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


OOXML Sins and “Charity” Against GNU/Linux

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Open XML at 11:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we carried on a discussion about the use of so-called “charity” to starve or eliminate one’s competition. We also mentioned what seemed like a strategic donation aimed at affecting a vote on OOXML. Two days ago we mentioned Microsoft's voyage to Europe, which includes Bill Gates and a Microsoft pet analyst, Gartner. It happens to have a lot to do with OOXML, so the following new article struck a nerve.

But the final ISO vote, scheduled to conclude March 31, could take place under a cloud for Microsoft, which finds its business under renewed attack. European antitrust officials opened an investigation last week into whether Office Open XML, which the company said would be compatible with all rival document formats, is truly open and can work freely with competing formats…


Lobbying of ISO delegates by Microsoft and its rivals has been fierce before the final round of voting.

Microsoft’s co-founder, Bill Gates, planned to speak Wednesday to 403 European government representatives attending the Berlin conference, where he also planned to announce that the company was helping finance a new computing center in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The center will work to create and upgrade government Web portals on the Balkan peninsula.

The article moves on to explaining the role of such gestures. It’s a case of trying to show goodwill while at the same time promoting an agenda of that keeps Linux away and helps OOXML. Make no mistake. These are not coincidences. Microsoft realised that it loses popularity in Europe, so it responds in a variety of questionable ways. Speaking of OOXML, our suspicion was correct and the Foundation is at it again. Hiser et al continue to poison journalists’ minds.

OOXML data vacuum

Early Signs That Geneva’s BRM on OOXML Cannot be Trusted

Posted in Deception, ECMA, Europe, Formats, Microsoft, Open XML at 11:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

That who sets the rules wins the game

We have already seen and pointed out many irregularities in Geneva’s Ballot Resolution Meeting, which is supposed to address the thousands of issues raised with regards to OOXML. Examples include the fact that Microsoft itself will respresent entire nations such as Portugal and Ireland. It rarely gets as ridiculous as this. You have to shake your head and remind yourself that even worse irregularities such as bribes have already been seen and documented but never reported in Microsoft-associated media. Most people know nothing about this.

There is more about the BRM in the following blog posting which says that “Microsoft wants National Bodies to wear blinders”.

I’ve participated in many standards meetings. Never have I seen issues being segregated by their origin. Once issues are raised they all end up in the same pool for everybody to consider, regardless of their origin. And then when a resolution is proposed everybody gets to express his or her opinion on it, not just the people who raised the issue. This is simply because everybody’s interest is in the standard as a whole, not just particular sections of it.

The fact that it’s an impossible task for countries to merely read about all the issues that were raised and their associated proposed dispositions only proves, once more, that the fast track process is totally inappropriate for OOXML.

What the posting seems to suggest — although it’s too short to profoundly address the core issue — is that the entire rendezvous in Geneva is set up in such a way so that Microsoft wins either way. The deck of cards has already been fixed, accompanies by the media blitz. The following newly-raised concern too seems to suggest that the process will be ineffective if its purpose is to address burning questions and scrutinise the candidate.

In my last post I mentioned how the BRM could get through the “straightforward” issues by discussing them quickly in batches. Following feedback on this, and further thought, I am tending towards a more radical plan: not discussing these “easy” issues at all, but instead deferring them to ballot papers that NB delegations can complete “off line” so that valuable session time is not consumed considering missing commas and the like. This leaves the sessions clear to discuss more important matters.

If you expect fair treatment in Geneva, think again. There are too many signs that someone up above sets the rules. See [1, 2].

Xen is Citrix and Cirtix is Microsoft (Open Source Hijack)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Virtualisation, Windows, Xen at 11:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How Microsoft used its close partner to fight Red Hat and VMWare

A couple of days ago we explained how Microsoft grabs 'pieces' of its competition through acquisitions. We also alluded to the fact that Microsoft will try 'pulling a Netscape' on VMWare. It is all part of continued coverage of what seems like a Microsoft acquisition-by-proxy of XenSource, which several GNU/Linux distributions depend on. We have presented more than enough evidence over the past few months (be sure to read it if you remain unconvinced). There is some more recent news coverage that backs this assertion as well.

Remember that Citrix virtualisation is all about Xen and mind new bits of information such as the following:

Microsoft Corp. and Citrix Systems said they have expanded their alliance to deliver and market joint virtualization products with Windows Server 2008.

It is rather amazing how Microsoft can simply buy its threats and do so by proxy. The Federal Trade Commission cannot stop this or conduct a probe. Money talks.

“…a Microsoft General Manager took a high role at XenSource, so it was almost a case of Microsoft occupying the internals (including decision-making roles) in a company that used to be its threat.”XenSource has actually been in Microsoft’s pocket for quite some time. This began materialising since they signed a deal and shortly afterwards Xen came over to reside in the vicinity of the Microsoft campus (Redmond, WA). To say more, a Microsoft General Manager took a high role at XenSource, so it was almost a case of Microsoft occupying the internals (including decision-making roles) in a company that used to be its threat. Remember the “keep your enemy close” mantra? That’s what it’s all about. Now watch how close the companies have become. Here is another new headline:

Microsoft, Citrix to Deliver Virtualization

As you can see, they have become a pair and they are united against Microsoft’s threats. Citrix depends on Microsoft and on Windows, so it will defend the very same territories. As the following article from TheStreet.com puts it, there is a symbiotic relationship there.

Citrix completed the acquisition of open source virtualization developer XenSource about halfway through the quarter. It added $2 million to Citrix revenue. XenSource is expected to generate $50 million in revenue for 2008 and about $50 million to $60 million in expenses.

For 2009, XenSource is expected to contribute $200 million to the top line. The bulk of that will come from its server products, CEO Mark Templeton said. XenSource desktop virtualization products will initially be used in corporate pilot programs.

“We think we can build in the server virtualization market the same kind of symbiotic relationship with Microsoft that we had with [the Citrix] Presentation Server,” which works atop Windows Server, Templeton said. “We’ll be the third player in server virtualization” after VMware and partner Microsoft.

The main point for bringing this up is not only the Novell deal. Remember that some of Novell’s legacy programs rely on Windows. Also remember that Novell depends on Xen to a great degree, but XenSource is now Citrix, which works to serve Microsoft’s interests. But the main point to make here is that Microsoft has explicitly mentioned plans to acquire many companies, including open source software. These plans are already becoming a reality, yet sometimes it is hard to see. It is a case of “if you can’t beat them, buy them.” If done under the radar of critics, then all the better.

Microsoft and Novell Pull Another Netscape Using Silverlight, OOXML

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Windows at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell and Microsoft piss on GNU/Linux codebase

Two partners make Windows, IE and Office stronger

Background Story

While we’re concerned about Microsoft's Silverlight and Novell's Moonlight, there’s another burning trouble on the horizon. Microsoft is bound to unleash Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) some time in the near future and further integration with the operating system is to be expected. Only yesterday we mentioned the forcefeeding of IE7. A month ago we pondered the tricks that IE8 might have in store [1, 2] and some answers are now beginning to arrive.

First of all, Microsoft’s claim that IE8 passed the Acid2 test isn’t much of a noteworthy claim. Many people called it vapourware at the time, particularly because it came just days after Opera had filed for antitrust action (more recent articles on Europe are here). Web standards being ignored were among the allegations. Opera’s top gun has just published his perspective on the latest development:

What will happen when you type http://webstandards.org/acid2 in your freshly installed IE 8? Will Acid2 be displayed correctly when you hit the test button?

Microsoft has been asked that question, but it has not given an answer. I think that the company is considering three possible scenarios.

One scenario could be that IE 8 will require users or authors to “opt in” to support standards. For example, in order to render Acid2 correctly, users could be required to modify IE 8′s default settings. This breaks with the guidelines of the test, and IE 8 will therefore not pass in this scenario.

Consequences of a Broken Web

As Heise Online puts things, on the face it, developers will need to embed Microsoft Internet Explorer-specific tags inside their pages.

Internet Explorer 8 introduces new meta tag

The developers of Internet Explorer 8 around Chris Wilson have joined forces with the Web Standards Project (WaSP) to develop a new HTML header.

Great. Memories of {if {browser==containsSubString("Internet Explorer") then ...}} blocks (consider this pseudo-code) return to mind. What makes this more outrageous is the fact that we already know how Microsoft messed up Web standards (deliberately!). Proprietary ‘litter’ remains standing to this date. According to another long article on this matter, there is another way to look at the situation. The way it puts it, Microsoft’s programmers could actually be punishing themselves at the moment.

Microsoft have got themselves into this mess by their own misguided strategy. By promising backwards compatibility, they’ve compromised the future direction of the browser. They’ve compromised Internet Explorer’s capability of challenging Firefox in any meaningful way.

It Happens All Over Again

Two strings of questions to ask ourselves are these:

  1. Can OOXML be trusted? Will it preserve backward compatibility? Although it cannot be implemented by anyone but Microsoft, will it at least honour competition?
  2. Can Silverlight be trusted? How will be it be extended? Will there be an implementation other than the one/s from Microsoft and Novell? Will Microsoft be interested in making Moonlight incompatible if desktop Linux became as widespread as Firefox (or even Netscape in its early days)?

If we refuse to ask the questions about and address the issue, then we’re entering the very same trap that some of us managed to escape when Mozilla Firefox gained traction.

As a side note, it’s worth adding that Sun is currently collaborating with Adobe to ensure better Flash compatibility. The Register wrote about this yesterday.

James Gosling, Sun vice president and fellow, told Register Developer that Sun is working to ensure interoperability – rather than provide its own design tools.

“We are putting a lot of effort into interoperability with the Adobe tools – a lot of the Adobe tools are wired into the neurons of the artists of the world,” he said. “We are not trying to be a completely isolated island that has all the tools for everybody.”

Take-home Message

Microsoft may be trying to address the trouble which it introduced about a decade ago. At the same time, Microsoft introduces new problems using its ‘(X)HTML replacement’ called Silverlight. It also pretends to be standardising its document formats, but nothing truly changed. Corrupted voters, some of whom are paid puppets (including Novell) are used to put an "Open" label on proprietary formats. Silverlight and OOXML are tomorrow’s ActiveX and DirectX. There are also things like Sharepoint and XPS to consider here, but that’s worthy of a separate post.

Related articles:

Quick Mention: Is Microsoft Begging for Another Antitrust Slap?

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 2:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watch this latest scoop.

Microsoft memo: Windows 7 and Windows Live to be even more tightly joined at the hip


But it’s all about the future of Windows Live — and how Microsoft’s family of Windows-complementary services are going to get a lot more cozy with Windows and Internet Explorer.

If you take a quick glimpse at the links at the bottom, you will find that none of this is particularly new. Nonetheless, it’s anti-competitive and there will probably be lawsuits over this in the future. Companies like Google suffer in this case, not just Web services other and applications. As Google ought to have discovered by now, the Department of Justice won't help here. The same type of tricks (bundling – integration – compatibility – exclusion) apply to other areas such as Web browsers and virtualisation. More on this topic in the next post…

Related articles:

Connecting the dots on Windows 7

I would have asked one more follow up: Was Gates hinting that Microsoft will build more of its currently standalone Windows Live services right into the operating system?

Where Should Vendors Stick Their Services?

Wondering if you noticed the news over at Microsoft Watch this week that Microsoft has done what many considered inevitable: Started using Windows as a way to hawk Windows Live Services?

It’s not too surprising to me that Microsoft is splashing all over its Welcome to Vista screen (at least in one of the latest Vista test builds, No. 5506) promotional links, inviting users to download Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live OneCare, Windows Live Mail Desktop, and more. But I was surprised the Redmondians would be so bold as to actually embed Windows Live Messenger into Vista. After all the antitrust lawsuits Microsoft has been slapped with here, there and everywhere — many of which have focused on its “innovative integration” (a k a, bundling) strategies, you’d think they’d be a little more cautious.

With the actual Windows Live Messenger code (not just a download link) being integrated right into Vista, I think Microsoft might be really going out on a limb. When backed into a corner before about its integration strategy, Microsoft’s defense was that removing any of the integrated components (Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, etc.) would break the OS. But if Vista test builds have been working just fine (well, middling, maybe, based on some not-so-happy tester comments) without Windows Live Messenger, how can Microsoft make a case for it being part of Windows?

Microsoft broke anti-trust agreement,’ prosecutors claim

It’s claimed Microsoft’s engineers used at least 500 undocumented APIs to ensure Microsoft’s applications worked better with Windows than those of competitors.

Microsoft rivals file second European complaint

…Microsoft was preventing access to Vista’s programming interfaces and hindering the development of compatible products, thus repeating anti-competitive violations the commission had identified three years ago in a previous operating system.

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 Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts