That the BSI, long the quintessence of standards in this country, should see itself dragged through the courts over something as apparently minor as a document standard, is truly an extraordinary development. But of course it is not a minor issue: at stake is the question of how something as central to technology and business as standards should be decided. Unless people have complete confidence in the process, the end-result will be deemed worthless – truly, little more than a “rubber-stamping”.
A good start along the road of bolstering confidence would be making the standards-setting process completely open, which currently it is not. The practice of voting on an open standard behind closed doors borders is simply not justifiable in the age of the Internet and of increasing openness in general. And as the UK government loves to remind us: if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear….
It’s just the beginning and it’s more important than most people realise. The EC won’t be impressed by the situation in South Africa, either. Glyn Moody utters the following words about the latest development:
And which bunch of geniuses put this nonesense together? Why, our old friends CompTIA, which has by now given up any pretense of offering objective comment on the computer market, and is simply a vehicle for crude Microsoft propaganda.
The propaganda in South Africa isn’t just being orchestrated by those "you are well paid, shut up" hires from CompTIA. It’s not exclusive. Here is another new article from South Africa. Words like “genuine”, “protect”, “pirates” and “piracy” are used, despite the fact that Microsoft admitted that it needs people to ‘steal’ its software [1, 2].
The daemonising headline says it all. This almost makes you believe that Microsoft was attacked by an unfriendly nation from the southern seas using large boats, swords, canons and maybe and modern-age aircraft carriers.
Microsoft tackles South African pirates
“The crackdowns are part of Microsoft’s global Genuine Software Initiative, which aims to help protect legitimate distributors and customers from the effects of software piracy,” said Mark Reynolds, Microsoft South Africa partner executive.
Pirates? Pirates! Maybe if they say it often enough, then people will sympathise with the very same company whose founder speaks of getting people "sort of addicted".
Is Microsoft trying even harder to push South Africa towards GNU/Linux and ODF? Bad timing. Moreover, by its own admission, Microsoft benefits from sharing of its software without a licence. Who is the company kidding?
Speaking of software licenses and their imaginary value, only a couple of days since we last discussed it Microsoft appears to be escaping some taxation again (the typical location being Ireland, as seen before).
The main Irish subsidiary of software giant Microsoft slashed the dividend paid to its US parent to €1.48bn last year despite turnover at the Dublin-based European headquarters climbing 12.5pc to €10.65bn.
The dividend payment is roughly half the almost €3bn the Irish subsidiary remitted to the US headquarters in the financial year ended June 2006.
Who is the “pirate” now? █