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03.19.08

Microsoft Could Face Another Commission Assault Over Lack of Openness

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 2:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft versus Free software

The OOXML/ODF debate is far from over, but sadly enough, the press has calmed down a bit and it hardly mentions the high degree of Microsoft misconduct. What will be more important in years to come is the adoption of formats and what many might consider a “formats race”. It will become a reality regardless of ISO’s decision at the end of this month.

Based on the experiences Andy Updegrove had to share in this new article, ODF is spreading more quickly than many of us realise. After all, there is no marketing machine to flog vendor-independent and rather neutral formats. Here is what Andy says:

“Even though my law firm has historically been an Office shop, we’ve now incorporated converters into our IT structure so that everyone can open ODF files as well, due to the fact that more such files are coming our way,” Updegrove explained. “So there will be a different tipping point sector by sector, where enough calls to open a file come to the internal helpdesk that it just makes sense to offer the capability at the desktop.”

Groklaw is meanwhile lashing out at Microsoft for telling the press about a mythical number of OOXML-formatted files. Executives are shamelessly trying to make it seem as though binary Office objects are in fact a form of OOXML. Only make belief for public relations purposes, surely!

Speaking of ‘openness’ (or lack thereof), watch the following news. It comes just a week or so since the Phoenix complaint. It serves as further evidence that Microsoft pisses off what it considers "third parties" (in an insulting way, a la Netscape). This complaint comes not from yet another giant, but from an hugely-successful open source project. [via Groklaw]

The developers of the TrueCrypt open source encryption tool are considering submitting a complaint against Microsoft to the EU Commission if Microsoft is not prepared to lay open the Windows hibernation API. From version 5.1 TrueCrypt supports hibernation for encrypted system partitions. Potential vulnerabilities that could allow the hibernation file to be written to the disk in unencrypted form have been reported in this version in recent weeks. This would allow attackers to read the key and thus decrypt the partition or container.

[...]

The TrueCrypt developers state that they are currently preparing an official complaint against Microsoft. Should this fail to lead to disclosure, they are planning to submit an anti-competition complaint to the EU. Microsoft offers a system partition encryption system under Windows Vista in the form of BitLocker.

Only a couple of weeks ago, Steve Ballmer said that he would attempt to escape further fines in Europe. It’s likely that this case will work just fine for him (pun intended).

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