Category Archives: Standards

Get the most from open source accessibility with help from OSS Watch

Open source accessibility and Assistive Technology projects offer very real benefits to FE colleges and the individual students they support. The zero licence cost of open source plus the freedom to copy and redistribute are well known and provide great flexibility in how programs are deployed. More significant benefits derive from those projects that practice … Read more

The ÆGIS 1st Pan European open accessibility Workshop

To be honest I’m enthusiastic about the potential of the European ÆGIS project which launched last week. I see the blend of open source and accessibility, open accessibility, as having the potential to provide the most appropriate solutions for users of accessibility and assistive technology. So I’ve spent the last few years developing and promoting … Read more

Microsoft vs Tomtom: Is this Ragnarök?

Frantic cries have been heard from all around the FOSS community since the announcement that Microsoft has taken patent infringement action against a distributor of the Linux kernel. Tomtom, an extremely successful Dutch company which sells GPS navigation devices is being sued by Microsoft for infringing on patents it holds, some related to mobile computing, others to the … Read more

UK Government to level the playing field?

In May 2008 OSS Watch published a workshop report with the title “Levelling the playing field: developing a mixed economy for software procurement”. This report focussed on procurement in the Higher and Further Education sectors and recomended that we work to: ensure all solutions use open standards and provide protection against vendor lock-in facilitate better … Read more

Microsoft, POI and odd distinctions

In the run-up to the ISO vote on the controversial OOXML specification, Microsoft – OOXML’s creator – announced that they would be funding development of the open source Java API to access Microsoft Office formats Apache POI to support the new standard. Information Week reported on this announcement, and made the following statement: For patented … Read more

Microsoft’s OOXML Wins ISO Approval

Perhaps wary that the date might detract from the news, ISO – the International Organization for Standards – waited until today before announcing that Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) document description schema has finally been accepted as an ISO standard as of April 1, 2008. There has been a long and bitter battle over whether … Read more

Open Standards are not enough to prevent lock in

Many people claim that open standards are the answer to lock in problems of software. Even our government can be heard to claim open standards are the answer: There can sometimes be a danger of lock-in with some proprietary providers, and we must avoid developing an over-reliance on individual suppliers. The Government, via the Office … Read more