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

12.15.07

Office Open XML (OOXML): Software Patents, Briberies, Binaries, O/S-dependent Bits

Posted in ECMA, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Standard, Windows at 9:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we wrote about patent traps in OOXML. To illustrate the severity of this issue, consider the following OOXML (Office Open XML) patent. Its description is: Word-processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML. Here is the abstract:

A word processor including a native XML file format is provided. The well formed XML file fully represents the word-processor document, and fully supports 100% of word-processor’s rich formatting. There are no feature losses when saving the word-processor documents as XML. A published XSD file defines all the rules behind the word-processor’s XML file format. Hints may be provided within the XML associated files providing applications that understand XML a shortcut to understanding some of the features provided by the word-processor. The word-processing document is stored in a single XML file. Additionally, manipulation of word-processing documents may be done on computing devices that do not include the word-processor itself.

So, it would seem as though a fundamental part of OOXML is patented. Although Microsoft has made a pledge not to sue those using or implementing OOXML (with contradictions in deed), in order to implement this properly, it would have to function similarly to Microsoft Office 2007. Then, this particular patent would come into play: US7257772 (B1) [PDF]. As stated several times before, there is plenty of information about patent threats that Microsoft won’t talk about. It’s actually much worse. Consider many of the deficiencies and dead ends that are hidden somewhere among 6,000+ pages of poor specifications. For example, have a look at this comment that was posted by Andrew Mason a couple of weeks ago:

For OOXML to become a standard it is unacceptable to have OS dependant binary formats.

Here is another example:

Just-fix-it; however, there is an underlying problem here — the proposal is intimately tied to a particular implementation (by MS), and is impossible to implement, or even describe, without reference to it.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the headsup on these.

This brings us to Novell. There will never be trust as long as a Vice President of theirs continues to push for acceptance of OOXML. Microsoft will continue to use Novell as ‘proof’ that OOXML is accepted by Free software users and developers. Miguel de Icaza, for example, rebuts those who advocate truly free and open standards. Stephane Rodriguez had this to say some months ago:

As for Miguel’s pseudo-rebuttal, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself two things :

1) Can you rebutt real examples? I think you can rebutt statements like “we are open and transparent”, but I don’t think you can rebutt real examples.

2) Miguel works for Microsoft (he thinks it’s a pride not to be officially on MS payroll, nevermind the bulk of Novell revenues are a direct influx from MS). But can you guess the retaliation if he said anything negative about this stuff? You have to admit it, he’s got no freedom in speech in that very area, plus Microsoft is using him as a tool to break the open source community apart.

As stated on numerous occasions in the past, Novell helps OOXML (it must) and it is therefore a threat to OpenDocument format. OOXML is just a tool for fighting ODF. It’s the same proprietary (and partly binary) format restructured. Its only momentum comes from briberies and other means of manipulation. Some of this manipulation is well documented, unlike OOXML which is not.

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

10 Comments

  1. Robert said,

    December 15, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Yet despite Microsoft pledges, they continue filing patent applications related to XML. How can a company say they are “Opening” something, yet still pursue IP related to or for the purpose of extenting that “Opening”. In away, its negotiating in bad faith, and raises some doubt about thier sincerety: Here are some:

    PCT/US2006/034974
    PCT/US2007/001546
    PCT/US2006/046464
    PCT/US2006/043412
    PCT/US2006/036362
    PCT/US2006/021825

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 15, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    Gravatar

    Microsoft could (and almost definitely will) ‘extend’ that ECMA set of specifications and then issue patents relating to those extensions. It’s the same situation with Mono.

  3. Mickey said,

    December 16, 2007 at 6:23 am

    Gravatar

    On what basis do these patents cover OOXML, but not ODF, given both are XML wordprocessing formats?

  4. Heidegart Millnic said,

    December 16, 2007 at 6:26 am

    Gravatar

    Did you know that Red Hat also files patents? That by itself does mean little.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 16, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Gravatar

    Sun Microsystems and IBM have patents as well, but they are unlikely to assert them (defensive action aside). On the contrary, watch how Microsoft has resorted to what a Sun executive called ‘patent terrorism’. Microsoft even threatened OOo users.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 16, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Gravatar

    Heidegart,

    About Red Hat patent, see Mark Webbink’s video interview here.

    More broadly, about Linux patents, see this.

  7. Andre said,

    December 25, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Gravatar

    http://www.dis29500.org/fi-0005/

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 25, 2007 at 8:43 am

    Gravatar

    Thanks,

    I think I saw this comment some months ago. Other countries expressed similar concerns.

  9. Jeffrey said,

    January 9, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Gravatar

    Weirdly enough a lot of these patents could also apply to ODF and Microsoft can indeed use them against ODF implementations but not against OOXML implementations because of their reuirement to give up IP rights on standardising the format.
    So actually the patent rights of MS on XML based Office documents are far more dangerous when used against ODF implementations.
    Escpecially if OOXML beocmes an ISO standard there is little MS can do on OOXML with their patents. Existing standards case law shows that it is virtually impossible to claim IP rights on standards if the organisation was involved in the standardisation proces and did not invoke those rights at that time. So by putting OOXML up for ISO standardization and stating to give up IP rights via the OSP will give OOXML implementers a near rock solid confidence that the IP rights on the standard are free to be used no matter what.

    As far as extending the standard with propriety extensions goes. Those might theoretically be subject to IP rights but this would be much more the case if Microsoft were to extend ODF. This because ODF would need more propriety extensions to fit MS needs and because non of their existing IP rights are given up for ODF implementations anyways.

    Microsoft could easily extend ODF in such a way that OSS implementations would not be able to use it by for instance licensing the technology for free (for unfare competition requirement reasons) but in a way that is incompatible with GPL2 or GPL3.

    Microsoft adapting ODF (and thus nescesarily extending it to hold their technologies) could actually kill the format for open use by others and full interoperability.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Gravatar

    Jeffrey, Have a look at http://holloway.co.nz/can-other-vendors-implement-ooxml.html . Your arguments about patents are very easy to disagree with, using concrete proof. Bear in mind that Microsoft has a history of saber-rattling, even against OpenOffice.org users just 7-8 months ago. Steering away from .doc/.docx is therefore the best way to go.

What Else is New


  1. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  2. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  3. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  4. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  5. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  6. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  7. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  8. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  9. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  10. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  12. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  13. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  14. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  15. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  16. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  17. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  18. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  19. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  20. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  21. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  22. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  23. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  24. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  25. BlackBerry -- Like Microsoft Nokia -- Could be the Next Patent Proxy Troll

    BlackBerry is restructuring for patent assertion (i.e. trolling) in the wake of some alliances with Microsoft



  26. After Microsoft's Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

    The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich's lead



  27. Gates Foundation CFO Quits and Debate About Revolving Doors Recalled Amid Systematic and Shrewd Bribery of Public Officials

    More officials step out of the Gates Foundation and their destination is not known yet; Gates continues to corrupt the public sector with his money so as to increase personal gain at taxpayers' expense



  28. Links 19/8/2014: GNU/Linux Raves and Alternative to Proprietary Voice Chat

    Links for the day



  29. Links 18/8/2014: Linux 3.17 RC1, Escalation in Ferguson

    Links for the day



  30. Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

    Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software


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