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Friday, February 12 2016 @ 07:57 AM CST
Monday, June 08 2015 @ 01:20 AM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Last July, the UK Cabinet Office adopted a rule requiring government purchasers to limit their technology acquisitions to products that implement an established list of “open standards.” Last week, Sweden took another step down the same road as it further refined a list of information and communications technology (ICT) standards. That list currently comprises sixteen standards. A posting at the European Commission EU Joinup Web site reports that other standards are to be added this year.
Monday, September 15 2014 @ 09:57 AM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
OpenForum Europe, an advocacy group focusing on IT openness in government, issued a press release earlier today announcing its launch of a new public Internet portal. At that site, anyone can report a government page that offers a document intended for collaborative use for downloading if that document is not available in an OpenDocument Format (ODF) compliant version. The portal is called FixMyDocuments.eu, and you can show your support for the initiative (as I have) by adding your name here (the first supporter listed is the EU's indominatable digital champion, Neelie Kroes).
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 need to adopt ODF is a no-brainer
-Nico Westpalm van Hoorn, chairman of the Netherlands government body responsible for selecting IT standards for government See all Quotes
Latest NewsEC accepts XBRL as standard for procurement SubmittedGijs HilleniusEU Joinup
February 12, 2016 - The European Commission has made XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) version 2.1 eligible for referencing in public procurement. From 17 February, public administrations in the EU can refer to the XBRL specification in their requests for tender. XBRL is a standard for exchanging business information, facilitating automatic retrieval of financial information and improving analysis of financial reporting.
The freely-available standard, developed by the not-for-profit XBRL Consortium, was accepted by the Commission after consulting the European multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) on ICT standardisation and other experts.
The MSP experts evaluate and examine the compliance of technical specifications in the field of ICT that are not national, European or international standards.
XBRL is now the seventh technical specification following this process that can be referenced in public procurement. Others include Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), Extensible Markup Language version 1.0 (XML) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).... ...Full Story
Influence the Future of Cybersecurity Education—Join the NICE Working Group
NIST February 12, 2016 - Addressing the nation’s rapidly increasing need for cybersecurity employees, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) is seeking members from the public and private sectors and academia to join its new working group and encourages interested individuals to participate in a kickoff teleconference the afternoon of January 27, 2016.
NICE, which is led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is a public-private partnership that promotes a robust network of cybersecurity education, training and workforce development to meet the nation’s demand for skilled cybersecurity employees to protect information systems. The number of job openings in the field greatly exceeds the number of trained workers. The NICE Working Group will collaborate to develop concepts, design strategies and pursue actions to advance cybersecurity education, including sharing existing education initiatives and identifying new ones.... ...Full Story
Companies Form New Alliance to Target Health-Care Costs
WSJ/Yahoo Finance February 11, 2016 - Twenty major companies—including American Express Co., Macy’s Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. — are banding together to use their collective data and market power in a bid to hold down the cost of providing workers with health-care benefits.
The newly formed alliance of companies, which cover about four million people among them, plan to share information about members’ employee health spending and outcomes, with an eye toward using findings to change how they contract for care. Ultimately, some members say, they could even form a purchasing cooperative to negotiate for lower prices, or try to change their relationships with insurance administrators and drug-benefit managers.... ...Full Story
European Parliament repeats call for open source Submitted
EU Joinup February 10, 2016 - For the second time in just three months, the European Parliament has called on the European Commission to to increase the share of free and open source software. On 19 January, in a so-called own-initiative report, the EP also urged the EC to use this type of software to promote reuse in and between public administrations as a solution to increase interoperability.
The European Parliament says that free and open source software will ‘boost competitiveness through interoperability and standardisation’.
In October, the EP called “for the systematic replacement of proprietary software by auditable and verifiable open-source software in all the EU institutions, and for the introduction of a mandatory open-source-selection criterion in all future ICT procurement procedures.”...In addition, the Parliament says free and open source software is instrumental to reinforce ‘trust and security in digital networks, industries, services and infrastructures and in the handling of personal data’.... ...Full Story
NIST Requests Comments on Computer Security Publication on Randomness
NIST February 10, 2016 - The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking public comment on its latest draft of a publication intended to help computer security experts use randomness to protect sensitive data....Random numbers are a crucial element in cryptography, which is often used to protect private messages by encrypting them into a form that cannot be understood without knowledge of a secret value generated using the random number.
Creating the randomness needed requires the use of an entropy source, which includes a natural source of entropy, often a physical phenomenon such as thermal noise — the random motions of particles due to their temperature. Entropy sources that comply with SP 800-90B are intended to provide assurance that cryptographic algorithms provide the security needed to protect information.
“This draft document proposes a lot of tests that you can use to validate your entropy source to tell you how good a job it is doing,” says NIST’s Elaine Barker, one of the publication’s authors. “When you’re assessing your process for generating randomness, you want to make sure nothing is broken and that it is performing consistently. We would like the public’s input on ways we can improve these tests.”... ...Full Story
U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Report to Congress on Dedicated Short-Range Communications
ANSI.org Weekly News February 9, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently released a report to Congress assessing the status of dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology and applications for short-range communications between vehicles and infrastructures. While the report found that DSRC is ready for deployment and emphasized that DSRC-based technologies offer a path to a “safer and more efficient” surface transportation system for America, it also revealed that the DOT is aiming to harmonize operational policies and voluntary industry standards to enhance capabilities even more to achieve global compatibility.
The DOT defines “DSRC” as a Wi-Fi derivative technology developed to meet specialized needs for secure, low latency, wireless mobile data communications. The technology has the proven the ability to provide all of the critical attributes needed to support mobility and environmental applications, in addition to lifesaving safety-critical applications. DSRC supports connected vehicle safety applications, for example, and can be configured to enable real-time crash-avoidance alerts and warnings. The DOT reports that in this capacity, DSRC has the ability to transform transportation safety—with the potential to address 83 percent of light-vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers.... ...Full Story
Open Compute Project Extends Focus to TelecommunicationsChristopher Tozzi
The Var Guy February 9, 2016 - The Open Compute Project, with the backing of several telecommunications providers and other new partners, wants to make telco more open.
David Ramos/Getty Images
The Open Compute Project (OCP), the Facebook-born initiative to make datacenter computing more scalable, efficient and affordable through open software and hardware, has taken another step forward by securing the support of several telecommunications companies as it launches a new telco project.
OCP, which was founded in 2011 by Facebook, Intel, Rackspace, Goldman Sachs and Andy Bechtolsheim, originated from an effort by Facebook to keep its datacenter open in order to lower costs and avoid vendor lock-in.... ...Full Story
Industrial Internet Industry Alliance Created Under MIIT
USITO.org February 8, 2016 - On February 1, the Industrial Internet Industry Alliance held its inaugural meeting in Beijing, with Minister of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) minister Miao Wei delivering a keynote address.
In his remarks, Miao Wei highlighted that the industrial Internet has already emerged as the critical driving force for smart manufacturing, and the playing field upon which countries are competing for manufacturing leadership. Minister Miao added that because China is in the midst an of economic transformation, the importance of industrial internet development is even more critical, and that the newly formed alliance should strive to serve as a catalyst for industrial internet promotion measures such as China Manufacturing 2025 and the Internet Plus Strategy.
The alliance will be under the guidance of the China Academy of Information Communications Technology (CAICT) but has a total of 13 vice chairman-level supporting companies, including Huawei, China Telecom and Haier. CAICT president Cao Shumin will serve as chairperson of the alliance, while Minister Miao will serve as director of the alliance's guidance committee. The alliance has 143 founding members. ...Full Story
Get Involved: U.S. TAG Participants Sought for ISO/IEC Subcommittee on Automatic Identification and Data Capture Techniques
ANSI.org Weekly News February 4, 2016 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is seeking U.S. experts to participate in the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology Standards, Subcommittee (SC) 31, Automatic identification and data capture techniques. As the U.S. representative to ISO, ANSI encourages all U.S. stakeholder organizations in relevant information technology fields to get involved, and those involved in radio frequency identification and data encoding are especially sought....SC 31 works to provide standards for data formats, data syntax, data structures, data encoding, and technologies for the process of automatic identification and data capture and of associated devices utilized in inter-industry applications and international business interchanges and for mobile applications.... ...Full Story
ANSI to Host OMB A-119 Revision Webinar on February 16
ANSI.org Weekly News February 3, 2016 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) will host a free webinar discussing the recently published revisions to White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119, "Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities.” The webinar will take place from 3:00 to 4:00 pm Eastern on Tuesday, February 16, 2016.
ANSI strongly encourages all interested parties – and especially ANSI member organizations – to take this opportunity to learn more about the revised document, which will continue to have a significant impact on future U.S. government use of privately developed voluntary consensus standards.
The circular, in conjunction with the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) of 1995, instructs U.S. federal agencies to consider using voluntary consensus standards developed privately instead of government-unique standards whenever possible. It was last updated in 1998 and has been revised again to reflect notable changes that have occurred in the ensuing years in connection with voluntary consensus standards, conformity assessment activities, and the federal government's participation in and use of standards.
Guest speakers at the webinar will include:
- Jasmeet Seehra, Policy Analyst, OMB
- Jeff Weiss, Senior Advisor for Standards and Global Regulatory Policy, U.S. Department of Commerce
- Gordon Gillerman, Director, Standards Coordination Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
The webinar will be listen-only, but participants will be given the opportunity to submit questions via chat. Following the event, the slide deck and a recording of the webinar will be made available for future viewing.
All individuals interesting in taking part in the webinar must register in advance. ...Full Story