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's Vista 10 Still a Failure, So Focus Shifts to Attacks on GNU/Linux, Android

    Vista 10 adoption is already plateauing (at very low levels considering the zero-cost 'upgrade') and Microsoft is trying to assert or exploit (patent) monopolies where adoption and market growth are extremely high (Free software)



  2. Links 3/9/2015: Xiaomi's Linux Push, Calligra/Krita 2.9.7

    Links for the day



  3. TechBytes Episode 89: Chromebooks, Privacy, and Vista 10

    An episode which focuses on the rise of Chromebooks, serious issues pertaining to privacy, media bias, and the demise of Windows



  4. Links 2/9/2015: Chromebooks and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  5. Software Patent From Troll Called 'Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations' a Symptom of a Rotten Patent System

    Another example of patent trolls and software patents as gatekeepers and parasites, denying access to very trivial ideas or implementations



  6. When Even Patent Lawyers' Blogs Acknowledge the Rapid Demise of Software Patents

    Voices for patents are accepting the new order wherein software patents are hardly potent at all (and increasingly difficult to acquire)



  7. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  8. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  9. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  10. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  11. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  12. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  14. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  15. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  16. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  17. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  18. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  19. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  21. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  22. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  23. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  24. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  25. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  27. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  28. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  29. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  30. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts