Archive for March, 2009

Each electronic document created, exchanged, or maintained by a state agency must be created, exchanged, or maintained in an open, Extensible Markup Language based file format, specified by the department, that is:
(1) interoperable among diverse internal and external platforms and applications;
(2) published without restrictions or royalties;
(3) fully and independently implemented by multiple software providers on multiple platforms without any intellectual property reservations for necessary technology; and
(4) controlled by an open industry organization with a well-defined inclusive process for evolution of the standard.


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Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on mobilising Information and Communication Technologies to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy

COM(2009) 111 final, 13-03-2009

This Communication presents a set of ambitious measures that focus on what can be achieved in the short term both by the ICT sector and by fully exploiting the enabling capacity of ICTs in all sectors of society and the economy. It provides the background to a Recommendation to be adopted by the Commission in the second half of 2009. The recommendation will set out tasks, targets and timelines, for industry stakeholders and Member States to accelerate progress towards these ends.

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The Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved a license from the European Commission which the administration developed for its own software, the European Union Public License (EUPL) (cmp also the info resources of OSOR.eu and Wikipedia). It was written to be legally enforcable in all member states of the Union with its member states and does not want to score on political grounds. Unlike other licenses it is available in several languages. The draft and review team carefully investigated existing licenses. Still it aims to be compatible with existing software licenses. It was fascinating to get involved in the EUPL process because it demonstrated how “legal interoperability” is a challenge entirely different from “legal harmonisation” and what public authorities can contribute to transnational legal certainty without any requirements to change the national laws. The EU-Commission IDABC did an excellent job here and I hope a capable transnational authority will start the same effort for RAND and RF patent licensing/indemnification models. Congratulations for Karel de Vriendt, the approval of the EUPL by the OSI will facilitate the application of the license for the re-use of egovernment software. The EUPL is also increasingly a vital option for European businesses looking for a legally secure way to license their software to their customers under its terms.

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The U.S. Congress recognized March 14, 2009 as “National Pi Day” because Pi is exactly 3.14, March 14. Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) lobbyist Jonathan Zuck celebrates Pi:

Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology, says he’s been quietly celebrating Pi day for the last few years by delivering apple, peach, and blueberry pies to colleagues, congressional staffers, and professional contacts.

Which reminds me of Rob Weir’s post about the pieman of Erie.

The piemen of Erie, and their modern counterparts, are on the wrong side of economics, and history,

On the wrong side of history you can meet the Pi redefinition internet classic.

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A memory footprint comparison:

LXDE wins the lightweight contest hands down. Now, it is time for the Xfce community to get back in the game.

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Of course technical discrimination of disable users, for instance visually impaired persons is undesirable, in particular for electronic communication media. The Council of Ministers regards e-accessibility as an important issue, the draft resolution links the issue to the Riga Ministerial Declaration. The current situation looks bad:

Initiatives carried forward by certain governments brought improvements in e-accessibility. In recent years authorities at all levels and many stakeholders increasingly committed in improving e-accessibility. Nevertheless, e-accessibility remains overall poor in Europe.

and the Council establishes the principle:

Everyone should have the possibility of accessing services provided by public administrations. This includes users with disabilities and elderly users as well as all those who have particular difficulties in becoming part of the digital society. The possibility of accessing services provided by public administrations should exist regardless of the software, communication channel, or technological device used.

The Council believes the 376 institutions as CEN, ETSI, CENELEC are the most appropriate fora for e-accessibility standardization. In this light it is surprising that the recommendation of the W3C as a consortial specification gets special consideration:

Adopt, and better implement measures, to promote e-accessibility, and particularly to implement the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. A common approach could be expressed through a Recommendation from the Commission in order to avoid a fragmented European market. Moreover, as WCAG 1.0 is becoming outdated a recommendation from the Commission could avoid that some Member states still apply different certification standards than recommended by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Please note that the documents are just draft conclusions of the Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Society to Coreper.

The Coreper is requested to examine the draft Council conclusions in view of adoption during the TTE Council in March.

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Panel background

Daniel Schneider publishes some alternative panel background images. Distributors, he criticises, paid attention to unique widget styles and window themes but failed to improve the visual appearance of panels.

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Plans of the Kyrgystan Patent and Trademark Office to take over the .ky domain name registration process is discussed by Elena Skochilo. Currently the granting process is managed by a private company name asiainfo.ru.

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Ciarán O’Riordan was recently chosen as the campaigner for the ESP campaign of the FSF, a position previously taken by Ben Klemens in the US. He starts with shock campaigning in Brussels:

EndSoftwarePatents.org will be launching the “Economic Parasites” campaign and our first action will be to inform the attendees of Microsoft’s “Growth and Innovation Day”.

I wonder if hate speech is helpful for the cause but for certain the escalation is driven by the public outrage over the TomTom patent litigation case which affects the automotive sector and the massive intervention of the American company in European policy matters in the area.

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