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

09.02.07

Today is the Day — The Day the World Will Learn That Crime Pays

Posted in Africa, America, Apple, ECMA, Europe, Formats, IBM, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, Standard at 1:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s September 2nd today. That’s quite a big day. It holds some great promise and it’s also very important to a monopoly, not only its opposers.

“The damage done by OOXML may never be erased”The stories about how the monopoly got here is more interesting than the decision we are bound to see. Never before have I witnessed such an endless and tiresome flow of reports, pretty much all of which talk about corruption (to an extent). Over the past few years, I have been learning more about Microsoft’s controversial past and on a daily basis I’ve seen new cases and examples where customers get abused or products are made poor (not necessarily by design).

OOXML is different. In many people’s minds, OOXML is now associated with many negative thoughts about a monstrous thing with a monstrous operation behind it. The technical complexity of OOXML no longer seems to be the point of focus in the press. The ethical grounds on which it’s built has completely taken people’s attention away from its many deficiencies. A technical debate, which is where it all started, turned into a techno-political debate. Microsoft tried to characterise OOXML as an embodiment of IBM’s business ambitions. Then, more recently, this political debate turned into one that revolves around themes like bribery, corruption, nepotism, extortion, bullying, lobbying, and intentional deception.

The damage done by OOXML may never be erased. Its path of destruction will have the credibility of some governments, some companies, some national institutes, and the ISO seriously hurt. All of this was orchestrated by one single company. Never before, in a 20-year career in this area, has Andy Updegrove witnessed anything like this, let alone done single-handedly by a group of people too vain to honour — let alone recognise — ethics and fair play. Watch these quotes and be shocked.

With that in mind, here are some of the latest stories and developments in the twisted ‘OOXML world’.

Entering the Bizarro Kingdom…

Matt Aslett rightly argues that “when the standards are this low [as low as OOXML], no one wins”. Many people are yet to pay the price of having faith in whoever is putting weight behind OOXML. Bad technology costs man hours. It costs money. It leads to pain, to loss of data, and sometimes to loss of life.

C|Net, despite its pro-Microsoft bias (they even have a new partnership with Microsoft), does not turn a blind to the issue. The Register has a report on the fiasco that was seen in Sweden. Fortunately, there was a remedy, but damage was done either way. The vote turned into an “Abtain” as I understand it, so maybe the true outcome of a legitimate vote was eventually suppressed. Sweden never received its chance to speak out. It was muted thanks to Microsoft’s gross manipulation.

Wired Magazine hits the high note and chooses a courageous (yet true) headline: Microsoft Allegedly Bullies and Bribes to Make Office an International Standard

We have covered many stories extensively enough (primarily pointers) to support this headline and even add intensity to it. But, but, but… no so fast! There are two sides to every story. Wired Magazine tried to approach Microsoft for a comment. The outcome says it all:

Microsoft did not respond to several calls requesting comment.

How loud can a deafening silence be? Microsoft hasn’t anything to say to defend itself. That sums it all up nicely.

If Microsoft could make a decent specification using its great manpower and then have it accepted, that’s one thing. That’s probably acceptable. However, Microsoft produced a highly-flawed, bug-ridden, overly-complex, Windows-only, already-semi-implemented, effort-duplicating pile of a paper. That pile of paper is as tall as a young child (the Linux Foundation talked about it too). What was Microsoft expecting? What on earth was it thinking? Here is a possibility worth presenting.

Sam Hiser picks a Microsoft ‘smoking gun’ court exhibit, but also links to some very curious analysis of strategies Microsoft has used to escape scrutiny.

Try “25 Ways to Suppress the Truth: the Rules of Disinformation” also for some nice bed-side reading that will remind you of a moment here or there in the OOXML v ODF conflict.

That’s a truly classic and good find. Here is one these techniques being used in Africa (sadly enough, in yesterday’s African press):

Microsoft salutes debate on Office Open XML

[...]

Microsoft also said that over 2 000 partners representing 67 countries on six continents have given their green light for the ratification of the OOXML by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

Microsoft has partners. Who would have guessed? The partners all hail Microsoft. Therefore, OOXML must be great. Some call it ‘cattle effect’ while dissemination of such viral infection relies on the ‘network effect’.

Entering Europe…

Hungary has apparently canceled its vote on OOXML. Here are some comments in English, including another: “Hungary will not cast a vote on the ISO ooxml vote. Something similar to the Swedish position, with the difference that no voting took place.I guess they saw the stuffing and refused to get stuffed in the first place.”

We covered Hungary a few days ago. Politicians seemed to have suddenly interfered with the process that was already done. OOXML was apparently already rejected, so there are reasons to suspect Microsoft began pulling strings at government level. It’s no far fetched. We have already cited reports about Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates making phonecalls to politicians in order to change the rules and swing votes.

As we mentioned above, Sweden’s voice was apparently lost in the midst of corruption. It seems like the same thing happened in Hungary, which apparently voted “No”, but due to attempted manipulation down the line, that “No” vote will become “Abstain”. I am not certain about this, but it’s worth exploring just to be sure.

This move in Hungary seems to have nullified the vote and at an earlier stage it seemed like Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden were no exception (because of similar manipulation attempts by Microsoft). However, last night, Groklaw came up with the latest from Denmark:

It’s official. Denmark will vote no with comments on OOXML.

Free Software Magazine has another short story about OOXML in Sweden.

This entire OOXML campaign stinks!

This is being forced on everyone simply because one corporation has manufactured a back-door strategy, to maintain a software monopoly.

It’s always worth reminding ourselves that with monopolies like this, there is no innovation. And it shows, based on this new article.

In the survey, only 46 percent said they were satisfied with the return. One cause can be traced to this: There’s a lot of fuzzy thinking about innovation.

Buying Brazil’s Government Instead of Brazil’s Vote

Remember Brazil’s decision to reject OOXML? Policy is one thing, but practice is another. Some sources suggest that Microsoft has just ‘bought’ Brazil.

According to one source, “The Ministry of Labor in Brazil signed a pact with Microsoft very similar to one of the provisions of the pact in Chile

In case you do not know what has happened in Chile:

Just today, a secret agreement between MS and the Chilean Government came to light. In it, every citizen was sold as a potential user of a Windows Live Spaces model where every SSN is linked to, overbypassing any privacy term and cashing Bill some bucks. It wouldn’t be so awful to all if that agreement wasn’t aprooved yet (Spanish follows).

There is a lot more information about it here.

Receita Federal (SRF), with whom we’ve had our encounters as part of our campaign against the software it imposes upon Brazilian citizens, has long been a bastion of proprietary software in the Brazilian government. Last Monday, Aug 27, we learned it planned on purchasing, on Aug 30, 40K+ licenses of Microsoft Office 2007. Yeah, that’s right, the one that introduces the very file format that the Brazilian society had rejected just the week before, and a brand new user interface that pretty much obsoletes all training for earlier releases.

The alleged reasons? Users are already trained (in the older versions). TCO studies funded by Microsoft. Limitations of ancient versions of OpenOffice.org, caused by the very fact that Microsoft Office’s formats are proprietary. The statement that any file converter to a competing file format will be obsolete by the time it reaches the market, because Microsoft keeps changing its file formats. Yes, unbelievable!, this is listed as a reason to use Microsoft’s software, not to run away from it! Fallacious reasoning that the slow adoption of GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org, caused in great part by this very tactics of introducing incompatibilities, indicate they’re going to remain niche operating system and application.

“If It’s Broken, Don’t Fix It”

A new batch of stories returns to the roots of this debate, which should have always been purely technical. Behold the hidden ugliness of OOXML.

“Keynote will open and export to Office’s Powerpoint file formats, as with every non-Microsoft consumer of Office’s formats that eWEEK Labs has tested certain formatting inconsistencies seem impossible to avoid.”

Stephe Walli joins in. As Bob Sutor states:

Stephe Walli further demonstrates why the partial Apple implementation of OOXML is even more partial than we thought.

We covered this several times before. The only product that supports OOXML is Microsoft Office for Microsoft Windows, but it doesn’t stop Microsoft from lying about it. Further, there is this from Brian who refers to Stephe Walli’s findings.

It has been demonstrated time and again with OOXML, that it does not pass even this most simple test. If you read my friend Stephen Walli’s blog entry that was posted on Linux Today earlier, you know that the OOXML technology is so screwed up, even Microsoft applications can’t run it correctly.

Stephen Walli, mind you, has roots in Microsoft. Even Brian Jones, the head of this OOXML assault against the world, has already admitted that OOXML is still flawed. Even the man who was paid by Microsoft to edit Wikipedia’s article on OOXML said he would have voted “No, with comments.”

It’s Not Over

People’s choice of ODF if what will determine its success. You can continue helping by spreading knowledge and — better yet — spreading ODF-formatted files which will not work with Microsoft Office (per Microsoft’s own desire) and therefore require others to use or install a non-proprietary (code/standard) office suite.

Although today is the “Big Day”, final results are 6 months away.

But if Microsoft doesn’t get the required number of votes this weekend, its challenge would be bigger, because it would need to get some national bodies to change their minds before the final vote.

Results of that final vote are expected in March.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. Gopal said,

    September 2, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Gravatar

    It is ironical that while ISO lays down standards for Quality Systems to be followed by industry neither ISO nor their member NBs follow any system when it comes to evaluating standards. ISO is working on a new standard for Social Responsibility but when it comes to its own working it smacks of irresponsibility and turns a blind eye.
    Isn’t it therefore the right time to formally petition ISO to put OOXML on hold and look into the irregularities reported in the functioning of various NBs while evaluating OOXML.

  2. akf said,

    September 2, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Gravatar

    You are writing so much about OOXML. That’s good. But it doesn’t fit to the domain name.
    How about a domain name named http://boycottooxml.com/ then?

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 2, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Gravatar

    Gopal, Rob Weir has suggested revision/reform as well. Ecma is a lost case (it’s in it for the money), but if the ISO goes down, then all hope for standards is lost. Standards have always been a fierce rival to Microsoft and antitrust exhibits show Microsoft’s sheer contempt for them.

    akf, Shane is the one managing all these domains (at least 5 of them now with Red Hat’s placeholder, which just in case, is parked). Maybe it can be set up to consistently redirect to http://boycottnovell.com/category/open-xml/ .

    Our domain name has given us a lot of headache. Earlier today I was once again told that some pro-ODF bloggers wish to link here, but the domain name prevents this from being sensible. It also hurts credibility.

  4. John Drinkwater said,

    September 2, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Gravatar

    I was getting annoyed by the lack of useful references of Microsoft being underhand (or at least, their behind-closed-doors position). So I typed up Effective Evangelism from the Iowa PDFs as an ODT, and uploaded it to GoogleDocs: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dfz5s2nv_3hpf74h
    I’ll host the odt on my site soon, along with the odp for the 38 page presentation.

  5. Felipe Alvarez said,

    September 3, 2007 at 2:08 am

    Gravatar

    Stick with Novell-related news. How does ooxml relate to Novell? And GNU/Linux users?

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 3, 2007 at 2:12 am

    Gravatar

    Novell is one of the reasons OOXML had been receiving some support and is seeing some acceptance. As for GNU/Linux users, OOXML is a case against them. OOXML is Windows-only.

What Else is New


  1. Links 21/4/2019: SuperTuxKart's 1.0 Release, Sam Hartman Is Debian’s Newest Project Leader (DPL)

    Links for the day



  2. The EPO's Use of Phrases Like “High-Quality Patent Services” Means They Know High-Quality European Patents Are 'Bygones'

    The EPO does a really poor job hiding the fact that its last remaining objective is to grant as many European Patents as possible (and as fast as possible), conveniently conflating quality with pace



  3. A Reader's Suggestion: Directions for Techrights

    Guest post by figosdev



  4. Links 20/4/2019: Weblate 3.6 and Pop!_OS 19.04

    Links for the day



  5. The Likes of Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), Team Campinos and Team UPC Don't Represent Europe But Hurt Europe

    The abject disinterest in patent quality and patent validity (as judged by courts) threatens Europe but not to the detriment of those who are in the 'business' of suing and printing lots of worthless patents



  6. The Linux Foundation Needs to Change Course Before GNU/Linux (as a Free Operating System) is Dead

    The issues associated with the Linux Foundation are not entirely new; but Linux now incorporates so many restrictions and contains so many binary blobs that one begins to wonder what "Linux" even means



  7. Largest Patent Offices Try to Leave Courts in a State of Disarray to Enable the Granting of Fake Patents in the US and Europe

    Like a monarchy that effectively runs all branches of government the management of the EPO is trying to work around the judiciary; the same is increasingly happening (or at least attempted) in the United States



  8. Links 19/4/2019: PyPy 7.1.1, LabPlot 2.6, Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

    Links for the day



  9. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  10. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  11. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  12. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  13. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  14. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago



  15. Links 17/4/2019: Qt 5.12.3 Released, Ola Bini Arrested (Political Stunts)

    Links for the day



  16. Links 16/4/2019: CentOS Turns 15, Qt Creator 4.9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  17. GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

    A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a 'soft coup' whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in 'the cloud' (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren't remotely controlled (and limit what's run on them, using something like UEFI 'secure boot')



  18. Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF

    Restrictions on speech are said to have been spread and reached some of the most liberal circles, according to a credible veteran who opposes illiberal censorship



  19. Corporate Media Will Never Cover the EPO's Violations of the Law With Respect to Patent Scope

    The greed-driven gold rush for patents has resulted in a large pool of European Patents that have no legitimacy and are nowadays associated with low legal certainty; the media isn't interested in covering such a monumental disaster that poses a threat to the whole of Europe



  20. A Linux Foundation Run by People Who Reject Linux is Like a Children's Charity Whose Management Dislikes Children

    We remain concerned about the lack of commitment that the Linux Foundation has for Linux; much of the Linux Foundation's Board, for example, comes from hostile companies



  21. Links 15/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC5 and SolydXK Reviewed

    Links for the day



  22. Links 14/4/2019: Blender 2.80 Release Plan and Ducktype 1.0

    Links for the day



  23. 'Poor' (Multi-Millionaire) Novell CEO, Who Colluded With Steve Ballmer Against GNU/Linux, is Trying to Censor Techrights

    Novell’s last CEO, a former IBMer who just like IBM decided to leverage software patents against the competition (threatening loads of companies using "platoons of patent lawyers"), has decided that siccing lawyers at us would be a good idea



  24. Guest Post: The Linux Foundation (LF) is “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 2)

    Calls for papers (CfP) and who gets to assess what's presented or what's not presented is a lesser-explored aspect, especially in this age when large corporate sponsors get to indirectly run entire 'community' events



  25. Patent Maximalists Are Enabling Injustices and Frauds

    It's time to come to grips with the simple fact that extreme patent lenience causes society to suffer and is mostly beneficial to bad actors; for the patent profession to maintain a level of credibility and legitimacy it must reject the deplorable, condemnable zealots



  26. Further Decreasing Focus on Software Patents in the United States as They Barely Exist in Valid Form Anymore

    No headway made after almost 4 months of Iancu-led stunts; software patents remain largely dead and buried, so we’re moving on to other topics



  27. Links 13/4/2019: Wine 4.6 and Emacs 26.2 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Links 12/4/2019: Mesa 19.0.2, Rust 1.34.0 and Flatpak 1.3.2 Released

    Links for the day



  29. Caricature: EPO Standing Tall

    A reader's response to the EPO's tall claims and fluff from yesterday



  30. The EPO is Slipping Out of Control Again and It's Another Battistelli-Like Mess With Disregard for the Rule of Law and Patent Scope

    The banker in chief is just 'printing' or 'minting' lots and lots of patents, even clearly bogus ones that lack substance to back their perceived value


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts