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The Free Standards Group: Squaring the Open Source/Open Standards Circle

Before there was Linux, before there was open source, there was (and still is) an operating system called Unix that was robust, stable and widely admired. It was also available under license to anyone that wanted to use it, and partly for that reason many variants grew up and lost interoperability - and the Unix wars began. The same thing could happen to Linux.

The Word Trojan: Anatomy of an On-Line Story

The Word Trojan virus is reported to have infected only two targets - but it received extensive coverage for a week. Given the limited facts to work with, journalists were left to deal mostly with "what ifs."

Monocultures and Document Formats: Dan's Bomb Goes Off

Three years ago, celebrated security expert Dan Geer lost his job at @stake when he co-authored a paper on the dangers that the Microsoft "monoculture" represented for end-users. He knew what he was talking about.

The Return of Them

  • Standards Blog; By Andy Updegrove (Posted by Andy_Updegrove on May 21, 2006 5:00 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial
For the last couple of weeks I've been writing a number of blog entries focusing on poorly researched and deliberately misleading items in the news. One of those pieces is called "The Script Reloaded: Recognizing 'Them.'" Surprise - "They" have written another article.

First Public Draft of Open XML is Published (and it's bigger than ever)

The first draft of Open XML has been posted for public viewing - and it's bigger than ever.

Reader Beware as ODF Coverage Increases

There have been a number of stories published on-line in recent days that warrant both comment and qualification. That's both good news and bad news.

The Evolving ODF Environment Part II: Spotlight on OpenOffice

  •; By Andy Updegrove (Posted by Andy_Updegrove on May 13, 2006 6:13 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Interview
In this second in a series of interviews with the major open source and proprietary implementations of ODF, I learn from's Louis Suarez-Potts and John McNeesh how OO compares to the competition, wherein lie its strengths, and where it will head in the future.

A Tale of Two Press Releases: Big Lies and Objective Journalism

It's not my goal at this blog to nominate myself as the official FUD Ombudsman for the contest between the ODF standard and Microsoft's Open XML (especially since the connotations of the name "Ombudsman" in this saga ain't what they used to be). But...

The Script Reloaded: Recognizing "Them"

  •; By Andy Updegrove (Posted by Andy_Updegrove on May 11, 2006 2:07 PM EDT)
"Public Relations" is one of those funny phrases that has very little to do with what it really means. At sixty thousand feet, it's about influencing opinion, which (at that altitude) doesn't sound all that bad. But when it gets down into the bushes, it starts to become a bit less innocuous, and more unsavory.

On the Art (?) of Disinformation: telling the Big Lie

  •; By Andy Updegrove (Posted by Andy_Updegrove on May 9, 2006 10:49 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial
This blog entry is a rarity for me: an exegesis on the deliberate disinformation of a single vendor. Of course, calling out falsehoods by some vendors is like shooting the same old fish in a barrel, but occasionally you have to haul out the firearm when they start landing in your soup.

ODF Plug-ins and a Microsoft Promise of Cooperation

Last week, the Massachusetts Information Technology Division (ITD) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on any plugins that might be under development to assist it in migrating from a MS Office environment to one based upon software that supports ODF. Perhaps Microsoft may be willing to lend a hand.

The Evolving ODF Environment: Spotlight on KOffice

There are already multiple implementations of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) in the marketplace. Why do adopt a standard - and therefore by definition go head to head with their competitors?

ODF Approved by ISO/IEC Members

The six month voting window for ISO/IEC adoption of the OASIS OpenDocument Format (ODF) standard closed on May 1, and at midnight (Geneva time) last night it was announced internally that ODF had been approved by the ISO members eligible and interested in casting a vote.

Solving the Standards Stakeholder Conundrum

  • Consortium Standards Bulletin; By Andy Updegrove (Posted by Andy_Updegrove on Apr 28, 2006 6:55 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial
With more than a million standards in place in the world today, it is axiomatic that we are all profoundly affected by their existence. Yet only a very small number of people are involved in the creation of these standards, relative to the billions that are impacted by their implementation.

Peter Quinn Returns to Private Sector

  • Standards Blog; By Andy Updegrove (Posted by Andy_Updegrove on Apr 20, 2006 2:55 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
Like many that have followed the OpenDocument Format (ODF) story in Massachusetts, I've wondered what former State CIO Peter Quinn would eventually decide to do after announcing his resignation late last year.

Gutierrez on the Record: A Good Man in a Storm

When Peter Quinn announced the adoption of the new Massachusetts Enterprise Technology Reference Model (which included the OpenDocument Format) in September of last year, he specified January 1, 2007 as the conversion date for ODF. But did that make sense?

OpenSPARC and Which One has it Right?

Last summer, IBM set up Power,org, to promote its PowerPC chip as what it called "open hardware." This year, Sun launched the open source project around the source code for its Niagera microprocessor. But what does "open" mean in the context of hardware?

The Minnesota Open Formats Bill: Bandwagon or Babel?

  • Standards Blog; By Andy Updegrove (Posted by Andy_Updegrove on Apr 10, 2006 10:51 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial
It is perhaps no surprise that Minnesota, a blue state like Massachusetts and heir to the political traditions of the Prairie Populists, should be the next state to host a bill to require "open data formats." In spirit, this is a good thing, as it indicates a broadening appeal for open document format standards that, if missing, would be worrisome.

Update: Massachusetts ODF Milestones, Due Dates and Schedule

  • Standards Blog; By Andy Updegrove (Posted by Andy_Updegrove on Apr 7, 2006 4:32 PM EDT)
Things have been busy in Massachusetts this year for ODF. Some of the roadblocks that had loomed ahead are now behind, and some new ones are ahead.

Bill Introduced in Minnesota to Require Use of "Open Data Formats"

A bill has been introduced in Minnesota that would require all Executive branch agencies to "use open standards in situations where the other requirements of a project do not make it technically impossible to do this."

The text of the bill is focused specifically on "open data formats." While the amendment does not refer to open source software, the definition of "open standards" that it contains would be conducive to open source implementations of open standards. The fact that such a bill has been introduced is significant in a number of respects. First, the debate over open formats will now be ongoing in two U.S. states rather than one. Second, if the bill is successful, the Minnesota CIO will be required to enforce a law requiring the use of open formats, rather than be forced to justify his or her authority to do so. Third, the size of the market share that can be won (or lost) depending upon a vendor's compliance with open standards will increase. And finally, if two states successfully adopt and implement open data format policies, other states will be more inclined to follow.

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