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

02.22.08

A Quick Look at More Reactions to Microsoft’s Taxoperability

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Interoperability, Microsoft, Patents at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Quick summary, for completeness and diversity of minds

Glyn Moody’s take reflects on the important fact that Microsoft is setting some convenient new precedence, having made some arrangements with the European Commision and gained membership in the OSI (it’s part of the “Open Source” family, who can ever deny this?).

Note, by the way, that Microsoft has effected the marvellous sleight of hand that it – not the OSI, not the Linux Foundation, but *Microsoft* – is setting up an Open Source Interoperability Initiative.

In some ways, the most amazing paragraph in the whole announcement is not the protestations of undying love for openness, but the following:

The interoperability principles and actions announced today reflect the changed legal landscape for Microsoft and the IT industry. They are an important step forward for the company in its ongoing efforts to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations outlined in the September 2007 judgment of the European Court of First Instance (CFI).

This is certainly true, as shown by the fact that Microsoft is effectively applying the agreement with the EU to most of its product range…

Mark Taylor’s take very much concurs with our very old (and by no means antiquated) observation that Microsoft seeks to redefine everything, including what “Open Source” means, how it works, what its ‘obligations’ are and so forth. You can read all about it here.

The 20th February 2008 was one of those ‘Microsoft moments’, when suddenly, the world changed. Just like when they ‘got’ the network (and we got NT), or they ‘got’ the Internet (and we got ‘Internet Explorer’). This time they ‘got’ Open Source and Open Standards and the company is about to make another of their legendary radical transformations… or so they would like you to believe.

[...]

So you can have your ‘Open Source’ software if you really insist… just so long as you pay a royalty to Microsoft for every copy that gets shipped. It’s great if all those ‘non-commercial’ people want to develop software for Microsoft and their ring-fenced group of ‘authorised’ ‘Open Source’ partners. They generously promise that they wont even sue their unpaid workforce.

Mark Taylor also makes a few comments which add balance to an article about the EU’s response.

But Mark Taylor from the Open Source Consortium said the Microsoft announcement is “smoke and mirrors.”

“Microsoft is saying it will give access to open APIs, however, but there are terms,” said Taylor. “It’s the same old story. Patent protection applies, and people can use the APIs commercially as long as they pay Microsoft a royalty. They are trying to enclose open commons by trying to apply their business model, which is all about owning technology, to open source.”

A reader of ours, Sunsonica, sent us a direct link to the Statement by Thomas Vinje of the European Committee for Ineroperable Systems (ECIS) [PDF]. In a variety of contexts we have already mentioned Thomas Vinje’s work in the past few months [1, 2, 3, 4]. He is hopefully making use of some resources that we have make available for understanding the problem at hand.

Here is the official statement from the EU:

The European Commission takes note of today’s announcement by Microsoft of its intention to commit to a number of principles in order to promote interoperability with some of its high market share software products. This announcement does not relate to the question of whether or not Microsoft has been complying with EU antitrust rules in this area in the past.

Red Hat’s response is quite a blast. It’s presented as a press release:

Commit to interoperability with open source: Instead of offering a patent license for its protocol information on the basis of licensing arrangements it knows are incompatible with the GPL – the world’s most widely used open source software license – Microsoft should extend its Open Specification Promise to all of the interoperability information that it is announcing today will be made available.

Microsoft expected the world to embrace its ‘opening up’ with open arms, or so it wishes to press to believe. Judging by the bits above, it’s hard to say that Microsoft’s latest ‘big announcement’ (a colossal and huge pile of nothing) meant so much to very many people. Microsoft’s target audience might just be those people attending the BRM next week (“look! We’re open!!!”), which is the subject of the next post.

Gutmann, Peter and Steve Ballmer

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

2 Comments

  1. Skeptic said,

    February 22, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Gravatar

    Richard Stallman long ago predicted the redefinition of “open source”. E.g., As Eben Moglen observed,

    “What Microsoft did to ‘Open Source’ was what Stallman always said could be done to it: first you take the politics out, and when the veal has been bleached absolutely white, you can cover it with any sauce you like. And that’s what Microsoft did, and ‘Open Source’ became the sauce on top of Microsoft proprietarianism. And once that process has been completed they have to go after the next vocabulary.”

    (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11/20/eben_moglen_on_microsoft_novell/page2.html )

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 22, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m back to using the term Free software (since last year). Also watch this from the news:

    Philippines open source bill gets Sun’s support

    Familiar battle lines are being drawn over pending legslation mandating free and open source (FOSS) software for government and educational use in the Philippines.

    While Microsoft and the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) are opposing the controversial free and open source software (FOSS) act (House Bill 1716) filed in the Philippine Congress, Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to support the bill.

    http://www.itworldcanada.com/a/News/1f4e1e17-e6e8-4193-a0de-846d815f2c62.html

    That’s why Microsoft hates FOSS (it wants to redefine ‘open source’) and Sun does not. That’s why I worry about Microsoft, not about IBM, Sun and Google.

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft is Not an Open Source Authority But an Opponent of Open Source

    Various outlets that are closely connected to Microsoft are trying to convince us that Microsoft is now 'king' of Open Source; nothing could be further from the truth however



  2. Links 22/9/2019: KMyMoney 5.0.7, Lennart's Latest Plan

    Links for the day



  3. Summits of Open Bear Traps: The Open Core Summit and Other 'Open' Events That Actually Attack Software Freedom

    Conferences that call themselves "open" something are sometimes nothing but an attack on openness (not to mention freedom) and promotion of FUD about Free/Open Source software (FOSS); there's an ample set of examples to that effect



  4. Openwashing Report: 'Open Source' Without Any or Most of the Benefits

    The cheapening of the term "Open Source" continues; sooner or later everything out there will be called "open" irrespective of what it really is



  5. Patent Extremism is Not Normal and Not an Innocent Mindset

    Reflection upon the sad state of the European patent system and how media turns a blind eye to it; worldwide, in general, the discussion about patents is being warped by the litigation giants, whose sole goal is to maximise the number of lawsuits/shakedowns (personal gain)



  6. Links 22/9/2019: LLVM 9.0.0 and FreeBSD 12.1 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Links 21/9/2019: Plasma 5.17 Beta in Kubuntu, Cockpit 203

    Links for the day



  8. IBM Cannot Become a True Friend of Free Software Because of Its Current Patent Policy

    IBM needs to quit bullying people/companies with software patents; that would help towards appeasement of IBM critics and sceptics



  9. When Patent 'Professionals' Sound Like Children Who Learned to Parrot Some Intentionally-Misleading Buzzwords, Myths and Lies

    With buzzwords like "AI" and misleading terms like "IP" the litigation zealots are trying to convince themselves (and the public) that software is a physical thing and a "property" which needs "protecting" from "theft"; it doesn't seem to bother these people that copyright law already covers software<



  10. The European Parliament Needs to Become More Outspoken About EPO Abuses

    There are few encouraging signs in Europe right now because the EPO's disregard for patent law (striving to just grant as many patents as possible) earned it much-needed backlash from the European Parliament



  11. Links 19/9/2019: German Federal Ministry of the Interior Wants FOSS, Top Snaps Named

    Links for the day



  12. Buying the Voices of 'Linux' People to Repeat Microsoft's Talking Points While Removing Our Icons and Leaders (Calling Them Sexist)

    The dirty games leveraged by several companies including Microsoft target charismatic people who are essential for morale and leadership; these tactics aren't particularly novel



  13. When the EPO Sees Itself as Above European Law, Grants Patents in Defiance of the EPC (Its Founding Document) and Violates Staff's Labour Rights/Protections (International Law)

    The absurd state of affairs at the EPO has reached the point where laws at every level are being violated and even judges are being threatened or vainly ignored; the EU is belatedly trying to tackle these issues, which have actually cost its credibility a great deal and threaten the perception of Rule of Law at multiple levels



  14. Links 19/9/2019: Samba 4.11.0 and Kubernetes 1.16

    Links for the day



  15. Update on Koch v EPO: Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) Composition Still Likely Illegal

    An important EPO case, concerning a dismissed staff representative, shows what ILO-AT and the EPO's Internal Appeals Committee boil down to



  16. Links 18/9/2019: Fedora Linux 31 Beta, PCLinuxOS 2019.09 Update

    Links for the day



  17. Links 17/9/2019: CentOS 7.7 and Funtoo Linux 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  18. EPO is Not European

    Internationalists and patent trolls are those who stand to benefit from the 'globalisation' of low-quality and law-breaking patents such as patents on algorithms, nature and life itself; the EPO isn't equipped to serve its original goals anymore



  19. The EPO's Central Staff Committee and SUEPO (Staff Union) Respond to “Fascist Bills” Supported by EPO President António Campinos

    Raw material pertaining to the latest Campinos "scandal"; what Campinos said, what the Central Staff Committee (CSC) said, and what SUEPO said



  20. Storm Brewing in the European Patent Office After a Hot Summer

    Things aren't rosy in EPOnia (to say the least); in fact, things have been getting a lot worse lately, but the public wouldn't know judging by what media tells the public (almost nothing)



  21. Why I Once Called for Richard Stallman to Step Down

    Guest post from the developer who recently authored "Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong"



  22. As Richard Stallman Resigns Let's Consider Why GNU/Linux Without Stallman and Torvalds Would be a Victory to Microsoft

    Stallman has been ejected after a lot of intentionally misleading press coverage; this is a dark day for Software Freedom



  23. Links 16/9/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.3, GNU World Order 13×38, Vista 10 Breaks Itself Again

    Links for the day



  24. Links 16/9/2019: Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D; BlackWeb 1.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  25. Richard Stallman's Controversial Views Are Nothing New and They Distract From Bill Gates' Vastly Worse Role

    It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



  26. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

    Links for the day



  27. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

    Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



  28. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  29. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  30. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software


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