Tom Watson, MP, Minister for Digital Engagement
Open Source has been one of the most significant cultural developments in IT and beyond over the last two decades: it has shown that individuals, working together over the Internet, can create products that rival and sometimes beat those of giant corporations; it has shown how giant corporations themselves, and Governments, can become more innovative, more agile and more cost-effective by building on the fruits of community work; and from its IT base the Open Source movement has given leadership to new thinking about intellectual property rights and the availability of information for re–use by others.
This Government has long had the policy, last formally articulated in 2004, that it should seek to use Open Source where it gave the best value for money to the taxpayer in delivering public services. While we have always respected the long-held beliefs of those who think that governments should favour Open Source on principle, we have always taken the view that the main test should be what is best value for the taxpayer.
Red Hat and Microsoft Expand Server Virtualization Interoperability.
In response to strong customer demand, Red Hat and Microsoft have signed reciprocal agreements to enable increased interoperability for the companies’ virtualization platforms. Each company will join the other’s virtualization validation/certification program and will provide technical support for their mutual server virtualization customers.
Key components of the agreement:
- Red Hat will validate Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows 2000 Server SP42, and Windows Server 2008 guests on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization technologies.
- Microsoft will validate Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 and 5.3 guests on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V (all editions) and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008.
Once each company completes testing, customers with valid support agreements will receive cooperative technical support for:
- Running Windows Server operating system virtualized on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization, and
- Running Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.
- Future versions of products from both companies are also planned to be validated under these agreements.
- The agreements contain no patent or open source licensing components.
- The agreements contain no financial clauses, other than industry-standard certification/validation testing fees.
Mozilla’s Director of Evangelism, Chris Blizzard writes about why open video is important.
The result of that has been an explosion of creativity and investment from single individuals all the way up to the largest companies. Anyone can have an impact and anyone can affect the technology direction of the web. Because anyone can build tools without permission that speak the lingua franca of the web, you can find tools to do just about anything. It’s a truly vibrant marketplace.
There’s one exception to this: video on the web. Although videos are available on the web via sites like Youtube, they don’t share the same democratized characteristics that have made the web vibrant and distributed. And it shows. That centralization has created some interesting problems that have symptoms like censorship via abuse of the DMCA and an overly-concentrated audience on a few sites that have the resources and technology to host video. I believe that problems like the ones we see with youtube are a symptom of the larger problem of the lack of decentralization and competition in video technology – very different than where the rest of the web is today.
Mozilla contributes $100,000 to fund Ogg development – Ars Technica
Mozilla has given the Wikimedia Foundation a $100,000 grant intended to fund development of the Ogg container format and the Theora and Vorbis media codecs. These open media codecs are thought to be unencumbered by software patents, which means that they can be freely implemented and used without having to pay royalties or licensing fees to patent holders. This differentiates Ogg Theora from many other formats that are widely used today.
Michael Tiemann is a true open source pioneer and Red Hat’s VP of Open Source Affairs. He recently spoke to the BBC about open source principles applied to government.
So just how receptive will the 44th President will be to the idea of a implementing the workings of a new government around open standards?
“The concept of open source is going to become an undercurrent to almost everything this administration does,” declared the OSI’s President Michael Tiemann.
“The American concept of democracy is not just of the people and by the people but with the people.”
He said we have already seen a commitment to this open philosophy throughout President Obama’s election campaign.
“I think what we will see now is a maturation in America and around the world of an understanding of the open source model.”
At Twitter, two open source projects, Kestrel and Cache-Money keep things growing.
In some cases, our requirements—in particular, the scalability requirements of our service—lead us to develop projects from the ground up. We develop these projects with an eye toward open source, and are pleased to contribute our projects back to the open source community when there is a clear benefit. Below are two such projects, Kestrel and Cache-Money. Every tweet touches one or both of these key components of the Twitter architecture.
Standards Norway, the organization that manages technical standards for the Scandinavian country, took a serious blow last week when key members resigned in protest over procedural irregularities in the approval process for Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) format. The 23-person technical committee has lost 13 of its members.
A very condensed version of copyright history could look like this: texts (1800), works (1900), tools (2000). Originally the law was designed to regulate the use of one machine only: the printing press. It concerned the reproduction of texts, printed matter, without interfering with their subsequent uses. Roughly around 1900, however, copyright law was drastically extended to cover works, independent of any specific medium. This opened up the field for collective rights management organizations, which since have been setting fixed prices on performance and broadcasting licenses. Under their direction, very specific copyright customs developed for each new medium: cinema, gramophone, radio, and so forth. This differentiation was undermined by the emergence of the Internet, and since about the year 2000 copyright law has been pushed in a new direction, regulating access to tools in a way much more arbitrary than anyone in the pre-digital age could have imagined.
In Microsoft’s announcement, the company said it was adding native support for ODF due to increasing pressure from customers “and because we want to get involved in the maintenance of ODF”. The company now says OOXML support would require substantially more work.
Microsoft pushed OOXML through as a fast-track International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard, and OOXML became IS29500 in April. However, Microsoft on Thursday told ZDNet.co.uk that the changes OOXML had gone through in the ISO ratification process had made it more difficult to support OOXML than ODF in Office 2007.
OpenDocument and OOXMLMicrosoft today announced that it would update Office 2007 to natively support ODF 1.1, but not to implement its own OOXML format. Moreover, it would also join both the OASIS working group as well as the ISO/IEC JTC1 working group that has control of the ISO/IEC version of ODF. Implementation of DIS 29500, the ISO/IEC JTC 1 version of OOXML that has still not been publicly released will await the release of Office 14, the ship date of which remains unannounced.
The same announcement reveals that Office 2007 will also support PDF 1.1, PDF/A and Microsoft’s competing fixed-text format, called XML Paper Specification. XML Paper Specification is currently being prepared by Ecma for submission to ISO/IEC under the same “Fast-Track” process by which OOXML had been submitted for consideration and approval.
A little good news never hurts now and then.