The history of information technology has always had a bias towards Western languages, and particularly towards English, making it less accessible to those living in other parts of the globe. But there are those that are working to level the playing field.
The Massachusetts IT funding proposal that MA CIO and ODF champion Peter Quinn resigned in part to protect died on Monday when the State Senate failed to approve it before the 2005-2006 legislative session ended.
On July 27, the OASIS announced that the first draft update of ODF (version 1.1) had been posted for public comment. This draft is more than usually significant, since it seeks to assist those that implement ODF make their applications more accessible to those with disabilities.
The ODF Alliance issued a press release containing further good news yesterday, providing a good excuse to check in at their Website to see how that organization is doing. The answer appears to be rather nicely, thank you, with membership standing at "nealry 280," representing 43 countries according to the press release.
Five years ago, Tim Berners-Lee announced his vision of the Semantic Web. Now, the W3C has launched a new activity called the "Emotion Incubator Group," and its purpose is to take us beyond the narrow range of the emoticon to a Web that can incorporate information about emotions into Web pages.
Last fall, when things were moving quite rapidly in the ODF/OpenXML (then called "Microsoft XML reference schema") front, I did a c. weekly series of blog entries titled as above, pulling together most of what I thought was worth reading from all manner of sources on this topic.
It's been a week now since Microsoft announced its ODF/Office open source converter project - time enough for 183 on-line stories to be written, as well as hundreds of blog entries (one expects) and untold numbers of appended comments. Lest all that virtual ink fade silently into obscurity, it seems like a good time to look back and try to figure out What it All Means
Microsoft's announcement on plugins sounds like new news - but in fact this project has been ongoing for nine months, as Ray Ozzie let slip last October. Why announce it now?
In this fourth in-depth interview focusing on ODF-compliant office productivity suites, I interview Dr. Martin Sommer, of Germany's SoftMaker Software.
Last October 31, the Chairman of a Massachusetts Senate Committee held a public hearing (more akin to a kangaroo court) at which then State CIO Peter Quinn and his general counsel were required to testify, following which a parade of exclusively hostile witnesses was invited to testify against the ITD's ODF policy. Now, the investigative report of the same committee has been issued.
Last year, many countries were up in arms over the fact that the US, via an agency of the Department of Commerce that maintains a contract with ICANN, controls the root directories of the Internet. Now they have an opportunity to make their objections known again.
One of the responses the Massachusetts ITD posted last week to its RFI on ODF converter plugins wasn't a formal response at all, but an informal email sent by Adam Kennedy, of Australia's Phase-N. That didn't mean that Phase-N didn't have something important to say, however.
While a quarter-page ad on the editorial page of the Boston Globe doubtless costs far less than a $30 million in-kind software donation, it's a good bet that the ad titled "Working Together Better by Design" that appeared in yesterday's Globe has something to do with last week's generous contribution.
In early May, Massachusetts issued a "Request for Information" on plugins that could help ease the transition from a Microsoft Office based environment to one relying on ODF compliant software.
An hour or so ago Sun Microsystems made good on an earlier pledge to issue further "non-assertion covenants" (NACs) in support of open standards. That's a good thing, and more vendors should do the same thing.
It's now been more than a week since Microsoft announced that its licensing discussions with Adobe had fallen apart after four months of negotiations. We don't know a great deal more now that Adobe has released a statement, but what we do know is bad for open standards.
Item: "Having the latest computer technology is great. But what e-government users from the public sector as well as citizens really want is software interoperability. Unfortunately IT managers still only pay lip service to such interoperability, concludes a European project assessing today's open-source movement."
Two years ago, a wireless standards war between the US and China escalated to the highest levels of government before a truce was reached, with then-Secretary of State Colin Powell personally intervening. The subject then was the WiFi wireless standard, and the challenger was a Chinese competitor with a security algorithm called WAPI. That truce, unfortunately, is now breaking down.
For a week now, the IT world has been scratching its collective head over the breakdown of PDF licensing negotiations between Microsoft and Adobe. What was there to breakdown over, if PDF is a standard?
In this third interview in a continuing series, I interview Sun's Erwin Tenhumberg, in order to compare StarOffice 2.0 with the other leading software productivity suites that support ODF (previous interviews have focused on KOffice and OpenOffice).