Open Standards

...now browsing by tag

 
 

Beating the drum for Open

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Mark Surman, my friend and colleague, who heads up Mozilla.org is beating the drum for openess with a project called Drumbeat. Most people know Mozilla as the host for the community that co-produced the open browser Firefox. Firefox currently accounts for approximately 25% of the web browsers in use. More importantly Firefox is free software, free for anyone to copy, modify, improve and share. While there are other free browers such as Opera and Google’s Chrome for many years it was Firefox which provided the standards complaint alternative to various non standards compliant versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. With Firefox use on the rise Drumbeat is intended to ensure support an open Internet in other areas, the projects long term vision is “make sure the internet is still open, participatory, decentralized and public 100 years from now”. Focus in the first year of Drumbeat is on concrete projects to bootstrap the creation of a community: visualising the Web and assembling an Open Webskills course at P2PU. As fascinating as these are what is more intriguing is the way in which Mark, and Mozilla are using the social processes which helped create great free and open source projects like Firefox as a way of generating not just more open projects but ideas about openness.

It is the potential of this recursive process; an open process to sustain open processes which gets my attention. Can the forces of enclosure use the open process against the commons? Or are open processes themselves the best protection against enclosure? Openness is always under attack, I am grateful that there are initiatives like Drumbeat to keep the internet open.

ISO suspends OOXML while considering Appeals

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

According to a press release the International Standards Organisation has suspended publication of OOXML as an ISO standard during the appeal process.

According to the press release four countries appealed the ballot resolution process which resulted in a change to the 2007 ballot which decided against OOXML. The four countries; South Africa, Brazil, Venezuela and India include three emerging economies with strong local IT sectors.

The Secretary-General’s of ISO and the IEC are to submit the appeal to their management boards within 30 days. The management boards will decide how the appeals will be dealt with. One option is to establish a conciliation panel which would try to resolve the appeals, a process which could take several months. The rules give the boards an option to refuse to process the appeals. This seems unlikely since the appeals are based on no mere technicality but grave concerns about the integrity of JTC1 processes. These concerns are not only those raised by the four appealing members of ISO but also in the aftermath of a highly contested and politicised process. The appeals represent an opportunity for ISO to restore public confidence in the impartiality and independence of its processes.