EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.19.07

Microsoft Uses Position of Power to Impose OOXML on National Assets

Posted in ECMA, Europe, Formats, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is truly astonishing to find that many government bodies actually have their key positions occupied by Microsoft employees. I am intimately familiar with quite a few examples and I will name only two.

The first one is very recent. It comes from New York where Microsoft muscled the legislature and lobbied to pass a so-called ‘Microsoft amendment’ that is discriminative towards Open Source.

Microsoft’s proposed change to state law would effectively render our current requirements for escrow and the ability for independent review of source code in the event of disputes completely meaningless – and with it the protections the public fought so hard for.

An older example involved changing of an important report by a Microsoft employee.

That agreement was nearly imperiled last weekend, though. Gerri Elliott, corporate vice president at Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector division, sent an e-mail message to fellow commissioners Friday evening saying that she “vigorously” objected to a paragraph in which the panel embraced and encouraged the development of open source software and open content projects in higher education.

So much for independent assessment for the benefit of the citizens, eh? Welfare and greed are mutually exclusive and even contradictory.

Here comes the latest finding, which is concerned with Microsoft’s OOXML — the very effective venom that Linux ‘partners’ are forced to digest. Another discussion with Mark Kent led to another example where public money is being used to promote Microsoft’s agenda by locking vital data to this monopoly. The BBC is not the only Linux-hostile establishment over here.

Watch this discussion in an article about archiving data using suitable formats

Open-source advocates claim that the Microsoft-championed format is not as open as it should be and doesn’t compare well to rival formats such as the community-developed OpenDocument Format (ODF).

“If it were, Microsoft wouldn’t need to make Novell and Xandros and Linspire sign NDAs (nondisclosure agreements) and then write translators for them,” Pamela Jones, an open-source expert and editor of the Groklaw blog, wrote recently.

But the National Archives said that it is not wedded to any particular data format and that all technology options are being considered at this time.

Mark did a little legwork and found out a little bit more about National Archives, which seemingly chose to sidle with Microsoft and even gleefully talked about OOXML in a recent BBC article.

Mark wrote:

Look at this, from the *joint* National Archives and /Microsoft/ press
release:

Adam Farquhar, Head of eArchitecture at the British Library and
co-chair of the Office OpenXML standards committee said:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
|
|
So this guy, paid for by *our* taxes, is working for Microsoft
to promote their proprietary formats. Now look at this:

“Microsoft has shown considerable initiative working with The National
Archives, The British Library and others to increase our ability to
ensure access to today’s digital information tomorrow. This announcement
represents an important step and shows the sort of value that effective
collaboration between public and private organisations can bring to the
challenge of preserving our nation’s heritage.”

Which you can sum up as:

“we’re putting national heritage, at tax-payer’s expense, into
the hands of the world’s greatest monopolist, to ensure access
to data in the future”.

So we, the taxpayer, have to *pay* to have *our* data locked into a
proprietary format which will never be readable on standard platforms,
supplied by a company which cannot even manage to add a proper ODF
format to its office suite, and pushed by a guy, Adam Farquhar, who *we*
pay for, who chairs an OOXML “standards” committee.

This is just beyond anything you could imagine. Can we get this guy
moved to a more suitable job – in Microsoft, say?

So there you go. Apparently, lock-in is about ‘politics’, not rational choices. Microsoft has always loved escaping discussions about technical merits and turning them into a political debate. It is easier. It’s diversion.

We could probably just learn from continental Europe. It understands better than most that open standards are essential. OOXML is not open, even though the acronym contains the word “open” within it. OOXML goes against the existing unified standard. On the other hand:

EU backs standard for mobile TV

[...]

David McQueen, principle analyst with research firm Informa, is not surprised that the EU has come down in favour of DVB-H.

“It is the most open standard and there are more players in the market. Finland has networks already and in France there is a satellite hybrid solution,” he said.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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

4 Comments

  1. Zaine Ridling said,

    July 20, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Gravatar

    Read the national body comments and see what a real turkey MS-OOXML really is. It’s truly stunning that neither Microsoft, Ecma, or any other “expert” caught so many mistakes:

    http://www.xmlopen.org/ooxml-wiki/index.php/DIS_29500_Comments

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 20, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Gravatar

    No matter how many deficiencies are spotted, there will remain some perils, Rob once said that Microsoft would have a seemingly-credible counter argument. Any flaw would be drowned in the amount of un-criticised bits (or yet-to-be criticised bits). Any time something is scrutinised, Microsoft would call it “nitpicking”.

    You see, size changes perspective. Scale confuses and discourages the reviewer.

    Look what they did in Europe last month:


    Microsoft says ‘archaeology’ changes the way it develops products

    Critics say company isn’t documenting interaction methods fast enough

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | 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.
    `—-

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/microsoft-says-archaeology-changes-way/story.aspx?guid=%7BF16A9817%2DFCCF%2D46A7%2DBF1B%2D6B6F38154049%7D&siteid=yhoof
    http://tinyurl.com/34klv3

    Also see the following:


    A cathedral of formats or a castle of cards?

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | 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.
    `—-

    http://www.libervis.com/blogs/5/charles/a_cathedral_of_formats_or_a_castle_of_cards

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | [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 incidental-
    | ly on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we sho-
    | uld 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.”
    `—-

    http://www.os2site.com/sw/info/comes/px09509.zip

  3. Mark Kent said,

    July 29, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Gravatar

    Re-reading the press releases and information from the National Archives, it’s still amazing me beyond belief that we could have the same person pushing a proprietary “standard” as working on safeguarding national archives.

    What on earth happened to concepts of open and fair government?

    How will we be able to have “freedom of information” when we have to pay Microsoft in order to access the information which is supposed to be free?

    Mark K.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 29, 2007 at 6:50 am

    Gravatar

    it’s still amazing me beyond belief that we could have the same person pushing a proprietary “standard” as working on safeguarding national archives.

    Can the hen trust a fox?

What Else is New


  1. Monopolies Erode Freedom, Freedom Erodes Monopolies

    "There are so many reasons that GitHub makes projects less free."



  2. Links 7/7/2020: NomadBSD 1.3.2, Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 and DRM Comes to Cars

    Links for the day



  3. [Humour] IAM Ranked Top for Quality of EPO Propaganda

    Contrary to what the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps saying, patent quality is slipping very fast in Europe (based on the EPO's own analysis!) but patent trolls-funded publishers deny that



  4. When They're Done With Patents on Foods and Recipes They'll Have Patents on Fashion, Taste and Smell

    The mental dysfunction — an infectious condition — that says everything in the world must be patented should be resisted; it overlooks the fact that patents were introduced to protect/promote actual invention, not thoughts, feelings, nature and art



  5. [Humour/Meme] IBM's Money is Unhealthy to the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    IBM will never be happy as long as RMS (Richard Stallman) has a say in the FSF — directly or indirectly — or even in the GNU Project, both of which he himself created back when IBM was the biggest monopolist



  6. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, July 06, 2020



  7. Never Let IBM/Red Hat Lecture Us on Morality

    Ethics and morality should not be taught by those who themselves need a lesson; in the meantime we're losing the courage to speak freely and those who commit atrocious acts like it a lot better that way



  8. [Humour/Meme] Wear the Red Hat as the Open Org Becomes Openwash

    IBM is changing Red Hat and not for the better; sooner or later IBM will become another Microsoft and changing from one to the other will be like swapping 'masters'



  9. IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

    There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the 'Red Hat way' or the so-called 'open org'



  10. They Tell the Free Software Community That It is Racist While Saying Nothing at All About Trump's Racism (Because He Gives Them Government and Military Contracts)

    While their president compares 'foreign' people to a virus (using innuendo, dog whistles and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the Nazi era) the big US corporations (American surveillance giants) turn their attention to rather innocuous words inside people's code (which almost nobody sees anyway)



  11. LibreOffice 'Personal Edition' Seems Like a Marketing and Communication Fluke

    Had LibreOffice developers (and the Document Foundation) communicated these changes more openly, they would have averted/avoided some of the FUD



  12. It Almost Feels Like Microsoft Has Already 'Bought' Canonical

    Canonical's disturbing trajectory and betrayal of the community continue unabated; one can easily get the impression that Ubuntu exists to help Microsoft at some level



  13. Update to GNU Project Bleeding into Microsoft

    Update



  14. Microsoft is Going to Get Tired of Whining About “GAFA” and Accept That It's Just as Bad If Not a Lot Worse at Privacy

    Microsoft is being treated by the US government as if it's not abusing anything, let alone people's privacy; if anything, this demonstrates the degree to which Microsoft infiltrated or 'vendor-captured' regulatory branches



  15. Links 6/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, MX-19.2 KDE Beta 1, Linux 5.8 RC4

    Links for the day



  16. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section: Linux is Full of Problems and It Loves/Embraces Software Patents

    Software patents promotion and GNU/Linux FUD; your daily dosage of 'news' from the tabloid known as ZDNet...



  17. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 05, 2020



  18. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  19. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  20. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)



  21. Sharing is Caring, as Those Who Share Usually Care

    Going back to our human roots, people who cooperate and collaborate are vastly more likely to survive and thrive; Free software is almost guaranteed to become the norm when/once everyone demands it (proprietary software is too divisive, supremacist and even racist)



  22. Systems Can Crash and People Can Die by Changing Language (Even in Parameter and Function Space) to Appease Activists

    It seems clear that Intel takes the lead in trying to change Linux not in technical means but purely social means; even when (and where) that can compromise the robustness of the kernel (Intel is nowadays known for profoundly defective chips with back doors)



  23. António Campinos Should Speak to Peasants, Not Litigation Lawyers

    Mr. Campinos does not work for campinos but against campinos; he represents the people who sue or threaten them using ludicrous patents that should never have been granted (e.g. in Ethiopia)



  24. Christine Lambrecht (German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection) Ignores the Fact That Even Patent Experts Reject the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The debacle single-handedly caused by and attributable to Christine Lambrecht, who is eager to appease litigation lawyers, is made yet worse by the fact that people in this domain/profession reject what she's trying to ram down people's throats



  25. [Humour] The Linux Foundation is Not Even Using Linux

    The Linux Foundation does not support Linux except in name; it is important to remember that



  26. Microsoft Loves Power

    An explanation of why Microsoft says it loves this and that; Microsoft lacks the capacity to love or to express empathy as it's always about self gratification or coercion, nothing else



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 04, 2020



  28. Indoors Society, Shut the Windows

    Times are changing in all sorts of ways; it seems like GNU/Linux and other Free/libre operating systems may emerge as winners when the 'dust settles'



  29. Allegation That Microsoft Adopted the Mentality of Suicide Bombers Against Linux, Leaks Reveal

    Looking at leaked E-mails from around the time Microsoft used Cyanogen as a 'proxy', we're finding some stunning admissions or speculation about the real motivations



  30. [Humour] A Union in Whose Interests?

    The union-busting 'yellow union' (the one that helped Benoît Battistelli marginalise SUEPO) is unable to represent staff any longer


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