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02.18.08

Links on President’s Day 2008: OLPC Price Expected to Drop, Xfce Gains Attraction

Posted in News Roundup at 10:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s Unofficially Official: OOXML is Now Deprecated

Posted in ECMA, FSF, Microsoft, Open XML at 9:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s hard for Microsoft to commit to what comes out of Ecma [the European standards group that has already OK’d OOXML] in the coming years, because we don’t know what direction they will take the formats. We’ll of course stay active and propose changes based on where we want to go with Office 14. At the end of the day, though, the other Ecma members could decide to take the spec in a completely different direction. … Since it’s not guaranteed, it would be hard for us to make any sort of official statement.”

Brian Jones, Microsoft

The ‘end of life’ milestone has been reached by OOXML, which is already fragmented, inconsistent, and was never complete anyway. It’s a farce, a decoy. You may also enjoy this new article from the FSFE. It explains why OOXML may be deprecated even before its use.

Simultaneously, ECMA addresses this in Response 34 of its proposed Disposition of Comments by removing all references to idiosyncrasies from the specification and placing them in a newly formed Annex for deprecated information. With the removal of this information from the DIS-29500, the design goal of MS-OOXML can no longer be met. The entire specification has therefore effectively become obsolete.

Microsoft can still join the side which includes everyone but Microsoft. It’s the side which comprises supporters of the international document standard. Microsoft has already shown sign of defecting away from OOXML, or at least considering duality. This is said to be inevitable (Walli thinks so), so why procrastinate?

The longer Microsoft pushes for OOXML, the more abuse the world will identify and report (consider examples from only hours ago [1, 2, 3]). It badly hurts Microsoft’s public image whenever it gets caught with its pants down like this. It’s time to call it quits.

OOXML data vacuum

Sun and Linux Must Not Fight Each Other

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, OpenDocument, SUN, UNIX at 9:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Focus on the real threat (Microsoft stack) instead

The Linux Foundation did not appreciate Sun’s attempt to steal the thunder of Linux. Neither did we, but that’s a separate story. Here is what Amanda McPherson of the Linux Foundation had to say.

Really, Jonathan? Sun can certainly substitute Solaris for Linux in the stack, but I’m not sure many customers will. (Customers tend to be pretty literal in their technology decisions.) Why would a “young Internet company” tie their business to a platform with shrinking market share and a tiny non-Sun developer base? We are confident MySQL will continue supporting Linux as its primary platform partner since that is where they make their sales. MySQL CEO Marten Mickos in fact will be speaking on this topic at our upcoming Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit.

Sun Microsystems appears to have taken this quite personally and Tim Bray had this to say.

This is getting a little weird. Twice in the last couple of years, Linus Torvalds has gone out of his way to diss Solaris, the OS technology and Sun corporately. Now, anyone who’s spent time on a mailing list with Linus knows that his opinions are sharp-edged and rarely withheld. But now we have a pure attack piece from Amanda McPherson, identified as “the marketing director of the Linux Foundation”.

She goes on about how the L in LAMP is Linux and Literal; and how Sun in general and Jonathan in particular are hopeless losers because there are more of them than of us. Oh, and because there’s a nasty little dispute in the OpenSolaris community.

GNU meditatesMicrosoft has already revealed in its internal memos that it loves stirring up wars (sometimes civil wars) between its rivals 1, 2, 3] for a variety of reason including demonstration of hostility, mutual destruction and diversion/distraction. Sun and Linux (the Foundation) must work together to establish and accomplish important goals such as making ODF very widespread. So, let’s bury those hatchets, play the flute and smoke the ‘pipes of peace’ (mind picture).

Caution[ary|ing] quote:

“Gathering intelligence on enemy activities is critical to the success of the Slog. We need to know who their allies are and what differences exist between them and their allies (there are always sources of tension between allies), so that we can find ways to split ‘em apart Reading the trade press, lurking on newsgroups, attending conferences, and (above all) talking to ISVs is essential to gathering this intelligence.”

Internal Microsoft document

In case you wonder, the company is indeed spying on people and keeping dossiers to learn how they can be manipulated (e.g. against one another). This was proven by accident.

Some media members are simply shocked that Microsoft’s PR team keeps dossiers on the reporters and bloggers who cover the company.

We too keep our eyes on reporters, but it’s nothing quite so detailed.

Microsoft Stacks the Danish Panel Too

Posted in Deception, ECMA, Europe, IBM, Microsoft at 9:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a well-known consultant on your side early, but don’t let him publish anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up.

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.”

Internal Microsoft document

As more evidence that the BRM in Geneva is out of control [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], consider this from Denmark

Re: In Denmark, Microsoft has 2 out of 4 votes

InzpektorInzpektor 18 Feb 2008, 15:20 BST

The Danish delegation for the BRM will consist of:

* IBM
* Dansk Standard (the national standards body)
* Microsoft – Themselves!
* Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Ciber A/S

So, I guess that means that the Danish votes are a tie. (Ofcourse with the national standards body being the joker here :-) )

Reference: http://www.ds.dk/3537 (In Danish)

More information in the cited post talks about a paid (by Microsoft) Wikipedia editor who will be representing Australia. Add this case of insanity to various others such as Britain's representation and Portugal's representation. Microsoft totally owns the BRM in Geneva, either directly or by proxy (Microsoft business partners, ECMA and so forth).

Sellout

Microsoft in Geneva: Send In the Clowns (or Lobbyists)

Posted in ECMA, Europe, Fraud, Microsoft, Open XML at 8:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. “

Internal Microsoft document

What have we here? A little damning update. Yesterday we wrote about some of the latest abuses and irregularities at the BRM in Geneva . There are other examples also, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. But what happens when you combine the notorious panel-stacking which Microsoft raves about with a form of legalised bribery (codename for lobbyists)? That is apparently what might happen.

A quick update on the concurrent OFE conference. I just heard that Microsoft employees have now started registering for the conference, around 8 so far.

Interesting. So why exactly are all of these Microsoft guys in Geneva that week? None of them appear to be BRM delegates. To quote Doug Mahugh, “Wow. If this isn’t an attempt to exert undue influence on the standards process, it’s hard to imagine what is. Who are these people?”

Methinks that the OFE conference has forced Microsoft’s lobbying team to decloak.

You can find some older examples of Microsoft lobbying in Europe here. These include blackmail.

Mono is greed

OOXML Gone with the Wind: No Compatibility, No Interoperability

Posted in ECMA, Formats, Interoperability, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 8:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML is bad

Things keep getting worse for OOXML. More and more of its dark secrets are being discovered. One has to wonder how many secrets remain in the minds of Office or OOXML engineers who pray that no outsider would find out about them.

The first issue is summarised in this very comprehensive new page which augments existing knowledge about the ‘upgrade trademill [sic]‘ anti-features contained in Office 2007. This exceeds old expectations by miles. To quote just the summary:

This paper merely scratches the surface of Office 2007 compatibility issues. Many more issues exist that are application-specific.

Organizations should avoid a mixed environment of Office versions at all costs, even if it means staying with a previous version until Microsoft addresses the compatibility issues.

If Office 2007 must be deployed, then it should be deployed to users as rapidly as possible to avoid:

* Risks of content loss
* Increased training requirements and compatibility-specific end-user reference materials for BOTH Office 2007 and previous office version users.
* Increased strain on I.T. support staff
* Decreased realization of the benefits of the new features of Office 2007

In other news, the binary nature of OOXML is dissected further:

This binary part supports the storage of arbitrary user-defined data.

<Relationships xmlns=”…”>
<Relationship Id=”rId7″
Type=”http://…/customProperty” Target=”CustomProperty.bin”/>
</Relationships>

[...]

Conclusion: Since there is no requirement on the format of the content, any vendor can put its proprietary binary extensions in there.

Good Bye Interoperability!

Why does Microsoft continue to escape burning questions about this? What about the issue of OOXML patents and proprietary audio/video codecs (an example from yesterday)? Microsoft keeps denying these patent problems only to be promptly corrected time after time.

Transparency makes good standards; denial makes mistrust, abuse and exploitation.

Linspire’s Former CEO Gives Up on CNR

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Patents, Ubuntu at 8:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

He may have never wanted Linspire to succeed anyway if he sold out

For a variety of reasons which were mentioned before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], Linspire has suffered a sharp decline ever since its patent deal with Microsoft. In fact, Kevin Carmony, the man who once sold us Microsoft FUD, has little faith in the company he used to run (deliberately not a direct link) when he signed that appalling Microsoft deal.

Kevin Carmony, a controversial former CEO of Linspire who recently switched his allegiance to Ubuntu, has written an interesting blog entry on the current state of CNR.com, Linspire’s flagship software distribution service. Since Linspire has not made enough effort to maintain a good working relationship with Ubuntu, he argues that CNR.com (and, by extension, possibly even Linspire and Freespire), is likely to fail…

And then there’s the rest of this good weekly newsletter from Ladislav. Carmony resigned just a few months after making the colossal mistake (signing that deal). GNU/Linux thrives and it will probably do brilliantly on the desktop in years to come. It’s a shame that Linspire won’t be part of this because it got itself tied to unnecessary Microsoft debts and obligations.

Related articles;

Analysis of SCO’s Latest Investment Reception

Posted in Finance, Kernel, SCO at 5:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In Datamation.

Watch SCO’s homepage.

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