In some Linux ‘parties’, Novell is less than welcome at this stage. At the same time, Microsoft makes every imaginable attempt to invade Linux parties. Microsoft is not a wanted guest. In fact, attendants complain, but the company sometimes sponsors these events, thus becoming the “Sugar Daddy” for the organisers who cannot turn Microsoft away.
This year’s FOSI was no exception. Both Novell and Microsoft attended. Unsurprisingly enough, it’s Novell which defends Microsoft presence. It is almost as though Microsoft is Novell’s ‘special guest’ there. Was it also invited?
Today, though the two approaches hold on to their principles, they see a need to co-exist. That was the strong message that emerged from this year’s Open Source Week India — one of the largest open source event held at Bangalore, started by Forum for Open Source Initiative in India (FOSI).
Surely, the presence of Microsoft, viewed as the chief proponent of proprietary model, in the event is the sign that times are changing. Sandeep Menon, Country Manager, Novell India, points to the collaboration his company has got with Microsoft that allows Windows and Suse Linux to become interoperable with Windows platform, particularly in enterprise segment. “A few years ago, any suggestion to this effect would have been laughed off,” said Sandeep.
Mind the fact that it’s Novell which speaks in favour of Microsoft. In case you forgot how Microsoft views Linux, watch this diagram from several weeks ago. In short, Microsoft wants to give GNU/Linux the boot (and that boot is shown on the left). Microsoft wants to replace Linux with Windows and ‘steal’ Free software projects so that they serve Microsoft’s proprietary cash cows atop a Microsoft stack.
Microsoft’s intentions are not good, but it bends backwards only to make you think so. Novell contributes to this illusion a lot. Remember what a Microsoft expert once said about Microsoft deceiving everyone, including its own partners and employees. █
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Several months ago it was made more evident that our language is carefully getting changed. For instance, copyright infringement is beginning to be called “piracy” in some mainstream press and the RIAA’s Dan Glickman even calls downloaders “criminals”, not just “thieves” or “pirates”. It is obvious why Microsoft chooses to call software patents "intellectual property" instead what they really are. The previous blog posts talked about the value of terminology and the impact it can have through subtle deception and connotation, even daemonisation.
In a long-lasting battle for this notion of anticompetitive intellectual monopolies that stifle open standards, Microsoft carries on with its plan and its strategy seems to be brainwas^H^H^H^H^H^Hducating children.
It’s not clear whether Microsoft’s statement to teen respondents — “When you do not follow these rules you are open to significant fines and possibly jail time” — is entirely accurate, particularly when teens under the age of 18 are involved. Emily Berger, an intellectual property fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is skeptical. “I think it’s being used as a scare tactic,” she said. “It’s a real stretch of the law to say it’s theoretically possible.”
Matt Asay, seeing this one particular report, adds:
Take, for example, its commitment to help teenagers understand the importance of respecting intellectual property (read: giving Microsoft more money). It just put out a survey showing that when kids understand the rules of copyright, they’re “less likely to download illegally.”
The one thing it didn’t explain to teens is why they should retrofit 20th-century copyright laws onto 21st-century realities. Digitization is a fact. The web is a fact. Intellectual property is not the same as real, tangible property, and should be treated and monetized differently.
This is marginally off-topic (copyright infringement), but the same type of perception battle is being used to convince authorities to approve software patents, pass DMCA laws and filter out torrents that are used to distribute GNU/Linux (among other things). If Microsoft is permitted to drive and police perception, especially when it comes to children, then the world is in trouble. Microsoft remain pretty close (yet intimate) with the RIAA and the MPAA. █
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Yesterday, The Register mentioned Microsoft latest name for their DRM technology. They call it ReadyPlay. You know, like it’s ready and it actually plays. Pretty much the opposite of DRM, isn’t it? They still try to hide the real nature of what they do using weaselish names.
“They still try to hide the real nature of what they do using weaselish names.”Microsoft does this perpetually. For similar reasons, shilling they have renamed “evangelism”, bribery is called “marketing help”, disablement is called “Genuine Advantage”, and computers that no longer trust their users fall under the “Trusted Computing” umbrella.
For similar reason, a closed format which includes binary streams was named Open XML. But it’s neither open, nor is it a a proper use of XML. A reader of ours, Pandu Rao, wrote about this back in December. Joining the same discussion is noooxml.org, which speaks about the naming issue.
We speak of “OOXML” for good reasons. Bad naming leads to real confusion. This applies also to ECMA International which submitted the superb format to ISO and recently added 2300 pages of change proposals/denials.
Sure, OOXML is not XML, it is a format said to be specified in XML as a meta language.
Docvert, which was mentioned here before, has just received some press coverage in ComputerWorld New Zealand.
The software is a web application which takes word processor files, such as Microsoft’s .doc, and converts them to Open Document Format and HTML
Georg Greve’s “converter hoax” article comes to mind here because there can never be a successful translation from OOXML to anything else. OOXML is an application (and an accompanying platform) rather than a standard, let alone a format.
Check out this newer analysis of an older Microsoft spin from the Philippines where OOXML was equated to “choice”.
On the other hand it is notable that the choice propaganda is just unilateral. Microsoft does not offer customers of their products to choose between ODF and OOXML.
As stated very recently (even two days ago), it’s the choice to have no choice at all. It’s choosing monopoly. █
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