Friday, 25 May 2012

Relevant link: standards and open source

For those interested in the intersection of patents and standards and in how open source and patents and copyright included in standards relate there is a very informed and informative position availalbe - written by Iain Mitchell QC and Stephen Mason. The document is openly available for everyone on the website of the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review.

Relevant link of today: OData moves to OASIS

Microsoft announced today that they move the standardisation work on OData into OASIS. The Open Data Protocol Technical Committee is supported by Citrix Systems Inc., IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., Progress Software, SAP AG and WSO2. See the full press release at the Microsoft website.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Relevant link of today: Thoughts on Cloud

Everybody talks about the Cloud and its potential for growth and innovation. Yet, the Cloud will only be successful if it works properly and if the services which the clients and users want are delivered. In his blog post Angel Diaz dives into the different aspects around Cloud and the respective service level agreements (SLAs). Definitely worth reading - both for Cloud experts and novices.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

European Standardisation Reform - good analysis on critical issues

I would like to draw your attention to an article from Paul Meller published in the EuropeanVoice. Paul provides a very good overview and analysis of the current discussions and negotiations regarding the EU standardisation reform - focussing on the impact on ICT standards.

The text is also duplicated on the OpenForum Europe website. Definitely worth reading.

Just to give you an appetizer:
"The Commission wants to be able to recognise ICT standards from the likes of the W3C, with national governments, formal standards bodies and industry – forming what has been dubbed the European Multi-Stakeholder Platform – playing an advisory role only.

"National governments disagree. They want to have decision-making powers to approve or block standards from industry forums and consortia. By holding out for voting powers, national governments appear to have missed the point of recognising standards from industry fora and consortia. The idea is not to mandate the use of such standards in public procurements. It is simply to allow public authorities to refer to these standards in their calls for tender. If the Council of Ministers succeeds in securing voting power, as opposed to a simple advisory role for the platform, this will deter civil servants on the front line from using the very technologies that have spurred such extraordinary innovation in the private sector."
This is exactly why the new Regulation is so vital for ICT in Europe and why a smooth process to be established is important to ensure success - to the benefit of Europe.

Friday, 4 May 2012

UK Open Standards consultation - workshop on IPRs

It was shortly before last week's second workshop organised by the UK cabinet office in the context of their consultation on open standards when the announcement was made that the first workshop would not be considered. The reason for this nullification was a potential conflict of interest of Dr. Andy Hopkirk who had been moderator of the workshop. As the cabinet office pointed out in their update:
"However, at the time he [Dr. Hopkirk] was engaged to facilitate the Open Standards roundtable, while we were aware that he represented the National Computing Centre on the Microsoft Interoperability Executive Customer Council (along with 40 other CIOs/CTOs across the public and private sector who participate in a voluntary capacity) he did not declare the fact that he was advising Microsoft directly on the Open Standards consultation."

As a consequence, the deadline for submitting comments was also extended by one month.

The workshop itself last week was pretty straight forward. The majority of the people were clearly in favour of openness, of open standards and of enabling a level playing field for open source technologies via a clear open standards procurement policy. Cabinet office reconfirmed that the policy is about software interoperability only and that they intend to follow the principle of "Comply or declare"; thus they indicate the basic direction and give recommendations but do not dictate.

One of the points that came across most clearly at the meeting is that the telecommunications sector thinks and operates very different from IT. And it could be clarified that all the concerns that were raised out of the perspective of the participants representing telcos are not applicable for software interoperability.

Regarding the high value and benefit of an open standards policy it was widely stressed that lock-in situations will be avoided by mandating open standards, i.e. governments will have more choice and will be able to replace old technologies by new, innovative ones with reasonable effort. In other words: exit cost are kept low when open standards are used and lock-in is avoided.

The final advice to cabinet office was to continue along their clear direction: have a clear policy mandating open standards whenever they are available; install an open standards advisory council for selecting the actual open standards and specifications; if needed deal with problem cases on a case-by-case basis as they occur.

A very good accurate report of the workshop was published by Mark Ballard in ComputerWeekly.

Reorganisation in the European Commission: DG INFSO becomes DG CONNECT

Last week the European Commission announced the reorganisation of DG Information Society into DG for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, short: DG CONNECT. This will become effective on 1st July 2012. Along with this name change goes some reorgnisation of the structure and reporting lines. This is reflected in the orgchart which can be downloaded from the DG's website. Good reorganisations always make an impact. My wish: that the new DG CONNECT may continue to drive the Digital Agenda with full speed and decidedness in order to make this flagship initiative with all its elements a great success for Europe.