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

04.03.08

Selected Reactions and EU Investigation of the OOXML Fiasco

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML at 2:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As further evidence of the fact that this story is not over yet, consider the following batch of reports and commentary.

What Makes it a Fiasco

“OOXML Fiasco” are actually the words used in iTWire in order to describe what has happened. Here are some of the hugely negative implications of this fiasco, which has earned Microsoft a lot more skeptics and foes.

Microsoft’s promises about changing its skin (becoming more “open”) fit this pattern very well. But after the company, using methods that can only be described as dubious, muscled through its Office Open XML document format as an ISO standard, no-one will ever be able to claim that it has changed in any way since it was set up in 1975.

It has always used tactics like this – winning is important and it doesn’t matter how one does it. There are plenty of promises at the start but then when it comes down to the knuckle-duster stage, the ugly side of Redmond manifests itself and it’s a win-at-all-costs game. After that, we get pious statements.

Further he adds, referring to Novell:

There are many people who try and make believe that Microsoft has changed – indeed, Novell chief executive Ron Hovsepian went on the record recently claiming that Novell had contributed to Microsoft being more “open.” See the first three paragraphs of this piece, Ron.

Hovsepian would do well to learn the history of the personal computer industry. My advice to all those who talk about change at Microsoft is to buy a copy of Accidental Empires, the seminal work by Robert X. Cringely, the grand-daddy of all of us tech journalists. (And Bob, remember my commission when sales take off again).

This is actually a reference to an article which we covered right here, claiming that Ron Hovsepian did not only offer endorsement to Microsoft, but also took pride in the sort of ‘protection racket’ that company was running. It came to show just how detrimental to the goals of Free software Novell had become.

The response to this at LinuxToday contains humour of desperation, akin to that which came from SJVN when the US Government turned a blind eye to Microsoft, as well as here.

Well, I for one want to be the first to say to Microsoft congratulations, and thanks!

Thanks Microsoft, for demonstrating just how far you are willing to go to get your way in the marketplace. Having determined that your format could not be approved on technical merit, you blatantly gamed the ISO system to push it through anyway. Good for you.

Now you have given the world a standard that is cumbersome, possibly broken, and very likely not really open enough to be used by any company other than its author. Congratulations!

Because now, like it or not, you will ultimately be held responsible for your actions. Entire nations are looking askance at this standard and your practices. Very soon, I believe, entire nations are going to start looking for alternatives to your brand of software lock-in, as they discover just how “good” OOXML really is.

Sarcasm may be helpful, but it’s too early to be called a victory or a defeat.

EU Acknowledges Problems

The word from the European Commission is reassuring because investigation are confirmed to be taking place.

The effort stems from a complaint lodged by anti-Microsoft lobbying group ECIS (European Commission for Interoperable Systems). The Commission said in January that it is exploring whether the Open XML file formats are sufficiently interoperable with competitors’ products.

The Wall Street Journal in February reported that the investigation had started.
In a letter seen by CNET News.com, European regulators queried the national standards body in Norway to gain details into the local standardization process. Specifically, the European Commission sought information on attempts to influence the debate or vote over the standards proposal.

In response, Standards Norway said there was heated debate but not any “inappropriate behavior that endangered our process,” according to a document seen by CNET News.com.

At the end, this could become a textbook example of sheer monopoly abuse and standardisation going terribly awry.

What It All Means to ISO, Standards

Here is a view that is pessimistic as far as standards go but optimistic with respect to Free software, which makes the standardisation problem a bit less relevant.

This shows that standardization organizations are no longer relevant in the software field. What really matters is free full documentation, free full implementation source code, and of course the absence of any patent risk. In other words, coming back to the fundamentals of what a standards is, what matters is evidence that any independent third-party can create and distribute a fully-conforming implementation. When this is the case, nobody needs an organization to certify that it is a standard.

Here is a two-line blog post about “The Future”:

Person A “It’s an ISO standard”
Person B “And that means what ?”

Elsewhere, Mark Shuttleworth vents out some anger at ISO, mainly for failing the tame the Beast of Redmond.

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth said the approval of Microsoft’s Office Open XML is a “sad” day for ISO and the computing public.

“I think it de-values the confidence people have in the standards setting process,” Shuttleworth said in an interview just hours after the news was leaked. The International Standards Organization (ISO) did not carry out its responsibility, he claimed.

“It’s sad that the ISO was not willing to admit that its process was failing horribly,” he said, noting that Microsoft intensely lobbied many countries that traditionally have not participated in ISO and stacked technical committees with Microsoft employees, solution providers and resellers sympathetic to OOXML. “When you have a process built on trust and when that trust is abused, [ISO] should halt the process.”

What if ISO simply does not care about being abused, if simply because it was hijacked by the very same company that abused it? Indeed, as Shuttleworth points out, they had the moral and practical responsibility to halt the process, acknowledge the fiasco, and see antitrust issues unfolding before making a premature announcement that goes out of context and out of all proportions.

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

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  2. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  3. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  4. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  5. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  6. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  7. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  8. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  9. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  10. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  11. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  12. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  13. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  14. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  15. BlackBerry -- Like Microsoft Nokia -- Could be the Next Patent Proxy Troll

    BlackBerry is restructuring for patent assertion (i.e. trolling) in the wake of some alliances with Microsoft



  16. After Microsoft's Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

    The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich's lead



  17. Gates Foundation CFO Quits and Debate About Revolving Doors Recalled Amid Systematic and Shrewd Bribery of Public Officials

    More officials step out of the Gates Foundation and their destination is not known yet; Gates continues to corrupt the public sector with his money so as to increase personal gain at taxpayers' expense



  18. Links 19/8/2014: GNU/Linux Raves and Alternative to Proprietary Voice Chat

    Links for the day



  19. Links 18/8/2014: Linux 3.17 RC1, Escalation in Ferguson

    Links for the day



  20. Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

    Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software



  21. The Microsoft Patent Trolls: Android Extortion, Vringo Versus Google, and Intellectual Ventures

    Roundup of news about patent aggression by Microsoft and some of its proxies



  22. Links 16/8/2014: Microsoft Linux, US Government Turns to Free Software

    Links for the day



  23. Links 15/8/2014: Reiser4 in Headlines Again, GNOME and KDE Events Finish

    Links for the day



  24. Links 14/8/2014: Kernel Summit Coming, KMix on KDE Frameworks 5

    Links for the day



  25. Shameless Microsoft Spin is Blaming China for Microsoft's Misconduct and Back Doors While Justifying Massive Losses in Hardware (Made in China)

    A new look at how Microsoft-friendly media takes negative Microsoft news and turns that news into some kind of scandals where Microsoft is the victim



  26. Microsoft Spin in the Media Evokes 'New Microsoft' and New Back Doors

    Some new examples of Microsoft boosters rewriting history, characterising Microsoft as a FOSS champion, and generally weak/shallow reporting on Microsoft's audio/video surveillance software



  27. Links 13/8/2014: GNU/Linux as Winner, New Snowden Interview

    Links for the day



  28. Reader's Article: Skype Spying Reaches New Levels of Blatant

    Forced 'upgrades' of Skype give useds [sic.] of Skype more than they asked for



  29. The Problem is Software Patents (and Scope), Not Patent Trolls Who Abuse Them Just Like Large Corporations

    Reminder of the dangers of losing sight of the real patent problem, which is the patents themselves, not necessarily those who use them



  30. Fraud in the USPTO and CAFC Helped Apple Launch Frivolous Patent Lawsuits Against Linux/Android, Based on New Withdrawals

    Inherent corruption in the US system has aided Apple's assault on east Asian electronics giants that use Linux at the core of their products


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