04.09.08

Signs of Progress for OpenDocument Format, Microsoft-imposed Disinformation Abound

Posted in ECMA, Europe, Formats, FUD, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When failing handle the truth, Microsoft generates lies

A variety of reports seem to indicate that ODF, which Microsoft and its partner Novell have turned their back on, will sustain its great momentum. Adding to examples or case studies that were shared earlier today, here are some more signs of progress, only to be hindered by more dishonesty from Microsoft’s direction.

More ODF Support from the Industry

There are many existing examples of ODF support in a variety of software (e.g. this one) and these examples did not involve payments, contracts and other forms of persuasion (incentives) which are always found in Microsoft’s case (OOXML support is typically paid for). Here is yet another example for one’s consideration.

To use EditGrid, you need only a broadband Internet connection and a Web browser that supports JavaScript. You must sign up for a free account, which is quick and painless. You can upload existing spreadsheet files up to 2MB (8MB in the paid service) created in Excel, OpenDocument, Lotus 1-2-3, or certain other formats.

Denmark Delivers a Mouthful

Moving on in a similar direction, consider this great find. It is a study about the cost of OpenOffice.org deployments, conducted by the Copenhagen Business School. A rough translation is summarised thusly:

“The total TCO for implementing OpenOffice.org at Klaksvík hospital … OpenOffice.org results in a cost reduction of 24 % … The total TCO for implementing OpenOffice.org at Landssjúkrahúsið … OpenOffice.org results in a cost reduction of 67 % … The total TCO for implementing OpenOffice.org LandsNet (the entire public sector) … OpenOffice.org results in a cost reduction of 91 %.”

Sadly enough, Erwin has also pointed out some remarks from Michael Silver, who is a close friend of Microsoft wearing the bogus hat of an 'analyst'. We wrote about Silver before, the context being OOXML.

Also from Denmark [via Andy Updegrove], consider this new bit.

Evaluation of Ten Standard Setting Organizations with Regard to Open Standards. Edited by Per Andersen. Prepared by IDC for the Danish National IT and Telecom Agency (NITA). An April 03, 2008 press release from the the Danish National IT and Telecom Agency (IT- og Telestyrelsen) announced the publication of a 92-page report titled “Evaluation of Ten Standard Setting Organizations with Regard to Open Standards.”

[...]

The definition of “open standards” was specified to consist of three criteria: (1) The standard is fully documented and accessible by public [Open documentation]; (2) The standard should be free to implement without economical, political or legal restictions — now as well as in the future [Open IPR, Open access, Open interoperability]; (3) The standard is managed and maintained in an open forum through an open process [Open meeting; Consensus; Due process; Open change; Ongoing standards support]…

Again, the presence of IDC should be discomforting because this is the same firm that once produced a document formats ‘study’ upon Microsoft’s request, using Microsoft funding [1, 2]. Guess whose favour it worked in?

“It’s one of the most dishonest industries out there, least honest bar lobbyists perhaps.”These invest-to-generate-report firms ought to be taken with a barrel of salt, especially as they tend to conceal funding sources (at least sometimes). It’s one of the most dishonest industries out there, least honest bar lobbyists perhaps. Sadly enough, the Linux Foundation invited Al Gillen from IDC, who is at the moment spouting out mixed messages at the annual summit. When will people learn?

Microsoft’s Open Confusion

The other day we mentioned the possible sneaky moves by Microsoft against IBM. Among many known maneuvers, more recently Microsoft was seen wrongly transforming this document formats battle from "Microsoft against everyone else" to "Microsoft against IBM" (vendor versus vendor). What was the impact on perception? Just have a look:

Rival formats leave software makers in a fix

This battle for the software market pitches Microsoft, the world’s largest software company against another American computer firm IBM. Microsoft is competing in the software market with its Office OpenXML (OOXML) while IBM has the Open Document Format (ODF).

Can you see what’s wrong with this picture? This case of misguidance is Microsoft imposed. This misleading statement appears in here also. It’s an identical article, but it comes to show you just how quickly the big lie spreads.

Speaking of misguidance, remember the use of "porn spam techniques" against document freedom (further complaints about it in [1, 2])? It was intended to have people believe that document freedom was all about OOXML. It was a case of hijacking a very special day.

Well, guess what? Microsoft now has this thing called “Open Source Day”. No kidding. And the dilution of the term continues. Someone ought to police this. With Open Office XML [sic], Microsoft has already hijacked just about everything it can, leading to confusion. Asking it politely to withdraw has never proven effective.

Links 09/04/2008: More Low-cost GNU/Linux Laptops Introduced; Web Security a Great Concern

Posted in News Roundup at 2:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

European Nations Give the Thumbs Down to Microsoft OOXML, Misconduct Noted

Posted in Antitrust, Boycott Novell, Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 12:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If you flee the rules, you will be caught. And it will cost you dearly.”

Neelie Kroes (about Microsoft), February 27th, 2008

It is reassuring to find that Microsoft’s over-the-line and above-the-law actions may have all been in vain. High-profile countries across Europe are seemingly apathetic at the sight of Microsoft buying a rubber stamp by collapsing entire committees, lying, bullying and involving personal favours with heads of nations.

Among the countries which are already listed as opposed to OOXML we now have Belgium and the Netherlands [headsup from Victor Soliz]. They could start the domino effect which leads to broader adoption of ODF in Europe where governments need to communicate and collaborate.

Asked to comment on last week’s ISO approval for OOXML, Fedict’s chief IT architect, Peter Strickx, said: “There will have to be multiple implementations, in order for us not to become dependent on a single vendor. It will also have to be compatible with open standards that we already use, in this case Open Document Format ODF.”

Belgium and Holland are not alone here. The German Foreign Ministry already says that it will not use OOXML either, but equally interesting in the announcement are the bits about bad behaviour from Microsoft.

In the weeks prior to the second round of votes last September, irregularities were reported in the standard committees in many participating countries. These claims continued until after the final discussion, in February and March this year.

The European Commission has started an investigation into the allegations. The Commission sent a letter to all EU national standards committees in Europe, requesting information about the process. Sources at the Commission declined to comment, as the investigation is on-going and no official position has yet been adopted.

This comes to show that these allegations may already be playing a significant role in the making of high-level decisions. This aligns with the contention that bad behaviour may have cost Microsoft the "document formats war", which it can lose despite a despicable 'win' of the "ISO battle" — something which it knows is meaningless and earned it no practical equal foothold.

BSI Contradicts Itself

The BSI seems to be on some shaky grounds after its secret and mysterious decision on OOXML. There is a lot of evidence that suggests misconduct (latest related addendum here) and the BSI seems to be already doing some damage control. It’s indicative of lack of confidence, isn’t it? The BSI is defending itself… and fails. Groklaw has already found contradictory messages, so the story is not so consistent. Oops.

[PJ: I'd say #5 negates 9 and 10.] – BSI FAQ on OOXML Vote

Whatever the situation, it’s not over yet. The BSI has a lot of explaining to do given all the credible evidence that has been gathered.

OOXML is not a standard yet, not even officially, regardless of what everyone already knows about the sheer abuse which turned ISO into a stamp shop for the affluent. Based on the stories above, Microsoft’s OOXML has challenges to face on various different levels, including the legal and the pragmatic.

Protests against ISO (and Microsoft/ECMA OOXML) will begin in Norway within hours (at midday). Since when are international standards supposed to be such a riot? As soon as Microsoft gets involved and acts like a bully, that’s when.

OOXML is bad

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