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. Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  2. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  3. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  4. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  5. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  6. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  8. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  9. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  10. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  11. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  12. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  13. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  14. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  15. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  17. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  18. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  19. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  20. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  21. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  22. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  23. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  24. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  25. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  26. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  27. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  28. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  29. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  30. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of 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