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

06.06.08

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. Rumour: Battistelli Wants to Extend the Term of Topić's EPO Appointment in Spite of Criminal Charges Against Him

    The EPO's 'ringleader', Mr. Battistelli, is trying to keep his confidants (like Mr. Minnoye and Željko Topić) together for several more years to come, even defying rules regarding retirement age



  2. Links 29/5/2016: NetBSD 7.0.1, Genode OS 16.05

    Links for the day



  3. [ES] La Gerencia de la EPO Bajo Creciénte Estres por las Autoridades Legales Croatas, Políticas Alemanas, y los Medios Italianos

    Las cosas no son color rosa como la calma relativa sugiere, y esperamos en las próximas semanas mayores eventos otros que la protesta en todas las sedes de la EPO a través de Europa



  4. [ES] Los Medios de Comunicación Comienzan a Informar al Público Europeo Acercas de las Desventájas de la UPC Mientras que la EPO Acelera su Cabildeo por Ratificación

    La vergonzósa promoción de la UPC por parte de la EPO da otro paso adelánte mientras que venues de la prensa Europea (incluso canales de televisión) comienzan a explorar el arreglo secreto que es negociado por los abogados de patentes (con clientes corpórativos) y las oficinas de patentes, no el público o cualquier grupo que represente los intereses del público en general



  5. [ES] Algunos Detalles Acerca de ¿Cómo el Presidente de la EPO Es Rumoreado Estar Comprando Votos, y el Porqué es Suficientemente Base Para un Despido Inmediato?

    Algo de información tras las cortinas y una detallada explicación de la dependencia finánciera sistemática, creada por Battistelli a un costode €13 millónes o más, la cuál evita una efectiva supervisión de Battistelli



  6. Mishi Choudhary and Mike Masnick Explain Why India Should Reject Software Patents

    Both an Indian activist-lawyer and a widely-recognised author from the US explain to Indians why over-reliance on patents -- and acceptance of patents on software in particular -- is a very bad idea



  7. Microsoft Boosters Pretend Microsoft Fights for Privacy While the Company Uses Malware Tactics to Put Keyloggers on Everyone's Computers

    In spite of malware-inspired tactics that should land Microsoft in courts of law all around the world (as a defendant), Microsoft-friendly circles pretend that the company fights for people's rights like privacy -- all this when Microsoft installs keyloggers on people's PCs without their consent and obviously against their will



  8. Battistelli's Assault on EPO Staff's Right to Strike in Relation to French Politics and That 'Bicycle' Pretext for Crackdowns

    The latest bicycle 'gossip' and how it's being used, based on expectations from EPO staff, to introduce further crackdowns on human/labour rights



  9. Vice-President of the EPO Under Investigation: Treason, Abuse, Violations, Giving and Receiving Bribes

    An English translation of documents involving the Organised Crime Section of the Criminal Police Department in Zagreb, where the Vice-President of the EPO faces criminal charges



  10. EPO Management Warns People About Scams When the EPO's Management is Itself Falling for Scams

    Jesper Kongstad, the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, helps demonstrate that not even the EPO is intelligent enough to spot an obvious scam



  11. Links 28/5/2016: Wine 1.9.11, New Gentoo

    Links for the day



  12. Links 27/5/2016: Android for Raspberry Pi, Google Beats Oracle in Court

    Links for the day



  13. Warning: EPO Surveillance May Have Just Gotten Even More Intrusive

    BlueCoat, which the EPO uses to enable oppression inside its European premises, has just gotten even nastier and staff may be at risk



  14. Victim Card Ends up in Another Blunder for Battistelli and His Six Bodyguards

    Battistelli is wrecking what's left of the EPO's reputation (after decades it took the Office to earn it) as the media continues to scrutinise his appalling regime



  15. Italian Report About EPO Now Available in English

    An English translation of a TV program which earlier this month documented some of the glaring problems at the EPO



  16. The EPO is Doing Great, Says EPO-Connected 'News' Site

    IAM 'magazine', a longtime ally of the EPO, gives people the impression that all is fine and dandy at the EPO even though that's clearly not the case



  17. Microsoft Has Killed Nokia (and Its Own Mobile Ambitions), But Watch What it Does With Patents

    Microsoft announces many more layoffs, having already caused tremendous damage to the Finnish economy, and patents are left astray for Microsoft's favourite patent trolls to pick



  18. EPO Management Under Growing Stress From Croatian Law Enforcement Authorities, German Politicians, Italian Media

    Things are not as rosy as the relative calm may suggest, and in the coming weeks we expect some major events other than the protest at all EPO sites across Europe



  19. Microsoft, a Dead Company Walking, Resorts to Malware Tactics, Now Truly Indistinguishable From Crackers

    Microsoft is essentially taking over people's PCs and installing on them a large piece of malware, complete with keyloggers, against the will of these PCs' owners



  20. Links 26/5/2016: CentOS Linux 6.8, Ansible 2.1

    Links for the day



  21. The Latest EPO Victim Card (Played by Željko Topić) Should be Treated as Seriously as Those Bogus Claims of Violence by a Judge (Updatedx3)

    In its desperate pursuit of a narrative wherein the staff of the EPO is violent and aggressive the management of the EPO, renowned for institutional aggression, finds (or claims to have found) a little tampering with a bicycle



  22. Links 25/5/2016: Nginx 1.11, F1 2015 Coming to GNU/Linux Tomorrow

    Links for the day



  23. The Media Starts Informing the European Public About the Downsides of UPC While EPO Accelerates Its Lobbying for Ratification

    The EPO's shameless UPC promotion takes another step forward as the European press outlets (even television channels) begin to explore the secret deal that's negotiated by patent lawyers (with corporate clients) and patent offices, not the public or any public interest groups



  24. Some Details About How the EPO's President is Rumoured to be 'Buying' Votes and Why It's Grounds/Basis for “Immediate Dismissal”

    Some background information and a detailed explanation of the systemic financial dependency, created by Battistelli at the cost of €13 million or more, which prevents effective oversight of Battistelli



  25. How the Patent Lawyers' Microcosm Continues to Boost Software Patents Filth by Misdirecting Readers, Relying on Highly Selective Coverage

    Under the guise of reporting/analysis/advice the community of patent lawyers is effectively lobbying to make software patents popular and widely-accepted again, based on one single case which they wish to make 'the' precedent



  26. Documents Show Zagreb Police Department in Investigation of Vice-President of the European Patent Office

    Željko Topić's troubles in Croatia, where he faces many criminal charges, may soon become an extraordinary burden for the EPO, which distances itself from it all mostly by attacking staff that 'dares' to bring up the subject



  27. [ES] Interrumpiendo la Propagánda Distractante de Battistelli: los Empleados de la EPO Protestará de Nuevo en una Quincena

    La exágerada extravagancia (desperdicio de dinero) en la Ceremonia de Premiación al Inventor Europeo de la EPO tendrá que competir por atención de los medios con miles de empleados de la EPO (en todaslas sedes de la EPO) marchándo en las calles para protestar por los abusos de la EPO



  28. Windows and Microsoft's Other 'Burning Platforms'

    It's not just Windows for phones that's reaching minuscule market share levels but also Windows, but Microsoft is skilled at hiding this (cannibalising Windows using something people do not even want, then counting that cannibal, Vista 10)



  29. Links 24/5/2016: CRYENGINE Source Code is Out on GitHub, Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

    Links for the day



  30. Links 23/5/2016: GNOME 3.22, Calculate Linux 15.17

    Links for the day


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