Wednesday, 23 July 2014

UK government adopts Open Document Format standard for collaboration on documents


Yesterday the Minister of the Cabinet Office in the UK, Francis Maude, announced that the UK government adopts the Open Document Format (ODF) standard for documents that are presented for collaboration and interaction. Two other standards, PDF/A and HTML, are chosen for viewing government information.

I admire the UK government for this decision. ODF is the established standard for documents. It is used in OpenOffice , in LibreOffice, and also in Microsoft Office. Gone are the days of the battle about OOXML and the debates about ODF versus OOXML. That's the stuff of last decade. The UK government now made the step into the future direction supporting and requiring an open standard for document formats that is widely available and implemented in a number of competing products and solutions.

I wish other governments would be fast in following this example. With increasing online collaboration, with using Cloud technologies, with moving to increased automation, the use of ODF is the right move for promoting interoperability, competition and choice.

I have been using ODF implementations for many years now. I am working with odt, odp and ods files on a daily basis. I am highly satisfied – and I am sure that clear decisions in favour of ODF will push further innovation around ODF.

So great news from the UK. I hope they will spread fast and wide.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Very sad news: Frank Schirrmacher is dead

I am shocked at today's news of the sudden death of Frank Schirrmacher, co-editor of the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, intellectual and a truely free thinker. Germany and Europe will miss Frank Schirrmacher as an always inspiring source for thoughts and ideas driving the public debate and rasing important issues.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

UK government pushing for ODF as preferred standard for document formats

The UK government has moved ahead with their strategy to put stronger focus on open standards in the public sector. One important element here is the decision to select ODF as the preferred standard for document formats. ODF is widely supported, including by big vendors of software for office suits as well as in open source offerings.


There was an interesting article on PCWorld looking at the standards issue and debate underlying the decision of the UK government. Definitely worth reading.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

CEN, CENELEC, ETSI hand over white paper on Cyber Security to Commissioner VP Kroes

Earlier this week a delegation of CEN, CENELEC and ETSI headed by MEP Dr. Christian Ehler met with Commissioner VP Kroes for handing over the white paper on cyber security that was developed within the Cyber Security Coordination Group (CSCG) established by the three European Standards Organisations (ESO).

The White Paper is available for download on the CSCG website which is hosted by DIN.

For some pictures of the event see also the respective web site from the Commission. ETSI has also published an announcement with some good links leading a bit further.

At first reading the White Paper is very much high level and spans from generic political recommendations to the actual technology work in standardisation. Certainly a good, broad overview of aspects to consider further.

As ETSI point out in their press release, a lot of work is already ongoing in security standardisation, most notably in ISO/IEC JTC1 SC27 but, of course, also in IETF, W3C and IEEE and others. As I strongly believe in bottom up approaches as it comes to standards developments it will be the chance of the stakeholders in IT security technologies to map the white paper recommendations with their work and take up whatevery makes sense and in whatever organisation has the best expertise for doing the work.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Good EU Conference on EU Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation

I was speaking at the conference on the EU Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation yesterday. The conference was organised by the European Commission - all information is available on the Commission website on the conference.

The conference was extremely good, in my opinion. It aimed at presenting the Rolling Plan, which is a planning document for ICT standardisation in support of EU policy priorities, and promoting it as a tool for driving the implementation of technologies. It was opened by Director Didier Herbert, DG ENTR, with a very inspiring speech and chaired by Michel Catinat, Head of Unit E4 dealing with innovation and ICT stanardisation in DG ENTR.

The conference was well attended with a number of key experts both from the European Standards Organisations and from global ICT standards bodies. I had the pleasure to co-facilitate a panel with seven standards bodies present. The topic was "Global Standards supporting EU Policy Priorities". I thought this was an excellent exchange between standards bodies on the usefulness of the Rolling Plan for their work. One major take away from this panel might be that while the effect of the Rolling Plan will be small in organisations that have a clear bottom up approach, yet for the conversation on a managerial level and for positioning global standards bodies as viable platforms to support required standards work the Rolling Plan is extremely useful.

The Commission will soon publish a report of the conference. So watch the space. I also uploaded the slides I was showing in my speech in the morning to slide share.



Final words: Many thanks to the Commission for organising this conference. Very useful and informative.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Cofirmation from Commissioner Šefčovič: EU Commission is set up for using ODF

In a response to a question from the European Parliament Commissioner Šefčovič confirmed that the European Commission is set up to support ODF in external communication for documents if they are open for revision. The ODF standard can be used as well as the OOXML standard.

See the full response on the website of the European Parliament.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

EU Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation


First of all, Happy New Year to you all – above all good health, success and lots of luck.

For ICT standardisation in Europe the New Year starts with great news. Just before Christmas the European Commission published the EU Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation. This is a work programme focussing on how ICT standards and specifications can support EU policies across all different Commission Directorates.

For the first time such a concise document is available providing advice to the Commission Services on the availability of standards and specifications, including global ICT specifications, and providing a plan for ICT standards bodies of how policy making in Europe can be supported by standardisation. It also provides a high level of transparency to all stakeholders and to the public. This Rolling Plan has the potential to further drive the use and implementation of standards and specifications in policy contexts in Europe – and it may shine beyond the borders of the EU.

The Rolling Plan is part of what had been introduced with Regulation 1025/2012. It was developed by the European Commission in close collaboration with the EU ICT Multi-Stakeholder Platform with the involvement of the Member States, Industry, European and global standards bodies, societal stakeholders. It therefore reflects a broad consensus on needs and opportunities for standardisation. And it is a great result – amongst others – of the productive and forward-looking work of the ICT Multi-Stakeholder Platform.

The Rolling Plan is available for download from the Commission website. It consists of two introductory chapters outlining the strategic thinking behind the Rolling Plan and the opportunities for implementation of standards. The major part of the Rolling Plan is chapter 3 which looks at standardisation in the context of the policy priorities identified by the European Commission. Finally, a chapter 4 also highlights horizontal standards and specifications that are of relevance across many ICT implementations.

Congratulations to the European Commission for developing this Rolling Plan and creating such a valuable level of planning around ICT standardisation in the context of EU policy making.