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

02.19.08

Site Reader Explains Why Microsoft Released Its Office Binary Formats Specifications

Posted in Deception, Formats, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Patents, Red Hat, Turbolinux, Ubuntu, Xandros at 8:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An anonymous reader has contributed his insights for us to publish in the spirit of helping the fight against FUD.

So, what do we have here? A new maneouver of the monopoly: Now they publish the specifications of legacy (97,2000) Microsoft Office documents (they arrive 10 years late). Now that thanks to ODF we are on the verge of not needing them anymore. Ever.

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.” Fear the Greeks even if they bear gifts. This is absolutely a “Trojan horse” (poison pill) for Free/Libre Software. Let me explain:

There is an absolutely critical question for Free/Libre Software (and, by the way, if you must pay/negotiate patent racket eer… royalties as Novell has agreed to do, it cannot be deemed Free/Libre anymore)

Are these formats freely implementable in projects licensed under the GPLv3 (and notice that version 3 here acquires a crucial importance)? Are they available absolutely royalty-free and absolutely software patents-free? If that is not the case this is plain yet-another-trap-from-Microsoft(tm).

Moreover the specs are published at a critical moment when Microsoft desperately needs to see endorsed by ISO its Frankenstein-Format MSOOXML (which includes undocumented binary blobs, at least undocumented until now, -and it remains to be seen if the documentation just published is useful with them at all-) after they have corrupted the whole standarization process by playing every little dirty trick in the book to rig the Technical Committees in order to see their format approved.

***Why NOW?, I am sure things would have been a lot EASIER for them should they have published the specs from the beginning… ah, but then the very format’s “Raison d’etre”, i.e. LEGACY COMPATIBILITY MOTIVATION THEY JUSTIFIED FOR THE EXISTENCE A SECOND UNNECESSARY ISO STANDARD FOR DOCUMENT FORMATS, AN “ISOED”-MSOOXML CONFLICTING WITH THE EXISTING ODF-IETF/ISO26300 WOULD NOT BE VALID ANYMORE: IN FACT NOW THAT THEY HAVE PUBLISHED THE LEGACY SPECS IT IS NOT VALID ANYMORE***

“They desperately need to stop the adoption of ISO26300-ODF by governments and public institutions…”They desperately need to stop the adoption of ISO26300-ODF by governments and public institutions, which, by the way, are probably the biggest captive customers and Cash-Cows of Microsoft (there are already some precedents that should have made them scared to death, like in Massachusetts)

They have said that they “cannot guarantee” legal safety if you use their OSP-published products in a GPL Free/Libre project [ODF], and that they leave the question to be asked “to your lawyers”, what a superb exercise of cynicism! (OSP=”Open Specification Promise”, notice this is a “promise” -and, as such, coming from Microsoft, bound to be broken-, OSP is not a licence nor a contract, and it is not legally binding whatsoever)

GNU logoWhat they have made clear is that, even if ISO endorses their MSOOXML format, they are not committed with it in future versions (we will see EEE at play again). The documentation of this attempt-at-a-standard already comprises 6000+ pages of specifications plus more that 2000 extra pages of errors and suggested amendments.

Be very aware, that when talking about Microsoft you always have to look for “side effects” and “collateral damages”.

In this case I can see a two-pronged attack to Open Standards and Free/Libre Software. For the first, as I have explained, they are trying to discourage ODF adoption as much as they can. For the second, think about the consequences of injecting their OSP’ed products -not-quite-GPL-compatible-and-of-course-GPLv3-incompatible- (since you cannot pass the rights to the recipients of the software -and that’s why they love the BSD-like licenses while they shun the GPL-like licences), I say, injecting them in some Gnu/Linux distro: Novell (Xandros, Linspire, Turbolinux) is a first candidate, whereas for Red Hat, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Debian, Slackware and others… have you paid our patent protection racket yet? No? Well, see you in court.

There is a premise with this company (Microsoft) and it is that any of their products -even those provided cost-free- are devised to try to tie you to some other of their products.

To finish with, the published specs don’t include either Access, Visio or Outlook. And ironically, they are published in .PDF and .XPS (“metro”) formats (so beware, Adobe!)

Also see: http://fsfeurope.org/documents/msooxml-idiosyncrasies

This illustrates the impossibility of obtaining interoperability with real implementations of MSOOXML by Microsoft even after (and if) endorsed by ISO.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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

4 Comments

  1. Sam Hiser said,

    February 19, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Gravatar

    Roy -

    Looks like Microsoft took my June 2007 advice …

    Microsoft’s Legacy Binary Formats
    http://fussnotes.typepad.com/plexnex/2007/06/microsofts-lega.html

    And the world has picked up on my Jan 2007 analysis …

    Analyzing the Microsoft Office Open XML License
    http://fussnotes.typepad.com/plexnex/2007/01/analyzing_the_m.html

    If I’m right on this, how can you doubt the veracity & validity of my interest in CDF?

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 19, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Gravatar

    Looks like Microsoft took my June 2007 advice …

    Yes, I think I pointed this out before (here or elsewhere).

    If I’m right on this, how can you doubt the veracity & validity of my interest in CDF?

    We have been through this before.

  3. Stephane Rodriguez said,

    February 19, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy,

    The problem is that there is material for a post, but not with the content you have posted. There is a number of innacuracies.

    The documents that Microsoft has made available through direct download were available FOREVER by sending an email at officeff@microsoft.com

    The timing is certainly suspect, and you can certainly view it as a way to provoke a strong positive reaction from national bodies later this month (many of which may not be up-to-date on the subject, thus easily subverted) . But, as a matter of fact, experts in national bodies know what is new, and what isn’t.

    I have posted elsewhere that those documents are incomplete. So from a strict point of view of interoperability, Microsoft is not giving access to a finished work. In fact, I believe these are the documents that they use internally, which is handy when you are taking a look at the source code.

    The problem is, of course, that only they have the source code.

    And that’s what brings me to the only solution to the interoperability issue. You know Microsoft is starting a bogus “translator” open source project that will never get finished. This and the documents are in fact a way to avoid giving access to the source code of the Office compatibility pack, a component they ship to convert formats back and forth.

    It’s key to understand that this compatibility pack includes everything we need, including the undocumented details. It remains purely document-centric, Microsoft keeps a hold on the application-level (the compatibility pack has no UI).

    Microsoft should give access to the source code of the compatibility pack.

    Anything else is just noise.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 19, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Gravatar

    At the end of the day, they need to control the ‘standard’. That’s just what they say and they are unlikely to give it away to ensure 100% fidelity in translation (impossibility given dependence on a platform). As long as you know fidelity is poor, there’s that FUD you get whenever you move away from Microsoft Office (“OMG. I lost something. Silently!”).

What Else is New


  1. Links 12/7/2020: KDE Plasma 5.20 Preview and Elive 3.8.14 Beta

    Links for the day



  2. [Humour] The 'Orange One' Does Not Respect Judges Either

    More than two years after taking over the European Patent Office (EPO) António Campinos has done absolutely nothing to restore judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO



  3. The Systemd Song

    Speak out about IBM's strategy before we're all using GNU/Linux distros 'barcoded' with systemd



  4. Monopoly (or Vendor Lock-in) is Not Modularity

    IBM cannot totally control the kernel, Linux; IBM's control over GNU/Linux may be worth even more than what it paid for Red Hat as that's the key to overpriced support contracts and the general direction of development (important trends such as file systems and various low-level stacks)



  5. The Internet Archive Doesn't Forget, Whereas the Internet and the Web Forget Very Fast

    World Wide Web history is grossly undervalued and preservation of such history (e.g. by the Wayback Machine) is taken for granted by far too many people; the robber barons of today benefit the most from erosion of collective memory as they get to rewrite the past to suit their present and future interests



  6. Environmentalism and Free Software Can be Viewed as Closely Connected and Help One Another

    Modest lifestyles are an overlapping pattern in the Free software community and green activists; there's room for alliances and collaboration, bettering society by reducing consumption and discouraging voyeurism



  7. Free (as in Freedom) Software + Social Control Media ≠ Free Speech

    Speaking through middlemen and private platforms is bad enough (that gives others unjust power over speech); to claim that because the underlying platform is free/libre software it therefore becomes a non-issue is also dishonest



  8. António Campinos: President or Quasi-Autocratic Corporate Puppet?

    The culture of oppression — and censorship of evidence of oppression — is what today’s EPO is all about; the EPO learned how to better avoid (or block) negative publicity without actually changing its ways; and due to unprecedented speech restrictions you won’t hear that from SUEPO



  9. The Media Continues to Ignore Corruption of António Campinos

    António Campinos has Croatian scandals on his lap; the obedient media, however, refuses to even talk about it (or uses COVID as an excuse to write nothing on the subject, as some journalists have told us)



  10. A Call for Patent Sanity

    The public's call for reform is motivated by improved understanding of today's debased patent system and how out-of-order (detached from its original mission statement) it has gotten; patent maximalism, if it does not completely unravel this whole system, severely discredits it



  11. Declassified US Army Field Manuals Explain Microsoft's Public Relations Strategy (Similar to Selling Imperialism to the Occupied)

    The misuse of public broadcast to brainwash the public is well understood and thoroughly exploited by both Microsoft and the Gates Foundation (which sells this ridiculous lie that the world’s richest people speak for and fight for the poorest, i.e. those impoverished by endless greed)



  12. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 10, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, July 10, 2020



  13. Links 11/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Openbox, Kiwi TCMS 8.5, Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3

    Links for the day



  14. Education Without Free Software is Training or Indoctrination

    Kids need to decide for themselves what they want to do and what they wish to use when they grow up; schools need to provide general tools and the mental capacity to make good decisions (rather than make these decisions for the kids, sometimes at the behest of foreign monopolists)



  15. Links 10/7/2020: Wayland-Info, diffoscope 151 and Tor 0.4.4.2-alpha

    Links for the day



  16. European FRAND (Related to SEP) Proponent and Famed Programmer Comes to Realise That It's Actually a “Scam”

    Even people who have long promoted the practice of mandatory "licensing" (in effect patent tax one is unable to work around) are apparently changing their minds and their tune



  17. Not Even a Single Corporate Journalist Has Written Anything About These Very Important Bits of News

    Constant propaganda from patent maximalists has long infested the media, which is sometimes controlled and even bribed to set the tone and the agenda; important developments are being tucked away and require very deep digging for ordinary citizens to find



  18. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 09, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 09, 2020



  19. Racism in Technology (and Who Typically Lectures Us About the Subject)

    Racism is a real problem; some approaches to tackling racism, however, can also be problematic and those who take the lead 'on behalf' of victims tend to be opportunistic and privileged few (piggybacking others' grievances to further advance their financial agenda)



  20. Links 10/7/2020: Debian 8 Long Term Support EOL, Mobian Project, Mesa 20.1.3

    Links for the day



  21. [Humour] COVID-19 is Very, Very Afraid of Human Beings Making More Monopolies Instead of Fighting Together

    The European Patent Office (EPO) to the rescue! Fighting a dangerous pandemic one profitable monopoly at a time!



  22. The News is Never 'Slow', It's Just Journalism That's Slowing Down (and Investigative Journalism Coming Under Attack)

    A mix of censorship and subtle mind control contribute to misinformed societies that shape their perception or misunderstanding of the world based on false measures of authority (where money can determine what is true and what is untrue); many topics remain completely untouched, leading to apathy in a vacuum; it's very much applicable to international organisations, which are presumed benign by virtue of being multi-national or supranational



  23. Social Control Media is About Social Control and If It Doesn't Ban You It'll Shut Down Everyone's Account (One Day)

    It’s time to leave the ‘Internet rot’ which is social control media well behind us; blogging and RSS/XML may seem like a thing of the past, but they may as well become the future (again; if we make the correct and informed choices)



  24. Microsoft's Fingers in Every Pie: The Cult Mentality That Society Needs to Become Wary of

    Microsoft and its co-founder (pretending to do his for-profit 'charity' via the Gates Foundation) are trying to control the world; in the process they've moved to control even their most potent competitor, according to Gates himself, which is GNU/Linux



  25. Links 9/7/2020: Google’s Open Usage Commons, GNOME 3.36.4, Neptune 6.5

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 08, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 08, 2020



  27. Links 8/7/2020: SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Btrfs as Default in Fedora, Qt Creator 4.12.4

    Links for the day



  28. Yes, Master

    When the Linux Foundation tells us to tone down our language we ought to remember what kind of hypocritical stance these people have (note: the above have nothing to do with slavery, either)



  29. Fraunhofer is Again Evergreening Software Patents to Maintain Its Codecs Cartel, Forcing Everyone to Pay to View/Stream Multimedia Files

    The roller-coaster of software patents on multimedia isn't stopping; we know the culprits who can be named for perpetuating this injustice



  30. [Humour/Meme] Focusing on the Bombings and Who's Included in the Bombings

    Supremacist agenda disguised as "tolerant and inclusive" is still objectionable supremacist agenda


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

Recent Posts