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Bright Future Ahead for OpenOffice.org and ODF (Updated)

Posted in Formats, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard, SUN at 10:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OpenOffice.org — not to be confused with ODF, which is product- and vendor-independent

Since we mentioned IBM’s new involvement in OpenOffice.org we have said very little about it. In short, IBM will donate code, developers, and a variety of other things (let’s not forget a Big Name) to the project. This will make OpenOffice.org (along with ODF) more suitable for the enterprise. Here are a few new articles that can hopefully shed some light on the main points to take from this major development.

Ubuntu and Red Hat praise IBM as it joins OpenOffice.org community

One who has already joined the gang is Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu with which OpenOffice.org is distributed. He could hardly contain his enthusiasm telling us “We are excited about IBM joining Sun and other contributors to the OpenOffice.org community in pushing development of OpenOffice.org and the OpenDocument Format. We are firmly committed to help set, drive and promote open standards like the ODF world-wide to free all users from any dependency on single vendors and proprietary software. The OpenOffice.org community is showing that it is possible for large, competing companies to collaborate and deliver extraordinary value to all of their users.”

Scott Crenshaw, Red Hat’s Vice President of Enterprise Linux, agreed: “IBM continues to show their commitment to the proliferation of open-source software and we applaud them on joining the OpenOffice.org community. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with IBM as we work toward a common goal of bringing value to our customers and fostering the adoption of open standards and ODF.”

Remember that Red Hat has created some pages and artwork that support ODF. Mark Shuttleworth and his foundation quietly fought against OOXML as well.

IBM Adds Lotus Notes Code To OpenOffice Project

The stakes are high as an increasing number of government and enterprise software buyers are insisting that the applications they purchase conform to internationally recognized standards.

IBM to give OpenOffice the Outlook e-mail killer it needs?

Has the Outlook killer for OpenOffice finally arrived?

OpenOffice is the most promising open source alternative to Microsoft Office that runs on most Linux distributions, Windows, Macintosh and BSD but to date it has lacked an integrated e-mail service such as the Outlook client that is integrated in Microsoft Office.

Why OpenOffice Needs IBM

Contributing to an open source Outlook effort would help IBM, OpenOffice, and all of us in search of a great PIM-Email-Address Book solution.

Touch of button opens up IBM open source technologies

The syndication tool allows users to access a wide range of open source technologies across a variety of topics including Web 2.0 technologies, game development and Web innovation through a web site called IBM developerWorks.

Office software shootout: OpenOffice.org Writer vs. Micosoft Word, round three

As in the previous two comparisons, Writer emerged as the winner in the majority of categories. However, in many categories, the decision is not as obvious as in previous comparisons. For the first time in several releases, Word’s designers seem to be making significant changes. These changes are not always successful — in fact, the reordering of menus into ribbons might be seen by the cynical as an attempt to hide some long-term embarrassments, such as the ongoing problems with master documents. But at least the effort is being made. Writer, by contrast, seems to be standing still, and some of its problems — notably, cross-references — are almost as long-neglected as some of Word’s.

As free software, Writer has advantages that Word is unlikely to match — its philosophy, its price, its easy availability, and its frequent updates. However, speaking only in terms of functionality, Writer seems to be coasting a little on its reputation. If that continues, its superiority may be eroded, or dissolved altogether.

Bruce Byfield seems to have forgotten to mention the fact that OpenOffice.org also supports the international standard, whereas Microsoft Office does not. Stephen Walli argues that Microsoft will inevitably need to implement this important feature, which is ODF support.

Update: good news just in… Vietnam’s government has decided to adopt OpenOffice.org.

More than 20,000 computers from Party offices nationwide will switch to using OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office from early 2008.

Thailand did this recently as well, but only in part, i.e. a case of gradual uptake. We mentioned Vietnam’s take on OOXML not so long ago.

Later today, Microsoft and Sun will announce some form of yet-unspecified partnership. Take a guess.

Quote of the Day: Why the World is Better Off Without Software Patents

Posted in GPL, Patents at 10:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From Misus:

…the OIN patent pooling approach relies on the patent monopoly to work, since the potential threat of a patent infringement lawsuit is what induces third parties to enter into the OIN license (on the other hand, without the patent monopoly, there would be no reason for OIN to exist).


In other words, it’s similar to the situation that would exist in the absence of IP–without all the effort and waste to get a bunch of flaccid scraps of paper.

Even Microsoft understands that paper is an issue. Another project has just joined the GPLv3 club, which among many things, is a statement against the misuse of software patent.

Uncertain Future for Linspire’s Linux After Microsoft Deal?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft at 10:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Matt Hartley, who has been involved with the Linspire community for a while, wrote a nice piece that advises Linspire to fold its distribution and concentrate on its ‘bread and butter’ — CNR. CNR already has its own Web site.

You have an opportunity here to keep to Linspire’s original goal here, Larry. Make CNR the pivot factor that brings restricted codecs and software to Linux in an elective format through CNR. Purists will be appeased, since the distro itself is left alone by default and casual users will have the choice to expand on their Linux installation the way they see fit with CNR at the controls.

Linspire has, sadly enough, signed a pact with the same company that attacked it viciously over the years (also see this).

It has been a while since I last saw a Linspire headline, but amid internal issues, the chairman gets a lot of attention only when it comes to his new pet project. As Slashdot put it, Roberton is (to paraphrase) “of Linspire fame (of infamy, depending on your point of view)”.

Be aware that BoycottLinspire.com is still a registered domain. The company is just as guilty as Novell and should therefore be treated similarly. CNR should also be shunned because it keeps Linspire alive. Other people around the Web agree with this point of view, so it’s not a personal vendetta. I used to advocate the use of Linspire, just as any other Linux distribution. In retrospect, having left a large number of promotional Linspire posts and Web pages, there’s room for regret. A questionable friend turned into a foe.

Citation, Trackbacks, Talkback and Comment Policies Against BoycottNovell.com

Posted in Boycott Novell, Novell, Site News at 10:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Be aware that, for quite a long time, certain people were unable to link to BoycottNovell.com because their employer does not permit this. The same goes for backward citations and talkbacks/comments. I have actually seen comments being deleted from ZDNet because they contained a link to BoycottNovell.com. Those who are posting such comments had no affiliation with us at all. Likewise, sites such ZDNet refuse to let our trackbacks be shown. Ever!

Yesterday, in C|Net, Bruce Lowry (of Novell) threw some mud in our face as well. He criticised Matt Asay for linking to us and using us as an information source. If that is the case, then apparently, Novell tries to impose some type of a mental blacklist/embargo in the same way that SCO had Groklaw characterised as an anti-SCO site, which had it ignored by editors for years. They might try to justify and portray this as slander-for-slander. Be aware that Novell has its reasons to worry because we are among the top search results for “novell” (and still climbing). Many people who are looking for information about Novell products end up in our Web site, based on our logs.

“Does Novell have some sort of moral shield which Microsoft does not have?”Is Novell doing itself justice? Is it embracing a book-burning approach? I receive E-mails from people who wish to link to this site, but cannot. Returning to Groklaw as an example, amid the rulings that are extremely damaging to SCO (they lied from the very start), who is eating humble pie? Who was right all along? In CNN, some of the slander carries on. SCO is said to have received “Linux-mob justice” (that was in yesterday’s ‘news’). InformationWeek, one of the backers of SCO’s side, has had ‘placements’ put to say that PJ is funded by IBM. It was a lie. Isn’t it truly terrible? That libel is still out there on the Web, so people can get confused. SCO used those media ‘placement’ to serve PJ with some legal harassment.

Maybe it’s matter of perspective, but don’t you find it dangerous that such suppression of speech exists? People are forbidden from expression of views and sharing of an analysis. A view that deviates from what is preferred by the media is seen as controversial and therefore ignored.

So, if there were sites to be named and shamed for censorship, ZDNet would be one of them. There are no obscenities, hate, or racism involved. It is a matter of a company being criticised, yet you do not see criticisms of Microsoft being broadly or selectively censored. Does Novell have some sort of moral shield which Microsoft does not have? If so, it should not. Novell is now working with a convicted monopoly abuser, it has betrayed the GPL, it has ‘backstabbed’ many developers, and it fueled FUD along with Microsoft. Novell deserves to join the ranks of those whose criticism is seen as acceptable.

As the “About” page states, this is not a hate site. We explore the truth. Why should truth be ignored?

More Compelling Evidence of a Proxy Strategy

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Virtualisation, Xen at 9:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Our Novell apologists insisted that Microsoft had not really ‘hijacked’ XenSource (see comments), despite the overwhelming amounts of evidence which suggests otherwise. We can finally present yet more evidence, just in case it’s unclear what Microsoft was up to from the start. Fresh from the newsdesk:

Microsoft, Citrix To Extend Virtualization Alliance

Today at VMworld 2007, Microsoft Corp. and Citrix Systems Inc. announced that they have strengthened their longtime integration alliance in the desktop and application delivery market by standardizing on the Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format as a common runtime environment for both virtualized operating systems and applications.

Citrix and Microsoft make nice at VMWorld

For those wondering how Microsoft partner Citrix’s purchase of open-source vendor XenSource would affect Citrix’s relationship with Microsoft, the September 11 announcement involving the two does little to answer that question.

Novell, like XenSource, came under Microsoft’s control. The proxy strategy is illustrated diagrammatically in this mindmap, which has become more complex and extensive since it was put together (it requires updating). There is also the strong suspicion that Microsoft has recently pulled an SCO/Baystar in its fight against Blu-ray. Watch the proxies and always follow the money. Novell received over $300 million for what you ought to expect Novell to pay for. It’s no mistake. There was a strategy there, and Novell sold out.

Related articles:

Novell’s Latest Delay is OES

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell at 9:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Could it be developer unrest?

On Saturday we mentioned Novell’s new OES, which was bound to go purely Linux. The “delay” disease must be infectious because Novell, just like its sister Microsoft, will fail to deliver a project on schedule. There is no set date yet.

Open Enterprise Server Not Launching September 26


Exactly when OES 2 will come to market is not known. The LinuxWorld Conference is being hosted in London, England, on October 23 and 24, if Novell wants to hang the launch on an event. Time will tell.

Shuttleworth Foundation Denounces a Novell VP’s ”Superb Standard”

Posted in Bill Gates, Interoperability, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, Standard, Ubuntu at 9:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And these are the people who take Novell’s technical lead…

Miguel de Icaza continues to face scrutiny after he was (once again) ‘caught’ praising Microsoft’s lock-in strategy. Needless to say, the Free software community is astounded.

Come on, Miguel! Please tell us this is not what you said. This must be a forgery. Google must have f+cked up with its archive. Microsoft hackers must have cracked the hosting server. Or your email account, and they posted under your name. Or you didn’t mean it. You had a terrible headache that Wednesday night. You thought it’s April Fool’s Day, and it was a good joke. You just wanted to test if it gets noticed.

Whatever. Just tell us that it is not what you really think about OOXML.

“…de Icaza insisted that OOXML is ‘superb’”It seems to be a reader of Boycott Novell that brought this comment to many people’s attention a couple of days ago. It made Slashdot after it was put up in Groklaw News Picks and Boycott Novell made the front page of Digg. In case you missed it, de Icaza insisted that OOXML is ‘superb’. Ironically enough, here you have a major Novell persona defending the very same thing that strives to destroy the competition and antagonises Novell’s goals in the enterprise. Even some senior Microsoft employees and OOXML backers admitted that OOXML was flawed and needed further work (albeit they said this only towards the end and just before the final vote, amid a lot of corruption). These admissions included Microsoft’s Brian Jones and Even Rick Jelliffe (the guy whom Microsoft paid to edit Wikipedia). But not a Novell VP…

Miguel posted a followup in Slashdot. There was no retraction of the initial statement. He tried to distance himself from his association with Novell. This very busy thread in Slashdot is overall damaging because it reveals gross bias and can lead to alienation.

The Shuttleworth Foundation is meanwhile expressing its contentment with the ISO’s decision not to approve OOXML. This is not a surprise because Mark Shuttleworth has already called people to vote against OOXML. He did this gently in his personal blog.

The foundation cautioned, however, that the ruling made by ISO was tentative and OOXML could still be considered by ISO as part of a longer process.

“According to the Shuttleworth Foundation, this possibility represents a threat to access to information,” said Rens. “Multiple formats, especially proprietary formats, present an unnecessary barrier to access to knowledge. The Shuttleworth Foundation remains committed to defending the rights of South Africans in terms of easy access to information and wholly opposes Microsoft’s attempt to introduce a second XML document format standard.”

OOXML is part of Microsoft’s attempt to have control over the world’s information and continue to be the only choice for office suites. Here is a nice new quote:

But it would create a broader base of supported applications; simplify the lives of future archivists, historians and prosecutors; and not require users to choose between Microsoft and the rest of the world.

Ellison called a scenario such as this “Bill against the World”. And indeed, Bill Gates once spoke about his world domination aspirations? He has clearly worked hard to make OOXML a standard when the United States was bound to say “No”. Eventually it worked.

Bill Gates has reportedly been making phone calls to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Commerce to push the American National Standards Institute to ignore the votes of its advisory committees and vote “yes” on ISO standardizing Microsoft’s Open Office XML (OOXML) format, the one in competition with the OpenDocument Format (ODF) pushed by IBM and Sun.

Gates reportedly picked up the phone when the last INCITS ballot failed by one vote to support Microsoft.

In case you think that OOXML can be implemented by third parties, remind yourselves of the forgotten realities:

After all this work to make OOXML a formal, independent standard — a standard created and promoted by Microsoft, remember — Microsoft won’t agree to follow it.

More ISO Madness — Only Accepts Microsoft Word Files

Posted in Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, Standard at 8:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“This is truly an insult and a bruise to the ISO’s credibility.”The irregular behavior at the ISO continues. Hold your hats because this one’s a bit of a shocker. According to the following bit of text, the accumulation of comments in Microsoft Word format is no coincidence, accident, or choice made by the standards committees around the world. The ISO actually requests/demands that people use Microsoft Word (or an application capable of ‘emulating’/mimicking/backward-engineering Word’s proprietary formats). Isn’t that ironic? From a standards body voting on open standards…

Note: updated with the official ISO results except in the not yet clear “Cuban case” and the Lybian vote, finally submitted by post mail, because they decided not to accept the ISO imposition to send the comments in a deprecated, exclusive and proprietary “.doc” format.

This is truly an insult and a bruise to the ISO’s credibility. Pamela Jones, which is apparently unaware of this at this stage (she’ll know shortly), has the following to say:

The comments have been officially published, although as .doc files, sigh. Here’s the zip file to download). But I thought I’d make them available to you as HTML also, which is how the members got them to make sure everyone has access and because of my idea.

On Groklaw, you can help organise the comments on this pile of paper.

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