06.08.07

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Lobbying for Lockin, Courtesy of a Monopoly Abuser and Its New Partners

Posted in America, Europe, Formats, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Petitions, Videos, Xandros at 12:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here is the video “Bonnie Garcia – Enter the FUD Brigade”. The hearing revolves around legistlation that was intended to prevent Microsoft’s ‘latest and greatest’ lockin from taking over the State of California. As you may know by now, part of the Novell deal and Xandros deal puts these two companies in a position where they must support Microsoft’s lockin (OOXML) to protect Microsoft’s cash cow (and therein lies the relevance of this debate to our Web site).

The pointer to this video came from Groklaw and the accompanying comment from Pamela Jones is worth adding: “You might find this of interest, a small piece of the discussion about California AB 1668, the ODF bill. It would appear that Bonnie Garcia is reading off of notes, and in any case she clearly and admittedly has no idea what ODF is or why it’s of value, neither of which hinders her from having a strong opinion, I noticed…

This is not the first time that a technical discussion become a political one. Microsoft relies on sending its non-technical people to lobby for lockins. They can always pretend to be clueless (maybe because they are). This shifts focus and it’s no coincidence. It’s deliberate.

Last night I received notification of a response to the pro-ODF petition I had signed quite some time ago. Unsurprisingly, knowing how close the British government is to Microsoft, the government seems unmoved, if not altogether unconvinced.

To quote the text (again, unsurprisingly delivered from a Windows server):

The UK Government champions open standards and interoperability through its e Government Interoperability Framework (eGIF). Where possible the Government only uses products for interoperability that support open standards and specifications in all future IT developments.

Interoperability and open standards also support the sustainability of digital information beyond any single generation of technology. New techniques for digital preservation being developed by The National Archives require the periodic transformation of digital information to new formats as technology changes. Such transformations will be simplified by the adoption of open standards.

No single format provides a universal solution for all types of digital information, and The National Archives therefore actively monitors and evaluates a wide range of existing and emerging formats (including OpenDocument Format). A policy on digital preservation, which includes guidance on the selection of sustainable data formats based on open standards, is being formulated by The National Archives, and will help define the standards for desktop systems. The National Archives technical registry ‘PRONOM’ (new window) supports this through the provision of key information about the most widely-used formats.

IOW, nothing has changed. See last report on Microsoft’s systematic interception of such bills all across the United States.

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.

Remind yourselves how Microsoft positioned itself so conveniently. A lot more dirty tricks were involved. It’s rather breathtaking (just follow the link and watch a sample). If this is the company Novell partners with and defends, then what does it say about Novell?

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A Single Comment

  1. Cyrus Mack said,

    June 15, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Gravatar

    Hi there!

    I’m happy to see that video making the rounds! It was too good not to put up on YouTube. I managed to save that hearing video, process it with some great free tools, and chop it up into bite-size chunks for YouTube :)

    It’s nice to see that it’s making the rounds. The only other comment I would add here is that most of the media covering this issue, as well as the politicians (and this unfortunately includes those who support the bill) miss the larger issue: information issue. Forget all the tit-for-tat between huge IT stalwarts like Microsoft, IBM and Sun. This is a rights issue, pure and simple. We have the right to access information, and no government should be in the business of erecting artificial barriers to *our* information. That’s the sort of thinking that fuels the digital divide, and because we’re talking about governments here, you have legislators around the world actively participating in the disenfranchisement of millions. This is a travesty, and we must work for nothing less than legal protection of our information rights.

    Anyway, that’s why I put together bytesfree.org.

    -Cyrus

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