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08.15.07

Are Real Standards Hard to Come By When Money is Involved? (Updated)

Posted in Australia, Formats, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, Patents, Standard at 10:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Expensive formats backed by wealthy corporations and their affiliates

It has become amusing (if not outright annoying) to see the extent to which Microsoft is willing to bend the rules using ridiculous excuses, spin doctors, and bullies. The endless spin will surely continue, so it’s important to identify, rebut, and contradict. Here is more of the latest:

I guess a dedicated Microsoftie could spin this in a positive way (rah! rah! 100% growth in DOCX format in three months), but it is getting harder.

Microsoft has always been particularly strong in the marketing department. Sometimes, marketing became akin to propaganda. A little bit of sabotage was sometimes needed in order to sell inferior products. Some say that things have never truly changed.

After some possible misconduct in Australia, Groklaw called for Australians to get involved. Elsewhere on the Web, Bob Sutor posted a very elaborate blog post (which is a rarity) to explain the importance of the quality of standards.

What would it possibly mean for something to be a “one star standard” versus something that is a “five star standard”?

As argued many times before, Microsoft says that interoperability is facilitated by OOXML, which is merely a proprietary set wrapped in an XML ‘gown’, but it does not say much about patents. Microsoft hopes that nobody will notice that issue until it’s too late to retract. OOXML is one such bait among several others.

That brings a fair bit of focus back to Novell, which is now facing a conflict of interests. Novell sort of believes it has itself protected, having just taken Microsoft money to jeopardise other Linux distributors. These distributors used to share the same goals and ambitions (assuming that everyone will be playing by the same rules). Novell let a Trojan horse enter Linux and spread various patent-encumbered technologies around core GNU/Linux packages or inside Free software that distributions depend on. We consider this to be a serious issue.

Update: The New Zealand Open Source Society has published a submission to warn about a looming OOXML patent threat. It is one among several angles that explain why OOXML is a terrible idea.

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