Paper on implementing IT Standards in Open Source Software now published
It’s great to see that our paper on implementing IT Standards in Open Source Software has now been published. See http://ejlt.org/article/view/709.
Andrew Katz comments on the paper
I moonlight as a visiting researcher at the University of Skövde in Sweden, and I’m involved (very much as the junior partner) in a team with Professor Björn Lundell and Dr Jonas Gamalielsson where we research the practical ability to implement IT standards in open source software (and related issues). Our most recently published paper looks at a number of specific standards: ISO 32000-1 (a standard based on PDF 1.7), ISO/IEC 29500 (Office Open XML), and ISO 20022 (a standard for international financial business communication), and investigates the process by which it is possible to obtain the patent licences required to distribute software to implement those standards. The system works well for old-style software, but for various complex reasons, doesn’t work very well where the software is open source (what are the reasons? Read the paper!). Why is this important? For one thing, it makes it very difficult to bring the benefits of open source – low cost (including low lifetime cost), distributed support network, reduction of lock-in) to these important standards. The research continues, and we hope to be able to publish more papers soon. (Our work has already been used as the basis of Swedish Government policy, so this has real-world implications, and is not pure academic blue-sky research).
So why the moose? I love my various trips to Sweden, and Skövde is a great little town (two thirds of the way from Stockholm two Gothenburg), but it doesn’t have much of a tourist industry. One reason to make the trip, however, is to visit one of the weirdest and most wonderful museums I’ve ever been to: Ryttmästarbostället. Your trip is complicated by the fact you can’t just visit unless you are part of a large pre-booked group, but if you are lucky to get to be part of a group, it’s an opportunity you can’t give up.
The museum is a labour of love by a chap called Bernhard Englund who is a Major in the Swedish Cavalry, a friend of the King, and is, in the nicest possible way, completely nuts. I won’t spoil the museum by saying too much about it: part of the wonder is the constant stream surprises that he springs on you through the tour, but the museum is an eclectic selection of some of the strangest artefacts you’ll ever see. It’s intensely personal, and the stories which Major Englund tells are hilarious, although one does wonder whether, even if you do have contacts at a senior level in the Swedish Army, and are a personal friend of the King, it’s really that easy to get hold of large amounts of dynamite. The moose is one of his prize exhibits.
If you have any questions regarding the paper, contact Andrew Katz.