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


Be Careful Who You Trust (on Document Standards)

Posted in Africa, Asia, Deception, FUD, ISO, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A possible disinformation campaign is observed

Yesterday we published a quick post just to point out the not-so-obvious. We warned readers about Microsoft's systematic denials and attempts to rewrite history. It’s not a new tactic, but it appears to be repeating itself and making a comeback (assuming there was ever a cessation), so prudent bystanders are right to be cautious. Courtesy of some findings from Groklaw, we bring you the latest things that you ought to be aware of (some are new, but some are just very recent).

In a sarcastic fashion we recently wrote about “Agent Alex” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] and “Agent Patrick” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It’s not our own convictions, but a collection of others’ who feel similarly. It’s about influence that Microsoft apparently gains inside circles that instruct and make decisions. Remember Tim Bray's story.

One nugget of information that we almost missed entirely last week is this (Ed’s note: this is not Peter Brown of the FSF):

I found it quite disturbing that Peter Brown, one of the members of the board of directors of the OASIS, was basically saying that multiple standards were a good thing and that it had always work out like that. Then he basically questioned the whole concept of open standards, and in doing so made the point right that coining the term “openness” for everything was diluting the value of that notion. To make a long discussion a short one, Peter Brown’s point was that nothing should change in terms of standardization processes, and that it was not even worth a try, and in trying to convince the audience he used the good old allegory of the plugs and their different formats depending on the country and continent. Apparently not for Mr. Brown who thinks it will always be that way, and that somehow, somehow, it is useless to design too many standards (note the incoherence with his first concept) , because in the end, well, it’s useless. I also noticed that Mr Brown, who sits at the board of directors of an SDO (Standards Development Organization) that fosters the development of many Royalty -Free standards such as ODF, declared that it would be nice to “have all kinds of open standards that come with a Royalty -Free Intellectual Property mode” and “all kinds of open source implementations that will always be free for everybody” practiced some irony that I cannot enjoy as it simply shows a deep misunderstanding of the relationship between FOSS and Open Standards, and more generally, an ignorance of the concept of freedom and the absence of monetary value of software and information.

Peter Brown might be another character worth keeping an eye on.

Moving on to Patrick Durusau who, according to Open Malaysia, can say the darnest things at the worst of times, mind the opening of his latest letter [PDF] that essnetially protests against the appeal (yes, believe it or not). It reads: “Appealing ISO/IEC 29500 will not benefit anyone, no matter how the appeal turns out.

A satirical translation of the above would be : “Appeals against a corrupt process are just a waste of time. Let the corruption just be.” Pardon what seems like an impolite response, but when someone sidles with (or buries) the sheer corruption we have witnessed, there is little room for sympathy. In fact, be reminded of what Open Malaysia said just days ago:

“Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA).”

A Memo to Patrick Durusau

To add more to this little fire:

“37 letters with exactly the same words. Some of the senders didn’t even care to remove the ‘Type company name here’ text.

Simular letters has been circulating in Denmark as an e-mail from the Danish MD Jørgen Bardenfleth to customers and business partners.

I call it fraud, cheating and disgusting. If I wasn’t anti-Microsoft before, I am now. Disgusting !”

Leif Lodahl

Here is a slightly older rebuttal that addresses Patrick Durusau’s point-of-view, which seems to align with that of Peter Brown.

Patrick’s logic, if not his argument, is based on the idea that the problems that keep FOSS software from including such standards (usually royalty-based), is their own problem, and not the concern of the ISO or any standards body. Basically, if you want to give your software away, then that is your problem, everyone else has wizened up to the idea of charging for software, and paying royalties for standards, why don’t you?

Patrick states that “Microsoft has no obligation to make OpenXML implementable under GPL,” which is a true statement. However, since OpenXML is not implementable under any FOSS software license, isn’t it something the ISO should have considered when approving a standard?

Thanks Patrick, thanks a lot.

This is a very disturbing observation given that Sun Microsystems makes a transition to an open source strategy (including the GPL) while employing this guy who tolerates deliberate exclusion of the GPL. It’s an anti-competitive move against Microsoft’s #1 threat.

Getting back to Durusau’s latest letter, does he not not feel shy in the face of 4 countries that appealed, including the world’s second- and third-largest nations? Does he know better than them? As the following new article from South Africa shows, it goes deeper than “appealing ISO/IEC 29500 will not benefit anyone.” It’s about the right to compete and not be dependent, especially if you live outside the country where Durusau resides.

Emerging markets back SA [South Africa]


“Emerging markets are showing strength, and we are proud that SA was the leader in the appeal initiative. The emerging markets represent the majority of the world’s population, and the ISO is now at a crossroads,” says Shuttleworth Foundation fellow Andrew Rens.

He says the ISO will have to make a decision to either stand firm, or support the appeals of the emerging markets. “If they decide to be objective and independent, they will have the backing of all those who are following the appeal process, and several others over and above that.”


“It will be extraordinary if the secretary-general does not allow the appeals to go through. It would put the ISO in disrepute,” says Rens.

He says the backing of Venezuela, India and Brazil are critical for SA. “The number of countries appealing makes our concerns valid. It shows that we were right to appeal.”

Let the following photo remind you of the role of geography in this debate.

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

You may think that South Africa’s press quoting the Shuttleworth Foundation is no credible thing. But if you want to see something ugly, here is a pro-Microsoft article from India that seemingly just attacks the stance of professors who complained (and eloquently explained) what Microsoft did to them. The article puts in scare quotes their ‘problems’ and indirectly accuses them of ruining India’s industrial image (or “shooting itself in the foot,” as the headline dramatically states).

“To Microsoft and its business partners, there’s a lot of money at stake.”Like many such articles, it selectively weaves Microsoft’s ‘taking heads’ quotes in (Burton Group, Microsoft employees and so forth). Had we known more about the reputation (or lack thereof) of this media source, we would be able to tell if it’s merely a ‘plug’ in the media. It sure happens a lot in the west. We saw similar accusations about parts of the Filipino press too. As stated in the IRC channels a short while ago, “It’s less of an article and more of a protest on behalf of Microsoft. The language is disrespectful in places.” It’s brainwash at best.

Speaking of disinformation, Google News is still filled with some. People have complained on the face of it, but Google is not responsive. Microsoft et al may have gamed the ODF (“opendocument”) feeds for over a year, or so one professor believes. Lots of anti-ODF articles made it in while others were missed, left out.

We wrote about it several times before and offered some evidence. Another person who was in touch at the time complained to Google and also warned friends of his who work there that by recruiting ex-Softies they ‘poison’ themselves (manual intervention and tweaking seems involved with SERPs).

It all comes back to the seminal point of this post: be careful what you read and whom you trust. To Microsoft and its business partners, there’s a lot of money at stake. A lot. The cost of fines and public embarrassment is relatively low. Disinformation is inexpensive and FUD too is a question of economics, as Jim Zemlin emphasised last year.

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 30/11/2015: Linux 4.4 RC3, Zaragoza Moving to FOSS

    Links for the day

  2. Public Protests by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff Weaken the EPO's Attacks on the Media

    Where things stand when it comes to the EPO's standoff against publications and why it's advisable for EPO staff to stage standoffs against their high-level management, which is behind a covert crackdown on independent media (while greasing up corporate media)

  3. Why the European Patent Office Cannot Really Sue and Why It's All -- More Likely Than Not -- Just SLAPP

    Legal analysis by various people explains why the EPO's attack dogs are all bark but no bite when it comes to threats against publishers

  4. How the EPO Twisted Defamation Law in a Failed Bid to Silence Techrights

    Using external legal firms (not the EPO's own lawyers), the EPO has been trying -- and failing -- to silence prominent critics

  5. East Texas and Its Cautionary Tale: Software Patents Lead to Patent Trolls

    Lessons from US media, which focuses on the dire situation in Texas courts, and how these relate to the practice of granting patents on software (the patent trolls' favourite weapon)

  6. The Latest EPO Spin: Staff Protesters Compared to 'Anti-Patent Campaigners' or 'Against UPC'

    Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO's management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)

  7. The Serious Implication of Controversial FTI Consulting Contract: Every Press Article About EPO Could Have Been Paid for by EPO

    With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won't be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents

  8. EPO: We Have Always Been at War With Europe (or Europeans)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn't show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)

  9. What Everyone Needs to Know About the EPO's New War on Journalism

    A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO's newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)

  10. EPO Did Not Want to Take Down One Techrights Article, It Wanted to Take Down Many Articles Using Intimidation, SLAPPing, and Psychological Manipulation Late on a Friday Night

    Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment

  11. The European Private Office: What Was Once a Public Service is Now Crony Capitalism With Private Contractors

    The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation

  12. Microsoft Once Again Disregards People's Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It's Just an Accident

    A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people's privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo

  13. When the EPO Liaised With Capone (Literally) to Silence Bloggers, Delete Articles

    A dissection of the EPO's current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views

  14. Blogger Who Wrote About the EPO's Abuses Retires

    Bloggers' independent rebuttal capability against a media apparatus that is deep in the EPO's pocket is greatly diminished as Jeremy Phillips suddenly retires

  15. Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)

    The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for 'damage control', like FIFA's) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)

  16. Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  17. Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

    Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

  18. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  19. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  20. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  21. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  22. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  23. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  24. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  25. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  26. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  27. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  28. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  29. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  30. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs


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


Recent Posts