Archive for the ‘standards’ Category

In an article for European Voice Paul Meller of OFE lashes out at certain governments in the Council:

“However, national governments – in particular those from the EU’s largest countries, including France, Germany and the UK – do not. They want to introduce a layer of bureaucracy so cumbersome that it would deter even the most ardent tech-savvy civil servants from referencing one of these industry standards when they issue a call for tender”

Apparently some governments in the Council are unwilling to leave recognition of consortial ICT specifications to an EU committee driven by vendors and yield all powers concerning the recognition of consortial specifications for nothing in return. The better approach would be to raise the bar of course. Unfortunately the Commission proposal as well as the Comi report in parliament sets the bar for recognition very low. So low that it would be completely insignificant and all consortial specifications could be made to meet the criteria. The current approach translates into universal recognition. The article of Paul Meller is quite telling in that respect. He expects governments to limit themselves to an ‘advisory role’ in the selection committee and cast crocodile tears about the poor procurement officers. Let’s keep in mind that currently there is no official recognition of consortial ICT specifications at all but a lot of evaluation going on by public authorities, for instance SAGA in Germany. Governments should not yield their negotiation powers but use potential recognition as a leverage for better ICT specifications.


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From the ODF 1.2 specification:

Applications vary on the set of Errors they support. In this specification. The only distinguished Error is #N/A; all other errors are simply errors, allowing applications to choose the Error set that best meets their needs.

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Der WEIT e.V. veröffentlicht das neue V-Modell XT. Bislang wurde das V-Modell vom Innenministerium veröffentlicht. Es beschreibt Vorgehensweisen zur Erstellung von Software für Behörden. Warum die Behörden nun als Teil eines Vereins das Modell weiter entwickeln, das verstehe ich nicht. Die Rechtsform des Vereins erlaubt allerdings die direkte Teilnahme von Industrievertretern am Standard. Mitglieder im WEIT sind u.a. Siemens, EADS, IABG, 4SOFT, TU Clausthal und TU München. Das V-Modell erhält durch die neue Vereinsbasis weniger Verbindlichkeit für Behörden.

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Buch Interop

Neues Buch von Palfrey und Gasser: Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems

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The UK cabinet office washes its dirty laundry in the open. They accuse the facilitator of their controversial round table on open standards, Dr. Hopkirk, of a conflict of interest: an advisory role for an American software manufacturer which is an outspoken opponent of open standard policies.

This could be seen as a clear conflict of interest and should have been declared by the relevant parties at that meeting. For this reason any outcomes from the original roundtable discussion will be discounted in the consultation responses and we will rerun that session and give time for people to prepare for it.

Observers noticed a lack of transparency and “naivity” of Dr. Hopkirk.

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Rob Weir notifies:

The ISO/IEC amendment to ODF 1.1 has finally been published. This makes the ISO version technically equivalent to the OASIS ODF 1.1.

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The EUROPEAN GROUP ON ETHICS IN SCIENCE AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES delivered a report for the European Commission.

Reference: Request from President Barroso
Rapporteurs: Julian Kinderlerer, Peter Dabrock, Hille Haker, Herman Nys;

Most parts of the report are completely off-topic. This is what the theologists have to say about interoperability:

2.2.5 Interoperability and Standards
Interoperability is the ability of computers or digital systems to exchange and use information with one another.96 If, for example, rival telephone networks used completely different protocols it would not necessarily be possible to connect to others on a different network. “Interoperability means working together – collaboration of systems, services and people. When people work together, they need to communicate and make agreements. They need to agree on the tasks they will perform and how they will exchange results. If their nationality is different, they also need to agree on the language in which they will communicate. Moreover, they need to overcome cultural and legal differences.”97 The European Commission recently announced the adoption of the European Interoperability Framework, which has been closely monitored by big ICT firms and public administrations to find out what kind of software licences they should have.98

96 Lack of interoperability of Microsoft software and servers, for instance, was at the centre of an antitrust case brought by former EU Commissioner Mario Monti in 2004 when he was head of the Commission’s competition department. Last June the European Commission launched an antitrust investigation into IBM’s mainframe business after two smaller companies complained that they could not use the company’s operating system without buying costly IBM hardware. .
97 http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/2319/5938.html
98 — Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) or royalty-free. Commission initiatives in the area stem from a 2009 White Paper ‘Modernising ICT Standardisation in the EU — The Way Forward’. The European Parliament has also published a non-legislative report on the future of European standardisation.

I wonder what marks their students would get for delivering an off-topic paper?

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The famous WS-Calendar specification, an xml-based response to iCalendar, moves closer to become an OASIS standard. It makes you wonder why parts 2 and 3 were not adopted. The editing history shows:

1.0 WD25 2011-05-26 William Cox Eliminated remaining references to Parts Two and Three, corrected internal links

Spec: PDF, HTML. Editable source (doc!),
ZIP spec, ZIP Schemas.

We are pleased to announce the approval of an OASIS Committee Specification (CS) by the members of the OASIS Web Services Calendar (WS-Calendar) TC:

WS-Calendar Version 1.0 Committee Specification 01 30 July 2011

The specification includes XML vocabularies for the interoperable and
standard exchange of:
– Schedules, including sequences of schedules
– Intervals, including sequences of Intervals
– Other calendar information consistent with the IETF iCalendar standards

The specification is divided into three parts.
1) The information model and XML vocabularies for exchanging schedule
2) RESTful Services for calendar update and synchronization
3) Web services for calendar update and synchronization

The Technical Committee will publish Parts 2 and 3 in a later version.

Despite its popularity the specification does not meet the high standards of OASIS yet, not to mention ISO formal requirements in drafting. I am confident that the transition of the specification into OASIS would lead to substantial technical improvements.

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Here I extracted a few quotes from the European Parliament resolution of 6 April 2011 on a Single Market for Enterprises and Growth which show its special emphasis on improving interoperability conditions for the single market. Strassbourg sents a clear message.

M. whereas the postal sector and the promotion of interoperability and cooperation among postal systems and services can have a significant impact on the development of cross-border e-commerce,

18. Welcomes the Commission’s proposed revision of the e-Signatures Directive with a view to providing a legal framework for cross-border recognition and interoperability of secure e-authentication systems; emphasises the need for mutual recognition of e-identification and e-authentication across the EU and asks the Commission, in this regard, to tackle in particular problems relating to discrimination against recipients of services on grounds of nationality or place of residence;

21. Stresses the imperative need to adapt EU Information and Communication Technology (ICT) standardisation policy to market and policy developments, with a view to achieving European policy goals requiring interoperability;

25. Urges the Member States to fully implement the Third Postal Services Directive (2008/6/EC); stresses the need to guarantee universal access to high-quality postal services, avoid social dumping and promote interoperability and cooperation among postal systems and services, in order to facilitate efficient distribution and tracking of online purchases, which will boost consumer confidence as regards cross-border purchases;

38. Points out the importance of interconnected business registers and calls on the Commission to develop a clear legal framework ensuring that information in such business registers is complete and correct;

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An invitation to a spectrum roundtable:

We would like to remind you about the roundtable discussion on recent developments in spectrum policy and their impact on the ICT industry. The event will take place on Wednesday April 13th at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Centre, Avenue de Nerviens 85, 1040, Brussels. The event will start at 10:30 and will be followed by a walking lunch and a guided tour in our new Cloud and Interoperability Centre. The roundtable discussion will feature presentations from key experts in the field, whose different viewpoints should ensure a lively discussion.

10:30 Registration
11:00 Welcome and introduction
11:10 Challenges in Europe and the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme
Pearse O’Donohue, Head of Unit, “Radio Spectrum Policy”, DG Information Society and Media, European Commission
11:25 Microsoft’s view on spectrum policy – challenges and opportunities
Paul Mitchell, General Manager Interoperability and Standards, Microsoft
11:40 Industry perspectives on TV White Spaces

This session will feature presentations from industry representatives, including:

Andrew Hudson, Head of Spectrum Policy, Vodafone
Fraser Edwards, Group Head, RF Systems, Cambridge Consultants
Luis Lucatero, Director of Public Affairs, Alcatel-Lucent

12:20 Q&A
12:50 Concluding remarks
13:00 Buffet lunch and guided tour of the new Cloud & Interoperability Center


Kind regards,


The greeting phrase seems odd but the event appears genuine. APCO consultants. I edited the formatting a bit.

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