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. Links 26/4/2015: Debian 8, OpenMandriva Lx 3 Alpha, Mageia 5 RC

    Links for the day



  2. Links 25/4/2015: Debian LTS Plans, Turing Phone Runs Linux

    Links for the day



  3. Who Kills Yahoo? It's Microsoft, Not Yahoo!

    The media should blame Microsoft, not Marissa Mayer, for what's going on (and has been going on for 7 years) at Yahoo!



  4. EPO Management is Trying Hard to Appease Its Critics While Pushing Forth Unitary Patent Agenda

    The European Patent Office and European Commission promote the agenda of large multinational corporations (at the expense or European citizens) and critics are being kept at bay



  5. Real Patent Reform Will Not Come From Biggest Backers of GNU/Linux, Not Even Google

    A look at the 'new' Google, the company which is hoarding patents (2,566 last year alone) instead of fighting for reform



  6. Microsoft's Troll Intellectual Ventures Loses Software Patents

    Intellectual Ventures is bluffing with software patents, but this time around it doesn't get its way



  7. Links 24/4/2015: Ubuntu and Variants in the News, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1

    Links for the day



  8. Links 23/4/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 is Out, Debian 8.0 Out Very Soon

    Links for the day



  9. Links 22/4/2015: Fedora 22 Beta, Atlassian Acquires BlueJimp

    Links for the day



  10. The Dying Debate Over Patent Scope (Including Software Patents) Replaced by 'Trolls' (But Not the Biggest Ones)

    The corporate media and Web sites or people who are funded by large corporations have essentially suppressed any debate about issues in the patent granting process, thereby guarding software patents and preventing criticism of large corporations' power grab



  11. The Patents Gold Rush Continues

    The morbid obsession with monopolising mere ideas still dominates the media, even increasingly in China



  12. 9 Millionth US Patent Tells a Story of Failure and USPTO Misconduct

    The USPTO, much like FISA (notorious court for surveillance/espionage authorisation), has become a rubber-stamping operation rather than a patents examination centre, as new evidence and old evidence serve to show



  13. HBO Helps Shift Debate Over Patents to 'Trolls' (Scale), Not Scope

    More of that awkward shifting of the patent debate towards small actors who are misusing patents, not large conglomerates like Apple and Microsoft which use patents to destroy competitors, crush startups, drive up prices, and so on



  14. Software Patents Are Still Menacing to Free Software: OIN Expands Scope, HEVC Adds to MPEG-LA Burden/Tax, Google and Facebook Give in on Patents

    A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them



  15. The Latest Developments Around Microsoft's Clever Attack on Android/Linux

    Microsoft's campaign of destruction, extortion, etc. against the most widely used Linux-powered operating system is revisited in light of new reports



  16. The Microsoft 'Community' is Maligning the Free Software Community

    Dishonest generalisations and baseless deductions portray the Free/Open Source software communities as a nasty place that leads to poverty and despair



  17. Googlebombing 'Microsoft Open Source' Even When Microsoft Shuts Down Its 'Open Source' Proxy

    A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly 'Open Source' effort



  18. Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

    Links for the day



  19. Links 21/4/2015: Project Photon, Ubuntu Touch Buzz

    Links for the day



  20. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

    Microsoft's sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google's legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe



  21. Yahoo's Current CEO (Mayer, Formerly of Google) is Trying to End Yahoo! Status as Microsoft Proxy

    There are signs of relinquishing Microsoft's control over Yahoo! after Marissa Mayer worked to end the company's suicidal/abusive relationship with Steve Ballmer's Microsoft



  22. Repeating Microsoft's Lies Without Any Journalistic Assessment

    Poor fact-checking by relatively large media/news sites results in Microsoft's patently false claims being repeated uncritically



  23. Links 19/4/2015: New KaOS (2015.04), Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Pre1

    Links for the day



  24. Links 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft 'Open' Technologies Dumped

    Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named 'Open Tech') and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called 'experts' whose agenda is to sell proprietary software



  26. More Translations of French Article About the EPO

    German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available



  27. Links 17/4/2015: Wipro and the Netherlands Want FOSS

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft's Multi-Dimensional Assault on Android/Linux: Extortion, Lobbying of Regulators, and Bribes

    Microsoft's vicious war on Linux (and Android in its current incarnation) takes more sophisticated -- albeit illegal (as per the RICO Act) -- forms



  29. Microsoft's Plot to Associate Windows with 'Open Source' is Proving Effective, Despite Being Just a Big Lie

    A look at the latest headlines which can lead to a false perception that Microsoft is now in bed with 'Open Source'



  30. Microsoft Windows Remotely Crashed, Remotely Hijacked, But Still No Logo and No Branding for the Bugs

    Windows maintains its reputation as a back doors haven, but the media is still not highlighting the severity of this issue, instead focusing on accidental bugs in Free software, even very old (and already fixed) bugs


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