06.09.07

Nobody Wants to Pay for the ‘Microsoft Linux Distribution’

Posted in Antitrust, Deals, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Xandros at 11:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A new blog post about the “Microsoft Linux distribution” has caught our attention. However sensationalist it may be, therein lies another explanation of Microsoft’s Grand Plan, which is not only to divide, to accuse, and to spread fear. It is also about making money from your competitor’s product. This video on antitrust has an excellent example of this strategy, taken from early 20th century history.

The New Distro is Microsoft

These companies are now paying Microsoft. Sure, Microsoft is paying them as well…but the kicker is this: These companies are paying Microsoft for Linux.

One must now rely on the new software licence, which effectively impedes Microsoft’s shrewd effort. The Xandros deal led to this article which — more than anything — appears to be taking cheap shots at the GPL. InformationWeek and some other commercialised publications are no exception. It is neither new nor surprising.

The deals must stop and the way to achieve this is to give a clear prior warning to distributors who are led into fear and confusion. We must not see companies like Linspire and Mandrakesoft take a lump money and run. If companies ever receive money for admission of guilt which they subsequently deny (see below), then this must be highlighted. In retrospect (some time in the future, if ever), attempts at market manipulation through payoffs to ‘close down shop’ can be highlighted.

And please, Novell and Xandros, don’t whine that Microsoft pulled a fast one on you, and reiterate that open source is clean. No one needed you to tell them that. Innocent until proven guilty in this country. And especially in light of all the evidence that points against such claims.

Judging by this voice, which is not the exception, the open source community (and yes, even the commercial one, i.e. industry) still appears to be dennouncing the actions of Novell and Xandros. Never think the opposite, no matter what Novell tells you.

Interoperability Mockery in Europe – Microsoft Dumps 30,000 Pages of Text

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, Europe, Formats, GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, Protocol, Red Hat, Samba, Servers, Standard, SUN, Windows, Xandros at 11:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Embrace of open standards (or lack thereof) is a major component of the series of Microsoft deals. We have been endlessly harping about Novell’s (and now Xandros as well) impact on Microsoft’s battles in the European courts. We also talked about their ill effects on document formats. Brace yourself for the latest, which probably confirms the worst of predictions. Microsoft has yet again ‘pulled an OOXML’, but intensified it by a factor of 5.

Microsoft says ‘archaeology’ changes the way it develops products

Critics say company isn’t documenting interaction methods fast enough

Microsoft Corp. will deliver the final installment of hundreds of pounds of documentation of its products to U.S. regulators next month, a result of seemingly never-ending disputes over the company’s business practices.

That load will exceed the roughly 30,000 printed pages, or 130 pounds of documentation, already prepared by Microsoft for European regulators.

[...]

Not buying it

Microsoft’s rivals argue the company is doing too little, too late. Vinje, of ECIS, said he doesn’t believe Microsoft has faced the severe challenges the company alleges in documenting its protocols.

30,000 pages? Are you able to visualise this. This is clearly a delaying tactic and it very much resembles the issues that we have seen before. This is the same type of mockery that we found in OOXML. Consider, for instance, this older little article.

By writing 6000 pages, something else strikes many, including myself: no human can implement that. In fact, nobody aside Microsoft will be able to rightly implement it because Microsoft is the only one can deal with the previously existing formats. For these 6000 pages are thousands of man/years of confusion, users’ lock-in, con-formating of data, IP and jealously kept trade secrets. And you would expect that anybody might come up with something that works? Apple, by the way, will not. Because Microsoft Office for Mac will not be able to use Open XML for some years, as I have learned. So good for the great open file format of Microsoft. 6000 pages cannot be a standard. It is FUD. It is a scandal, and a digital wart in the industry. 6000 pages cannot be reputed conformant by anybody else than their author. And their author is Microsoft.

Also recall Microsoft’s stance on standards, judged by a fairly old antitrust exhibit [compressed PDF].

[Microsoft:] “For example, we should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call ‘to me’ to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone’s benefit. We are large enough that this can work.”

“What is the way to go”, you ask? Red Hat spells it nicely.

Red Hat will only sign an interoperability agreement with Microsoft if it is based entirely on open standards, the company’s executive vice president of Engineering Paul Cormier told vnunet.com.

Novell and Xandros make the use of standards seem like distant dream. Nonetheless, as far as documents are concerned, OOXML will not stand, despite all the dirty tricks, to which the American government seems extremely susceptible.

You might think the steady defeat of bills in several U.S. states to mandate the use of free interoperable file formats might dampen the spirits of IBM Corp., one of the prime supporters of the OpenDocument Format (ODF). Far from it, said IBM’s Bob Sutor, who sees the recent news as par for the course in the evolution of any open standard.

Always remember whose side Novell and Xandros have taken in this debate over standards. They might argue that they haven’t a choice, but they willingly dug and buried themselves in this hole of dependency.

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