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06.27.07

Has Microsoft Been Blatantly Lying to National Standards Bodies? (Updatedx2)

Posted in Formats, ISO, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard, Xandros at 8:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following short item from Bob Sutor simply cannot be ignored. As you may be aware, Microsoft uses its new ‘allies’ (namely Novell, Corel, Xandros, and Linspire) to show bogus support for formats that essentially lock rivals out of the market and secure Microsoft’s monoculture in operating systems and office suites. According to this, Microsoft is being extremely dishonest (again!).

I’m hearing reports that people in national standards bodies are being told blatantly false information about what they can and cannot discuss during the current JTC1 Fast Track process for OOXML. They are being told things, to paraphrase, like “the contradiction period decided that such and such was ok” or “we can’t consider that problem with OOXML because it was already dealt with in the Contradiction Period.”

Whatever is true here, whether lies were involved or not, please help resistance against a monopolist that endlessly uses dirty tricks. A lot of activity appears to be centered around noooxml.org where you can sign a petition. The site now recommends that people take another type of action. Letters can be sent to eliminate disinformation and politely express the true interest of the citizens.

A decision by each National Standardisation Body in each country will happen somewhere during the holidays of July or August. Written comments should be sent before the end of June in most countries.

The ODF Alliance has posted some new documents, which you can find listed here:

See the ‘DIS 29500 “Office Open XML” Fact Sheet’ and ‘The Technical Case Against DIS 29500/OOXML’.

These documents will hopefully help some people get past the misleading and self-serving statements mentioned above. The relentless manipulation of standards bodies must end. Pseudo support, acquired through paid-for deals with companies, is no indication of quality either, but Microsoft knows how to spend its money. When it comes to the Office franchise, there is simply too much at stake.

Update: the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure has just joined the fight against this type of abuse and it even offers a monetary bounty.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), said that it was putting up a 2,500 Euro prize in its fight against Microsoft’s attempt to gain international standardisation for its Office format.

Update #2: The Free Software Foundation (Europe) joins the fight by raising questions about OOXML. The six that are listed:

  • Application independence?
  • Supporting pre-existing Open Standards?
  • Backward compatibility for all vendors?
  • Proprietary extensions?
  • Dual standards?
  • Legally safe?

Patent Troll Attacks Another Patent Troll — Microsoft Sued Over Tilted Mouse

Posted in Courtroom, Hardware, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here we have yet another example among several recent ones. Just have a look at this new scoop and watch the figures in the short article.

The writ, issued in a Texas district court two days back, alleges that Microsoft, a co-defendant with Designer Appliances Inc, breached patent number 5,576,733 called “Ergonomic Computer Mouse”.

Recall what Mr. Gates said in the nineties.

Microsoft sang a very different tune in 1991. In a memo to his senior executives, Bill Gates wrote, “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.” Mr. Gates worried that “some large company will patent some obvious thing” and use the patent to “take as much of our profits as they want.”

Of course, Microsoft’s stance on patents has changed completely when it become “some large company”. Not only does it try to punish, but it gets punished as well. This demonstrates the serious problems which are too inherent and deeply integrated into the current patent system.

Mark Shuttleworth Interview Coming, Request for Questions from Our Readers

Posted in Interview, Site News, Ubuntu at 7:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dear readers,

As you may be aware, Ubuntu’s founder was among the first prominent figures to denounce the predatory deal with Novell and later on criticise Microsoft’s pursuit for further deals with other Linux distributors. This influenced my personal decision to move from SuSE to Ubuntu GNU/Linux.

I have just gotten a (vitual) handshake which promises an interview with Mr. Shuttleworth. We would like to ask our readers for input and collect some of our readers’ questions. Our intent is to focus on exclusionary deals and the integrity of Free software although any ‘lighter’ questions would be very suitable as well. Our controversial domain name aside, I worry that my direct questions intimidated Gunther Deschner (of Samba), who was willing to do an interview with us after his departure from Novell.

Please help us make this interview a comfortable one for Mr. Shuttleworth.

Thank you in advance for your participation. Remember that it is a community site which we hope to make more reader-driven, not editor-driven.

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