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 28/1/2015: Ubuntu Touch Windowed Mode, NVIDIA Linux Legacy Drivers Updated

    Links for the day



  2. Breaking: EPO Vice-President Željko Topić Loses Defamation Case in Croatia

    The EPO's notorious Vice-President, whose appointment at the EPO is still raising some alarming questions, has just lost his case in Croatia (one of many cases), motivating us to accelerate coverage about the persona known as Željko Topić



  3. Qualys Starts Self-Promotional FUD Campaign, Naming a Bug That Was Already Fixed 2 Years Ago and Distros Have Covered With Patches

    Responding to the media blitz which paints GNU/Linux as insecure despite the fact that bugs were evidently found and fixed



  4. The Openwashing of Microsoft is Now Threatening to Eliminate the Identity of Free Software

    More openwashing of Microsoft, including in the corporate media, shows just to what great an extent and how quickly the old "Microsoft Open Source" Big Lie grows feet



  5. Links 27/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Dell Precision With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft's Media Attack on Free Software and GNU/Linux

    Brainwash war is still being waged by Microsoft and its friends to convince people that Windows is universally dominant and that Microsoft is now part of the Free software world



  7. Microsoft Accounting Practices After Fire Again, After Previous Abuses and Book-Cooking

    After the infamous IRS brawl comes another confrontation between Microsoft and the SEC, which is unhappy with Microsoft for seemingly cooking the books again



  8. Links 26/1/2015: Debian 8.0 “Jessie” RC1, Linux Kernel 3.19 RC6

    Links for the day



  9. Links 25/1/2015: Android Wear 5.0, Tizen in Bangladesh

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: January 11th, 2015 – January 24th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  11. Links 24/1/2015: Zenwalk Linux Reviewed, Netrunner 14.1 Released

    Links for the day



  12. The Latest 'Microsoft is Open Source' Propaganda a Parade of Lies

    Microsoft myth makers continue their assault on what is objectively true and try to tell the public that Microsoft is a friend of "Open Source"



  13. Apple -- Like Microsoft -- Not Interested in the Security of Its Operating Systems

    Apple neglected to patch known security flaws in Mac OS X for no less than three months and only did something about that vector of intrusion when the public found out about it



  14. As Battistelli Breaks the Rules and Topić Silences Staff, New European Parliament Petition for Tackling the EPO's Abuses is Needed

    The neglected (by EPO) Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Parliament petition/complaint against the EPO's crooked management



  15. Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Manjaro 0.9-pre1

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft is Dying Due to Free Software, Tries to Infect GNU/Linux With .NET and to Infect Moodle in Schools With Microsoft Office and OOXML Lock-in

    'Free' drugs (a proprietary software analogy) the new strategy of Microsoft in its latest battle against Free software, especially in schools where choice is a rarity (if not an impossibility), with the premeditated intention of forming dependency/addiction among young people



  18. Microsoft Symptoms of a Dying Company: More Boosters Depart, Back Doors Revealed, Microsoft's Outlook Cracked

    Bad news for Microsoft shortly before the marketing extravaganza served to cover much of it up



  19. The Collapse of European Patent Office Management Culminates With Resignations

    No blood is spilled, but even the management of the EPO is falling apart as the Director of Internal Communication is said to have just resigned



  20. New LCA Talk: Open Invention Network's Deb Nicholson on Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Deb Nicholson's LCA talk is now publicly accessible



  21. Links 22/1/2015: GNU/Linux Sysadmin Opportunities, TraceFS Introduced

    Links for the day



  22. Links 21/1/2015: Andrew Tridgell, Torvalds Being Baited

    Links for the day



  23. Vesna Stilin Renews Her Fight for Justice in Željko Topić Case (EPO VP)

    Željko Topić's abuses continue to cloud the legitimacy of the European Patent Office, in which he is a Vice-President



  24. Failure of the EPO Can Derail the Trojan Horse of Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Dazzled by his endless pursuit of infinite money and power, Battistelli pushes for expansion of patent scope (geographically too), but he won't have it without a challenge



  25. Links 20/1/2015: Linux 3.19 RC5, 30 Years of FSF

    Links for the day



  26. Translations of Member of the European Parliament Complaining About European Patent Office (EPO)

    French, German, Dutch, and English translations of the article from Dennis De Jong



  27. Microsoft, the Back Doors Company, is Gradually Dying and Trying to Embrace the Competition

    The world is leaving Microsoft's common carrier (Windows) behind, so Microsoft, which is shrinking, tries to conquer Free software and GNU/Linux



  28. Battistelli's Latest Propaganda War Tries to Convince EPO Staff That Željko Topić's Many Criminal Charges Don't Exist

    Battistelli's right-hand man, Željko Topić, is now facing real danger of prosecution and possibly arrest in his home country, so Battistelli rushes to defend this thug's reputation



  29. Links 18/1/2015: Sailfish OS RoadMap, ownCloud Turns 5

    Links for the day



  30. Strategy of Litigation With Patents Has Collapsed Since SCOTUS Ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank

    The latest figures from Lex Machina show a massive decrease (-18%) in patent litigation last month; lawyers look for ways to spin the data in their favour


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