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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2007/07/19/adam-farquhar-funny-business/

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. Links 29/7/2021: siduction 2021.2 and Xubuntu 21.10 Dev Update

    Links for the day



  2. GitHub is Racism

    Microsoft has the world's most racist code hosting repository; it wasn't like this when Microsoft took over as the racist policies were added to impress Donald Trump, who would later rig a procurement/tendering process to bail out Microsoft (10 billion dollars from the Pentagon, i.e. taxpayers)



  3. [Meme] António Lost His Power Over Patent Examiners

    Team Campinos at the EPO must be rather stressed at the moment; the people who do all the work can go on strike any time (or all the time, until/unless demands are met)



  4. European Patent Office is Going on Strike (or Strikes)

    The staff of the EPO is ready to strike like never before (dissatisfaction and outrage over 8 years of gross injustice, namely Battistelli's breach of fundamental rights, including the right to strike)



  5. Crying “Wolf!” About Systemd is Only Beneficial to IBM and Systemd Developers/Pushers

    Microsoft controls Systemd only to the extent that Systemd is controlled by GitHub, which is in turn controlled by Microsoft; But Systemd has long been on that proprietary platform (its developers don’t truly value software freedom) and this has long been a problem, even before Microsoft hijacked it for coercive power



  6. Links 29/7/2021: Mesa 21.2 RC3, FSF Responds to Microsoft's 'Hey Hi' Attack on Copyleft

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 28, 2021



  8. [Meme] No Crime Goes Unrewarded at the EPO

    It is more or less undeniable that from a legal and functional perspective the EPO is already defunct and is still perishing under a couple of Mafiosos whose sole interest is cover-up and grifting/plunder (of what’s left of the Office after almost 40 years of goodwill/reputation); the recent G 1/21 fiasco was just icing on the cake and the EU’s insistence on a patently unconstitutional UPC (more legal powers for chronic EPC violators) actually weakens unity in Europe (by discrediting the Union)



  9. [Meme] There's Always a Way (When Financial Results Are Not So Good...)

    Too many US ‘tech’ companies still lie to their investors. They choose financial engineering instead of real engineering.



  10. Links 28/7/2021: OPNsense 21.7 and MX Linux 21 Beta

    Links for the day



  11. The One Reason I Cannot Get 'Google News' (or Google) Completely Out of My Life

    Google has got almost a monopoly on (nearly) real-time news syndication; this is why, for our Daily Links at least, we still rely on Google News to a certain extent



  12. [Meme] When Sociopaths or Psychopaths Run Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO has a very profound issue because it is run (and ruined) by insecure thugs with inferiority complex, so they form cliques of friends of theirs instead of actually qualified people, in effect creating personality cults that laugh at the law and disregard any obligations to the institutions/staff they were entrusted to manage



  13. Links 28/7/2021: GCC 11.2 Released

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft 'Loves' Linux So Much That It's Spreading FUD About It All Over the Media for 3 Days in a Row (So Far)

    The stubborn cult at Microsoft likes telling us all — especially officials and decision-makers — a bunch lies like, “we invest [some amount of money] in security” and “security is our goal”, but in reality the money is sunk into hiring (‘buying’) firms with “security” in their name, bribing publishers for mindless PR/platitudes that cast critics of Microsoft insecurity/ies as “fanatics”, “bashers”, “jealous”, “irrational” et cetera; finally, actual money goes into collaborations with the NSA on back doors, i.e. the exact opposite of security. The video above is a follow-up or sequel for something we meme-ified two days ago; we’ve since then included more examples (with editorial comments added to the links) in our News Roundups/Daily Links; Western media follows the same script we saw in Indian Web sites on Sunday and the objective is to paint Linux as “equally insecure” if not less secure than Windows. As already noted on Sunday, in a much longer video, the ‘Linux’ malware (it has nothing to do with Linux itself!) needs user intervention, neglect, or even sabotage to even get on the compromised systems in the first place. One can guess what situation or which incidents Microsoft is ever so eager to distract/deflect from…



  15. [Meme] EPO Asked to Comply With the Law and Correct Behaviour

    EPO staff wants reparations for monumental abuses, but the “Mafia” of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos will never allow that to happen (we saw the same regarding the unlawful composition of internal courts)



  16. The Unfunny Joke That Microsoft Cares for 'Developer Rights'

    Microsoft propaganda urging software developers to find comfort in a prison of Microsoft (proprietary software monopoly) is a symptom of dying media, or thinly-veiled PR looking for a buck



  17. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, July 27, 2021



  18. Links 28/7/2021: PulseAudio 15.0 Released, World’s Slowest Raytracer

    Links for the day



  19. Links 27/7/2021: New Godot Engine Beta and a Call for Funding of GIMP

    Links for the day



  20. The EPO's 'News' Page Annotated

    From the above: Greenwashing; Offshoring; ViCo nonsense; Openwashing; Patents=space travel? Faking empathy; Patents as monopoly; ViCo whitewash; Constitutional hogwash; ViCo propaganda; Pinkwashing; Whitewashing GDPR violation; Self-praise; Exploiting pandemic for $; More openwashing; Protectionism; Outsourcing; Occupying the legal system; Grifting and PR; 'Legalising' EPC violations; More surveillance; Patents as sharing?; Patents as mere info? Lobbying by litigation firms; Proprietary/MS



  21. Playing With Fire: The Linux Foundation Associates the Linux Brand With Proprietary Software and GitHub (as Usual)

    Racist IBM is once again using or misusing the “Linux” brand (through the Linux Foundation) to promote racist Watson (which is also proprietary software); the ‘Linux’ Foundation is now revisionism as a service (not just in service of its own mythology, e.g. the operating system starting in 1991 rather than 1983)



  22. Links 27/7/2021: KDE Plasma 5.22.4, Libinput 1.19 to Include Hold Gestures

    Links for the day



  23. Recording Videos With Webcamoid on GNU/Linux

    A lot of people use OBS Studio or similarly high-profile Free software that's mostly designed for live streaming; but this video is a bit different as it takes a look at Webcamoid, which not many people even know about, explaining the current setup that's used to record pretty much every video we make



  24. Getting News and Updates Over Gemini (in General and for Techrights)

    Gemini (gemini://) is very well suited for 'consumption' of news; the hardest part is getting past the simple fact that not every article needs to have pictures in it and syndication (for updates) isn't done through social control media



  25. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, July 26, 2021



  26. [Meme] Microsoft is Lecturing Us on Security!

    Dev Kundaliya and 'Hacker' News play along and go along with this laughable lie that Microsoft is some kind of security expert with moral authority/credibility on this subject



  27. [Meme] EPO 2025 (When Most of the Decent Patent Examiners Have Been Chased Away)

    Based on this week's reports (see batches of Daily Links), many recently-granted European Patents are being thrown out by courts, which means it's hardly surprising that demand for European Patents is in fact decreasing (while quality/validity/legal certainty nose-dives)



  28. Funding Sources Like Corporate Sponsors/Patrons/Masters Put at Risk the Freedom of Free Software

    Sources of funding or “sponsors” such as large corporations typically come with some barely-visible or temporarily-invisible strings attached (an expectation of commercial reciprocity, rendering the recipients subservient like ‘slaves’) and we need to understand how to preserve software freedom in the face of such trends



  29. Links 26/7/2021: Nanotale on GNU/Linux and IBM Promoting Microsoft GitHub

    Links for the day



  30. Free Software Projects Should Quit Selling Keynote Speeches to the Highest Bidders (Corporations) and Choose Based on Merit/Relevance

    OSI, SFC, FSF and Linux Foundation are in effect selling time and space (even to Microsoft, except the FSF was never foolish enough to do this). As of today, LibreOffice does the same thing (which might remain benign; just be sure to reject rivals as "sponsors" because it dooms projects and events).


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