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- States and Properties Module for Accessible Rich Internet Applications
- Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)
- U.S. Emergency Alert System (EAS) to Use Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)
- Weaving a Smarter Web
- Microsoft Trounces Pro-ODF Forces in State Battles over Open Document Formats
- Newest GPL Draft Leaves Novell in the Clear
- Patent Office Reopens Microsoft-Eolas Case
- Sun's Chief Open Source Officer Talks Patents
States and Properties Module for Accessible Rich Internet Applications
Lisa Seeman, Rich Schwerdtfeger, Aaron Leventhal; W3C Technical Report
Members of W3C's Protocols and Formats Working Group have published updated Working Drafts for "WAI-ARIA Roles" and "WAI-ARIA States and Properties." The WAI-ARIA Roles specification sets out an abstract model of building blocks for accessible interfaces. This includes interactive widgets, navigable structures, and an extension mechanism. This specification creates a language module implementing the functional requirements of the abstract model that is ready for incorporation in content format profiles that follow the methods of XHTML Modularization; it also introduces one such profile for the use of this module in XHTML. The WAI-ARIA States and Properties document defines a syntax for adding accessible state information and author settable properties for XML. The specification enable XML languages to add information about the behavior of an element. States and Properties are mapped to accessibility frameworks (such as a screen reader) that use this information to provide alternative access solutions. Similarly, States and Properties can be used to change the rendering of content dynamically using different style sheet properties. The result is an interoperable method for associating behaviors with document-level markup. The new Working Draft releases provide better alignment to accessibility APIs and provide more explanatory material.
See also: the WAI-ARIA suite overview
Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)
Scott Hollenbeck (ed)., IETF RFC
The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) announced the availability of a new Request for Comments in online RFC libraries. "Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the Internet community. The document describes specifications for the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) version 1.0, an XML text protocol that permits multiple service providers to perform object provisioning operations using a shared central object repository. EPP is specified using the Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 and the W3C XML Schema notation. EPP content is identified by MIME media type 'application/epp+xml'. Registration information for this media type is included in an appendix to this document. EPP is intended for use in diverse operating environments where transport and security requirements vary greatly. It is unlikely that a single transport or security specification will meet the needs of all anticipated operators, so EPP was designed for use in a layered protocol environment. Bindings to specific transport and security protocols are outside the scope of the specification. The original motivation for this protocol was to provide a standard Internet domain name registration protocol for use between domain name registrars and domain name registries. The protocol provides a means of interaction between a registrar's applications and registry applications. It is expected that this protocol will have additional uses beyond domain name registration. Appendix C documents the fourteen major changes from RFC 3730, published in March 2004. Related RFCs include: EPP Domain Name Mapping; EPP Host Mapping; EPP Contact Mapping; EPP Transport over TCP.
See also: EPP Domain Name Mapping
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced the adoption of a Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that strengthens the nation's Emergency Alert System (EAS). The Commission's Order promotes the development of fully digital Next Generation technologies and delivery systems that will better serve the American public. The Order requires EAS participants to accept messages using Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), the groundwork for Next Generation EAS delivery systems, no later than 180 days after FEMA announces its adoption of standards in each case. The use of CAP will help to ensure the efficient and rapid transmission of EAS alerts to the American public in a variety of formats (including text, audio and video) and via different means (broadcast, cable, satellite, and other networks) and to promote the development of Next Generation EAS. One result of these developments will be enhanced access to EAS alerts and warnings for persons with disabilities and for non-English speakers. The Further Notice seeks comment on how best to deliver EAS alerts as well as broader emergency and public safety information to these groups, and commits to adoption of a final order within six months. In light of the examination of these issues in the Further Notice, the Order leaves open the issues raised in a petition filed by several groups representing non-English speaking persons. The Order also requires terrestrial EAS participants to transmit state and locally targeted EAS alerts that are originated by governors or their designees. The Further Notice seeks comment on whether Participants should be required to deliver EAS alerts originated by local, county, tribal, or other state governmental entities.
See also: on CAP
Weaving a Smarter Web
Jim Rapoza, eWEEK
eWEEK Labs interviewed Tim Berners-Lee to get his take on the status and outlook of the Semantic Web. We also spoke to Eric Miller, the longtime head of the Semantic Web initiative at the World Wide Web Consortium and the President of Zepheira, a company that helps businesses deploy and leverage Semantic Web technologies. In order to shed light on the real world implications of the Semantic Web, we've also evaluated several examples of publicly accessible real-world implementations of Semantic Web technologies. Finally, we've studied the challenges facing the Semantic Web, from security risks to hype curves to proprietary data islands and spoke to Stephen Downes, a researcher at the National Research Council's Institute for Information Technology in Canada, who believes that the Semantic Web will ultimately fail because of proprietary data protections. With this information, we hope you'll gain a better understanding of what the Semantic Web is, where it stands now, it's outlook for the future, and, most importantly, how it will impact your business... The Semantic Web relies on several key technologies to make content data aware. The first is something that was part of the original Web, namely URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers). Anytime you use the Web you are using lots of URIs as they are the core addressing method of the Web (every standard URL web address is a type of URI). URIs are important for the Semantic Web as you must be able to address and identify data sources in order to access them... Access control is an important issue for Semantic Web applications, especially in business implementations, where it will be important to make sure data does go to people who don't have the right to see it. Berners-Lee said that this is an area of focus for the Semantic Web community and pointed to the Policy Aware Web project, which is working towards creating access control rules for emerging web technologies.
See also: W3C Semantic Web
Microsoft Trounces Pro-ODF Forces in State Battles over Open Document
Eric Lai and Gregg Keizer, ComputerWorld
In a resounding victory for Microsoft Corp., bills seeking to mandate the use of open document formats by government agencies have been defeated in five states, and only a much-watered-down version of such legislation was signed into law in a sixth state. The proposed bills would have required state agencies to use freely available and interoperable file formats, such as the Open Document Format (ODF) for Office Applications, instead of Microsoft Corp.'s proprietary Office formats. The legislation was heavily backed by supporters of ODF such as IBM, which uses the file format in its Notes 8 software, and Sun Microsystems Inc., which sells the ODF-compliant StarOffice desktop applications suite. But a bill introduced in Connecticut earlier this year met a quick death. And in Florida, Texas and Oregon, would-be laws were all killed off within the last month while being debated in legislative committees, following fierce opposition from Microsoft Corp. lobbyists and allies of the software vendor. The most recent defeat occurred last Thursday in California, where a tamed-down version of a bill in favor of open formats was declared to be stalled in the state assembly's Committee on Appropriations—even though the bill's sponsor, Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco, chairs the committee. The only recent victory for advocates of open formats was a pyrrhic one. In Minnesota, a bill requiring state agencies to begin using an open, XML-based format by July 2008 was eventually transformed into a call for the state's IT department to study the issue.
Newest GPL Draft Leaves Novell in the Clear
Stephen Shankland, CNET News.com
The Free Software Foundation released the final draft of an updated General Public License on Thursday, a draft that prohibits future deals similar to the Microsoft-Novell patent pact but lets that one go ahead. The Novell-Microsoft deal, in which Microsoft agreed to sell coupons for Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server and not to sue buyers for patent infringement, raised the foundation's ire when the companies announced it in November 2006. The previous GPL 3 draft had banned distributing software covered by such deals, but the foundation hadn't decided whether the document should apply to all of them of just future ones. The final, "last-call" GPL 3 draft bans only future deals for what it described as "tactical" reasons in a 32-page explanation of changes. That means Novell doesn't have to worry about distributing software in SLES that's governed by the GPL 3. The foundation said: "We believe we can do more to protect the community by allowing Novell to use software under GPL version 3 than by forbidding it to do so... because Microsoft is distributing the coupons, once SLES includes GPL 3 software, the license will convey patent protections to anyone who receive the software, even if not via the Microsoft coupons..." Drafting the new license has been a fractious process, but Eben Moglen, the Columbia University law school professor who has led much of the effort, believes consensus is forming. That agreement is particularly important in the open-source realm, where differing license requirements can erect barriers between different open-source projects.
Patent Office Reopens Microsoft-Eolas Case
Elizabeth Montalbano, InfoWorld
Just when it seemed certain Microsoft had lost its now 8-year-old patent dispute with Eolas Technologies, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reopened the case, giving Microsoft a chance to prove that Eolas' patent for browser plug-ins should not be valid. Microsoft confirmed Friday that the USPTO will consider the company's argument that it was the first to invent the technology the Eolas patent covers, declaring "interference" in the case and scheduling a rehearing. There now will be a separate proceeding in the USPTO on the question of who owns the patent claims, said Jack Evans, a Microsoft spokesman. Andy Culbert, Microsoft associate general counsel, said the company is pleased to have another opportunity to establish that it is the original inventor of the disputed technology. The news is the latest twist in a case that began in 1999, when Eolas first filed suit against Microsoft for infringing on its patent for embedding interactive content in a Web site. Eolas said Microsoft violated its patent in its implementation of ActiveX in Internet Explorer. Eolas, a spin-off of the University of California, was awarded a $520.6 million judgment in August 2003. However, an appeals court threw out that ruling in March 2005 and ordered a new trial to determine the patent's validity. In September 2005, the USPTO upheld Eolas' patent. The [U.S.] Supreme Court recently made it a little more difficult for companies to prove that their patents are valid in an instance where there could be many competitors trying to solve the same problem.
See also: the background
Sun's Chief Open Source Officer Talks Patents
Darryl K. Taft, eWEEK
Sun Microsystems' Chief Open Source Officer, Simon Phipps, spoke with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft about issues of software patents. Phipps: "Holding patents is different from being a patent troll. Patent trolls turn the patent system into an innovation tax. All U.S. companies of any substance hold a patent portfolio, since the patent system is an arms race where unilateral disarmament is fatal. Companies like Sun use patents for trading purposes within the computer industry—we don't use them to attack individuals, we use the portfolio "defensively." We invest in patents so that we can protect the things we make and have the freedom to use it to support our business model. Most companies engaging in free and open-source software hold software patents—even Red Hat. If you neglect patent filing, you risk various perils including others filing for patents on the same ideas and being unable to trade portfolios when an aggressor comes calling. What matters is not whether you hold them but what you do with them. Sun does two things to create patent freedom for open-source developers working on free software. We issue non-assert covenants, which give a binding promise not to assert any patents against implementations of a given standard. We issued one around OpenID last week, for example. And we use open-source licenses (like CDDL) that convey the patent rights along with the copyright, so that developers can be sure they have all the same protections we and other community participants have. Sun is supportive of the Patent Reform Act of 2007 but I personally also believe we need to address some other issues too... give immunity to implementations created in clean-room conditions for interoperability... consider treating a failure to identify prior art as perjury...
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