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

10.07.07

Rebuttal to Rob Weir on a So-called ‘OpenDocument Format Civil War’

Posted in Formats, IBM, Interoperability, ISO, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard, SUN, Xandros at 9:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When a series of handshakes and exchanges of money leave the ‘little guy’ behind

Rob Weir of IBM has just posted a lengthy reply to concerns raised by Marbux and Gary Edwards (OpenDocument Foundation). There is so much to be said to not only complement but also correct Rob’s assessment, but here we shall only refer to the parts which are associated with Novell and the other relationships Microsoft has formed in order to combat ODF adoption and make ODF a second-class citizen. Rob says:

This comment manages to avoid confronting a heap of contrary facts. Microsoft supports the open source ODF Translator project on SourceForge. Sun has made their own ODF Plugin 1.1 for MS Office available for download. And Novell, along with helping with the Microsoft effort, has integrated that translator into their version of OpenOffice and has also started work on more powerful, next-generation support for OOXML. So these three companies are seeking to “limit ODF interoperability and usefulness”?

“Novell is guilty too because it accepted a lot of money to stifle — along with Microsoft — ODF adoption.”Yes, Rob, they are in sense (excluding Sun). Jump back to 2006 when ODF had tremendous attraction. Then, come to witness how Novell’s so-called endorsement (which was paid for), followed by more bought support from 3 other Linux companies (involving patent-tied extortion) changed some dynamics in the game. Come to realise that Microsoft is throwing its money all over the place to protect OOXML, which it claims is all about its financial interests. We are talking about tens of $billions here. it’s not about the consumer’s needs, but about Microsoft’s revenue.

Novell is guilty too because it accepted a lot of money to stifle — along with Microsoft — ODF adoption. The same applies to Linspire and Xandros. Let’s not even get started wiith that comment from a Novell VP about OOXML being a “superb standard.”. Never mind the fraudulent activity that fuels OOXML support… and let’s not forget how Microsoft has pressured people out of their jobs for ‘daring’ to support ODF and serve the needs of the citizens. This type of behavior possibly continues to this date.

Then, Rob says:

They sure have a clever way of disguising their intent. To the ordinary bystander, writing conversion and translation code to allow documents to be shared between OpenOffice and MS Office, would be seen as a pro-interoperability statement. But thanks to the OpenDocument Foundation’s in-depth sleuthing, we now know that the opposite is true. Not!

Microsoft was invited to properly support the international standard. Instead, it chose to ‘buy’ support for another route which leaves us in the same mess that ODF was intended to resolve. One single universal format is needed. It is needed. Until the proprietary one becomes deprecated, there is no chance whatsoever of achieving interoperability. Rob knows this. He even stressed this before. So why are so-called converters and manipulation in the ISO perceived as a route that can somehow be embraced? Time warp back to 2006… we were never supposed to be in this situation in the first place. It is exactly the same story when it comes to the Web and Samba. We wrote about this just hours ago and included examples. To an extent, the same goes for SOA and a variety of other attempted hijacks.

Rob proceeds:

Although I have serious doubts as to long-term technical feasibility of some of these endeavors, they do have the advantage of showing real, running code working with real, running applications. They may not claim 100% fidelity, but this is first-generation work and will undoubtedly improve. But they have an important advantage over the Foundation’s DaVinci Plugin in that these other efforts demonstrably exist. Given a choice, I’ll always take an open source version of partial fidelity convertor, with a reasonable architecture, over one that claims 100% fidelity, but that I can’t see or touch.

Stephane could probably say a lot more about the fidelity of such converters. We could probably say a lot more about licensing and patent mess that are involved. This is by no means a solution and it was never intended to end up like this. It seems like a very half-blinded view on this issue. And that’s just exactly the vista Microsoft wished people to have on this issue. Why be so easily fooled?

In a comment, I’ve expressed some more general thoughts about Rob’s item as a whole.

Spread ODF

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

8 Comments

  1. Rob Weir said,

    October 8, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Gravatar

    Hi Roy, Thanks for the rebuttal. I could always use a new butt.

    (Just kidding)

    From what I can tell, Novell is not simple. There are certainly elements within that seem to lust after Microsoft’s approval, but there are others who appear to be genuinely interested in creating a competitive, open source alternative to MS Office. I think there is room to both criticize the wisdom of some of the deals that have been made, while also encouraging those whose actions and statements are more enlightened.

    As with any company of non-trivial size, there are going to be different factions inside, pulling in different directions. What may appear as a uniform voice and long-term strategy may actually be the result of a clash of ideas, reaction to short term conditions and financial constraints. This is how I look at any company, whether Novell, Microsoft, Adobe or IBM for that matter. Is the public voice a consensus, or an uneasy, unstable balance of power that will change tomorrow? It is often hard to tell.

    So, although I think that Microsoft’s motivations in the interoperability space are less than genuine, I think Novell has taken the uneasy, ideologically impure route of working with the beast to extract as much technical info on MS file formats as they can. Time will tell whether Microsoft has taken advantage of Novell,or whether Novell has taken advantage of Microsoft in this matter. Maybe a bit of both?

    Certainly you are correct in scrutinizing the patent side of the conversion work. If this just becomes a back door way to push Microsoft IP into OpenOffice and Linux via Mono then I will not be pleased.

    In any case, Novell is engaged in interoperability and getting their hands dirty, working on both the standards side of it as well, both in the OASIS ODF TC as well as the ODF Adoption TC. Compare this to the OpenDocument Foundation, which has taken an openly hostile stance on ODF, and has promised to fight against adoption of ODF 1.2 in ISO. So, for today at least, Novell is not my foremost worry.

    Thanks,

    -Rob

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 8, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Time will tell whether Microsoft has taken advantage of Novell,or whether Novell has taken advantage of Microsoft in this matter. Maybe a bit of both?

    I believe that the imbalance in payments speaks volumes, not just in Novell’s case. To Microsoft — this is slush funds. It achieved a lot by pulling Novell into this deal. See http://boycottnovell.com/2007/08/20/proxy-map/ .

    Certainly you are correct in scrutinizing the patent side of the conversion work. If this just becomes a back door way to push Microsoft IP into OpenOffice and Linux via Mono then I will not be pleased.

    I also fear that Novell’s forking of OOo is related to this, Simon Phipps said that it was more of a competitive issue, not a community issue. I suggest that you read:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2007/03/14/novell-openoffice/

    I firmly believe that Novell will build a version OOo which only Novell can use. Moonlight is a similar story because it cannot be packaged with anything other than SUSE.

    http://boycottnovell.com/2007/09/10/moonlight-only-novell/

    There is a lot more information that we could share, but hopefully these pointers, along with the cross references therein, serve a need.

    Thank you for your time, Rob.

  3. Serenitude said,

    October 8, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Gravatar

    In an interesting aside to another piece linked to in the article, I initially trusted Open Source, and then found Linux, through my positive experience with Open Office for Windows. I wonder how many others this is true for?

    On OOo and Moonlight, hasn’t Novell also said that any user of any distro will be free to download and use them? Although it’s a packaging lockout (and therefore anti-open-source by nature), individual users will still be able to use these packages, if I read the announcements correctly.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 8, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Gravatar

    These packages need to be downloaded via Novell, which is death to the idea of decentralisation (there are proprietary bits too, whose dissemination Microsoft can track via Novell).

    Additionally, Novell would probably claim that only its own customers have ‘protection’ for Mono — however meaningful that may actually be.

    http://boycottnovell.com/2007/10/01/novell-mono-patent/

  5. Robuka Kenderle said,

    October 9, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Gravatar

    Good stuff as always.

    >Microsoft is throwing its money all over the place to >protect OOXML,

    I was reading up on the european court case and the involvement of my new heroes Allison and Trigdell, the two guys from FSF europe and the italians lawyer and found out that Microsoft paid 3.8 BILLION dollars to buy out Sun, Real Networks and other companies so they would drop the case until all that was left was the Samba crew and european Free Software foudation. Instead of running roughshod over them, the Microsoft lawyers got their butts handed to them by developers in court.

    Microsoft has money to burn and there are always people willing to be bought (hi Novell), so it is no surprise that they are throwing money at OOXML problem.

    The Grateful Dead singer wrote:
    > I think Novell has taken the uneasy, ideologically impure > route of working with the beast to extract as much
    > technical info on MS file formats as they can.

    THAT is the VERY reason why I am extremely wary of a trojan horse unless Novell developers are planning to gouge their own eyes afterwards.
    I dont think I have to explain the concept of cleanroom implementations when applied to software development and the dangers this collaboration entails not for Novell but for all of us who Novell could care less about (Im one of those hobbyist referred to in the extortion deal they signed)

    BTW, interoperability is a red herring used by Microsoft to promote their deals. We all know that interoperability problems are mainly a one way street. Open source code is,.. well,.. open. The other code isnt.
    I hate when we parrot the line about making interoperability work as if the problem is from our side.

  6. chemicalscum said,

    October 9, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    Gravatar

    Moonlight Packages can mounted on servers outside the US to avoid legal threats the same way as for DeCSS and ffmpeg. It stinks but it is a work around and distributions can find ways of pointing to the repositories.

  7. JP said,

    October 10, 2007 at 2:29 am

    Gravatar

    I am more concerned about The OpenDocument Foundation having been bought out by Microsoft. It is a obvious target for Microsoft’s machinations. Why is is being allowed to use the OpenDocument trade mark?

  8. Bruce said,

    October 11, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Gravatar

    I wouldn’t take what anyone says as unbiased. Sun would like to reduce critiques of OOo to a problem of corporate rivalries. But I don’t think that’s the whole story, and that the calls for reform are bigger than that.

What Else is New


  1. Media Blasts EPO Over Immunity Amid Suicides, Battistelli's Behaviour Compared to Dominique Strauss-Kahn's

    Backlash in the Netherlands is growing again, primarily as a result of media reports about the EPO's abuses against basic rights and the government's reluctance to put an end to these abuses



  2. Hilarious: Battistelli Goes to Former French Colony With No Patents to 'Buy' the EPO a Perception of Legitimacy

    Having toured various banana republics in pursuit of easy-to-sign deals, Battistelli now goes to Cambodia again, in order to make it seem as though the EPO is conquering Asia



  3. Patent Trolls Like Finjan Holdings and Thomas Edison; the Latest Loss for Software Patents in the US and Their Move to China

    A look at the very latest patent news, which suggests further improvements in the US, pushback from the patent microcosm, and an outsourcing of a terrible system to Chinese territories, where the overpatenting plague grows rapidly



  4. Still Waiting for Official Confirmation That Michelle Lee Will Head the Patent Office Under Donald Trump's Administration

    As of today, there is still no official word on whether or not Lee continues her tenure, which saw the demise of patents on software and along with that the demise of patent trolls and frivolous litigation



  5. Links 23/1/2017: Wine Releases, Microsoft Layoffs

    Links for the day



  6. 'Reform' at the EPO Means Destroying the Staff Union, Crushing Patent Examiners, and Imposing on Europe a System It Does Not Want (UPC)

    The chaotic transition at the EPO -- a transition from something which has been workable to something intolerable -- and the role of the Unitary Patent (UPC), which lurks in the shadows and threatens to harm the whole of Europe



  7. Shakeup Against Patent Parasites in the US and More Rumours/Speculations About USPTO Director Michelle Lee After Trump's Inauguration

    The US patent system is becoming ever more hostile towards patent trolls, owing in part to reforms introduced under Michelle Lee's tenure, but people are still not certain that she will maintain her job and continue to fix the system



  8. EPO Abuses Now Make the Netherlands Look Like a Facilitator of Human/Labour Rights Abuses

    Rather than crack down on human rights abuses, the Dutch government now sends out the signal that it's an island for those wish to violate human rights whilst enjoying immunity (EPO)



  9. Links 20/1/2017: Docker 1.13, Linux 4.4.44 LTS

    Links for the day



  10. “Federal Circuit Had Affirmed on Every Issue in 77.4% of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Appeals it Had Seen” in 2016

    The Federal Circuit (CAFC) and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continue to squash a lot of patents on software, in contrast to that fake news from patent maximalists



  11. Kudelski Group Not Only Acts Like a Patent Troll But Also Run by Intellectual Ventures Person; Mobile Market in Dire State of Patent Armageddon

    The patent thicket which pervades everything that is used by billions of people, mobile technology in particular, can be traced back to a lot of non-practicing parasites (or patent trolls)



  12. Watchtroll and His Swamp Still Blame Google (Where Michelle Lee Came From) for Improving and Gradually Fixing Aspects of the US Patent System

    Shooting the messengers (even wrongly associating yours truly with Google) in an effort to undermine patent reform when it is so desperately needed due to serious injustices



  13. In an Age of Necessary Patent Reform and Permanent Uncertainty for Software Patents the Patent Microcosm Looks for Workarounds and Spin

    Commentary on the status quo in the Michelle Lee era and some examples of bias from the patent microcosm, as well as news regarding the NFL getting sued by the Kudelski Group



  14. Michelle Lee, USPTO Director, Should Recognise That the Patent Microcosm is Her Enemy Which Hates Her

    The latest outburst from the patent microcosm, which has a temper issue and notorious disdain for judges it does not agree with, is more of what we have come to expect



  15. Battistelli is an Autocrat Above the Law and It's OK, Holland's High Council Says

    Battistelli's autocratic tendencies will not be challenged by Dutch authorities, in spite of sheer condemnation from many groups all across Europe and the entire world



  16. Beware Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The UPC is dead, deadlocked, stuck, in a limbo and so on; those who claim otherwise are merely lobbying (in disguise of "analysis" or "news")



  17. Shame on MapR for Pursuing Software Patents While Pretending to Stand for Free/Open Source Software

    The patents gold rush sees another company joining the 'fun', albeit this company should campaign hard against software patents rather than pursue any



  18. Doomsday Scenario in the Back Mirror as Michelle Lee Keeps Her Job (and Much-Needed Patent Reform) at the USPTO

    The future of patent reform, i.e. tackling overpatenting and patent trolls, looks somewhat more promising with today's confirmation of Lee's 'extended tenure' at the Office



  19. Links 19/1/2017: PulseAudio 10.0, Linux 4.9 Longterm Kernel

    Links for the day



  20. Corporate (Wall Street) Media Agrees That Brexit Dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The nonstop lies or the fake news about the UPC starting "real soon now" don't quite pass a reality check or a basic assessment based on fundamental concepts, such as the UPC's facilitation of subordination (to Europe) in the United Kingdom



  21. Farce of an 'Independence' for the Boards of Appeal as Another Ally of Benoît Battistelli Enters as Parasite Inside the 'Overseer'/Host

    The latest cluster of lies from the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) and direct refutation of false claims of independence for the Boards of Appeal, where the former Vice-Presidents can flock, just like the Mini Minion (Minnoye) of Battistelli



  22. Links 18/1/2017: Red Hat's OpenShift 3.4, Mozilla's New Logo/Branding

    Links for the day



  23. Union-Busting Action by Team Battistelli Takes Heavy Toll, Techrights Will Continue to Expose EPO Injustices to the World

    The Staff Union of the European Patent Office, SUEPO, which faced unprecedented and probably illegal (based on local laws) attacks, is being weakened by the worst President ever, whose own management team seems to be collapsing along with the institution he is destroying in just a few years



  24. A Lot More Fake News About the UPC, Trying to Convince People That the UK is Ratifying (It's Not, It Cannot)

    Response to some of the latest misleading (self-serving) whispers about the fate of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is in a deadlock due to Brexit



  25. Rumours Suggest That EPO Management is Aware of Decline in Patent Quality and is Thus Actively Lying About it to the Media/Public

    Whenever Battistelli brags about patent quality he may be consciously and deliberately lying through his teeth if the latest rumours are correct



  26. Links 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

    Links for the day



  27. Resumption of EPO Propaganda ('Meet the President') Officially Starts Tomorrow

    Yet another one of these foolish 'Meet the President' stunts, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning



  28. Caricature: Battistelli's New Year's Resolution (More EPO Lies)

    The latest cartoon being circulated within the European Patent Office (EPO)



  29. Donald Trump Gives New Hope to Patent Aggressors and Patent Trolls

    Pessimism about the prospects of patent progress or patent reform in an age of staunchly pro-business Conservatives and glorification of protectionism



  30. More Fake News About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Based on Lobbying Tactics From Bristows UPC and the Preparatory Committee

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying has gotten so bad that it now infiltrates general media outlets, where people are asked to just blindly assume that the UPC is coming and is inevitable, even though it's clearly in a limbo and is unlikely to see the light of day


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