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Forcibly Led To ODF Water, Microsoft Finally Drinks

In This Issue:

1. Editor's Note: Forcibly Led To ODF Water, Microsoft Finally Drinks
2. Today's Top Story
     - 5 Things To Know Before Installing Office 2007 Beta 2
Related Stories:
     - 1 In 5 Vista Bugs Still Unfixed
     - Microsoft Adds Privacy Folder To Windows
     - Seven More Microsoft Patches On Tap
3. Breaking News
     - Review: A Tool For Shielding Against Zero-Day Attacks
     - FireStar Files Patent Suit Against Red Hat
     - HP To Certify Suse Linux For Notebooks
     - Verizon May Sell Off Yellow Pages
     - Cisco Acquires Security Vendor For $43 Million
     - Britain OKs Extradition Of Hacker To U.S.
     - 'Googling' Lands In Dictionary
     - Brief: Survey Says Security Is Wireless Networks' Biggest Drawback
     - Blogs Blocked In Bluegrass State
     - RIM Will Face A Tough Sell For Its Hosted BlackBerry Service
     - FBI Hacker Awaits Sentencing
4. Grab Bag
     - Where's My Google PC? (Slate)
     - Free, Legal, And Ignored (Wall Street Journal)
     - Seems Somebody Is Clicking On That Spam (New York Times - reg. required)
     - The Plot To Hijack Your Computer (BusinessWeek)
5. In Depth: Service-Oriented Architecture
     - Analysts Warn Techies To Prepare For SOA Shift
     - What You Need To Know About SOA Management Suites
     - Engineering Firm Constructs Application Integration Strategy With SOA
     - Companies Get The Scoop On SOA
     - The Hartford Builds An SOA
6. Voice Of Authority
     - Key Senator: The Internet Is Not A Truck
7. White Papers
     - Insights Into WebLogic Portal Performance Management
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote Of The Day:
"The compromise will always be more expensive than either of the suggestions it is compromising." — Arthur Bloch


1. Editor's Note: Forcibly Led To ODF Water, Microsoft Finally Drinks

It's not like Microsoft had much choice in the matter. Even Brian Jones, an Office program manager, admitted in his blog that it was government demands that pushed Microsoft to finally do it (after he made some snarky comments that the firm hasn't seen much demand for it from corporate or consumer customers).

What I'm talking about, of course, is Microsoft's capitulation to finally support the OpenDocument Format, an XML-based file format for office applications standardized by OASIS in 2005. ODF is the format used by OpenOffice, the absolutely free competitor to Microsoft's pricey Office software suite. IBM, Sun, and Novell have already jumped on the ODF bandwagon. And a host of governments have announced their intention to use the standard—and to reject any office productivity software that refuses to support it. Take that, Microsoft.

As Jeff Kaplan points out in his blog, there was still a lot of ominous language in the official Microsoft announcement that illustrated Microsoft's true ambivalent attitude toward ODF, especially when related to Microsoft's own much-maligned scheme for interoperability, Open XML.

One example, to quote the Microsoft press release:

Open XML and ODF were designed to meet very different customer requirements. By developing the bidirectional translation tools through an open source project, the technical decisions and tradeoffs necessary will be transparent to everyone...In contrast, ODF focuses on more limited requirements.

What, exactly, will these "tradeoffs" be? And why does Microsoft call ODF "limited"? After all, ODF delivers a solution for the longstanding problem of guaranteeing access to critical data regardless of what program the data originated from.

And the ODF support will be delivered in the form of a plug-in—translation software that will require a download from SourceForge.net. This begs the question, why not just natively support ODF? As Joe Wilcox says in his Microsoft Monitor blog, why isn't Microsoft collaborating more directly with OASIS in order to work out some of the stickier technical issues? After all, Microsoft has said some Office features simply won't be supported due to the differences in formats between Open XML and ODF. Why not work with OASIS to resolve these difficulties?

Make no mistake, all skepticism aside, this is a very good thing. By creating the Open XML Translator project, Microsoft opens up the opportunity for companies and consumers alike to seriously consider more cost-effective replacements for Office. Also, anything that signals Microsoft's willingness—however grudgingly—to make further moves toward openness should be greeted with sincere bravos.

Still, the devil is in the details. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

What do you think? Will this change in Microsoft's attitude affect your choice of office productivity software? Or are you wedded to Office in ways that makes this announcement a moot point? Let me know by responding to my blog.

Alice LaPlante
Alice.laplante@gmail.com


2. Today's Top Story

5 Things To Know Before Installing Office 2007 Beta 2
From download size to when the software expires, here are five fine-print particulars you should think about before putting Office 2007 through its paces.

Related Stories:

1 In 5 Vista Bugs Still Unfixed
Most of the unresolved bugs are from the Beta 2 time frame, one researcher says. According to his accounting, only about 250 of the unfixed bugs are over two months old.

Microsoft Adds Privacy Folder To Windows
Microsoft Private Folder 1.0, an add-on to Windows XP for storing private documents and files, has some enterprise administrators squawking.

Seven More Microsoft Patches On Tap
Four will cover Windows, and three will affect Office. At least two of the seven will be tagged as "critical," the highest warning rank used by Microsoft.


3. Breaking News

Review: A Tool For Shielding Against Zero-Day Attacks
SocketShield monitors incoming and outgoing IP traffic by using a combination of technologies, including automated probes and filters. It works well, but is meant to be used as part of a multilayered security strategy, not as the only means of defense on a PC.

FireStar Files Patent Suit Against Red Hat
One IP attorney says the suit, which relates to JBoss' Hibernate 3.0 object mapping technology, could have serious ramifications for the Linux company and other software developers.

HP To Certify Suse Linux For Notebooks
Hewlett-Packard will ensure that the operating system works on several of its notebook models by year-end.

Verizon May Sell Off Yellow Pages
The telco has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but says it will make a final decision on the matter by year-end.

Cisco Acquires Security Vendor For $43 Million
Meetinghouse's 802.1X supplicant security software lets enterprises restrict network access to authorized users.

Britain OKs Extradition Of Hacker To U.S.
In an online poll of IT professionals, a slim majority—52%—said Gary McKinnon, accused of the biggest U.S. military hack ever, shouldn't be turned over to U.S. authorities. Some 48% agreed with the British government's decision.

'Googling' Lands In Dictionary
Merriam-Webster on Thursday stamped its approval on a raft of words that will appear in its next dictionary update, including the verb "google" and other tech terms such as "spyware" and "mouse potato."

Brief: Survey Says Security Is Wireless Networks' Biggest Drawback
But worries aren't stopping deployment, the Gartner survey says, with 64% of the 200 respondents saying they're increasing their wireless investments in the coming year.

Blogs Blocked In Bluegrass State
Kentucky officials say they blocked content access for government
employees to improve productivity, but critics contend that free speech
rights are threatened.

RIM Will Face A Tough Sell For Its Hosted BlackBerry Service
RIM hopes to seduce small and medium-sized businesses, but those companies already have plenty of options for wireless e-mail services, and some will want more control than RIM offers.

FBI Hacker Awaits Sentencing
An FBI contractor faces up to 18 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to illegally accessing the bureau's computers in one of several insider security breaches the U.S. government is facing.

All Our Latest News

Watch The News Show

In the current episode:

John Soat With 'More News, Less Snooze'
Malware is predicted to double by 2008, 64% of companies plan to launch new wireless LANs, HP announces cost-cutting measures, and more.

Elena Malykhina With 'Beyond E-Mail'
BlackBerry looks to move beyond "Corporate America" by launching new applications and consumer-focused features this year.

Sacha Lecca With 'Transformers, The Movie'
The countdown is on: one year until this blockbuster hits theaters. Check out the trailer—it's more than meets the eye.

----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

Voice Over IP Migration
As VoIP moves to broader deployment, business technology professionals are trying to balance lowering operations costs with increased spending on VoIP technologies. Learn how 300 companies are implementing VoIP in this recent report by InformationWeek Research.

Subscribe To Your Favorite Authors
Are you a fan of Fred Langa? Are there other InformationWeek authors you view as must-reads? Then check out our all-new authors directory. Each author has his or her own page and RSS feed.

-----------------------------------------

4. Grab Bag

Where's My Google PC? (Slate)
The technical viability of a Web-based operating system is no longer in doubt, as YouOS, a startup created by recent college grads, proves that it's not only possible, but immensely attractive. Is Google next?

Free, Legal, And Ignored (Wall Street Journal)
Although many universities offer free and legal music downloads, students are rejecting them as having too many strings attached.

Seems Somebody Is Clicking On That Spam (New York Times - reg. required)
Ever wonder why your spam filter captures so many obscene messages? If pornography spam appears on your mailbox, you're 280 times as likely to click on it as messages advertising pharmacy drugs.

The Plot To Hijack Your Computer (BusinessWeek)
They watch you surf the Web. They plague you with pop-up ads. Then they cripple your hard drive. The case against the adwire company Direct Revenue.


5. In Depth: Service-Oriented Architecture

Analysts Warn Techies To Prepare For SOA Shift
The inevitable move to a service-oriented architecture will change how software is developed, how third-party applications interact, and how customers make purchasing decisions.

What You Need To Know About SOA Management Suites
If you're serious about your service-oriented architecture—and you'd better be—you must get your services under control. An SOA management suite can give you the power to enforce operational policies. Here's how.

Engineering Firm Constructs Application Integration Strategy With SOA
A service-oriented architecture lets Washington Group International unite common practices across its wide range of businesses. Find out what the company has learned from its integration project.

Companies Get The Scoop On SOA
Top managers will buy SOA pitches if the projects eliminate redundancy and provide security, IT manager panelists tell InformationWeek Spring Conference attendees.

The Hartford Builds An SOA
After three years, service-oriented architecture is paying dividends for the insurance and financial services company.


6. Voice Of Authority

Key Senator: The Internet Is Not A Truck
According to Preston Gralla, if you haven't been disheartened by the level of ignorance in Congress over the net neutrality debate, you should be. One of the key senators in the debate has weighed in with astonishing ignorance, likening the Internet to "a series of tubes." And it goes downhill from there.


7. White Papers

Insights Into WebLogic Portal Performance Management
BEA's WebLogic Portal server is a leading portal server that provides a robust solution for deploying and running portal applications. This paper will discuss some intricacies involved with managing and optimizing the performance of WebLogic Portal applications.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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