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Beware the OOXML AstroTurfer: “The Wraith”, “multivac1”, “hAl”, Among Other Nyms

Posted in FUD, IBM, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 11:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Analysts: Analysts sell out – that’s their business model But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”


The previous post spoke about smears targeting individuals, not just competition in the technical sense. This post can be considered a separate followup.

We previously gave many examples of cases where Microsoft is caught paying bloggers, independent individual and even experts to promote Microsoft and attack its competition. This is far from new and Microsoft strategises on such dirty tactics, by its very own admission.

As far as OOXML goes, Microsoft does this too. It is no exception. For instance, we have already seen the company paying experts to edit Wikipedia in Microsoft’s (and OOXML’s) favour. This is more than an isolated incident. It’s very systematic and there are references that cohesively make a very compelling proof of this.

“On the Internet, these forces which he refers to are almost always anonymous (arbitrary name/pseudonym). It is a case of isomorphism (nymshifting) — and often enough they use Web proxies to cover their traces.”Smear campaigns are secretly run against individuals that make Microsoft a little bit nervous. Approximately a year ago, a journalist was accidentally sent a dossier which Microsoft had collected about him for a long time. Microsoft spies on people. It collects intelligence, by its own admission. Further, the journalist argued openly that whenever he writes about Microsoft, many forces are quietly aligned against him. On the Internet, these forces which he refers to are almost always anonymous (arbitrary name/pseudonym). It is a case of isomorphism (nymshifting) — and often enough they use Web proxies to cover their traces.

The title of this post contains a variation — in terms of names — of what seems to be one single individual who assaulted Groklaw with endless anti-ODF comments (before getting banned and then defended by Doug "OOXML is a Simple Matter of Commercial Interests!" Mahugh). That anonymous, pseudonymous character also started a blog called OoxmlHoaxes where IBM is attacked. Very mysterious. How does Doug know that person who has no public identity? Why is his/her blog being cited by anti-ODF and pro-OOXML posters in USENET? Using another new identity, “hAl”, the same person appears to be striking in other pro-ODF blogs as well, including ours. The messages are typically anti-ODF rather than defensive of OOXML, which is the issue at hand.

“How can we confirm that this is the same entity,” you ask? Based on the person’s postings, which are consistent. You can see the same message carried under different names from one site to another in a matter of minutes. All the messages appear to be the same person. Is this a “job application for OOXML evangelism”, to use a phrase that recently described the Burton Group's involvement? If so, why is it anonymous?

We have inquired to see what other ODF volunteers can make of it. Here is one response that was received promptly:

hAl has left several comments on my last post. He is a like Jeff Waugh, always wants to get the last comment in. My instinct tells me he definitely a paid shrill. When he cannot argue in favor of OOXML he attacks ODF. He also is always active on the OOXML Wiki page.

You referring to this site: http://ooxmlhoaxes.blogspot.com/ ?

I also trying to find out who is running this site: http://robweird.wordpress.com/ This one pisses me off…..

We should really put together a list of foes to standards, culture (copyrights) and programming (software patents). This is a broad and worrisome phenomenon. We already have a list of reporters with accompanying ranks of credibility.

Some people are motivated by good deeds. To some — money outdoes deeds. Speaking of which, the volunteers from Open Malaysia point out the latest work of the ODF Alliance on showing ODF’s facilitation for the disabled.

Does OOXML meet the accessibility needs of “persons with different abilities”? The ODF Alliance posted an Issue Brief, ODF’s Benchmark for Accessibility that discusses these questions.

Remember that Microsoft snubs the Muslim world with OOXML and also remember how it used accessibility lies to stifle adoption of ODF in Massachusetts and maybe elsewhere too.

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  1. Great said,

    February 17, 2008 at 9:27 am


    check this out :


    By: James Yu and Sarju Shah – Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    It’s been more than six months since we published our first Xbox 360 versus PlayStation 3 graphics comparison feature. Games on both systems looked great, but the Xbox 360 games had more polish. We found that the Xbox 360 edged out the PlayStation 3 with higher-resolution textures and better lighting. The result of the first comparison wasn’t surprising–the Xbox 360 had been available for a year and developers were already cranking out second-generation games, while the PlayStation 3 had just arrived in retail with its first-generation games. We decided to check on a few games released in recent months to see if the PlayStation 3 has caught up to or overtaken the Xbox 360…


    James Yu
    Program Manager
    Microsoft Corporation
    1 Microsoft Way
    Redmond, WA 98052-8300

    So now we have people working for Redmond writing reviews of Xbox 2 Vs. Playstation 2

    One more example of Microsoft funds the FUD spreading….

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 17, 2008 at 10:50 am


    I have seen this many time before, even recently. Watch how a recently-departing Microsoft Evangelist decided to write a hypothetical ‘review’ of Linux and then published this in many press outlets using an “analyst” hat (hiding the Microsoft ties altogether).


  3. John Drinkwater said,

    February 17, 2008 at 1:54 pm


    hey, I’ve been battling hAl on Wikipedia for over a year, I know how bad he can be… constantly linking biased pages onto OOXM pageL, rewording whole sections on advice from Rick (hAI actually did most of the editing for Jeliffe so it wouldn’t look as bad! see Talk pages for the dialogue), and he constantly trolls / ass-kisses on the Microsoft blogs just like Miguel does.. shocker, huh?

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 17, 2008 at 6:06 pm


    Assuming that’s a single entity and the same one under different names, it would be nice to obtain the real name/s of this thing. This sounds just like the flatfish/Gary Stewart disease that has been infecting Linux sites for over a decade, always working from proxies and using literally hundreds of different identities. This involves personal vile attacks, not just attacks on Linux using lies and fake testimonies.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 17, 2008 at 8:42 pm


    Okay, I’ve gathered some more information about this. At one stage I thought it might be Wouter Van Vugt, but he does not post anonymously. Anonymous disruption has its roots in financial agenda (typically incentives) and without the cloak of anonymity people become more careful when attacking others. So after digging for some information, here is what came up:

    He left a homepage link on some of his posts, such as:



    These lead back to: http://anyinternet.spaces.live.com/

    Could that be his photograph? That looks like a possibility based on the IPs.

    He is also the main ODF-critic on Wikipedia. His user page is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:HAl

    It is interesting that he declares himself as a “beginning” XML coder”. He sure makes a lot of noise for a beginner.

    I was found someplace that his real name was “Albert”. That would make his “hAl” moniker an example of Microsoft’s variable naming conventions, where variable names are prefixed with “h” if they are a handle, like hWnd, hCursor,

    Based on his IP address he appears to be connecting from Amsterdam. If it’s consistent enough, then no proxies are involved, I suppose.

    The anonymity remains a tad mysterious, but there you go.

    Yesterday, in USENET, the usual ODF critics and OOXML lobbyists defended Rick Jeliffe’s payment from Microsoft, which has me suspecting that they get paid/compensated in one way or another, as well.

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