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Quick Mention: OOXML/GNOME Podcast Finally Online, Text Summary Posted

Posted in Audio/Video, ECMA, Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Open XML, OSI at 11:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An article which summarises the recent podcast has just been published along with an IRC log and an MP3 file (no Ogg Vorbis apparently). As Bruce Byfield correctly points out, the session was calm, not hostile. That’s what ODF advocates wanted and gently asked for. ODF ‘civil wars’ harm everyone, as demonstrated by a certain Foundation. Here is the goal that united everyone, including Marbux, Edwards, and Hiser.

Both sides are clearly concerned with what’s best for free software, differing only in how they define their objective. That is a small point, but perhaps this realization can finally start to put the issue in perspective.

People have already expressed doubt or raised some question there. Although I rarely read comments, one of them questioned the credibility of my arguments, so I responded with evidence. Here is the gist of counter arguments, as summarised by reliable sources:

  • FFII: “Microsoft Office 2007 produces a special version of OOXML, not a file format which complies with the OOXML specification”
  • Jody Goldberg: “The binary blobs are in exactly the same format as the old binary formats. Michael [Meeks] and I cracked it a few years back (see libgsf, or OO.o). We can read and write it.”
  • From Sun blogs (about OpenOffice.org): “We are not working on export filters, that is, filters that save OOXML documents. ” No round-trip.

Personal attacks typically replace requests for facts and proof. All one has to do is ask for references, rather than shoot the messenger, which is easier and more convenient sometimes.

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  1. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    December 7, 2007 at 2:54 am


    Jody Goldberg needs to know better.

    When it comes to non-XML stuff, there is a ton of things to say that he does not even mention. I hope this is just because he has a plane to take or something like that. I would hate to learn that this is just ignorance.

    Let me just give a couple starting points.

    The new document environment encompasses non-XML stuff such as BIFF11+ and BIFF12. This is not XML stuff, and it even contradicts ECMA 376 and Microsoft claims about moving to XML. Obviously, if we take BIFF11+ and BIFF12, these are two new file formats, this also contradicts Jody’s statement that “these are the same”.

    As for “regular” undocumented binary pieces such as VBA macros, the file format itself is unchanged (and not part of Microsoft’s covenant not to sue btw), but it’s wrapped under a new container and, on the other hand, VBA macros now have explicit link attributes right within XML streams (GUID, codename, …) which did not exist at all in previous versions of the file format. Therefore, here again, Jody is proven wrong.

  2. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    December 7, 2007 at 2:57 am


    As for the podcast, I’ve found it of appalling quality. My only comment is that some of the intervenants sounded the same than Brian Jones and Doug Mahugh (both Microsoft employees) when those guys did a couple podcasts a while back. The tone, the view angle, the so-called benefits for everyone, not a single marketing point was missing.

    This confirms what I thought about the Deicazaification of otherwise intelligent persons.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 7, 2007 at 3:14 am


    I didn’t prepare for the podcast in any way (no intentions to). Based on feedback I’ve received (via E-mail), this may have been somewhat of a set-up. They tried this with somebody else who promptly declined. Regardless, I’d agree with you that the quality was poor.

    Be aware that I’m a 25-year-old and should by no means be perceived as a spokesman or representative for anything.The dispute involved Jeff and myself and shouldn’t be generalised and seen as something beyond this.

    In practice, the session didn’t have questions they had collected actually asked at all (people passed questions for them to ask Jeff). Instead, it was just some awkward silence with off-topic discussions and rambling. Jeff didn’t even go on the air until about 15 minutes after the start. As people have said in some places, this was unorganised. Oh, and don’t get me started about those stalkers from USENET sticking their personal insults in various places around the podcast. It’s the usual character assassination which they also do in Digg. I recognise these people easily.

    I haven’t read the text of articles carefully, but I knew from the start that Bruce Byfield is somewhat of a friend of Jeff (they corresponded before). Some would try calling it a set-up (I don’t really believe this personally), but being silent would not have achieved much either.

  4. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    December 7, 2007 at 4:23 am


    To wrap up on the podcast, I would say that almost no question was asked and allowed to be answered anyway. The one I would like to get an answer : how does it feel for a so-called open-source group such as Gnome to be Microsoft best friends? So far, Microsoft has got all the marketing PR they wanted from “open-source” groups that are remarkably compatible with Microsoft minds. Again, I think those guys are just Microsoft persons who take a pride not to be on their payroll. (DeIcaza told me in the past that he’s rich).

    The podcast was mostly politically correct, and is therefore useless to shed a light on Gnome/Novell/Goldberg actual doings and intentions. (not that you will get them to admit openly what they are doing anyway).

    DeIcaza took the role of Brian Jones, the technical person. (technical person who concentrates on never answering the good questions)
    JeffWaugh took the role of Doug Mahugh, the evangelist (communicates well, uses politics for cover)

  5. Hmmm said,

    December 7, 2007 at 12:39 pm


    I find it amusing that you guys get so upset when people use personal attacks against you, yet you do the same every day to Jody Goldberg, Miguel de Icaza, Microsoft employees, and now Bruce Byfield.

    Treat others the same as you’d have them treat you.

  6. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    December 7, 2007 at 12:54 pm


    Personal attacks? Those guys have become the Canada Dry of open-source. What’s wrong with calling them for what they are doing?

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 7, 2007 at 1:24 pm


    I find it amusing that you guys get so upset when people use personal attacks against you

    When I talk about personal attacks, I typically talk about:

    • Outright libel. Examples include: Roy is castrated, Roy is gay, Roy has a criminal record, Roy molests children, etc. – some of that slanderous stuff is being posted to forums by people who even fake my own identity (pretending to post as myself). It’s character assassination based upon bald-face lies and ‘placements’ of these lies in the Web.
    • Throwing the baby out with the bathwater. On numerous occasions, people have nitpicked and found inaccurate bits in one (or more) among ~1,600 posts. This happens not only here, but in other sites as well. Everyone makes a few mistakes sometimes, but rarely is it deliberate (if ever). These cases of nitpicking were used to assassinate one’s credibility. This type of personal attack targets the messenger also.

    Have we used any such tactics/arguments to discredit the work of the individuals above? Have we merely spoken about their affiliations and attitude towards certain technologies? Have we quoted them selectively to isolate evidence?

  8. Victor Soliz said,

    December 8, 2007 at 8:07 am


    I say we begin to call OOXML what it really stands for “Optionally open XML” instead of “Open office XML” it is a name that explains the truth about its openness and avoids any confusion.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 8, 2007 at 1:55 pm


    The problem with using such names is similar to the problem posed by use of words like WIndoze and M$. People no longer take your words seriously because they assume a criticism is driven by blind hate.

  10. Charlie said,

    March 23, 2008 at 12:17 pm


    Miguel de Icaza is a shame to the open source community and a massive traitor. He is a brilliant man indeed, but he is more concerned about his little fragile ego and to conceal his sexual orientation and his past, rather than being commited with the open source movement. Everyone who knows him from his early life in Mexico City and the UNAM knows that during his career he has lied in numerous ocassions to preservate the image we wants to give, the one of a cool hacker with a pretty wife and a nice upbringing and brilliant parents. He wrote his own Wikipedia profiles. Both of them. And submited himself to IMBD. He is a lier and an egomaniac and should not be trusted.

    Brilliant man, but so positively, absolutely 100% gay.

    One of his other lies: his dad is not a Physic nor his mother a Biologyst. His dad is a not so brilliant math professor, and his mother remains until present day in a mental institution.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 23, 2008 at 12:44 pm


    Charlie, I don’t think personal attacks are quite so appropriate. Let’s discuss a man’s deeds, not a man’s family. Please.

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