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Zak Greant's OSI Weekly Report 2008 Week 11

This report is a summary of Zak Greant's Open Source Initiative activities for the week of March 16th to 22nd, 2008.

This Week

Zak Greant's OSI Weekly Report 2008 Week 10

This report is a summary of Zak Greant's Open Source Initiative activities for the week of March 9th to 15th, 2008.

This Week

This was my first week of real activity in 2008 (except for my attendance of the March 2008 OSI face-to-face meeting.)

Congrats to Michael Tiemann

I wanted to give a quick shout out to our President, who was just listed as one of eWeek's Top Ten Open-Source Business Influencers. Wish they could've gotten a better picture, though...

Microsoft's new weapon against open source: stupidity

An Information Week article published last week appears to position Microsoft as trying to do something right when it comes to open source. And it positions the open source community as being not quite ready to make nice after past insults, threats, and abuse.

Patent owners and Open Source

Are you a patent holder, wondering how to write software which implements your patent? Here's my advice: Patents expire. Towards the end of the patent's lifetime, you want to be trying to transfer the patent's franchise over to the relationship between the patent-holder and the licensee. That can be done with closed-source software, but you risk competitors writing their own software. With Open Source software, as long as you manage the relationship with the user correctly, you end up with a franchise.

OSI supports ODF and Document Freedom Day

March 26 is Document Freedom Day (DFD). On March 26th, events and activities across the world will be held to promote adoption of free document formats such as the Open Document Format (ODF).

For any individual or organization, anywhere in the world, the right to share data without "lock-in" from vendors is as fundamental as the right to knowledge. Open standards and free document formats are integral to protecting this right for everyone.

Matt Asay is Right

This is the text of a comment I made on a blog posting by Matt Asay:

Matt,

Thanks for saying what I would have said. I'll go a few steps futher:

Microsoft needs to blush

OOXML needs to die. It's clear that OOXML is a faux standard -- not because it's a vendor standard. There are lots of vendor-created standards which are real standards (e.g. PostScript). No, OOXML is a botch because it's expressed in terms of an undocumented Microsoft graphics library. OOXML is all "and then a miracle occurs". You've seen that cartoon, right?

Who speaks for the Open Source Community?

Steve Ballmer asks, in an E*Week interview, who speaks for the Open Source Community, and answers his question by saying that nobody does. True enough! He then goes on to point out that Larry Ellison, he speaks for Oracle, yes. True enough! But who speaks for the proprietary software vendors? When we, the open source community, want to make an agreement with the proprietary software vendors, who do we talk to? Do we talk to Larry? Or Steve? Or Jonathan? Or Curley? Or Moe?

Simon Phipps was right

Simon, I'm beginning to think that you were right and I was wrong. You said a standard's process is a crucial aspect of the standard's product, and a process that is not open cannot be trusted to produce a product that can be considered open. I maintained that I had seen and used many wonderful standards that took absolutely zero input from me, and therefore I didn't see my participation as a necessary prerequisite for assuring quality in the future. I believed that no matter what the process, a standard should be judged by the product.

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