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When Microsoft Shenanigans and Novell Stomp on Your Open Standards

Posted in Europe, GPL, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, Videos at 12:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad Novell

Who could possibly turn his/her back on Document Freedom Day? Ask Novell. Its Vice President prematurely celebrated OOXML while everyone else marked the triumph of open document formats, with ODF.

Remember the Microsoft OOXML "porn spam technique" incident from Document Freedom Day? It is difficult to forget given how disturbing it was. Yet again, having witnessed Microsoft’s well-orchestrated crashing of PlayStation 3 launch parties around the world, none of this is surprising. Microsoft proved before that it sees nothing wrong in sabotaging other people’s celebrations. It’s the high management that had it planned and approved, not a group of overzealous Microsoft enthusiasts.

Would you be surprised if Microsoft more actively sabotaged ODF? From the very start we’ve said that OOXML was merely an anti-ODF move, not a pro-openness move, as recently confirmed by Redmond's press itself. Watch what Charles says about possible Microsoft tactics to come.

Another way for Microsoft to attack ODF would be to oppose the standardization of ODF 1.2. They will use the same tactics they had with OOXML, but in the opposite direction. It will be funny to watch how the ISO and the national standards bodies will switch all of a sudden to a demanding stance on ODF 1.2, which will only be an iteration of an existing ISO standard. I am afraid we will witness such a shocking twist in the standardization bodies’ attitude.

This may seem like a far-fetched prophecy until you realise that people in ISO who were not sufficiently obedient to Microsoft are no longer there. The New ISO (capitalisation intended) may be partly controlled by Microsoft, just like many of those national committees that have been stacked by design.

The previous post spoke about Novell’s collaboration with Microsoft on making things hard if not impossible for others to keep up with. Novell is pushing hard for Microsoft’s way of doing things, leading to an identity loss of standards and GNU/Linux in the process. From the same post as above, mind the following bits which speak also about Novell.

Would you believe me if I wrote that I knew what’s in store after XPS? Let’s bet I know it. After OOXML shall come XPS. And once Microsoft will have locked the whole industry with its document formats, they will try to do the same with multimedia formats. Expect the future Windows Media formats, their proprietary video codecs to follow the same path. Their glue shall be Silverlight, which in turn rests on Windows Presentation Foundation and the .NET framework. The license shall be the famous OSP, effectively barring GPL implementations and leaving many other issues, such as the RAND mode applied on the covered technologies, in the shadows, but always as a critical factor to consider. Novell will follow, as usual, with incomplete and patent-riddled implementations that you will only be able to safely use with Novell products.

Those failing to realise why Novell is on Microsoft’s side need only consider Novell’s silence amid the abuses against ISO and the rest of the industry. Red Hat posted many objections; as did Google, Oracle, FFII, FSFE, IBM and Ubuntu’s Founder, Mark Shuttleworth. Where was Novell? Well, of course, Novell quietly helps OOXML. Being Microsoft's vassal is its competitive 'advantage', much like the use of Linux FUD.

Ironically enough, while Novell seems happy with OOXML, it’s actually a notorious and very large ‘Microsoft shop’ at Britain that still says “No” to OOXML. Its name is BECTA and we last wrote about it a couple of weeks back. From BECTA’s statement on this matter:

During the standard approval process Becta wrote to the British Standards committee responsible for co-ordinating the UK’s response to the proposed Office Open XML standard asking that it considers carefully whether two different ISO standards was the best outcome that could be achieved in this important area. We were clear that the interests of non technical users (including most teachers and parents) would be best served by a single standard which accommodated the existing Open Document Format (ODF) specification, and any extensions necessary to provide the required compatibility with various legacy Microsoft formats.

When BECTA complains about Microsoft {anything}, then it’s time to glance out the windows [sic] and wait for flying pigs to appear. Perhaps it’s just known too well that OOXML is so horrible that even the closest among Microsoft’s partners are unable to accept it (and accept responsibility). Maybe the emperor is just far too naked. Yet everyone is blinded by the money, the incentives, the bribes.

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