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Thursday, July 31 2014 @ 10:46 AM 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 NewsDeepening Reform of Standards Requires Overall Planning and BreakthroughsUSITO.org Weekly
July 31, 2014 - On July 17, the Standardization Administration of China (SAC) held a meeting to discuss the further reform of the standardization system. During the meeting, SAC director general Tian Shihong (also a member of the Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine Administration (AQSIQ) leading group) summarized previous achievements and reviewed the overall reform process.
According to Mr. Tian, standardization system reform has made positive progress on technical standard system construction, consortia standards development, enterprise standardization management, social credit code system reform, standardization system planning and standardization law amendments. He identified a number of areas requiring further progress in 2014, including technical standard system construction, social credit code system reform, social group standard development, and enterprise standard filing-for-record system reform. ...Full Story
Bernard F. Collins II, Senior Advisor with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Speaks about the Value of Standardization and How Standards Boost Business
ANSI Weekly News July 31, 2014 - Standards and conformity assessment activities impact almost every aspect of life in the U.S., they are inseparably linked to all facets of our national economy, and are vital to the continued global competitiveness of the U.S. In fact, they influence an estimated 80% of global merchandise trade – or about $14 trillion.
Bernard F. Collins II, senior advisor for the Director of Science and Technology in the Acquisition, Technology and Facilities Directorate for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, recently spoke with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) about his work evaluating the space industrial base and improving satellite acquisition through the use of standardization....The following is part one of a three part interview.... ...Full Story
W3C Launches Push for Social Web Application Interoperability
W3C.org July 30, 2014 - W3C today launched a new Social Activity to develop standards
to make it easier to build and integrate social applications
with the Open Web Platform. Future standards — including
vocabularies for social applications, activity streams,
embedded experiences and in-context actions, and protocols to
federate social information such as status updates — will
address use cases that range from social business applications,
to cross-organization federation, to greater user control over
W3C chartered two groups today to carry out these activities:
* The Social Web Working Group will define the technical
standards and APIs to facilitate access to social
functionality as part of the Open Web Platform. These
include a common JSON-based syntax for social data, a
client-side API, and a Web protocol for federating social
information such as status updates.
* The Social Interest Group will co-ordinate messaging around
social at the W3C and formulate a broad strategy to enable
social business and federation. It will harvest use-cases
and review specifications produced by technical working
groups in the light of those use-cases.
The Social Web Working Group’s first face-to-face meeting will
take place the last week of October, as part of TPAC 2014,
W3C’s annual gathering of Working Groups. ...Full Story
Polish NGOs join to open up government Submitted
EU Joinup July 30, 2014 - Polands free software advocacy group FWIOO (Fundacja Wolnego i Otwartego Oprogramowania) has joined twelve other Polish NGOs in the 'Coalition for Open Government', pushing the country's public administrations towards greater transparency and electronic participation. Public administrations using free and open source software solutions help close the digital gap, ease sharing and re-use, and enable citizens to participate electronically with their government....The Coalition for Open Government wants the Polish government to join the Open Government Partnership. This international network aims to get governments to commit to transparency, empowering citizens, fighting corruption, and harnessing new technologies to strengthen governance.
One of FWIOO's aims is to get Poland's public administrations' to use of open document formats. This will reduce the threat of public authorities losing access to digital resources, a risk tied to the use of proprietary document formats.
Together with FWIOO, the Coalition for Open Government will be pushing for open technologies in the field of open data, and for removing technological barriers that hinder public participation and grant applications. ...Full Story
IEEE forms group to address 25 Gb/s Ethernet standard for cloud datacentres
Business Cloud News July 29, 2014 - The IEEE has formed a working group to explore the market opportunities and needs for a single-lane 25 Gb/s speed for server interconnects for Ethernet. The formation of the 25 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group comes shortly after Google, Arista, and Microsoft, operating as part of the recently formed 25G Ethernet Consortium released a specification enabling single-lane 25 Gb/s Ethernet and dual-lane 50 Gbps Ethernet links.
Echoing the 25G Ethernet Consortium, which is composed mainly of networking technology developers and cloud service providers, the IEEE said the reuse of serial lane 25 Gb/s signaling technology, developed to support 100 Gb/s Ethernet, optimises the cost of traffic per GB in datacentres built primarily for cloud – allowing these providers to send more data over the same links.... ...Full Story
Moving to LibreOffice saves Toulouse 1 million Submitted
EU Joinup July 29, 2014 - Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, has saved 1 million euro by migrating all its desktops to LibreOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools. "Free software and open source in general is now an established part of the city’s comprehensive digital policy, and the open model promotes economic development and employment in the region", according to a study published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository today....Currently several thousand people out of the 10,000 who work for the city and Toulouse Métropole use LibreOffice daily. The migration started in 2012, following the political decision in 2011. The switch took a year and a half, and 90 per cent of the desktops now run LibreOffice...."Software licenses for productivity suites cost Toulouse 1.8 million euro every three years. Migration cost us about 800,000 euro, due partly to some development. One million euro has actually been saved in the first three years. It is a compelling proof in the actual context of local public finance",... ...Full Story
What the UK Government’s adoption of ODF really means
Moved by Freedom- Powered by Standards July 28, 2014 - On Tuesday the news that the UK Government had decided to use ODF as its official and default file format started to spread....This decision is a landmark for several reasons. First, it is not every day that you see an entire government migrate to a standardized file format. You may hear about government branches using this or that solution, but nothing that is so “abstract” than a file format. This time the UK Government has made the conscious decision to define a coherent policy in handling its digital documents, from the stage where they are created, edited and circulated all the way to the archival phase....
Most of the migrations from one office suite to another tend to happen without any coherent document management policy. Many organizations moving from, say, Microsoft Office to LibreOffice do not necessarily adopt ODF as their default format and will carry on supporting whatever version of the MS Office file format internally. This usually leads to frustrations and compatibility problems. This time, the UK Government decision takes a different approach. By deciding about the formats first, the UK creates the conditions necessary to have real choices for its government and its citizens, thus setting a level playing field for everyone....While reading among the tea leaves is not my favourite past time, it is relevant to assume that this decision may change a few things around the IT industry as well. By way of an example, I have always been amazed at Apple’s clean support of ODF inside Mac OS X but its constant absence across the iWork editions. Perhaps Apple will feel compelled to introduce ODF files in iWork now? Only time will tell. Cloud solutions will also have to improve or implement ODF and in some cases PDF support in a proper way.
The decision might also have consequences for other European countries and perhaps for the European institutions themselves, as the UK will now be an actual example of a country that has migrated to ODF, and not just one of the countries that made the choice of Free and Open Source Software.... But the whole point is that in 2014, trying to extract revenue by creating lock-in on office files is no longer acceptable. That, I think, is what the UK Government decision really means. And if I’m right, it’s only the beginning.... ...Full Story
Report: US needs to adopt minimal national security standard for cybersecurity
Fierce Homeland Security July 28, 2014 - The United States cannot allow cyber insecurity in information systems to reach a point where weaknesses would result in leaders "unwilling to make a decision or unable to act on a decision fundamental to our national security," said a new think tank report, suggesting a new national security standard for what's important to protect in cyberspace....Danzig said that because IT dependency and accompanying insecurities have come so rapidly evolved, the U.S. doesn't really understand what is acceptable and unacceptable risk let alone what the government's and the private sector's roles are in this area....He also said that the U.S. may need to adopt a strategy that "self-consciously" gives up some cyber benefits in exchange for greater security on key systems.
This might involve "stripping down systems so they do less but have fewer vulnerabilities" and less reliance on digital systems and more on humans, among other recommendations.
Another interesting initiative is to "map the adversarial ecosystem of cyberspace in anthropological detail" as a way to better understand enemies, our own incentives and operational methods, he wrote.... ...Full Story
The Document Foundation congratulates the UK government for their revolutionary and historical choice of open document standards
The Document Foundation July 25, 0214 - The Document Foundation (TDF) congratulates the UK government for the selection of the Open Document Format (ODF), in addition to Portable Document Format (PDF), to meet user needs. LibreOffice, the free office suite developed by TDF, supports both ODF – the native document format – and PDF (including PDF/A)....“TDF has always been a strong supporter of ODF, and a believer in open document standards”, says Thorsten Behrens, TDF Chairman. “July 22 will be a date to remember, as the culmination of a dream inaugurated when ODF become a ISO standard on November 30, 2006. By standardizing on ODF and PDF, the UK government is showing the world that it is entirely possible to find a way out of proprietary formats to enhance user freedom”....Complementing ODF, LibreOffice manages Hybrid PDF files, which combine the advantages of PDF and ODF by embedding a fully editable ODF document into a PDF without breaking any of the standard characteristics of both formats. ...Full Story
We're living in a post-open source world
InfoWorld July 25, 0214 - After years of bitter feuds between free software and open source advocates, open source won. But it was a temporary victory. While proponents of Apache-style licensing had a brief period to gloat, the GitHub generation seems determined to take open source to its logical conclusion: releasing most software under no license at all.
Are developers simply too careless to bother with a license, or is something bigger under way?... ...Full Story