If you can’t beat them, devour them (new cartoon)
A reader advised us to summarise what we know about Corel and its past affairs with Microsoft, as well as their present state of affairs. We wrote about this many times before, so here is a summary of posts of interest.
References prevent unneeded repetition, so here are some selected past items along with their excerpts (unchanged since the time of writing, so mind the dates).
How Microsoft Attacked Corel/WP
How Microsoft Uses Corel for OOXML
There is a pile of postings that cover present events rather than a historical perspective. History is not a priority here. You can find a more complete list of posts that mention Corel here (there are about 60 in total at the time of writing, listed reverse-chronologically):
It’s clear that Microsoft transformed Corel into a friend, having signed a deal several years ago. From abuser to a lover, just like Novell. █
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Yesterday we looked back at an incident from June and today we look at back at vote-rigging in Colombia. Here is this older post in full:
Sock Puppets to Vote on Monopoly Enablement in Colombia?
Only days ago we thought we had found this in Denmark, having encountered such madness in many other parts of the world. This is absolutely astounding. Watch this list. Microsoft sets the deck of cards and ensures that (at least) 9 of out 14 chairs in the technical committee are also in its pocket.
Are standards really being earned? How about buying them, essentially by using money to be accredited with proxies?
There are worse sins around, but this amounts to nothing but a broken system or corruption. In Portugal, a giant such as IBM was denied attendance.
In case you wonder how or why this is relevant to this Web site, Microsoft also bought endorsement from Linspire, Xandros, and Novell (if not more companies). It uses money to eliminate (or at least suppress) opposition. This is unacceptable. It’s a good thing that people spot such manipulation, never letting it escape ‘beneath the radar’.
ISO pretends everything is cool and that it’s just ‘business as usual’ in its press release.
National delegations from 37 countries will be participating in a ballot resolution meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 25-29 February 2008 on the draft international standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML file formats.
ISO should reach out for comments from those who escaped ISO while Microsoft took over. █
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Boiler room standards
There are not many articles about ODF and OOXML at the moment because the meeting in Geneva is one big secret. It’s like Bilderberg Group meetings (the Gates family attends them by the way) with plenty of impact, yet no public access, let alone any knowledge about them. No media, no public — setting a new class for transparency in open standards and a process that weighs them [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Why and what are they hiding?
While I’m still arguing with one of the meeting attendants over at USENET (he speaks while he’s in Geneva), little contact remains between those attending this ECMA/Microsoft’s setup and the ‘outside world’. The impact of the decision they are bound to make is tremendous. To stress the importance of this, consider this very long new article from Andy Updegrove. Here’s the punch:
In this way, standards can protect – or not – the rights of the individual to fully participate in the highly technical environment into which the world is now evolving. Among other rights, standards can guarantee:
- That any citizen can use any product or service, proprietary or open, that she desires when interacting with her government.
- That any citizen can use any product or service when interacting with any other citizen, and to exercise every civil right.
- That any entrepreneur can have equal access to marketplace opportunities at the technical level, independent of the market power of existing incumbents.
- That any person, advantaged or disadvantaged, and anywhere in the world, can have equal access to the Internet and the Web in the most available and inexpensive method possible.
- That any owner of data can have the freedom to create, store, and move that data anywhere, any time, throughout her lifetime, without risk of capture, abandonment or loss due to dependence upon a single vendor.
Yesterday we mentioned suspicious activities which surrounded Lisa Rachjel’s decision to toss OOXML into the Fast Track process. Mind this interesting retrospective observation from Bob Sutor:
The ECMA resolution proposals are just some possible ways of dealing with the comments. If there is not time to deal with all the comments then maybe, just maybe, people might realize that OOXML should not be in the Fast Track process. Of course, there has been evidence for that from the beginning.
There were several ‘phases’ involved in getting OOXML where it stands at the moment. We can look back and consider the personal attacks against CIOs, then look at what Lisa Rachjel did, then consider vote-stuffing and briberies. Finally, there is this BRM in Geneva, which is a farce at best. The European Commission is now investigating this, but its power may be limited. It responded rather late to the actions of a company which proudly proclaims itself above the law. Microsoft sets the standards for international standards bodies. █
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…But the organisers have not realised this yet
The other day, the following amusing comic [image] got published. Have a quick look. It will only take 5 seconds of your time.
“Microsoft will give talks about its own definition of open source and why every FOSS developer should cozy up to Microsoft.”On dozens of occasions before and upon the appearance of new events of this type we showed how Microsoft infiltrates and sometimes virtually “hijacks” (to use the wording of actual attendants) open source and Linux events (recent example here). The story is far from new and the strategies recur to the point where they become boring.
To give only the gist of it, a poor bunch of people (not necessarily poor, but it fits this storyline nicely) want to set up a FOSS-related event and Microsoft comes with a big pile of cash, offering to be a sponsor. This more or less comes with the condition that Microsoft can strut about and brag about its sponsorship (“look! Microsoft ‘loves’ open source”). It will also attend the event and even become part of its agenda. In the event, Microsoft will give talks about its own definition of open source and why every FOSS developer should cozy up to Microsoft.
OSBC is no exception. It’s the de facto open source business conference and despite the fact that Microsoft was rightly rejected by the Open Solutions Alliance, it is once again invited to OSBC. To make matters worse, its role seems to be greater. Watch this nugget of information:
With Red Hat opening the conference and Microsoft’s Brad Smith giving the evening keynote (with many IT executives in between), it promises to be a killer show.
That’s right! It is a keynote from one of “intellectual property’s best friends”, as well as the man who intimidates businesses that use Linux to the point where they pay 'protection money' and then keep it secret.
“Brad Smith and Steve Ballmer opine that for the use of APIs one must pay Microsoft some money, based on some fee Microsoft decided to charge.”“Killer” is the right word to use when Asay says “killer show”. They are killing the spirit of open source, one small step at a time. Remind yourself of what Brad Smith said only days ago. Go ahead and watch. Brad Smith and Steve Ballmer opine that for the use of APIs one must pay Microsoft some money, based on some fee Microsoft decided to charge. That’s just Microsoft’s hilarious idea of ‘openness’ and here it is delivering a keynote.
OSBC, count out the Free software folks. Last year when Novell and Microsoft stood there shoulder by shoulder doing their thing, reactions were telling. It seems to have gotten only worse since then.
Asay also explains his decision to advise Microsoft (we spoke about this yesterday). Watch the first comment from Andrew, whom I happen to know from some Web forums:
I have no doubts about your integrity or your intentions – but, unlike you, I don’t trust Miscrosoft (or, indeed, most large corporations), all of whom are much more (and much less) than the sum of the human beings who are involved.
Microsoft’s approach is basically dishonest – declaring love for interoperability, coupled with weasel words (“We won’t sue anyone who uses it for non-commercial purposes”).
Be careful, watch your back, and in the words of the average Trojan – “Beware Of Greeks Bearing Gifts” (no offense intended to modern Greeks!).
Meanwhile, the following article emerged which talks about Microsoft’s financial side-effects (hint: none) as a result of the availability of more APIs.
Speaking to reporters, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said the impact from the decision to forgo certain trade secret license fees, to foster interoperability between its products and competitors’ products, will be small in the scheme of the company’s overall revenue.
Here is a thought. It’s a case of taxing rivals instead of locking them out, making them all abide by Microsoft’s non-standards (for a fee). Who would possibly fall for the scam?
This happens to be a good place to return to our discussions about Mono (see the recent Monopendencies Monalysis of Fedora). Microsoft intends to charge money for use of its technologies. It even involves things like simple programming interfaces. Patents are not the main issue when there is a complete loss of independence and departure of the spirit, but that’s another story.
There is some more good analysis and summary of the Mono issue, in case you are interested in a second perspective. To quote a portion of interest:
As a final note, it would be nice if the new Fedora Project Leader would make a public statement on Mono. Heck, Max could too know whether Red Hat is not shipping Mono with RHEL because of patents, because it’s wrong to do it, because they don’t want to support it, or because they don’t support it yet.
All in all, the takeaway is that unless you remain what Microsoft and Novell consider ‘hobbyist’, then the use of Mono is not likely to remain free (as in free beer). That’s the ambition anyway. It’s rather repulsive that OBSC is now making room to the very same people who want to make it a reality, as though they give validity by an invitation to occupy a keynote slot. What were they thinking? It’s probably worth exploring to see if Microsoft is a major sponsor of the event.
OSBC, have fun with Microsoft. You hopefully have enough cash to pay for protocols. █
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Over the past year, on several occasions in fact, we have covered several shocking incidents where Microsoft not only attacked individuals in a targeted fashion (it uses anonymous voices and/or business partner to better hide the trails). We have also shown that people lost their jobs and level of authority as a result of Microsoft smear campaigns.
“It wanted to see its insiders turn into decision-makers.”You might find yourself wondering if Microsoft only targets the weak and the feeble — that which cannot defend itself or respond with libel claims (which themselves become a considerable distraction). That is not the case however.
We have already seen coordinated attacks against State CIO whose decision rocked the Microsoft procurement boat. We have already seen international bodies, much like Yahoo Board of Directors at the moment, coming under attack from a corporation that wanted to see heads rolling. It wanted to see its insiders turn into decision-makers.
Today’s story comes from another person whom you may be familiar with: Tim Bray. Tim is a well-known trailblazer, much like Vint Cerf, whom Microsoft (ECMA) wishes to characterise as a 'troll' to be ignored ahead of the BRM in Geneva (Vint Cerf is from CERN, so join the dots). Here is Tim’s story that was pulled by Groklaw:
Those with long memories might suggest a parallel between Rick’s position and mine when in 1997, I was sitting on the XML Working Group and co-editing the spec, on a pro bono basis as an indie consultant. Netscape hired me to represent their interests, and when I announced this, controversy ensued. Which is a nice way of saying that Microsoft went berserk; tried unsuccessfully to get me fired as co-editor, and then launched a vicious, deeply personal extended attack in which they tried to destroy my career and took lethal action against a small struggling company because my wife worked there. It was a sideshow of a sideshow of the great campaign to bury Netscape and I’m sure the executives have forgotten; but I haven’t.
For information about Microsoft corruptions from ‘Netscape era’, see the Billwatch section of this Web site.
This seems like a rather typical mode of operation for Microsoft. By all means remember that Microsoft describes its marketing and promotion efforts as "Jihad" (holy war). This comes from internal memos and that appears to just be the way the company operates. To give similar examples in light of the recent developments around OOXML, consider:
On a less timely or relevant note, consider the smears against Richard Stallman. This isn’t science fiction. Microsoft has proven over and over again that its viciousness becomes a threat to one’s career. It’s a subtle — albeit sometimes severe — mode of intimidation and punishment. █
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Find out (if you can) how Miguel helps Silverlight adoption
From Miguel’s blog:
They require Silverlight 1.0, but Moonlight compiled from source with ffmpeg support is able to play those presentations back.
If you are in a rush, see the following post for details on downloading the WMV file (so you do not need to install Moonlight from source on Linux).
WMV. Isn’t that something which requires Novell’s ‘protection’ or licensing? The whole thing is becoming ever more ridiculous. █
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