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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.

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  1. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    September 11, 2007 at 11:12 pm


    To see Miguel calling me names in public (I dared criticize OOXML for what it really was) speaks volume how much Miguel De Microsoft has lost his magic touch.

    He won’t even admit his voice is not neutral on any subject touching Microsoft and that, if he criticized OOXML, the retaliation from Redmond (on his current work) would signal the end of his .NET adventure.

    Until then, he helps Microsoft with .NET

    That’s what we say about hypocrits, usually.

  2. Serenitude said,

    September 17, 2007 at 11:50 pm


    Mr. Icaza’s once open blog is now closed, members only ;) In other word, access to his uncalled for, hysterical flaming and handwaiving answers to the many polite questions asked of him on his blog are now unreadable to the general public. Not very sporting of him if he had nothing to hide ;)

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 18, 2007 at 2:33 am


    Well, this site ain’t closing. Any thoughts expressed here are here to stay.

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