archives

Standards Blog

OPENSPARC.NET OR POWER.org: WHICH ONE HAS IT RIGHT?

Last summer, IBM set up Power.org to promote its PowerPC chip as “open hardware.” This year, Sun launched OpenSPARC.net as an open source project based upon the source code for its Niagara microprocessor. But what does “open” mean in the context of hardware?

A NEW FRENCH REVOLUTION?

Achieving “openness” is usually the result of standards development rather than legislation. Last week, however, the French legislature passed a law making the use of digital rights management (DRM) technology illegal in the music industry. The law was directed squarely at Apple’s wildly successful iTunes business, but if the concept catches on, why would such laws be limited only to music files?

MITT CALLS THE ODF COIN TOSS RIGHT

When Massachusetts CIO and OpenDocument Format (ODF) champion Peter Quinn announced his resignation last year on Christmas Eve, Massachusetts Governor (and presidential hopeful) Mitt Romney had two choices; stick with ODF, or abandon it. The former would antagonize some, while the latter could leave Romney vulnerable to charges of “flip flopping” and giving in to special interests. Luckily for the ODF camp, he called the coin toss right.

WHAT PRICE PUBLIC SERVICE?

For months, we’ve been writing about this year’s top standards story: the efforts of Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn to modernize the state’s IT infrastructure and make public documents accessible to future generations. The story isn’t over for Massachusetts, but it is for Quinn. And it didn’t end happily.

TELL THE GOVERNMENT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET

The WSIS process is building towards a climactic meeting in Tunis in November, with Internet governance as the most contentious issue, and the U.S. standing alone in its position that it should retain control of the Internet root directory. A little noticed posting at the State Department’s informational Website tells you how you can tell the U.S. Ambassador what you think.

AS AN IT CENTER ON A HILL?

In 1630, John Winthrop challenged Puritan colonists in Boston to live “as a city on a hill,” accountable to the world as exemplars of virtue. Now it’s the turn of Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn and his Information Technology Division to fulfill that role.

PATENT POOLS AND PRACTICALITY: WOULD YOU GIVE A PENNY FOR THE GUY?

While the open source model continues to gain momentum, there is another approach to avoiding unacceptable costs and licensing headaches that is more common in some other industries: the patent pool. From time to time, as now, it pops up in the software arena as well.

FOR YOUR REFERENCE

Standards tools come in many forms — including a bewildering (and sometimes ominous) array of reference materials you can order from NIST. So, you want some Plutonium-242 with that Human Lung Powder?