07.12.07

Novell Supports .NET and MS OOXML, the BBC Supports .NET and MS DRM

Posted in Deals, DRM, Europe, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Windows at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell and the BBC (Microsoft partners) are not so different after all

Earlier this week we commented on some shocking stories. These short technical stories proved that Microsoft’s OpenXML is disastrously flawed. It does not even do mathematics correctly. Bad math is part of the formal specifications, but it’s only part of the story.

Groklaw has just pointed out (via Mr. Korn from Sun Microsystems) that OpenXML (OOXML) is inconsistent — if not in violation of — accessibility requirements.

When and how will the accessibility failings cited in the paper be fixed? … For example, the white paper notes that MSOXML fails to support WCAG 1.0 checkpoints 4.2, 5.2, 9.4, 10.2, 12.1, 12.2, and 12.4. The white paper further notes that MSOXML only partially supports checkpoints WCAG 1.0 checkpoints 6.4, 8.1, 9.1, and 11.1. Some of these are particularly important for blind users needing to understand the context of table cells and for good Braille and DAISY transcription of tables – issues we found in ODF v1.0 and fixed in ODF v1.1. Will these things get fixed in the future? If so, when? By whom? With what outside review (if any)? To appear in what update of the specification?

Is this not ironic? If you followed the OpenDocument debate in Massachusetts, then you probably saw that Microsoft claimed higher grounds based on accessibility, which OpenDocument has already addressed. Microsoft used the “accessibility” FUD in MA in order to stifle OpenDocument adoption. To make matters worse, it does not seem like this problem will be addressed.

Gray [of Microsoft], at the start of your blog comment you say “I’m not sure that the “who did this?” question matters as much as your post seems to indicate”, and you spend several paragraphs describing your (non-accessibility) background at Microsoft and Adobe.

OOXML is only one nasty thing which Novell has committed itself to help with. More worrisome perhaps is the obsession with Mono (.NET), including Moonlight/Silverlight. The old arguments needn’t be repeated because they are archived in the site, but the news here concerns the BBC.

As you may already know, the BBC entered a partnership with Microsoft last year. Since then it has discriminated against platforms that are not Windows. An antitrust complained has recently been filed by the Open Source Consortium, with which I am affiliated. Public money (remember that the BBC is funded by taxpayers) is handed over to Microsoft, which uses that money to strengthen the monopoly.

As it turns, the BBC is now looking at Silverlight. Not only would some Brits be unable to access online videos (blame Microsoft DRM), but they would also need patented Microsoft technology in order to access Web content. This is terrible.

It would take me a long time to organise my references, so I will just append them here and hope that they tell the story. They are reverse chronological for the most part.

Silverlight looks better by the Moonlight

The BBC has already experimented with Silverlight and says it is looking for an “embedded media solution”.

EC threat to BBC over downloads

However, OSC disagrees and says the next step is to make a formal complaint to the European Commission (EC).

“We’re preparing the full details at the moment and we will be sending a formal letter within the next week,” said Mr Taylor.

Open sourcers rattle EU sabre at BBC on demand player

The BBC is being threatened with an anti-trust challenge in Europe over its use of the Windows Media format in its on demand service, iPlayer, which is in the final stages of testing.

Free the BBC

We are deeply concerned about the BBC’s use of “Digital Rights Management” (DRM) to manage content delivered to users over the Internet. There are dozens of arguments against DRM, however we believe these are the most important and relevant to the BBC.

MPs rap BBC over Siemens deal

But public spending watchdog the PAC said BBC executives misled the board of governors about possible savings while trying to convince them to give the deal the go-ahead.

The committee of MPs found £60m of costs was excluded when budgets were put to the governors for approval.

[...]

The PAC said the BBC was failing to manage the contract properly.

[...]

The report suggests the BBC should open up its accounts to government officials for proper scrutiny.

Apple Users Petition Prime Minister

UK Apple users are petitioning the Prime Minister Tony Blair over the BBC’s decision to make streaming media available to Windows users only. The BBC plans to launch an on-demand tv service which uses software that will only be available to Windows users.

Save the BBC from Windows DRM!

Clearly, shutting out 25% of your audience sits ill with the BBC’s remit of serving all of its users…

There is no denying that this is an extremely difficult area for the BBC, since it must negotiate not one but three minefields – those of technology standards, copyright and contract law. But there are still things that it could do without turning into a global advertisement for Microsoft’s flawed DRM approach.

BBC plans to lock viewers into Microsoft monopoly says Open Source Consortium

The Open Source Consortium (OSC) believes the plans are anti-competitive and will use public money to lock viewers into the technologies of a repeatedly convicted monopolist.

BBC slammed for ‘fawning’ to Bill Gates

BBC viewers have flooded the corporation with complaints over how it covered the launch of Microsoft Vista earlier this week.

In one cringingly servile interview worthy of Uriah Heep, the Beeb’s news presenter Hugh Edwards even thanked Gates at the end of it, presumably in appreciation at being allowed to give the Vole vast coverage for free.

In other TV news items presenters excitedly explained how Vista could be obtained and installed – details courtesy of the BBC’s website.

But British viewers, currently forced to pay a £131.50 licence fee to maintain the BBC’s “impartiality”, were less than impressed.

Scores got in touch to complain that so much was Auntie up Bill’s bum that you could barely see her corset.

Brits! Act now to save the BBC from Microsoft

The BBC are holding an open consultation regarding how they’re going to delivery on-demand content, they want answers to questions like: “How important is it that the proposed seven-day catch-up service over the internet is available to consumers who are not using Microsoft software?”

BBC breaks out with Windows WMA protection

According to a press release from Sonos, the blokes over at the Beeb have decided to jump ship for relying on Realplayer for web content, and have switched over entirely to the Windows-friendly WMA format. Now that the BBC has made The Big Switch, BBC radio stations will be received automatically for users of wireless music and radio provider Sonos.

Avoid the Vista badge, it means DRM inside

The root of this crappy DRM infection is Microsoft. It is the driving force here. This has nothing to do with protecting content, as we keep pointing out, there has never been a single thing that has had a DRM infection applied that didn’t end up cracked on the net in hours. DRM is about walled gardens and control.

He who controls the DRM infection controls the market. DRM is about preventing you from doing anything with the devices without paying the gatekeeper a fee. This is what MS wants, nothing less than a slice of everything watched, listened to or discussed from now on. DRM prevents others from playing there, thanks to the DMCA and other anti-consumer laws.

Make no mistake, MS is pushing the DRM malware as hard as it can so it can rake in money hand over fist with no competition. It is really good at lock-in, in fact, the firm based its entire business model on harming the user so they have to comply and spend more.

Microsoft Tells Apple To Stop Complaining About DRM

Microsoft: We Like DRM

Why Microsoft will fight for DRM

Microsoft launches ‘PlayReady’ DRM system

Although digital rights management (DRM) is popular with content creators, it has attracted criticism. Sony was widely attacked after using a rootkit-like application to hide content protection on some music CDs, and earlier this month Apple CEO Steve Jobs called on the music industry to drop its use of DRM.

Golden Rant : Microsoft DRM’s gone too far

Microsoft appears to have hit the wrong button on its critical Windows XP download service late last month, pretty well forcing every XP user to upgrade to Windows Media Player (WiMP) 11 if they (like me and many others) have the automatic download/install option enabled for critical updates.

The Longest Suicide Note in History

Gutmann: The genie’s out of the bottle before the operating system has even been released! But that doesn’t mean Vista users in particular – and the computer community at large – won’t end up paying for Microsoft’s DRM folly. At the risk of repeating myself repeating myself, yet another reason to move to Linux.

DRM in Windows Vista

Windows Vista includes an array of “features” that you don’t want. These features will make your computer less reliable and less secure. They’ll make your computer less stable and run slower. They will cause technical support problems. They may even require you to upgrade some of your peripheral hardware and existing software. And these features won’t do anything useful. In fact, they’re working against you. They’re digital rights management (DRM) features built into Vista at the behest of the entertainment industry.

And you don’t get to refuse them.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

6 Comments

  1. John Drinkwater said,

    July 12, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Gravatar

    s/complained/complaint/

    I’m utterly confused by my BBC’s decision tbh. They’ve always had policies that govern the use of things over & above the standard web platform. They’ve always shunned Java for some reason, but accepted Flash, which is strange, but acceptable (Macromedia/Adobe have tried to support as many platforms as they can). Recently they’ve been using more Flash on their site, and use Adobe’s stats (95% of desktops) as proof that people have it, and if not, that’s their problem. Again, mostly acceptable.
    But supporting Silverlight? It’s got an install base of 0%, and even imho in 2 years, it wont have an install base above 20%. It appears Microsoft is using the BBC (& Novell) as a means to push Silverlight, and that’s just plain wrong, it’s skewing the market.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 12, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Gravatar

    That’s just my suspicion. The stories above (among others) show that the BBC’s decisions have business motives behind them. While the BBC is not truly a business, it is associated with some. Execs from the BBC are having lunch with people that they sign contracts with.

    I’ll have some more about the BBC tomorrow. The FSF posted a rebuttal, but there won’t be time (or enough material) to show how this is related to the theme of the site. I sometimes wait until several related stories can be accumulated. So, watch this space. ;-)

  3. John Drinkwater said,

    July 12, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Gravatar

    Do be more careful about implying stuff about BBC executives, BBC employees have already pulled out the “defamation” card on the BBC Backstage mailing list when people hinted at BBC & Microsoft “dealings” ;)

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 12, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Gravatar

    Are you referring to an article from the Inquirer? I recall posting one such article to a forum a few weeks ago. Either way, employee != taxpayer. My ‘job’ is not at risk and the BBC has already been caught engaging in funny dealings with Siemens (nothing proven yet).

    I have just communicated with the OSA via the lists.

    “An article in the Guardian caught my attention this morning. I worry
    that the Beeb might be doing the Microsoft dance again. They now
    consider heavily patent-encumbered (and unproven) technology for their
    Web site.

    Any thoughts? What if we intercept this before it goes as far as iPlayer
    did? The BBC is still at the stage of “consideration”.

  5. Sebastiaan Veld said,

    July 12, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Funny that a organisation like the BBC does not use open standards -as- a standard. Think someone over there got a nice bonus from MS for getting Vista in the news and promoting their stuff so much:)

    Do not agree with the fact that the BBC is no different than Novell; BBC does think about implementing stuff that may not be able to be used by everyone in the first place, but only on the Windows platform (MS would like to see that!), but Novell tries to bridge these technologies to Linux and Mac, so they can be used by everyone. Makes that Novell a MS technology promoter? Don’t think so, at least no more or less than Samba does. Samba makes a linux server behave like a Windows server. It’s open source and free indeed, but so is Mono. Both solutions make it possible to use Linux and Windows in mixed environmens. Is supporting OpenXML bad? OpenOffice and others do support reading and writing of all kinds of (also Miscrosoft) document formats. They were created to be able to communicate with others. I do not care if someone that needs a OpenXML plugin for OO and install’s it, if we care then we should take all not open formats out of OO.

  6. John Drinkwater said,

    July 12, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Gravatar

    The BBC has lost it’s way. Over the previous few decades they’ve invented TV standards, the teletext standard, subtitling fonts, you name it.
    Recent cost-cutting (out-sourcing key infrastructure) and targets for audiences (BBC News 24 gets more americanised daily…), imho, have driven them to seek the “trendier” end of the tech market even if that means ignoring their unbiased & impartial viewpoint on the market. Sad really…

What Else is New


  1. Nine Documents About the Financial Siege Against EPO Staff (Past, Present, and Future)

    Today we release dozens of pages of letters and documents (internal to Europe's second-largest institution); they all focus on the betrayal and skulduggery, crushing staff in spite of what was originally promised (and what workers actually signed up for)



  2. EPO Senior Management (Cabal) “Essentially Deaf to the Proposals From Staff Representatives.”

    Representatives of EPO staff feel like the management of the EPO is "deaf" and uncaring; there's hardly any meaningful progress (or none whatsoever) when it comes to truly honest dialogue with real participation



  3. EPO Management, Led by António Campinos, Attempted to Stifle or Prevent Staff From Being Surveyed

    Battistelli's cabal, which covers up a lot of fraud and corruption, is attempting to prevent the staff from expressing an opinion (for insiders and perhaps outsiders to assess) because things are really bad and autocratic measures are seen as necessary to keep the lid on issues/abuses



  4. The European Patent Office's Central Staff Committee: Office Cannot Recruit Fit-for-Purpose Patent Examiners Anymore

    One third of EPO recruits are 'locals' (Germans), 0.2% are Swiss, 1% Scandinavian; the EPO as an employer became unattractive and it's unable to attract the staff it needs (as was projected and planned when the EPC was agreed upon)



  5. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, November 27, 2020



  6. Links 27/11/2020: Jolla is 7, Diffoscope 162, MNT Reform Production

    Links for the day



  7. The Time Coronavirus Helped EPO Management Prevent Staff From Protesting and Going on Strike (March 26th)

    "In view of the spreading of the New Corona Virus, the planned General Assemblies have to be cancelled," the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) wrote in the wake of the crisis across Europe back in March (weeks ahead of a planned strike)



  8. Guarding Your Privacy With E2EE: Primer

    "As with all security, there is assumed risk no matter how careful you are. There are no security guarantees but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try."



  9. Links 27/11/2020: Systemd 247 and Cockpit 233

    Links for the day



  10. A Free Speech Deficit Harms Software Freedom

    Free software and Software Freedom cannot possibly succeed if we keep accepting or even just tolerating systematic censorship of opinionated people in our community; failing to speak out on this matter (for fear of supposedly offending someone, risking expulsion) is part of the problem — complicity by passivity



  11. Perception of Difficulty

    New poem by figosdev



  12. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 26, 2020



  13. Cartoon: After Gambling With Workers' Savings the EPO Can Do Real Estate

    New EPO cartoon from EPO insiders (the one on the right certainly looks a lot like António Campinos and the one on the left can be his EUIPO ‘import’ or Benoît Battistelli‘s INPI ‘import’)



  14. Free as in Freedom Should Not be Associated With Cost

    It's important to remind people that so-called 'free' services (Clown Computing, centralised spaces that 'farm' their so-called 'users') aren't really free; we need to advocate freedom or free-as-in-freedom alternatives



  15. [Meme] UPC's Pyrrhic Victory

    Contrary to what Team UPC says, what happened earlier today is hardly a breakthrough



  16. Many Thanks to Free Software, the Demise of Software Patents (in Europe and the US), and So Much More

    On a positive note we're heading into the end of November, one month before Boxing Day; we take stock of patent affairs that impact software developers



  17. Links 26/11/2020: PHP 8.0, Proxmox VE 6.3, UNIGINE 2.13

    Links for the day



  18. 29,000 Blog Posts and Recent Site Improvements

    Over 29,000 blog posts have been posted here, but more importantly we've made the site a lot more robust and resilient, accessible in more formats and protocols (while improving transparency, too)



  19. [Meme] Trump is Out. Now It's Time to Pressure the Biden Administration/Transition Team on Software Freedom Issues.

    The Biden transition is in motion and tentative appointments are underway, based on news reports (see our Daily Links); now is the time to put pressure, e.g. in the form of public backlash, to ensure it's not just another corporate presidency



  20. Boycott ZDNet Unless You Fancy Being Lied to

    ZDNet's Catalin Cimpanu continues to lead the way with misinformation and lies, basically doing whatever he was doing to land that job at ZDNet (after he had done the same elsewhere)



  21. The UPC and Unitary Patent Song

    On goes the UPC symphony, as the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is almost here, always coming "real soon!"



  22. Open Letter to the German Greens on UPC and Software Patents: Don’t Betray Your Voters and Your Promises, or You Will Regret it

    Dear Members of the German Greens in the Bundestag. By Benjamin HENRION.



  23. [Meme] One Step Away From Replacing Patent Examiners With 'Hey Hi' (AI)

    If it's not legal for 'Hey Hi' (AI) to get a patent, why should it be legal for patents to be granted by those who are invisible (and sometimes in de facto house arrest)?



  24. European Patent Office (EPO) Reduced to 'Justice Over the Telephone' and Decree by E-mail

    The EPO is trashing the EPC and everything that the Office was supposed to stand for, as it wrongly assumes demand for monopolies (typically from foreign corporations) comes before the rule of law and Europe's public interest



  25. Making Free Software Work for Users

    The latest reply to a non-developer concerned about software freedom; guest post by figosdev



  26. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 25, 2020



  27. Links 26/11/2020: AV Linux 2020.11.23 and Blender 2.91 Release

    Links for the day



  28. Links 25/11/2020: GamerOS and Biden Transition in Motion

    Links for the day



  29. An Orwellian December

    With December around the corner and states tightening the screws on the population (or employers on employees) at least we can look forward to spring



  30. The Non-Technical (or Lesser Technical) Software User That Wants Software Freedom

    Assuming that Free software should care about what users — not only developers — really want (and need) it’s important to understand how they view the current situation (with growing waves of corporate takeover and compromises, even expulsions)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts