation will be widespread. The potential is there to catalyse change well beyond central government. The Cabinet Office deserves every credit for a thorough and informed approach to being an intelligent adopter of standards. This policy can deliver simpler user centric ICT decisions, more cost effective archiving, easier e-inclusion programmes and improved collaboration between government departments and between departments and the outside world. If ever there was an organisation that runs on documents, it is the machinery of government. An open foundation to the digital workings of government should be applauded.... ...Full Story
Open document formats selected to meet user needs
U.K. Cabinet Office July 22, 0214 - The open standards selected for sharing and viewing government documents have been announced by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.
The standards set out the document file formats that are expected to be used across all government bodies. Government will begin using open formats that will ensure that citizens and people working in government can use the applications that best meet their needs when they are viewing or working on documents together.
When departments have adopted these open standards:
- citizens, businesses and voluntary organisations will no longer need specialist software to open or work with government documents
- people working in government will be able to share and work with documents in the same format, reducing problems when they move between formats
- government organisations will be able to choose the most suitable and cost effective applications, knowing their documents will work for people inside and outside of government
The selected standards, which are compatible with commonly used document applications, are:
- PDF/A or HTML for viewing government documents
- Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing or collaborating on government documents
The move supports the government’s policy to create a level playing field for suppliers of all sizes, with its digital by default agenda on track to make cumulative savings of £1.2 billion in this Parliament for citizens, businesses and taxpayers.... ...Full Story
No Steering Wheel, No Problem: Standards Support the Future of Driverless Cars
ANSI Weekly News July 22, 0214 - ...Google Inc. recently announced that it has begun work on plans to construct 100 self-driving electric cars as part of an ongoing program to support innovative intelligent transport systems (ITS). The new fleet of cars will be built without a steering wheel, gear shift, or gas and brake pedals, and vehicles will be given instructions through a specialized smartphone app....ensuring that the car’s piloting system is getting accurate information about the location of the vehicle and best routes to that destination is of the upmost importance. ISO 14825:2011, Intelligent transport systems - Geographic Data Files (GDF) - GDF5.0, provides specifications for the conceptual and logical data model and physical encoding formats for geographic databases used by ITS.... ...Full Story
Google, Freescale Backing Yet Another Internet-of-Things Standard Effort
Re/Code July 18, 0214 - If you thought the only problem with two competing Internet-of-Things standards was that two rivals weren’t enough, you are in luck.
Google’s Nest unit, along with chipmaker Freescale and a handful of others, is announcing Thread — an effort to build support for future devices to connect to one another using a mesh network sending standard Internet packets over an existing low-power radio technology, a protocol known as 6LowPAN.
The Thread project joins Qualcomm-backed AllSeen Alliance and the Intel-backed Open Interconnect Consortium in offering alternate attempts at a standard for the connectible devices of the future....Of course, having all these different standards efforts practically ensures one thing: There’s no way all of these devices will actually be able to all talk to each other until all this gets settled with either victory or a truce....
But until that happy day, we have the positioning and chest-thumping and placing of stakes in the ground. ...Full Story
ONVIF Announces New Standard For Video Storage And Recording
Business Solutions July 18, 0214 - The Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) has released Profile G, a new standard for video storage and recording. According to the organization, the specification encompasses on-board video storage, searching retrieval capabilities, and media playback. This follows the 2013 Release Candidate for Profile G. A Release Candidate is the beta version of a product that is ready to release unless any significant bugs emerge during a six-month final implementation review.... ...Full Story