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. Rumour: EPO in Berlin the Next Casualty of Battistelli's 'Reform' (Organisational Suicide Plan)

    Months after we learned that a former staff representative in Berlin had been dismissed we come across an anonymous claim that Berlin's 'branch' of the EPO will be folded onto Munich's



  2. Caricature: the Maas App

    The failure of Maas to even bother with regulation of Battistelli (among others) earns him this cartoon



  3. Links 5/12/2016: Linux 4.9 RC 8, DeepMind as FOSS

    Links for the day



  4. Leaked: Battistelli Acknowledges Bunk 'Justice' in About 100 Cases at the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

    A look at Battistelli's response to the latest from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), exceptionally delivering two decisions at the very end of last month



  5. The UPC Scam Part V: Unitary Patent Regime a Fantasy of Patent Trolls

    "Good for trolls" is a good way to sum up the Unitary Patent, which would give litigators plenty of business (defendants and plaintiffs, plus commissions on high claims of damages) if it ever became a reality



  6. EPO at a Tipping Point: Battistelli Quarrelling With French Politicians, Administrative Council Urged to Act, Staff Unrest Peaking

    The latest messages about Battistelli's regime at the EPO, which faces growing opposition from more directions than ever before



  7. Quality of Patents at the EPO Dependent on the Appeal Boards When Battistelli Assesses Performance Using the Wrong 'Production' Yardstick

    A look at some recent articles regarding patent quality in the US and in Europe, in particular because of growing trouble at today's EPO, which marginalises the appeal boards



  8. Microsoft's Push for Software Patents Another Reminder That There is No 'New' Microsoft

    Microsoft's continued fascination with and participation in the effort to undermine Alice so as to make software patents, which the company uses to blackmail GNU/Linux vendors, widely acceptable and applicable again



  9. Links 5/12/2016: SparkyLinux 4.5 Released, Kondik Exits Cyanogen (Destroyed After Microsoft Deal)

    Links for the day



  10. Software Patents Continue Their Invalidation Process, But Patent Law Firms Try to Deny This in Order to Attract Misinformed (or Poorly-Informed) Clients

    A roundup of news about software patents and demonstration of the sheer bias in the media, which is mostly controlled or steered by the patent microcosm rather than actual inventors



  11. Patent Trolls of Microsoft and Ericsson Are Trying to Tax Everything, Especially Linux Devices

    An update on Intellectual Ventures and Unwired Planet, whose operations pose a growing problem for Free software and Linux-based products (e.g. Android)



  12. Asia's Patent Litigation Chaos Getting Worse, Reaching Countries in the West, and Sites Like IAM Actively Promote This

    The race to the bottom (of patent quality) in China, the growth of patent trolls in the region, and the ruinous litigation strategy which now spills over even to the US -- through the Eastern District of Texas -- and may inevitably come to Europe (especially if the UPC ever becomes a reality)



  13. More French Politicians Are Complaining That Benoît Battistelli is a Disgrace to France and Urge for Action

    The backlash against Battistelli spills well outside the EPO and is now apparent even at the French National Assembly



  14. Links 3/12/2016: Mageia 5.1 Released, Mozilla Revenue at $421.3M

    Links for the day



  15. Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) Sees Decline in Patent Applications and It May Actually be a Good Thing

    Challenging the false belief that the more patents society has the better off it will be, citing examples and news from north America



  16. Blockchain Domain Infested With Software Patents, MasterCard Among the Culprits

    Worrying signs that an area of Free/Open Source software innovation is getting impacted by the plague of software patents



  17. Dutch Media Covers Latest EPO Scandals, German Media Totally Absent (a Media Blackout of Convenience)

    Our observations regarding the apparent media disinterest in EPO scandals, especially at the very core of the EPO (principal host country)



  18. Relocating the Boards of Appeal to Haar is a Poisonous Priority at Battistelli's EPO

    Revisiting Battistelli's effort to chop off the appeal boards that are necessary for ensuring patent quality at the EPO



  19. Links 2/12/2016: Mint Betas, Chrome 55, KDevelop 5.0.3, PHP 7.1.0

    Links for the day



  20. The Rule of Law and Justice Don't Exist Inside the EPO, Confirms the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

    Further analysis of the latest rulings from the ILO -- decisions that were long expected



  21. A Day in the Life of... Battistelli's Banana Republic

    This is part 5 of a fictional diary from the EPO



  22. Links 1/12/2016: Devuan Beta, R3 Liberates Code

    Links for the day



  23. Two ILO Decisions on EPO Cases Are Released, at Least One Judgment is Considered Good for Staff

    Years later (as justice is too slow, partly because of the EPO, being the principal culprit that clogs up the ILO's tribunal system) there is a couple of new judgments about EPO abuses against staff



  24. Dutch and French Politicians Complain About the European Patent Office, British Media Coverage Regular Now

    Pressure from the political systems, the scientific community and from the media is growing, as it becomes abundantly apparent that the EPO cannot go on like this



  25. Links 30/11/2016: Git 2.11, GOG Surprise Tomorrow

    Links for the day



  26. The UPC Scam Part IV: Bumps Along the Road for UPC, With or Without the UK and Brexit

    A sobering reality check regarding the UPC, no matter what Lucy Neville-Rolfe says under pressure from Battistelli and some selfish law firms that are based in London



  27. The UPC Scam Part III: The “Patent Mafia”

    Bigwigs like Lucy Neville-Rolfe and Benoît Battistelli, together with Team UPC and its tiny minority interests (self enrichment), are conspiring to hijack the laws of Europe, doing so across many national borders with unique and locally-steered patent policy in one fell swoop



  28. The UPC Scam Part II: The Patent Echo Chamber at Work, Prematurely Congratulating Itself in Its 'News' Sites





  29. The UPC Scam Part I: EPO-Bribed Media Outlets Lie to Brits (and to Europeans) About the UPC

    An introductory article in a multi-part series about UPC at times of Brexit and Lucy Neville-Rolfe's bizarre sellout to Battistelli



  30. European Public Service Union Asks EPO Administrative Council “to Re-establish the Rule of Law at the European Patent Office”

    The chinchillas of the Administrative Council are assertively asked to tackle the abusive management of the EPO, which gets condemned not only by CERN but also EPSU, which is working with the Dutch government to end lawlessness at the EPO


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