In case you wish to keep up with OOXML critiques, here are several new pointers of interest.
From Open Malaysia:
The Open Forum Europe (OFE) event was re-scheduled to accommodate for this event. At 7pm, the OFE event started, and it was an excellent discussion by 4 luminaries of the Open Standards world; Bob Sutor (IBM), Håkon Lie (Opera), Andy Updegrove (StandardsConsortium.org) and Vint Cerf (father of the internet, and now Google). They all stressed the importance of true Open Standards (as some are more open than others), and how it will become more and more relevant as we move our lives online. Vint had the best line on this:
“Merely publishing your specification doesn’t make it an open standard. It needs open participation to become an open standard and full implementation commitment by multiple independent vendors”
The Linux Foundation responds also:
“What I’d love to see is Microsoft adopt the already existing ISO standard,” Zemlin says, referring to the OpenDocument Format (ODF) backed by Google and others. “It’s akin to Microsoft going to the United States Congress and proposing an alternative bumper heights.”
Groklaw has complaints about the latest Microsoft deceptions.
Microsoft’s problem isn’t technical or financial or a matter of skill. It’s attitudinal. Microsoft, from what I see, doesn’t want to be interoperable with the GPL, their principal competition, or with ODF unless someone forces them. And that’s not a problem we can fix for them. If they desired true interoperability, not customer lock in, they’d embrace ODF and work out one standard we could all use, no matter what operating system we use. Think about the obvious goal of Microsoft’s current patent strategy. It’s the same song, to me. The GPL is being squeezed out, if Microsoft gets its way, and we all get squeezed for money whether we use Microsoft software or not.
I’m tired of Microsoft’s dirty tricks too, actually. Why can’t Microsoft compete fairly, with decency? What place do smears have in a standards process? Did you read the News Picks item by Tim Bray on what Microsoft did to him and his wife years ago because he dared to support Netscape?
We mentioned the Bray incident here. █
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Linux can be Windows, but only if you are a Novell customer
It must be love. Novell’s Vista 'advertisements' tell us that Novell strives to please its competitor, Microsoft, rather than actually please its customers, many of whom use (or used) SUSE. Here is the latest post from Novell’s Vice President, Miguel de Icaza.
Last week some of us from the Mono team at Novell went to San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference. As some of my dear readers know, I was not much of a gamer a year ago, and I do not claim to understand this industry.
He carries on discussing games with Mono (Microsoft’s .NET) and also talks about Microsoft’s XNA. This intersection is becoming irksome for a variety of reasons that we have been through before (more latterly here)
Beranger is being cynical in his latest post about Mono.
Note the lack of good faith:
Nobody said that “GNOME depends on Mono”; rather, Mono is pushed into GNOME, distros are installing Tomboy and F-Spot and Beagle by default, and users are intoxicated to believe that they can’t live without Mono!
“GNOME depends on libbeagle, a Mono program”: Sir, we knew that libbeagle is a C library! But why is it there? (Do you need a hint?)
“NDesk-DBus is replacing DBus in GNOME”: I’m afraid this will happen one day!
“Someday soon it will be practically impossible to write any app for GNOME without being forced to use MONO”: Yes, this is going to be true! (Alas…)
Mono is an advantage to Novell. It’s an advantage against other GNU/Linux distros which do not have patent portfolios, cross-licensing deals, and money to spare per copy of the programs. We explained this back in October.
For its business ‘success’, Novell will try to spread Mono. Mono is a Novell project. For this reason, Mono and Novell need to be shunned. Novell and Mono serve themselves while harming many others. █
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This is the week when we take a look back at Microsoft's corruptions and repeat them verbatim. Here is our old coverage of the incidents in Sweden.
We saw this in Germany, Colombia, and Portugal (among other nations). Panels are assembled to include just Microsoft partners. The fox watches the hen house.
When a friend of mine arrived, it was clear that it all was stuffing going on from Microsoft side. All Microsoft partners in Sweden was at that meeting. People against OOXML got an offer to leave the meeting without paying the fee (not becoming a member). Everyone left, including IBM that thought it all was a farse.
It’s not the first country that Microsoft “buys” (to use the words of this witness). It has also ‘bought’ Novell, Xandros, and Linspire. In the past, a comment from Sweden warned us that this was bound to happen.
Moments ago we found the following story in the news:
Microsoft to Boost Charity in India
India decided it would vote “No”, so keep a close eye on what they do in September. It could be yet another case of politicians and decision makers being influenced.
Update: more information from Sweden is available thanks to a link from Ola.
It later turned out that Microsoft offered incentives to voters. How many other countries has this happened in? █
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“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.”
Yesterday it was stated that Microsoft had officially redefined “Open Source”. It is no secret that Microsoft has been trying to extinguish the GPL for a long time, so it’s important to be aware and fight against the aggression. Microsoft’s lawyers continues to work on their sneaky workarounds and take pride in media extravaganzas which then deceive the public. But this was all discussed before.
The news is actually about a confirmation from Microsoft’s 'studies buddy', Gartner. The firm now ‘warns’ that Microsoft’s ‘openness’ pledge is a ‘potential’ patent trap. Well, most parties that include Red Hat and the EU have already known that, but hearing this from Gartner is almost like hearing it from Microsoft itself.
Open source developers who want to use Microsoft’s documentation still require a patent license from Redmond if the work is for commercial distribution.
IT research firm Gartner is warning open source software makers that Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)’s pledge to open up its documentation library to third parties carries legal risks for developers who aren’t careful about how they access the technical trove.
No *, Sherlock. In fact, watch this response from Horacio Gutierrez, who spoke to Peter Galli.
Microsoft `Wasn`t Pressured` into Becoming More Open
A Microsoft official acknowledges market skepticism, but says he is confident that people will look at the company’s actions as well as its words.
Microsoft was not reacting to pressure from the European Commission or anyone else when it decided to commit to a set of interoperability principles designed to increase the openness of its high-volume products.
So said Horacio Gutierrez, vice president of intellectual property and licensing for Microsoft, in an interview with eWEEK following the company’s Feb. 21 media teleconference announcing the move.
Short translation: Microsoft actually chose to pretend to be opening because it serves the company’s intention to run an extortion racket against its main competitor.
For other memorable quotes from Horacio Gutierrez, see [1, 2, 3. For all it seems, this happens to be the man responsible for intimidating large businesses which use GNU/Linux, to the point where they coughed out protection money and kept it secret. Don’t let Microsoft rewrite the rules of this games. They try very hard to do so. █
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According to a reader, Slashdot has bit a little out of control recently (also see this). Upon closer inspection, particularly in comparison to past days, the site is no longer dominated by its original crowd that was pro-FOSS. It’s a pattern, not just a single observation. Consider this latest vapourware/slashvertisement from Slashdot:
Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, said on Friday(23 February) that they are aiming to restore a Unix-like environment to its former propriety glory, at the same time, proving that Microsoft is committed to interoperability. Ballmer emphasized that Microsoft’s new strategy is to provide users with a complete package, and this includes users who like Unix environments. According to the supposedly leaked email, UNG, which stands for UNG’s not GNU is set to be released late 2009.
Given Microsoft’s ill state, there’s a lot of steam going on here, but little or no beef. In short, Microsoft wants to strip the GPL off of GNU utilities. There’s even emacs.NET in the works (reportedly).
The tagging usually gives away the editors’ inclinations and there are also decent sarcastic comments such as this one. [thanks to a reader for the heasdup]
Re: Microsoft Trying to Appeal to the Unix Crowd?
More like Yellow sno cones, being sold as lemon-aide.
Eskimo: Hey! This doesn’t smell right!
Microsoft: Trust us, it’s an improved lemon flavor.
Generally, for more information about known corporate involvement on the Web, see the links above and consider some actual proof.
The less fortunate thing to find out about is separate. The invitation to Apache developers was eventually accepted.
Don’t mention the Apache trip
Microsoft’s faltering attempt to counter LAMP came, ironically, as it emerged that the company is courting another component in the open source acronym stack. Members of Apache visited the Microsoft campus with a view to improving Tomcat’s support for Internet Information Services (IIS). Previously, Microsoft has entertained MySQL and Zend and worked with Novell.
It ought to be clear by now that Microsoft just wants to turn LAMP into W(indows)AMP and treat FOSS (taxable is how Microsoft views it) as part of the Microsoft ecosystems. It’s important to understand Microsoft’s motives because all that so-called ‘opening’ is self-serving and it’s little more than an attack on Linux. It is also an attack on the freedom of software (‘distributability’) █
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No matter how much denial there will be, it is becoming clear that Microsoft’s plan is to apply tax to Free software, rendering it Fee [sic] software. Ironically, at least in some sense, is that fact that taxation is the very same thing which now puts at jeopardy the notion and validly of software patents, without which there cannot be a ‘tax’ on Free software. Have a look at this article from Microsoft's universe of the Web (originally BusinessWeek, which forbids linking to):
The Internal Revenue Service has proposed new rules that would pull within its orbit any software patent that affects taxes, likely choking innovation.
Published in the LA Times, the following opinion piece questions the notion of "intellectual monopolies" in general and also raises the point that no government tax is applied to them, which indeed concurs with the observation that they cannot be property. It becomes rather philosophical.
In essence, Sigfrid is saying that something in unlimited supply can’t be stolen. His position is a variation on a theme advanced by Mike Masnick of Techdirt.com, among others: that the entertainment industry’s aggressive copyright-enforcement efforts spring from an outdated, analog-era notion of scarcity. Under this view, copyright holders are helped, not harmed, by file sharing and other online distribution pipelines; they just haven’t adapted their business models to take advantage of the new opportunities. Supporters of this view include musicians, authors and filmmakers who say that that file sharing helped bring the exposure they needed to sell their works.
Getting back to the key issue at hand (Free software), when Sun acquired MySQL, the patent question came up (hat tip: Scott Mace). He brings a rather disturbing update:
Go to the MySQL Web site and try to click on the MySQL anti-software patent page, and you won’t find it. It’s the other shoe dropping as MySQL today became part of Sun Microsystems, which like the rest of the commercial software and services industry, considers software patents a necessary evil.
On the brighter side of things, MySQL is more likely to go GPLv3, according to CNET. █
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